View Full Version : Cantilever Toolbox as Pastel Box (with homemade trays inspired by Donna A)

09-26-2013, 09:29 AM
Hello. I have a multi-day pastel workshop coming up where I will want to have more pastels with me than my first-ever travel box (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1318650) will accommodate. I spent some time searching for toolboxes, and this is the one I chose, a "cantilever" style. I got it at Lowe's for around $25 - this is the 18" across version of this Keter toolbox. I like that it is sturdy without being heavy since I'm going to fill it with pastels anyway, which will add some weight. It's no Heilman, so I don't know how it will fare if it ever drops :eek:, but I will do my best not to drop it in any case.
The bottom is deep enough to accommodate two trays of some kind, and I remembered this diagram (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5384957&postcount=11) from the fabulous Donna A and was inspired to make some myself. Thanks, Donna, wherever you are! I love my trays - they are nice and sturdy, sturdier than I expected, even - and were super-easy to make at a custom size with foam board and tape for just a few bucks. I added the ribbon to reinforce the lift handles... and because it's pretty, and matches both the memory foam and the toolbox :). After some measuring and cutting, here are my foam board pieces for the first tray with the clear duct tape I used.

Completed tray #1! The ribbon runs along the bottom and is covered with tape for the lifters.
Tray one inside, tray two on top, both lined with Dakota memory foam, and with cover foam pieces at the ready. Time to fill them with candy!

And voila. I'm very excited! The trays nestle into the box easily, and the cantilever action gives me a little shelf for tray #2 when the box is in use. There's also space in the top clear-lidded section - those little plastic yellow trays are removable, but each one goes into a groove so these won't slide around on you if you want to have some in and some out.

I like to reach for pastels based on softness, so the bottom tray has thirds of my lovely mid-soft Mungyo handrolled stored vertically, a trick I figured out with the last travel box that makes a lot more room for pastels if the height works, which it does in this case. Also has the Art Spectrum warm and cool whites. The top homemade tray has the softies, with delicious Great Americans and a few Schmincke. For now you can see I'm playing with the idea of having some harder pastels in the top section of the toolbox, so there are Rembrandts there now (will add foam if I stick with that idea (ha ha, stick - no pun intended, I swear)), and I will probably pull out the remaining plastic trays so I can use that space for tools.
I really like this toolbox, and am so happy with the trays, that I thought I'd share in case someone else out there might be looking for something similar for travel or studio storage. :) Best wishes!

09-26-2013, 11:36 AM
A very smart and inexpensive solution for travelling. It won't take up much room on the table space at the workshop. Thanks for sharing.


09-26-2013, 02:20 PM
Ive thought about doing this also but the opened box didnt fit well with my workspace/flow.

I always thought if you could find a plastic version of the big red mechanic's metal tool boxes (the ones with the sliding drawers) it would be ideal but Ive never come across one (aside from some smaller versions)

09-26-2013, 02:41 PM
This is very cool! I like the way you adapted it but still used the little sections on the top tray for harder pastels. You could put charcoal and actual hard pastels into the remaining ones or like you said, pull them out to make a tools space. I would suggest a divider to hold the small sections off to one side if you do though, because they might slide back and forth otherwise.

Justin, yeah, the big red mechanic's metal tool box with sliding drawers would be awesome for studio use. Why would you want it in plastic though? I have considered getting one in metal when I've got money and enough space for it for studio storage, not just pastels but a lot of mediums could go into that. But the big ones the metal might be sturdier. Especially the kind that are on casters, the metal would be perfect.

09-26-2013, 05:12 PM
Thanks, Doug! I am very excited to try it out. The airport will be interesting, but I know from other people's posts to take it through carryon and tape a note to it explaining the contents and how fragile they are.

Justin, how large are you talking? I'm curious.

Robert, thank you! And fyi, the yellow plastic trays actually stay in place really well in this box. The bottom of each tray looks kind of like a cookie cutter - the center is high, the edges are low. And the floor of the box has the opposite, so each tray sits in one spot and won't move. And when the clear lid is closed, you can see that there are also indentations there to keep the little trays in place. Very cool design.

09-27-2013, 12:25 AM
Grinner, great idea. Using DonnaA's plans I made one of her boxes and that is what I use to take to my classes. Other students loved it and now have their own as well as our instructor. The foam core really works well, lightweight and yet very sturdy. Great use of the toolbox. When I looked at toolboxes and tackle boxes, it was before I knew of DonnaA's plans. I'll have to rethink my setup.

01-02-2015, 10:32 AM
I love the toolbox to store small craft supplies, but had not thought about it for pastels! Hmmmm.....love your result!