View Full Version : Check Out the Pastel Box I Made!!

02-08-2015, 09:27 PM
Went to a workshop and everyone had those nifty wood pastel boxes. I should get one I says. So I use the WC forum archive to read the threads about boxes and go searching - ouch! They were not inexpensive! The problem was that I cashed in my B-day ticket to get the workshop - no money left for boxes.

Then I found some threads about making boxes and one of them mentioned using a wood Sennellier box. Well the flash went off in my little brain - what about those wood art boxes I have stuffed in the closet that my Mom gave me from her oil painting days??? And this one had the space in the top for a removable wood pallet with storage behind it for papers etc. And here you go:


So I take the box, which is too deep, and coincidentally I had some cardboard Mt. Vision boxes that were the perfect thickness to fill in the box!. So I cut off the lids and bottoms and then cut them to fit the spaces nice and tight and make them shallower (hollow side down, using the sides to prop them in the space.

Then I happened to have several sheets of foam (oh lucky day this was going to be easy!). So I cut the foam to fit the spaces. I also had some small foam pastel holders from Dick Blick, and put them in the 2 small spaces.



Now for a lid to hold them in place when the box is closed. Well Mom did a still life painting on canvas board and it wasn't all that great. So I cut it to fit the space (sorry Mom).


Then I covered the back of the canvas board with foam so I can enjoy Mom's painting when I open the box (yeah, that's it Mom).


OH, yes, need some tabs to lift the cover off and on. Painters tape stuck between foam and board before glue dries.


NOW to test it! I put an assortment of pastels in the spaces but clearly didn't fill out (this was a quick test). Here it is at the start of the test.


I ended up taking the spacer piece out as it was too thick. Closed the lid and walked around the room and even swung it a bit.


Here it is after the test! A few moved around but probably because the spaces are not filled as will be soon.

I could also take off the side hinge or make it a removable hinge in order to open the box flat. I could also rig it to have both sides lined and foamed. But this style had the pallet and storage in the lid so I left it. I have another without the nifty storage in the lid, that would be better suited.

So there you have it friends - a wood pastel box at ZERO cost made in 1 hours or less. :clap:

Supply list:
wood art box
thin foam
cardboard boxes you can trim to fit the spaces (like the Mt. Vision)
glue stick
sharp razor
thin piece of wood or canvas board or even cardboard for the lid.

water girl
02-08-2015, 10:16 PM
Thank you so much for photographing your process. We are always interested in new ways to store our pastels.

02-08-2015, 10:17 PM
That rocks! You did it! That's pretty darn cool use of an oil painting box. Cropping your mom's painting got rid of the bad vase with no ellipses, so that's an improvement and now you see it when you open the box. Very cool!

I hadn't thought of MV boxes tucked under the pastel layers to pick them up from being too deep, that's very clever! MV boxes are difficult to use anyway because the lid gets in the way and flips closed.

02-09-2015, 08:34 AM
Clever girl. Thanks for sharing. Happy painting.

02-09-2015, 10:38 AM
Wow! Wonderful use of an old box that not only serves your purpose but has personal significance because it was your mother's! BTW I like your mom's painting, wonky ellipses or not!

02-09-2015, 10:59 AM
Yeah, it's pretty cool, the swoop of drapery behind the vase was very graceful. Don't throw out the piece you didn't use, it's still a memento. And maybe you can use it to cover a smaller pastel box someday with foam on the back.

02-09-2015, 03:29 PM
Melinda, seeing your organized pastel box started me looking. On Amazon I found a wooden, hinged box, 15" x 30", for $12.99. The art supplies it contains are cheapies, to be donated to the first kid who wants them (although that good assortment of markers might be ok for underpainting). I'm hoping I can easily remove the plastic inserts and leave this box open on my table to hold all my little boxes of pastels until I get the courage to sort them by value. Right now, I have 6 little boxes and 4 trays on my table, just waiting for a cat to skitter across and send them flying. At least, if the boxes and trays are setting inside this larger box, they won't slide off the table. I don't intend to carry it around for plein air painting, so box quality and sturdiness are not really issues that concern me. Amazingly, reviewers say the box is good. It's only 1 3/4" high, which might be a tight fit for carrying more than one layer of pastels.

If anyone is interested in looking at it, search Amazon for the Darice ArtyFacts Portable Art Studio. (Wonder if Jackie knows her blog name has been borrowed by them?)

02-09-2015, 06:00 PM
100% recycled - gotta love it friends!
And the MV boxes were the perfect thickness to make the spaces shallower.

02-10-2015, 12:54 PM
Pastel boxes and storage are Always an interesting topic!
Thank you for sharing with us. I only hope that the painting
will not be destroyed.

02-10-2015, 08:21 PM
I loved your repurposing of the box and the painting. Now you have a little piece of your mom every time you use it!

Excellent use of found materials. Makes me want to dig through my stuff with a new eye.

02-11-2015, 04:30 AM
Blayne, that could really work! In fact the shallow box is better for pastels. Foam line it and put thick foam on the top lid and you have it. I wouldn't try to put pastels on both sides but 15" x 30" is a nice flat consolidating box that could get divided into rows or just filled smoothly with hue going left to right and value top to bottom.

I wouldn't trust the markers for underpainting though. Kid markers are so fugitive they sometimes fade in weeks in low light. Give those to a real child to play with, just both trays and all the stuff. Or set those trays aside somewhere in a cardboard box for the doodle days of "I gotta just break loose and goof around." Like how I started my current letter size sketchbook with crayons and stuff from the smaller kid art set I got for Christmas. It can be liberating to play with kid stuff and you can redo anything that came out well in better artist grade materials.

Sometimes using the cheap junk is freeing. You get a feeling it's trash anyway so it doesn't matter if it's good and then find out that yeah, your skills didn't go away and you're painting LOTS better than when you really were five or six.

I can see kids getting seriously impressed with the contents like I was with the big crayons box. Or depending on family jaded and taking lots of art supplies for granted.

02-11-2015, 08:41 AM
Robert, it is freeing to play with kid stuff! Since I basically only use an underpainting to rough in colors, and cover it completely with pastel, I wouldn't think the fact that the markers fade would be an issue??? I do wonder if markers have acid content that affect paper. What do you think? The set comes today, so I'll post an update about the quality of the box.

02-11-2015, 02:06 PM
Here's a pic of the box, with the bottom tray removed. The inside depth is almost the height of two TL's stacked on their shorter sides, so there's plenty of room for cushioning. I decided to leave the markers in the top part and put some landscape pastels in the bottom to use the box for my walks in the woods. It is very lightweight but appears sturdy. (Those black dots of glue are probably from a glue gun. A couple peeled off easily, but I'll have to try the hairdryer to see if heat will loosen the others.)


02-17-2015, 10:24 PM
I made a great tray top for an old art box like this - took a piece of foam board, cut V shaped grooves the entire length, glued on a tab for lifting. It's perfect, the foam can be cut tight enough that it stays tightly in place and the grooves hold my Nu-Pastels and pencils, with the softies safely underneath. Lift it up and place it in the other side when working, so you have access to both.