View Full Version : Creative Pastel Storage Solutions

03-29-2005, 12:21 PM
A big :clap: to Cori Nichols for another article which could save the pastelist a bunch of money!!

Both oil pastelists and dry pastelists will want to check out her tips for getting creative with storage solutions!!

You'll find the article BY CLICKING HERE! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/47843/546/)

Thanks Cori!!

03-29-2005, 01:00 PM
How fun to log on this morning and see this one already published!!! Thanks Carly!

I think that a good way to use this thread is to discuss other creative storage solutions that we have thought about or ar currently using. People are always searching the forums for these kinds of things and it would be neat to have a really great thread of pastel solutions to carry on the theme of the article!

03-29-2005, 03:40 PM
Cool article, Cori! You mentioned trays and I actually bought a huge old, probably school-made tray on eBay recently. It's something like 18X30 or so inches and very sturdy...made of 3/8" varnished plywood (even still had cheery "breakfast" decals on it!). Once I can find out where to buy sheet foam to line it with, and glue in some birch strips as dividers, it's going to be perfect for a very few bucks...I think the postage was the biggest cost! It's amazing what you can find if you look. Once I get this one ready to go as a brand new pastel holder, I'll post a pic!

03-29-2005, 04:26 PM
You can pick up sheets of foam at some camping supply stores. I have also found in the past that I could buy custom cut sizes of thin foam at mattress manufacturers. It's usually not very expensive, but I imagine it varies.

These trays sound neat, Sooz. I can hardly wait to see your pictures.

03-30-2005, 02:15 PM

Now that's thinking outside of the box (allowing you to think into alternate boxes).

It's a great article. It addresses studio and field storage solutions, plein air weight and portability needs, and *cost* (a constraint that most artists need to deal with).

Your ideas are applicable not only to pastels, but to most other media, for carrying tubes of paint, brushes, water, etc. If I can successfully modify your rolling Walmart toolbox into an adjustable-angle easel, I will post a sequel.

If I knew how, I would give you my WetCanvas appreciation point. I dont usually use smilies, but your article deserves a :clap: .

03-30-2005, 04:17 PM
Thank you David. You are making me blush :o I am looking forward to seeing how you can modify the rolling toolbox. I think that that would be a wonderful field kit!

04-01-2005, 10:17 AM
Thanks you, Cori for a great article. I am always looking for inexpensive ways to outfit my evolving studio space and make my plein air pusuits easier.

My husband and I make a lot of e-bay purchases and shop from catalogs or online, since we live in a rural area, so we always have and abundance of bubble wrap and foam building up in the garage, waiting to be recycled. I have been using bubble wrap in my trays, drawers, etc. I choose the small or large bubbles depending on the depth of the receptacle. It is great to use over and under your pastels when you want to travel, to protect them, and is very lightweight. The dust falls away into the crevices of the wrap and eventually you can either rinse it off or just replace it.

I have had one minor concern, though, about my method. Are there any chemically savvy artists out there who can tell me if the plastic will react with the pastels in any negative way?

I love Wet Canvas. Thanks to Carly and all involved for a wonderful resource!

Lorraine McFarland
Rolla, Missouri
In the Beautiful Missouri Ozarks

04-01-2005, 11:17 AM
I'm no expert, but I can't think that iit would negatively affect them. After all they usually come in sets supported by a plasticy foam. I like the idea of bubble wrap and used it for a while, myself, though I found that in terms of travelling the wrap liked to shift and would make a mess of my case! :)

I have kept the foam inserts from each of the sets I have purchased and reuse them in all sorts of ways (One of the ways was featured in my other article about making your own portable pastel box).

Deborah Secor
04-01-2005, 06:31 PM
Yep--this is a great little article Cori!

I looked at the plastic storage drawers and wondered where I might use them in my studio too. They come in a nice range of sizes and depths that appeal to me. I have to go upwards, since I'm out of floor space.

One thing I saw an innovative student do is to take a large flat plastic bin about 18x24", with a good sturdy snap-on lid, and line it with foam cushioning, which he covered with a fabric like scrim--sort of a fine tooth net. He glued the foam in place on the inside of the lid and laid it in place inside the box body. He organizes the pastels on the foam and with the lid on it traps the pastels firmly in place, so he can carry the box easily. It took a little time, gathering materials and gluing things (you have to use 2-part super glue on plastic) but it saved a bundle and seems to have worked pretty well--plus it's lightweight, too.

Thanks, Cori... Well done. :clap:


04-01-2005, 08:45 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap:
Very good article!
Here's another idea: My dad gave me one of those boxes with small drawers from his garage- it's the kind mechanics use to store screws, nuts and bolts. The drawers are clear, so you can see what's inside, and the size fits my pastels perfectly.

