View Full Version : Is this box good enough?

11-04-2017, 02:08 PM
Hello all!

I am looking for a wooden box that I can have at home when painting as well as a storage, easy to just fold, to be able to clean the area. And also will not break when lifting it.

So I am looking at the Jacksons wooden case, the large one. I am also looking at the Dakota large traveler. But since it is far easier to get the Jacksons here, I am wondering about if the Jacksons is good enough?

Has anyone of you the box? Could you tell us what you think about it?

For sketching outside I am looking for the Heilman double sketchbook, for the backpack is a little bit heavy. Do you have that one, and what do you think about it?

Would be nice to hear what you think:)

11-05-2017, 02:13 PM
I bought the smaller of the 2 Jackson's boxes, the bigger box seems like it would be too heavy for travel. I have mine filled with the foam dividers and unison pastels. It would be comfortable to carry for a while, but I wouldn't want anything bigger for backpacking etc, especially if you fill it with all pastels without the foam. In the studio, the large one would be great.

I haven't used mine outside of the studio. I'm guessing the Jackson's version is not as well made as the heilman or dakota, but it is serviceable, and within my budget. It doesnt have that 'fine furniture' feel to it and the hardware isnt the best. I always have grand ideas to do plein air, but every time I hope to go out, I have 2 Labradors staring at me with sad eyes and I end up taking them and a camera instead. Spending a lot of money on a better made box didnt make sense for how i use it. That said, I would buy another one, it works for me, and is affordable, but if I hit the lottery, I'd buy a hielman or dakota.

I have ordered from Jackson's many times. Even shipped to the US, my orders have always arrived without damage and are accurate. Their prices on unison pastels are lower than I've found anywhere. They also have good prices on pastelmat.

11-05-2017, 02:57 PM
Thank you DBfarmgirl for your answer!!

I am thinking of having this only in the studio, I had before other storage the ones coming in the Rembrandt full wood set, but I find it more convenient to just close the box and then clean the area.

I am thinking of buying the Heilman double sketchbook for going outside, but that will be next year because we have cold weather here.
Haha I understand what you mean with the dogs, so fun to have 2. I have had dogs during the years, but only one at a time. I just LOVE dogs:)

Since I have Mount Vision pastels as well as others, do you think it will fit in the box? Since I will not carry it outside I don't need a thick foam over the pastels when I am closing it.

I have been looking at the Dakota box that a couple of people here have....would it not be nice to have one..or two? Hm.... another time.

11-10-2017, 05:10 PM
I just want to add, if someone is thinking about the Jackson wood case.

I received an answer from them that it doesn't fit the Mount Vision pastel sticks.

So if one don't want to have 2 boxes for different sizes, I will have to wait a little and maybe buy the Dakota....it depends of course on how many Mount visions I will have in the long run. Since the Jackson takes all the smaller ones, its tempting to get it and have another one for the MV...

11-12-2017, 03:24 PM
You posted before I took photos.
I could get the mount vision ones to fit if they were used a little, otherwise just slightly too big. See photo 1
The other photo is the box filled with my neutral unisons.



11-12-2017, 04:27 PM
Thank you DBfarmgirl for showing the fotos of your wood case:clap:

The box seems very nice. It seems that the difference is not soo big, its a pity.
The foam or what it is, under the Mount V maybe is thin so you can't do anything more for it to fit. The thing I want is to easy be able to close the box when cleaning up the area.

But maybe if I break the pastel and put it so the end of the pastel face upwards....that could maybe be helpful.

Nice colors you have in the box!!!!!!!

11-15-2017, 04:32 PM
are we talking the Jackson's box that folds open (like the picture DBfarmgirl posted) or the box with 4 trays? I am also looking for a better way to store my pastels. I have a lot, so would need numerous boxes and ideally would like drawers. Am a bit fed up with having to open numerous Rembrandt boxes, a few Unison boxes, all different sizes, all holding a range of colours. Need to organise them all together by colour I think and mix brands up....

