View Full Version : Great products in terrible boxes - suggestions?

10-30-2014, 09:52 PM
Two big sets drive me nuts currently. I came up with a partial solution for one and I'm still working on the other.

72 Cretacolor Pastels Carre' are reasonably priced high quality pigment rich hard pastels, long and square shaped. I love them. Great range. Good quality. Great product. Unfortunately they come in a styrofoam slotted tray box with a flimsy, windowed cardboard cover and it's very hard to get them out of the slots or back into them once used.

I solved that one using a 36 color Derwent Pastel Roll. I bought two of those and broke all the sticks, then put all the colors into each of the two rolls. This is a partial solution. It works well spread out on a table but not so well laid out on my lap where the slots fall open and colors jump into their neighbors or slide into the middle. I'm constantly having to replace bounced colors, though once rolled up it tends to stay stable.

Just as big an offender, the new boxes for Color Conte sets.

The 48 color set hasn't got the styrene tray with thin foam over it to hold them. It's no longer compact, it's huge and wide, inconveniently large for lap size, and instead it's now got foam under them, a 1/8" thick slotted foam sheet around them that contorts with so much as tipping the box and a thin sheet of foam over them that partly covers them. Dropping this box once left the slotted foam so distorted it took an hour lining it up again to lay the colors back in order. Ow ow.

Then there's the catches that hold it closed, they don't. Open it once and oops, it is not securely closed again. This became a studio set when its predecessor was my favorite Away set of hard pastels between range and size and portability.

My current, yet untried idea for storing them is to raid a redundant 24 color set of colored pencils, put the pencils in a jar instead of their tin and use the styrene pencils tray to hold 2 Conte each. Then use the bottom foam from the big box over them to hold it in place and a couple of big rubber bands to supplement the never too secure CP tin closure. The only CP tins that stay closed securely are hinged ones like Pablo.

Any other ideas for how to carry around 48 color Conte without breaking them or mixing them up? I'm vaguely thinking some sort of foam lined tin would be good. i'd like it to be small and portable, wouldn't mind if the sticks are loose as long as the foam's solid enough to keep them from moving around too much. Not really tempted to break them as they wear down short fast enough and I sometimes use the full length on its side. Their big advantage was tiny and mixable and sketch or paint with them.

But packaging seriously interferes with that.

Third contender, Mount Vision sets, the foam's good and the pastels glorious. The lid of the clamshell box keeps closing on me and won't stay open, very hard to set out more than one of them at a time behind each other for that reason too. The pieces in use eventually migrated into my Dakota Traveller. I'd be nervous about getting more without a pastels box to keep use-pieces in and just use the clamshell boxes for storing spare halves and pieces.

Also has anyone else ever gotten good product in a maddening, annoying set box? What was it and how did you solve it?

10-30-2014, 10:25 PM
I finally ordered my Heilman! I chose the original/medium, so it will be great for holding lots and lots. Is due to arrive on Saturday.

I loathe the Cretacolor box with the styrofoam bits. I broke each stick in 1/3s and put the smaller bits into the long jewel boxes available from Dakota. I have one that has warms, the other cools. I have the big set of 130 or something.

Because I usually paint away from home, I carry around a very abbreviated version of my pastel pencil collection in a long candy tin that has a cloth diaper-like liner. It's easy enough to carry and is a good size, about 2x2x8. I don't remember the brand of candy that was in it originally. I would go shopping at Big Lots or Ollies in the next couple months and see what specialty sets and tins they have for sale.

10-31-2014, 03:21 PM
Oh wow, that's a thought! Cretacolor has a range of 72, though the styrofoam tray is so enormous you'd think it should be 120 or 130 in that space. It stacked with my Mungyo 120 about the same size box until I got it out of my hair and put them in the cloth roll.

I was definitely considering a candy tin on the Color Conte if I can find one that can hold them all. The main thing is to have all of them on one layer in something that can flip open on my lap and stay stable. I'm really going to have to experiment on this, have some hopes a redundant Prismacolor tin could work as long as I put the foam from the awful box in with them. Prismacolor tins are less than secure for Prismacolors though, that's the catch.

10-31-2014, 03:32 PM
Wow! The Cretacolors take up two whole, long jewel boxes - that's what made me think there were so many. I am debating how many of them to put in the Heilman, if any.

I'll be on a look out around here for another good pencil tin. I used to collect tins a lot, but have also cleared out a lot, too.

Happy Halloween!

10-31-2014, 04:33 PM
I recently took out all of my Nu Pastels and Creta colors from Heilman to make room for more softies. I took an Art Bin brush box which is 6 x 14 x 1, removed the foam brush holders and lined the top and bottom with memory foam.

I have the 96 ish NuPastels in halves, a few Creta grays and a dozen or so full length NuPastels that I sharpen the ends. I put a rubber band on it for travel for extra security. I go to classes every week so portability is really important. I decided to segregate the harder pastels because they seem to survive just fine in a less padded box and because I tend to use them in the same phase of a painting. At the beginning for block ins and sometimes at the end for blending or a couple of details. When I'm in the middle stage of a painting sometimes I don't bother bringing it to class.

Here are a couple of pics...