It's not a portable solution, but it's quite useful in a room/studio setting.

04-01-2005, 11:57 PM
For plein air, I drooled at the pastel box that looks like a silver briefcase. Then I discovered that my Home Depot has a slightly larger version in the toolbox section, lockable, and has both a shoulder strap and handle. I bought it (as I remember, $25 or less): it fits several different boxes of pastels, my Lascaux, a bag of gloves & paper towels, a roll of tape, a small bottle of water, and my AM/FM headset! It's now travelled the country with me.

--deb in oregon

04-02-2005, 12:25 AM
Very cool ideas here.

Deborah: That flat plastic bin sound like a brilliant solution for a student who is travelling back and forth from home studio to classroom studio. Pop off th elid and start painting...I'm trying to picture the bin..I'll have to take a peek at the store next time I am there...

eilu: I put a picture of a larger one of these units in the article, but didn't really touch on them. I have seen alot of people using the same solution around here. If I had a larger studio, I wuold probably get one of these units to hold the doubles and tripples I have of some colours.

Deb: I have been looking at those metal cases myself. In another article I wrote here, I converted an old art kit (that had come in a case like that) into a portable case like the cassatt box that you often see around the supply stores. Now I am thinking that one of those cases might be nce for holding all of those little things that you need to take things to shows in (things like little display easels, business cards, flyers/brochures, etc). I have also thought thy might be neat to hold framing supplies as well...

These are fabulous ideas guys! Thank you so much for posting them.

04-02-2005, 12:38 AM
Now what kind of thread would this be if we didn't explore all of the options for pastel storage...lol. I have just done a quick search to see what other really great threads there are out there on the different ways people store their pastels. There are some really neat ideas...and many of them are complete with pictures...

Some of the threads discuss the commercially available pastel storage boxes, but there are also some creative and/or homemade solutions that seem to work VERY well!

Transporting Soft Pastels (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228438&highlight=pastel+storage)

studio on the road-any tips! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=224116&highlight=pastel+storage)

Sorting the pastel box--arghhhhhhhhhhhh! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=188064&highlight=pastel+storage)

How do you store your pastels~~need inspiration (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60651&highlight=pastel+storage) (this thread is my personal favorite)

Pastel Storage - Again (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208901&highlight=pastel+storage)

This is a start. If anyone has found a thread that I have missed, feel free to add it in here. :D

04-05-2005, 01:21 PM
Last night I was at Walmart and went to look at the tackleboxes. I was quite happy to see that one of the tackle companies has added a little palstic box with a wavy plastic piece in the bottom that would work perfect for pastels. I am seeing it more as a solution for oil pastels than soft pastels, but it is a sturdy little box and comes in a couple of different sizes. I am going to try to get a photo of them, but they are really neat little cases.

Also, while I was attempting to find a picture online of these little cases, I found another possible solution. A rifle case! The one I saw was fairly slim and long, and came pre-lined with foam. It might make a nice protable solution for someone who needs to take all of their pastels with them everywhere.

04-05-2005, 05:39 PM
Cori asked me to post a picture of my newest creative pastel storage tool..the mechanics table..here is a link to the thread with pictures.


04-05-2005, 06:21 PM
Thanks Mary. I think this tray is super creative and extremely brilliant! I went looking online for one in Canada and they sell them at Canadian Tire for about $80. I think I'll keep shopping. I wish we had Big Lots here!

04-06-2005, 12:38 AM
I knew if I looked hard enough, i would be able to find a picture of one of the little palstic boxes I was talking about a couple of posts ago. Ignore the fishing lures and imagine your pastels in those grooves. I may get one of these yet! :D


04-07-2005, 04:32 PM
Hi Cori
Thank you for presenting such a comprehensive array of wannabe pastel containers.
This question of pastel materials storage can sometimes be very complex. And yet, as witnessed in the posts re pastel containers, some very simple solutions are available as well.
My particular storage problems came to a head when I had three still life setups in various locations within the studio. It always seemed as though that one or more colors I needed at a given time was at one of the other setup locations or in another room, etc. Also, there was a problem of which individual pencils to take with me (I have well over 500) when attending sessions at outside art locations. It became obvious to me that I had to find a way to get all the pencils in one area of the studio - and - also find a suitable way to transport most of the pencils when necessary.
As it happens, the spaces in most ready-made pastel boxes where not pencil-friendly, which prompted me to construct my own homemade trays. The tray bottoms are made of black fome-core and the partitions were constructed with and basswood.
(Pic.1) Each tray is 13.5 x 23 x 5/8. Each of 12 compartments holds 10 pencils. (Pic.2) For transporting, the trays can be stacked and locked together via brass clasps on the front and back of each tray, topped off with a fome-core lid, and then bound with a cloth carrying strap. Otherwise, in the studio, the trays all reside (Pic.3) in a makeshift pastel cabinet, situated near my still life setups.
The alternative to this project would be to simply switch to Plan B, which would be to start painting in oils. Lol
All the best, Charlie