Anyway, does anyone know if the tray box is any good? And is the fold open box useful for someone who does not travel (the furthest my pastels travel is from the cupboard to the table)

11-18-2017, 09:52 AM
I had considered the larger foldable Jackson's box just for studio storage. I don't think I'd like to carry a full, large case very far. It would hold a lot especially without the optional foam dividers. Working with all your pastels together, not separated by brand makes it much easier. That said, even after years, I haven't been able to break my unison pastels and put them in general population. All the rest are together, but I have a bit of a mental block with the unison. I had even thought of buying 2 of theclarge cases with the foam just to put them in.

I have a flatfile with 2 drawers set aside for storing my pastels. I used foamcore to make trays for my non-unison pastels and store most of my unison in three large 72 boxes in another drawer. When I work I just pull out the drawers. I have a very small studio and 2 large dogs, the flatfile is "wag proof".

I think the Jackson box would work very well for any pastels smaller than mount visions. The MVs would fit IF you broke them and didn't use the covers. I would try and add a thicker sheet of memory foam to the box if you wanted to use it for travel without the foam dividers. It seems like they would shift a lot with the thinner less dense foam that comes with the box.

If anyone would like me to post a photo of something specific, let me know.
I haven't used the 4 tray box so I can't tell you how useful it would be.

11-18-2017, 10:27 AM
DBFarmgirl, I would love to see your flatfile drawers!

would the Jacksonís fold open cases fit Unisons? (I only have Rembrandt and Unison and a few Schmincke).

I have been on this forum years ago with the same storage issue and decided to go for a stationary drawer set - its letter sized, plastic drawers. By now I have numerous pastel boxes stacked on top and besides it. I really, really need a decent professional studio storage solution. I have very little space so a large flat drawer system wouldnít work.

I never travel with my pastels, all I do now and then is take them out for workshops in my kitchen.

The open folded cases seem really more for travelling and I wonder how many I would need to fold open to start painting... How many pastels do they take? I think Iíd prefer drawers, but things like these: drawers (https://www.jacksonsart.com/jackson-s-wooden-3-drawer-chest-400x260x82mm-5-compartments?channable=e17573.MTEzMjA5&___store=jacksonsart_en&gclid=Cj0KCQiA0b_QBRCeARIsAFntQ9pigDxvSYuB4Gs5wB4YzbgEd4J1-NaD7j0oq55NuWO6xz6pS0V71mkaApyeEALw_wcB) seems soooo small and I would need a gazillion. Would it be handy to having to pull all of those out every time I paint?
Iíd love to see suggestions!

11-18-2017, 11:13 AM
DBfarmgirl sorry to bombard you but if you have the Jacksonís box, it states on their website the compartments are 6.6cm wide, yet they show a picture with some pastels in it and it seems much wider than an average pastel stick. My Rembrandts are 7cm. So my question: does a Rembrandt pastel fit in the compartments - width ways?
Thank you so much. Iíll hush now.. ;)

11-18-2017, 11:25 AM
I have a set of the pull out drawers you linked to. They are too shallow for unison, but work ok for Rembrandts. I didn't like them because the while box moves when you pull a drawer out. I like things to stay put more, like a porcelain watercolor pallet compared to a plastic one. I use mine to store my doubles and extra halves.

The Jackson's folding cases are perfect for unison. Not sure how many you could fix without the foam dividers. With foam they fit 112 small and 196 large, same as the jacksons brand handmade pastels. I think a large one would be great if you could just keep it opened flat and just use the covers to protect them from dust, cats, etc. The foam isn't affixed to the covers, I would probably glue a slightly thicker sheet of memory foam to the board if I was moving it around.