10-31-2014, 04:39 PM
I couldn't get my previous post to accept two images. Here is the second pic.

11-07-2014, 07:14 PM
Julie, I love that idea. It looks so good. I'm going to have to get some memory foam, that's about the same size as te small wood box that I bought.

11-08-2014, 11:05 AM
Funny I bought the foam for the wood box that I have like yours. That box is deeper so I had to use the palette that comes with it plus a towel and the foam to make a snug fit. The brush box is thinner and lighter. The latches are better on the wood box though. I have to secure the plastic one with a rubber band.

So far this is working for taking to classes and then back in the studio without much fuss. I was thinking this set up might work well for Giraults as well.

11-08-2014, 02:49 PM
I have bought some conté and FC hard pastels. I first put them in one of the lids that I first used for my pastelbox. I thought that I should have soft pastels in one lid of the woodbox and hard in the other.
But since I have bought more soft pastels I had to change.

Many of the small paperboxes I have, I store pastels in because I break
the hard pastels as well. I have the other halfs of my hard pastels in my Heilman backpack that I paint from at home as well. But I also have small
plastic boxes that I only put my hard pastels in. Those colours I dont use as
much as the others and there I can have half or whole sticks.

There is a small mini drawer that I have on one ordinary drawer, its good for
storing small things. Acutally I have several things there, even the Tools for panpastels. I have the small pastel boxes in there as well.

This is in Swedish but you can see the Picture, its in Ikea, it is called Moppe
The ones I have, has 2 or 3 drawers so its not identical with this but similar
They look big at the Picture, but they are small

11-08-2014, 02:54 PM
I forgot to ask, can you buy memoryfoam separately in the USA?

I really like that foam. I really like my heilman backpacl with that foam.
I loaded it full with pastels but I didnt feel safe because the handle is so
thin, but maybee its very strong, but I took out some pastels of it.

Barbara WC
11-08-2014, 07:04 PM
Anna Lisa- I bought memory foam at Dakota Pastels the last time I ordered from them.

Their boxes are made in Italy (I think) and the foam is the same one that is in their Dakota pastel boxes (which I recently bought one of both sizes).

Maybe you could send Daktoa pastels an e-mail and ask where the foam in their boxes comes from? I don't know if shipping would be less expensive for you from Europe?

The other thing I have done is gone to a local craft store and bought regular foam to line a couple of boxes, not as good as memory foam though. I had considered buying a memory foam mattress topper for a small bed and cutting that up to fit in some of my boxes before I found out that Dakota sells it!

11-09-2014, 10:06 AM
Thank you Barbara for telling me!

I didnt Think of it, I could ask the Heilman where I bought the box, but since
they dont have it on their webpage..and they are also so much west of Usa that maybee it doesnt matter about the freight cost.

I really will consider the Dakota, and maybee I can buy some sticks in the same time:)

Haha I understand the thought about the mattress, that thought crossed my mind also for some time ago

11-10-2014, 12:35 AM
Yeah. I saw the memory foam at Dakota and have been tempted for some time now. It's on my list for sometime next year in order to pad that palette box and a few other things.

If I put together a flat layer of hard pastel sticks in a candy box and put foam in with it, that might work - the boxes they put Valentines soft centers into (oblong not heart shaped) are a good size. But they'd need foam. So that's a possibility too even though I'd have to buy foam.

A memory foam mattress topper could be very cool to have a lot of it and use in different ways, like some of it on my chair for a cushion too since the chair upholstery has flattened to nothing with how much I use it.

11-10-2014, 07:31 AM
I have now looked closer to Julieindviks artbin, it looks really good.

I have had problems to find those plastic boxes here. I had to go to the fish department to buy one, but it has departments in it. I looked at the kitchen department for bigger sizes, the problem is that its too high in dimension.
And they are Heavy.

There was a guy in this forum that showed us a wonderful solution, like Julies and he had his paper in there too. That would be great to have 2 boxes, one for softies and put memory on top and then pastel paper on top of the foam, with some hard paper to protect the pastelpaper.

There is one in fineartstore but its 5 cm high so it can maybee be Heavy.
But the one Julieind has, I will really plan to buy one, or two. Thank you for showing us!!
It would be great to be able to buy the foam from the same shop.

Yeah Think about it, to have memoryfoam on the chair, that would be nice

SAS Designs
11-18-2014, 06:58 PM
What are the "jewel" boxes people are talking about? I can't seem to find them on line. Checked at Dakota Pastel, is there another name for them?

11-18-2014, 07:25 PM
The jewel boxes are what Dakota uses to put their pastel samplers in - something like a dozen pastels from a bunch of manufacturers in this single, long box. Used to be, they sold them separately, too, and four of them fit perfectly in a Soltek. About three years ago, I learned they were discontinuing selling the boxes, but I don't know if they did.

The boxes are great - sturdy and hold a lot. Might be worth buying a sampler and repurposing the box, if they use the same kind.

12-28-2014, 06:54 PM
I have my mount visions in Rozewski boxes, which I love! But I love my Heilman box most of all, the big one is so nice I also ordered the tiny one, which fits those beautiful half stick pastels in a large range quite well!