PS I still have original rough sketches of this project

04-07-2005, 06:30 PM
I love this, Charlie! Please do post your sketches, if you have a moment! I am sure there are many people here who are drooling over your solution! :D

Paula Ford
04-08-2005, 10:11 PM
Great thread...wonderful article Cori. Thank you!! Paula

04-08-2005, 10:54 PM
super article and great timing!! not long ago i realized i no longer 'fit' in my toolchest, and more, its way heavy to be carting around when i go somewhere. my solution isn't yet in hand, but i have a few ideas....1) getting a few of those empty cardboard boxes dakota pastels sells, which come with foam and lids, and are fairly sturdy 2) getting something similar to a shadowbox frame, (some print screening frames would work too, and cheaper) then putting in foam, and a bottom and lid onto it; and 3)getting brother in law, who's in cabinet making school, to make something!! :p

i have realized too, in my last few years with my toolchest, that not having all my sticks out isn't the way for me. there are some colors that are neither one or the other color, like blue-green. then i miss out using it, only to find it later. :rolleyes: having them all out before me allows for better choices. i see sometimes instead of grabbing my tried-and-true color for a certain type area, i can venture into new choices. i am trying to use more 'zingers'--colors that are somewhat intense but in tiny bits in unexpected areas. this idea of setting them all out is helping with this. and its mighty fun to see them all too!!

04-11-2005, 05:21 PM
Hi Cori and other pastel storage persons,
Enclosed are the plans for my own pastel tray apparatus as mentioned
in a previous post. The plans are updated from 2000 when I first constructed the trays. (My previous plans were very basic due to the fact that at the time of construction I had a very vivid mental image of the finished product. The original 2000 plans were little more than a supplies list and a rather rough layout of the overall size of the trays.) Consider this my cop-out statement. lol
I'd be happy to supply further info to anyone who chooses to construct the trays as shown. Also, after five years of constant use, the trays are still very much intact.
By the way, the small rectangular compartments at the end of each tray
hold erasers, pencil sharpeners, small pastel sticks, etc. The double-wide, pencil-sized section is for pencils being used on current projects.

All the best, Charlie

PS I'm resending the pics along with the plans for continuity in reading.

04-11-2005, 06:08 PM

I too am always looking for the perfect storage for pastels..... I have tried several tackle boxes, tool chests, wooden boxes, etc. I am glad there are others who are pastel storage 'obsessed'. It is still hard to decide what to keep at home and what to take with me. My husband says if I only had ONE color ha...

04-12-2005, 10:25 PM
Cory, I wonder how easy it would be to get your pastels onto an airplane (carry on) using a rifle case?

04-12-2005, 10:29 PM
lol..I hadn't thought of that - though I think that it would probably be too long to be considered carry-on luggage anyway...

04-15-2005, 09:19 PM
Yes, too big for carry on but I bet they would get uncomfortable if I carry my pastels in a rifle case up to the UT tower (nearby) to get a few drawings :)

04-15-2005, 10:41 PM
Yes, too big for carry on but I bet they would get uncomfortable if I carry my pastels in a rifle case up to the UT tower (nearby) to get a few drawings :)

OK, I'll date meself here and say that I was a witness to that particular disaster....from a distance, but nevertheless, what a terrible day that was! And no, I'd leave my rifle case in the car!

04-16-2005, 01:39 AM
err..okay - lacking in judgement in showing that rifle case. I apologize. I figured since it isn't identifiable right off as a gun case - the one I showed just looks like a long version of the Roz box- that it might be an option. I still believe it would be...even if only for use in your studio. It would hold a large number of pastels and you could close it up at the end of the day to keep your cat out of your pastels.

Sorry if i happened to offend.

