Cheap Solutions to Displaying Figures – Part 1

(This picture is old now, I’ll take detailed pics of my current collection eventually)

It’s no secret that I buy a lot of figures, the only problem is once you acquire a lot of figures you need to start setting aside funding for more ways to display those figures. But if you’re not careful you may end up spending more on your cases then what your collection is worth. Seems like all figure addicts swear by Ikea’s Detolf glass display cases. Apparantly they’re the best bang for you buck for a figure case, they cost $60 for a 5′ 4″ high glass case with 4 levels, the width is under 1′ 6″. I own a lot of figures and a glass case of this size is a REALLY space inefficient way for me to display figures. It’s too short and thin for my tastes…I’d need like 5 of these suckers all lined up to get anywhere with displaying my collection. Also even though I buy a lot of figures…I’m actually a cheapskate that can’t bare to spend any money that is not either going towards a manga to read, a game to play, or a figure to stare at.

Step #1 – Buy cheap bookcase.

You’d be surprised how many people are just dying to sell old bookcases, I bought all 4 of my bookcases on Craigslist at different times and they all cost me $20 or less per case.

Step #2 – Buy blocks of varying sizes and/or pick up some (free) USPS shipping boxes.

Now that you have your bookcase you’ll come across a dilemna…the shelves are so deep that unless you position your figures JUST right some figures will block others. I can’t stand to have a single one of my beauties hidden so layering is very important to me.

I bought cardboard blocks (pictured above) off Amazon for under $20. I also stopped by the Post Office and requested a pile of Media Mail shipping boxes. Make SURE you get the free ones that say USPS on them! No need to spend money on something you can get for free!

Step #3 – Arrange your figures.

It took me quite a while to finally have a setup I liked that didn’t waste any space. I suggest arranging everything before you paint simply so that you don’t waste time painting blocks/boxes you won’t even use. Not to mention the unpainted boxes can be more easily used for something else later if they’re unpainted.

Step #4 – Buy paint, masks, and pickup free newspapers.

I bought spray paint at Home Depot, each can cost me under $2.00 and so did the masks. DON’T skip the mask! You may look silly in it but if you’re painting a lot of boxes the fumes can get overwhelming. For paint if you want to make sure the color is solid get a spray paint color that says SATIN on it! If you have a glass display case and want to do this I suggest going for a metallic color. I prefer silver myself. Pick up some of the free newspapers on the way out so you have something to paint on.

Please Note: They will I.D. you when you go to buy the paint, so if you’re underage bring a parent. I’m 23 and was forced to show my license. Although I happen to look quite young for my age and am often mistaken for a high schooler depending on what I’m wearing. It seems the more casually I’m dressed the younger I look. One time a person (that was definitely younger then me) came to my apartment selling something and asked me if either of my parents were home…

Step #4 – Follow painting instructions on can.

To paint all the boxes you see above took me 1 can of paint almost exactly. I painted each box twice on 5 sides.




I’ve had this setup a few months now and its very stable. Although keep in mind I don’t live in an area thats really prone to earthquakes, I know thats a big concern for all the figure collectors in CA. But over here on the east coast a large earthquake is HIGHLY unlikely.

Please forgive the poor lighting in my pictures, the rooms I keep my figures in don’t have a lot of light and it’s very difficult to take pictures of the shelves for me. 


3 Responses to Cheap Solutions to Displaying Figures – Part 1

  1. Thanks for sharing this, it’s very informative! 😀

  2. soloista says:

    You might want to put a top coat or something to make sure the paint of the blocks don’t stick to the bottom of the figures.

  3. lovelyduckie says:

    Since I used the Satin paint thats used on furniture I’m pretty sure a top coat is unnecessary.

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