I took a photo of my flatfile drawers, unfortunately it won't be sunny in Pennsylvania until next summer, so it's with a flash. I made the foamcore boxes out of scraps from framing, they were supposed to be temporary with wood ones to follow when I decided on a size, depth etc. The to do list is a mile long and wooden trays are wayyyyy down on the list. I wish they were black or dark grey, but white is ok. The photo isn't that great, but I arranged them with darks by the middle divider, neutrals on top, colors below. It works for me, but I would check out how other people have theirs arranged as I am sort of a "somewhere close" kind of person.

I added extra slots to each side of the 72 unison boxes to hold more, but obviously still need to find more for the couple loose ones. They had been arranged better, but I added a couple more sticks and haven't tweaked it yet. It would be much better if I could break them in half and remove the labels, and sort them in with the other brands, but I can't, not sure why.



11-18-2017, 11:38 AM
Thank you so much! That is really helpful and kind you !!

I am going to figure something out here (would make a good Christmas pressie after all). I see and agree about the small wooden box moving every time you take a drawer out. Not ideal.

So that sort of leaves me the fold open systems. I would never leave them folded open as I donít have the space. They would be put in a cupboard when I am not using them (I paint with oils too, more than pastel) so Iíd have to fold it closed all the time. I suppose an extra lid of foam might help? (I think Heilman or Dakota come with thick foam? perhaps we can copy that)

I would not go for the inserts as I have loads of pastel (would no doubt need two boxes) and mostly Rembrandt. It seems like the Rembrandts wonít actually fit??? Only if you put them in lengthwise I suppose.

One more downside is youíd need a long empty table to open up the box(es) when working.
(mm and maybe i need a separate box for my students to use)

Still I havenít seen anything better yet. Still on the hunt... but it seems the best option at the moment.
Thank you again!

11-18-2017, 11:38 AM
I just tried to fit a full Rembrandt stick widthwise in the Jackson's box. No go, just that little bit too long.

11-18-2017, 11:42 AM
ah! thought so.
Not a deal breaker I suppose but very good to know.

Thank you! :)

11-18-2017, 12:06 PM
Maybe if you break them in half, store the unused part in the drawers, and get a large Jackson's folding box? I think you could fit a bunch in the larger box. It is nice to be able to use the sides of the pastels not just the ends. Easier to see the color without the label too. Of course, do as I say, not as I do...:rolleyes: maybe someday I'll hire someone to break all my unison in half since I cant..

I would have to say storage is the one thing I don't like about working in pastels. Watercolor and acrylics don't come with the same issues. I have a tiny area too, if the dogs come in for a nap, it's like wall to wall Labrador carpeting. I have spilled into other areas of the house, but need to spend some serious time organizing so I can get back to work. Thankfully I have a tolerant husband.

Have you considered a machinist tool chest? Could be used for your pastels and paint too.

(By the way, you look very much like my younger sister.)

11-18-2017, 12:27 PM
I don't like breaking them in half until I actually need a sharp edge. If I break them now, I'll end up using them all and they will all have blunt edges. But yes, I just tried to measure out a compartment and put some pastels in the shape. It took about 17 sticks so the large box would take around 200 I think. I definitely need two boxes... LOL but I don't have a table big enough to spread out two boxes.... mmm
I don't think I have ever broken a Unison in half either. They are just too nice and if I want a sharp edge I'd use a Rembrandt.
I have a dog and two boys so I know what you mean...
(I hope your sister is nice, LOL)

11-19-2017, 04:47 AM
I actually have this thing left over (in silver) (I have two, one isin use for my oils) so could perhaps do something with cutlery tray inserts.....

Itís just not as pretty and the drawers are really small (24x34cm).
I am after my forever solution so donít mind spending money.wondering which one would work better. The metal drawers or the Jacksons box....

11-19-2017, 01:37 PM

Check out the above link.
Maybe something like that?
I thought you could use any nice box especially if you don't have to travel with it.

11-19-2017, 01:41 PM
Thanks for the tip!

11-24-2017, 09:12 AM
Thanks for showing us your nice pastels!!!