04-16-2005, 05:35 AM
Hey Cory and Soz, I did not intend to offend anyone either but we have a lot of wierdness going on here between all the 'homeland security' 'weapons of mass destruction' and gun toting folks. I agree that the rifle case would make a great pastel case for the studio, but having been pulled over for speeding yesterday (of course it wasn't TRULY my fault :evil: ), was glad I did not have one beside me. I need more speed in my pastels not my driving- why is it always a 1/2 mile from home after driving 90 miles? Anyway, should not have brought up the UT thing either- my friend's boyfriend was shot calling her from a phone booth to tell her why he was late. Luckily he was not killed. Truly I have loved your suggestions and everytime I see a 'likely candidate' for pastel storage in the sports store or tool isles I always wonder if THIS might be the perfect thing. Lately I keep staring at my old briefcases and the ones that open like a roz box I wonder... and also realized that I should have kept the two gear boxes with all the horse stuff in them that I gave to friends yesterday now that we are horseless.... I have an even BIGGER problem with how to store the large papers both when blank and after a painting is finished. Nothing I have is large enough, I toss the painting non-masterpieces in a large drawer that is open, but the large sheets curve over. The market containers for those sheets are extremely expensive (but catproof)

04-16-2005, 10:27 AM
I know what you mean about the paper, purples. I had the great good fortune to have a friend scout out a used but new condition oak flat file at an antique mall he frequents. The price was irresistible, about 1/3 the price of new, more cheaply made ones! It luckily came in four sections (5 drawers apiece), but hubby still groaned at having to help move it. It takes up a lot of space in the studio but is worth its weight in gold! I keep both new paper and paintings in it and tho I didn't think I could EVER fill 20 drawers...well, you know how THAT goes! Now, if Stan would just find me a similar "treasure" to hold the darned pastels!

BTW, I had JUST bought some Safeco stacking trays for paper storage right before I found the flat file...they worked very well too but were open fronted, etc. They're residing in the basement right now, storing daughter's junk for the time being. Have you looked at those? Another paper solution is to order a fair amount of paper from Blicks...they have some really nice shipping boxes for paper with lids that lift up...I stored paper in those to begin with and stowed the boxes under the guest room bed safe and sound.

My real quandary right now is that, like Chewie, I need most, if not all of my sticks, out where I can see and get the use out of them and surface space is at a premium. Chas17's solution is wonderful, as well, but I just don't have the wherewithal for something that size. I need a way to arrange all the pastels either side of my easel. I was looking at it all last night and opened a drawer in one of those small wooden thingys I have and lo and behold there was THE PERFECT greyish blue I'd been longing for in one of my recent paintings! There it sat, lost in the back of one of a dozen drawers I can barely get to...unfound and unused. What a waste! If only the room was a little bigger! Well, a LOT bigger would be nice too!

BTW, purples...what part of Austin do you live in? I still consider Austin my home town altho it's been 22 yrs since I was there last. They say the town has expanded beyond recognition. I guess the new airport is the old Bergstrom AFB where I got married eons ago! I also notice that you have an active pastel guild there...do you belong to it?

04-16-2005, 12:02 PM
I live out near Johnson City (really not in ANY city), but have seen the work from the Austin Pastel society and want to get much better before I join! Their work looks photo-perfect to me. I cannot drive at night due to my eyes being horrid. Had I known I ever needed one, I probably could have picked up a flat file in the mid 80's when all the oil companies went down the toilet- I did pick up a great drafting table which my husband has stolen for his computers. I would love the oak flat file- my husband would grumble too. I have drooled over the Uransia's desk with the drawers that come out on either side, but already have way too many for that (and it is expensive). I am trying to get my husband to enclose our long front porch- then I can just put a LONG piece of plywood on either side of my easel and just spread them out. Then if I do get out in the Texas heat and bugs to draw without the goats EATING all my stuff I can put them back into their containers. Hope he caulks well though and keeps the wasps and other critters out. It will be wonderful but will likely take about 10 years between his work, basketball, football games (do those seasons ever end?) and running kids around. We have a pretty tiny house. Would you have room for a couple of those long portable office type tables that have the fake wood veneer on top- they are metal and fold up. You could set those up and lay all the pastels out on top if there is room- or if you have a house like mine the plywood on sawhorses would fit in with the decor! Anything goes with pastel dust. My cats turn turquoise and purple when they come in and roll on top of a painting. Could have clobbered the basset hound for rubbing up and down on one if he wasn't so cute and did not have those EYES. I used to 'perch' the pastels on top of all the stuff around my easel until a cat knocked off about 72 Unisons and turned them into crumbles of dust. Yes, I sat down and cried then moved my work area into the bedroom and keep the door shut.

04-16-2005, 12:18 PM
ICould have clobbered the basset hound for rubbing up and down on one if he wasn't so cute and did not have those EYES.

Oh boy can I ever relate to this. My pup is half bassett and has those EYES. I think they were born with them just so they could get away with murder!

05-07-2005, 04:04 PM
I have found the pizza box to be an excellent and inexepensive way to organize. If you are a regular at an italian restruant, they may even give them to you! If not, large ones may cost $1.50.

I made interior dividers by cutting and gluing small strips of styrofoam board.

Sturdy and cheap!

05-07-2005, 06:19 PM
What a great idea!!! It could be closed to keep the cat out and would hold a HUGE number of pastels. Would fit about perfectly on the top of a smaller tabouret. Great idea!

05-08-2005, 07:39 PM
A pizza box is truly original- have tried a shoe box- we get take out all the time- the cheese on the bottom would be natural dividers too!

05-14-2005, 10:29 AM
I DID try the fishing box type of box that has drawers that pull out (rather than being taken out and opened. It was truly amazing how many pastels and all the extra supplies (spray, etc.) I could cram into that box... my old Shimano soft case (that had 8 plastic cases I first tried with pastels is great when I remove the plastic, and put full boxes in it. So while I am tempted to carry every pastel I own with me, storage is made much easier- thanks Cori to getting me thinking about the alternatives instead of drooling over $400. wooden boxes...

05-14-2005, 11:38 AM
lol...our money is better spent on pastels, purples! :D Though I stil find myself drooling over those $400 boxes, I know that money would send me to a heck of a workshop so I am happy with my big tackle box (for now) and if I can find one of those mechanic trays I may outfit my new studio with one of those...

05-27-2005, 11:45 PM
Am I the only one who uses old altoids tins? I only like them for the oil pastels though. Best source so far for storage containers for my art supplies(asside from folks cleaning out their garages, I found one of those expensive aluminum cases mentioned earlier, the kind they show on CSI, well someone put it in a free box with a Norman Rockwell coffee table book, and I snapped up both, I'm so not above scavenging), is the 99 cent store. I head str8 to the automotive section and hardware section(bypassing the stationary section with it's cutesy pencil cases, and most of the time crummy supplies) where there are several kinds of storage bins, trays, and little boxes with drawers.

The second best place, is a national chain called BigLots. They even have a website with store locator, so you can find one near you(if you live in the US). They carry closeouts, past season merchandise, and several staples at very low prices. Right now they have scrapbooking/craft caddies(canvas with straps, also some with wheels) for around 10 bucks, and they allways have those big plastic cases on wheels with drawers(the prices are hard to beat).

Walgreens, and the UPS store, have sheets of styrofoam, which can be cut to size. And if you go to some of the crafting sites, there are how tos for making your own cardboard boxes of different shapes and sizes(you can also use craft paper or bristol board for them of course:)).

Just a few extra suggestions.

05-28-2005, 10:36 AM
I LOVE those little altoid tins, and was wondering what I could do with them- I hate to throw them out as I did just yesterday! I had some wooden trays that I used to make soap in- have cleaned them out and will line them with foam for pastels- also found a shallow wooden try that came with candles in it- will be perfect too! I have a bunch of those hardware storage plastic things, used to store beads in them, but it is actually a bit hard to really see what is in there- I like things spread out a bit more. Have decided the rectangular rifle case Cori liked would truly be great to spread out pastels in the studio. (yes Cori, I admit it- I keep looking at that in the sporting good store and it would be great- but too heavy to carry around when filled- perfect for the studio)

06-07-2005, 06:28 PM
I went looking for a thin foam to pad a wooden box I have & found these new foam dishcloths in a pkg like the disposable dust cloths. They seem just almost exactly the same thickness & squishyness as the foam my pastels were shipped with. The only question I've thought of is: should the foam be archival? lol I also found some thin plexiglass stuff to glue the foam to for holding the pastels in each side. I think this should work. I'll post some photos when I get to working on it.

06-07-2005, 07:05 PM
Tammy- that sounds really neat! I made a rather huge mistake- I assumed I would not ever have a studio- it sure didn't look that way- and I had NO room to spread things out on. I kept knocking stuff off of a small table. So I bought nice boxes to keep everything in- since looking in 2 boxes for a GA instead of 8 made me much happier. I also thought- well, if I go out somewhere painting, I can just take a case of whatever along with me. Now that I have a bit of room to spread out, I see that I could have just stuck to the cardboard boxes and spread them out. The others could have gone in my sectional wood box (not made for pastels) or shallow wooden trays lined with foam (I have become a real lover of foam and want to find those dishcloths of yours). After I got everything spread out, I also could see just to what extent I had overbought pastels- I kept finding better and better ones (no thanks to this forum ha)! But it is nice to keep in mind that if the price of a whole set includes a really nice box with several trays (like Schmicke), or in cardboard, that you are comparing apples to oranges. I made a 'to go' box out of a tackle box, and really like that- have it stocked with erasers, pencils, pastels, and fixative, etc. But overall, if I had done things differntly I would have STARTED with the Dakota sampler sets of pastels, pencils, and paper, then gone from there. The best 'bought' box I have found is the big Dakota box- so easy to have on the table, then pop the plastic covers over them at night to keep the cats away...