Actually, I break my pastels hmmm, and I store one piece in this thing Alex from


so I think I will need the big box from Jacksons for my unisons and other pastels and One dakota box just for the studio. I will have to plan for a while:) We need to pay 25% vat over here when buying from the Usa and there is the bad freight cost.... but the Dakota box seems to be nice.
I understand why you have the Jackson box for your unison. It seems nice.

The Heilmans are heavy but nice. I think I will wich a small box for carrying outside.

The Alex storage is nice. I also have a higher one but smaller drawers, for other things like bead pearls.

11-24-2017, 02:23 PM
Just FYI I looked at the small Jacksons box today and was surprised how heavy it was! Well made though and nice. But heavy. It was full of Jacksons Pastels however(in foam)

11-25-2017, 10:46 AM
Thanks for the info. I didn't think it would be heavy the small box.

I wonder how heavy the full would be:lol: but since only using at home it will be no problem I guess. Only need a sturdy table that can handle the weight.

I will se if there are some info on the weight of the small box. I will compare it to the sketchbook of Heilman, there are too, so the double sketchbook I think its called. The backpack of Heilman is rather heavy when full with sticks. Not that you can not use it, but it would be nice to have something more light.

01-10-2018, 08:49 PM
Hi, I bought a Jacksons small box a few days ago and have just filled it chock full (Pic 1). It now weighs 7.25lbs. Pic 2 has a pic of a brand new Mount Vision. A whole Rembrandt wouldn't stand a chance. I like the box, and I like Jacksons as a supplier, but sorry to say I feel the fittings on this box let it down. Pic 3, apols for the quality, shows one of the catches that should be holding the pastels down under the white inserts. As the box is at the moment, these catches are loose and my pastels shift about underneath the white insert - see in pic 1 - movement to one side. And there is only one catch on each compartment edge.

Thing is, at the price this box is a steal. Before I travel with it, which is why I bought it, I'll be making adaptions to strengthen and secure it and stabilise the pastels from movement. Overall I'm pleased I bought it.

01-11-2018, 03:23 PM
Another gorgeous pastel box! :heart:

01-11-2018, 04:00 PM
What if you cut a piece of felt to the size of a section and lay that in before adding the white inert. Would that work? I have used that sometimes with my boxes, although I have a lid opposite, whereas you have another tray.

As the box is at the moment, these catches are loose and my pastels shift about underneath the white insert - see in pic 1 - movement to one side. And there is only one catch on each compartment edge.

Overall I'm pleased I bought it.

01-11-2018, 07:17 PM
Box looks yummy with all those pastels in!
I have read somewhere that people glue a piece of foam to the white insert which will then press down the pastels to keep them in place... might work for you.

Winny Kerr
01-12-2018, 07:58 PM
What a lovely travel box...must ask my hubby to make me one... Are they Mount vision Pastels? Oh I see, not quite.

08-07-2018, 12:50 AM
Are the Mount Vision pastels too thick for the box? I just got a whole set of MV's but I broke a third off and those go in my chest.

08-07-2018, 06:38 PM
They are too thick to fit even broken. This box works great for anything smaller in diameter than mount vision.

09-21-2018, 12:39 AM
Dbfarmgirl sorry for such a late response, I'm just now seeing this. I was going to order the Jackson box, I sure am glad I saw your reply. I have a full set of MV's and I would have been very disappointed. Thank you so much for replying!

09-23-2018, 12:19 PM
Gaynelle. If you are looking for a box to store your pastels, not to travel with, look for the thread about using jewellery display trays. They are deep enough for mount vision so they can still be stacked when filled. I have been using mine for a few months now and must say they have worked well. If I had to order more trays I would stick to the half size because of the weight when full of pastels. I rearrange the trays to reflect the color palette I'm using at the time.
Glad to help

12-22-2018, 03:36 PM
Hi Sharen!

Once again sorry for such a late reply, I'm still learning how to use WC and haven't figured how to check for replies. :confused: I just checked the jewellery display trays and what a brilliant, economical way to store our treasure!

Thank you!