06-07-2005, 07:25 PM
I went looking for a thin foam to pad a wooden box I have & found these new foam dishcloths in a pkg like the disposable dust cloths. They seem just almost exactly the same thickness & squishyness as the foam my pastels were shipped with. The only question I've thought of is: should the foam be archival? lol I also found some thin plexiglass stuff to glue the foam to for holding the pastels in each side. I think this should work. I'll post some photos when I get to working on it.

hmmm..I doubt it needs to be archival, but I would think acid free might be a plan. I dunno! Keep us posted on how it goes, though. That stuff sounds like it would be a great thing to use to line all sorts of containers!

06-11-2005, 03:32 PM
Here's the pics I promised. The first one is of a piece of the foam & the pkg. The next is of how far I've gotten with the box. I spray-painted the green foam since it was such a bright green.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jun-2005/3341-pastelboxfoam.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jun-2005/3341-pastelbox.jpg

06-11-2005, 09:45 PM
Well, I have no problem with the green, since I waited 30 years for lime green to come back in fashion! I know, you can't judge your landscape greens on that color....but when it is August here there are no greens, only browns! But your box looks very nice! Keep track of the cost so you can tell us how cheaply we can build one. Is it Moose proof for Cori?

06-11-2005, 09:54 PM
Is it Moose proof for Cori?

lol...a great consideration...since i plan to go to the mountains to paint this summer (If I can find a few spare minutes). However...I think I would need it to be bear proof! Good thing the box I built was metal! :D

06-13-2005, 06:46 PM
I've run into a small snag. I need low profile turn buttons to hold my lids in place. So far, I've been to 2 hardware stores here & no luck. I can find them online but don't want to pay $5 & up shipping for such an inexpensive item. I'll keep looking here...going to start asking framing places. It took me awhile to find out what they are called. :wink2: I've got some on my own photo frames. I could cannabalize them. :evil:

06-13-2005, 06:53 PM
lol...I ended up using magnets on the box I made. I had really wanted to use velcro, but it was too thick for the area. The magnet/metal strip combo has worked really well and the lids are fairly secure. I like the idea of the turn buttons, though. If my box had've been wood, I think Iwould have gone that way.

Next step for me is installing stips of Balsa wood tokeep the colours separated. Should be an intersting adventure for in my new studio.

We should really copy all of this info about building your box over to the thread for my article where I built my box. It's great to have it here, but if people are looking to build their own, they mght be interested to see how yours came along too....

08-07-2005, 02:25 PM
Ok - I HAD to post this here, because it is tooooo clever. Kory (kordelia) added it to my thread in the studio tips forum about my studio...she has the exact same shelving unit I use by my computer, but has cleverly flipped it upside down for the storeage possibilities!!!


The shelving unit is made by Plano (I got mine at walmart for cheap) and the underside is entirely little rectangular sections - perfect for pastels. If I ever decide to not use my plein air box for my studio pastel tray, I will DEFINTIELY be doing this!!!

:clap: brilliant idea, Kory!!! :clap:

08-07-2005, 08:12 PM
What a cool idea...thanks for sharing it with us!

08-13-2005, 05:10 PM
I actually went out and bought those same exact shelves. I looked for them at Kmart, but didn't find them there....found them at Walmart for $10. I haven't set them up yet, but I hope to do so tonight. I plan to use two of the shelves for some of my art paper and pads, and then the top two for my pastels. I will just have to see how it all fits, but I am so excited because I have admired the really nice pastel storage trays at Dakota for a long time, but just hate to pay that price. Ten dollars is an awesome find. I don't do any plein air yet, but when I do I really like Cory's homemade box. I will definitely have to try that as well.

Thanks again Cory and Kory for your great ideas!

08-13-2005, 05:35 PM
ohh - I do hope you'll post photos when you get it all set up, Kristie! I so love this idea of using the shelves. And your suggestion of a possible paper storage solution is a great one too. you may be on to something there...do show us when it's done, k.

08-13-2005, 06:02 PM
It may take a few days to get photos posted, but I will do that Cori. I plan to start setting it up after dinner.

08-23-2005, 11:01 PM
Okay - I came up with a nifty little storage solution for plein air. After an unfortunate spill with my homemade box, I realized that it is a bit heavy for taking along with me. Then I was wandering throguh a dollar store here and came across these little cases. They are actually storage cases for 3.5 floppy disks, but they are the perfect size to throw into a packpack and go with (and if you have a french easel with adjustable drawer dividers, you could probably fit a couple of these right in there)

The cases have a couple of divders and you can get an idea of the size of the case by imagining 3 floppies side by side (it is about a foot long by 4 inches wide by about an inch deep)


I lined the bottom with left over foam from pastel sets and used one of those non-slip cupboard liners as a top cushion.


I just added a few colours to give you all the general idea. I am planning to have 2 of these cases full of pastels. Each section will hold a good range of values for each colour.

Lightweight, seals snugly and nice and portable! I think they might be just the thing for plein air!

08-24-2005, 10:18 AM
This looks like a great idea for a smaller number of pastels. Thanks for sharing.

08-24-2005, 02:41 PM
I realized after the fact that I forgot to add this:
I hiked all around a lake on the weekend with this case in my backpack and the pastels didn't shift at all. SInce that was what caused the big oops with my main pastel box I figure it's worth mentioning.

Plus - each case was only a dollar.

08-25-2005, 08:39 PM
Here are the photos of the plastic shelves. Actually I am showing you the "before and after" of my little studio/pantry. The shelves are working out great...one little tip though, be sure to take a rubber mallot and hammer in the plastic posts or it won't stay put together. Luckily, I figured this out before I put my pastels in.
I put pastel paper, sketchbooks, etc on the bottom two shelves and then the pastels on the top, leaving one shelf left over....Perhaps I can use the fourth one at a later date when I buy more pastels. :)


08-25-2005, 09:43 PM
ohhh - niiiice! The more I see this solution - the more i consider adopting it myself. I really really like it!

(I learned the rubber mallett thing too...good thing it's a heavy-duty plastic)

08-25-2005, 10:27 PM
Cori, I really like your dollar store find! They look just the perfect size for plein air. I don't do plein air yet, but hope to start soon since my children are starting back to school....I may just have to check out the dollar stores here.

Thanks for sharing another creative idea with us!

08-26-2005, 01:56 AM
Yeah, you made a terrific dollar store find.:D Only one problem though, it seems different 99 cent and $1.00 stores carry different boxes and so forth. But that's just where you have to get creative I guess.

I have one of those ArtBins from the art supply. You know, looks like a tackle box with adjustable dividers. Anyway, it's so big and clunky I never use it:P Which is stupid, because I have what I like to call a CSI case, it's the aluminum kind they use on the show:P Found it in a free box with a Norman Rockwell coffee table book(SCORE!) I just love when people clean out their garages and attics(PACKRAT!), and I use it all the time:) it's way bigger than the artbin:P I'm daft like that I guess.

09-19-2005, 11:51 PM
I've join this site about one week ago, and I must say this is a great place. There is so much to learn and see here, and all this creative talent is wonderful!
I would like to add about the pastel storage solution. I found a container from Ikea with compartments, and each compartments holds differents pastels color. I had rice before I put my pastels in. This keeps the pastels clean.

"We've faced each other for eons,
How is it possible we have never seen each other?"
Frederick Franke

09-20-2005, 12:33 AM
That is a lovely painting, Chloe. Where in canada are you? I'm in Calgary.

I think I know the case you are refering to from ikea. Is it the big one int he kids section or am i picturing it all wrong?

I decided against the shelves for my lastest storage solution and went for a homemade box that is still portable enough in case i attend a workshop.

09-21-2005, 12:23 AM
Nice to meet you Khourianya. I live in Vancouver. Well actually I had the same thought as you did initially; but the ones I saw there were to small. I went to the Kitchen section, and came across this container . Here's a picture . It will give you an idea on what I mean. For now this container is a good size.

"We have faced each other for eons,
How is it possible we have never seen each other?
Frederick Franke

09-21-2005, 01:00 AM
Oh cool..ya - i know the ones you mean now.

My best friend lives in vancouver. Beautiful city. I'm about due for a visit out that way :D There was a guy over in the plein air forum that was looking for painting buddies in Van. Made me wish I lived out that way so I could join him! Especially with winter fast approaching here...

09-21-2005, 02:33 PM
Great article and thread Cori! I already have a toolbox on wheels as described. and you're are right - it is great! I also have this box, for my ever growing set of pastels....it's 12x18x3.5 It's deep enough to use the inserts in pastel boxes both top and bottom.



09-23-2005, 01:29 AM
Isn't the toolbox section a marvelous place, Deirdre? I'd love to see how you use your toolbox on wheels too....

09-23-2005, 02:04 AM
Lol! Cori...remember...you asked for it! :evil:
Top section...lift out tray
Deep detachable case from top section
Deep and very capacious fold out section from bottom hold full set sennelier pastels + box 72 Derwent pastel pencils + Faber-castel box+ 3 rolls of WCPs and a 1 litre bottle water!
4 1/2 " deep tray
2" deep tray
2" Deep Tray
And that's yer lot! :evil:

09-23-2005, 11:42 AM
Well - will ya look at that lil art studio-to-go!!!! I love it!!! I don't know if something like that would ever work for me, but I am soooo happy you posted the photos Deirdre. Now people can see what I was talking about!!!!

02-23-2008, 06:29 AM
thanks for sharing this

02-23-2008, 01:47 PM
Also, while I was attempting to find a picture online of these little cases, I found another possible solution. A rifle case! The one I saw was fairly slim and long, and came pre-lined with foam. It might make a nice protable solution for someone who needs to take all of their pastels with them everywhere.

Very interesting thread. Some of us can't resist those fancy looking boxes from the art stores but using cheap storage means more $$ left for materials.

This may seem a little hyperbolic to some, but I would have one cautionary caveat about the rifle case idea. This comes from an actual situation that occurred at the University here I just retired from.

Shortly after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech, I left the building one day and noticed getting into my car there was a policeman in a bulletproof vest and holding an assault rifle tucked behind a UPS truck parked at the loading dock. Looking around I found the place crawling with similarly dressed and armed law enforcement personnel.

Long story short, someone had been seen entering the building with a rifle case similar to the one depicted. On being seen, someone informed the Dean, who informed campus security, and the rest was history. It turned out that the rifle case was used to store a large piece of scientific equipment.

In today's security conscious and often overreactive environment just to be sure, you should exercise some discretion and care in using things like rifle cases to store things, particularly if you are likely to be going to public places with losts of people.

True story!!! I'm not trying to put a damper on things, but after a personal experience with what can happen I thought it might be useful to share the incident.

:music: :heart: :music:

03-29-2008, 11:38 AM
I have found using foam sheets from Fibre Craft, Creative Hands, extremely inexpensive and useful in storing my pastels and other art accessories. I have found these sheets in "dime stores" and hobby centers. It is thin, lightweight and easily cut with scissors, etc. It can be found in at least 2 different sizes. I use the foam for making my own stencils also for decorative wall art and murals. I cut the foam sheets to the size of the boxes holding pastels, in my French easel compartments, and in my travel size watercolor kit. I no longer open the watercolor kit to find the half-cakes go flying. The benefit of the thin foam sheets vs. a thicker sheet is that I can use it so versatilely, and I can use double sheets if necessary. The sheets come in various colors so you could also color code the objects you store - ie., soft v. hard pastels.

If you are shipping pastels to someone, I would recommend cutting a foam piece to place in the pastel box top so that the pastels are cushioned (extra) and that when the person opens the box, the pastels don't go flying. I would place a couple of small pieces of tape on the box edges also. I received a box of pastels this week that had scattered in shipment. I find placing the foam sheet especially beneficial in art boxes of various types including tackle boxes because it helps to keep things from slipping around so much, cushions the supplies, and reduces the noise.

03-29-2008, 11:45 AM
One more thing - cigar boxes are great for storing pastels and supplies. They come in various sizes and shapes. We go to a cigar shop and my husband goes in for me to get the boxes. The guys respond better to him than me and I have friends who have been charged higher prices for the boxes than if their husbands get them. He normally gets really really nice boxes for $3-$5 for me. I have found that various pastels' foams and inner boxes fit right into these boxes. I keep a plein air cigar box that I slip into my bag and off I go. It is easier and more compact. Some of the plein air art specialty shops online sell leather handles that you can attach to the cigar boxes to carry them more easily.

truck driver
04-06-2008, 12:09 AM
I use a tackle box, with individual boxes, It has 4 removable and locking containers inside. one I use for ops, 1 for pencils, 1 for charcoal, and 1 for watercolor pencils. I carry a small bottle of water, a small bottle of baby oil, and a small sketchpad 7x5 in the plano tacklesystems box, cost $15

truck driver
04-06-2008, 12:12 AM
forgot, also have cotten balls, and qtips in it as well. allows me to carry everything I need from the truck to the house, as well as serving as a pastel holder or pencil holder for plein aire work.

04-10-2008, 08:37 PM
Whenever I need something for storage of art materials, I always look in the sporting goods section for tackle boxes, they work very well.

05-02-2008, 10:58 AM
I'm so excited and had to share this with all of you. I was at the dollar store two days ago and since they change everything by seasons I was looking at the summer stuff. Well, to my surprise they have some ice cube trays perfect for pastels sticks. They are some type of tubular space for pour the water and the size is perfect. 3 trays per pack, just go run for it,I know I will it's pay day and I'll stock on it.