View Full Version : My new pastel case arrived!

02-26-2003, 05:11 PM
Well this is what I call speedy delivery. I just ordered the case two days ago!

Here's where I ordered from:

Many thanks for Lorelou for finding this site for me!

So, here's what the case looks like. It's a nice, unfinished wooden case, attache-size, with a comfortable leather carrying handle. It is very lightweight too! I think I will stain it and polyurethane it---too nice to not do that!


When you open the latches and open up the case, there is a flat panel on each side, held down by four velcro strips. You have to pull pretty hard to lift the panels, so no fear of them coming loose on their own. One strip of velcro did come loose though, so I'll have to glue that down. Here's the case opened to show the panels. It seems that you could even tape paper onto one of the panels and use it like a travel easel:


When you take off the panels, there is a piece of foam on the underside of each panel, plus two layers of foam inside each of the case compartments. You can use all the layers, or for thick pastel sticks, remove one. Or all layers on one side, and one layer off the other. This shows the panels off and all the foam layers:


The box opens up so that both sides are level. It could probably even sit on the drawer of a French easel. Haven't tried that yet. Well, I'll be loading up this case soon! Will post a pic after I do that. I think this case is a bargain at $59.95. The foam is just inexpensive foam, but that's easy enough to replace if it falls apart over time.


02-26-2003, 05:44 PM
That case is truly awesome!! I just bought the French Mistress to do the same exact thing with!! Let me know how it is to sit on the French easel....I am definately interested!!!

Awaiting anxiously for your pix on your filled pastel boxes!! Now you are ready for plein-aire paining!!!!


02-26-2003, 06:47 PM
looks wonderful Jamie..... quite the executive pastellist lol :D

02-26-2003, 07:05 PM
Jamie you are so like me!!!!:D

The first thing when I saw your case was, If it were mine I would stain and varnish it.

The cleanup will be soooooo......easy that way.

I am excited for you.!

02-26-2003, 07:44 PM
Nancy, I'll keep you posted!

Dawn, didn't know I could achieve Executive status in pastels so soon!

Lorelou, the biggest question then becomes: Will I be able to resist loading this up with pastels long enough to refinish it first? (probably not....and I know if I don't refinish it before using it, it probably won't get done!)

I'm going to see if I can find time to do the staining tonight!


02-26-2003, 08:13 PM
If I'd seen this before I bought my wooden box, I'd have gotten it! I think this one will hold a lot more pastels than mine. Of course, I don't use all I carry with me now...don't know why I'd need more! LOL

I have a smaller version of the french mistress...the top opens out to form ears to the side of the box. Fits on the easel nicely for plein air!.

I don't know what they put in the bottom of the box but you need to lay something in so the pastels won't be on the wood. I use shelf liner that is sort of spongy with holes in it. This keeps the pastels cleaner because the dirty dust falls into the holes. Someone else told me that sticking felt into the box would work, too, but I like being able to take the pad out and toss it when it gets really yucky!

02-27-2003, 06:07 AM
Oh my god Jamie ~ I am HOOKER's GREEN TINT #4 with envy!!! I so want a wooden pastel box. Can't wait to see another photo when you've loaded it up! :)

02-27-2003, 04:55 PM
EJ, Lorelou, Nancy, and all who've been waiting to see it loaded up....I found some nice maple poly/stain in my workshop and decided to go ahead and finish it before I put the pastels in. Since I already had the stain, I couldn't very well justify not doing it! This stuff is water clean-up and 2-hour dry time, with a suggested three coats, so it should be all done tomorrow and ready to show! Will post it then.


02-27-2003, 05:31 PM
I plan to do plein aire when the weather warms up, and something like this would be perfect. Up to this point it never crossed my mind that it would be difficult hauling pastels in the cardboard boxes they are sold in, outside. This is an answer.


02-27-2003, 06:52 PM
Looking forward to seeing it in action, Jamie. That Fine Art Store website is completely fabulous ~ what a vast range of lovely STUFF!!! ~ and it sounds as if their delivery is speedy. I just wish I didn't live so far away!

02-28-2003, 12:41 PM
Hi everybody. Well, I'm baaa-aaack, with a newly stained and polyurethaned pastel case. So proud of myself! Heehee. :D Glad I went ahead and did this before loading it up. Here's what it looks like now:


When I went to load it up, I discovered that the foam inserts in my box of 60 Rembrandt half-sticks fit EXACTLY into half of one of the sides! Since I have only about 200 pastels total and I'm not tight for space (yet!), I put the whole thing right into the case, and cut one of the pieces of foam in half to line the other half of that side. Then I took the plastic inserts from my Conte sticks and decided to put those right in the case too. So now I have all my harder pastels on one side of the case, and they're very well protected in their original packing.

I couldn't do that with the Unisons. I had too many (90 full sticks) and the packing they came in was too large, so they all had to come out of their original packing. In the case, there is one layer of foam underneath them, and of course the panels that fit on the tops of the pastels are also foam-lined. Here's what it looks like all loaded up:


I've been carrying six boxes of pastels around with me. Now they are ALL in a single case! If I had more pastels, I'd probably just carry half sticks in the case, but all of mine fit. This is great!


02-28-2003, 12:51 PM
Jealous jealous jealous jealous jealous jealous!!!

02-28-2003, 12:53 PM
Congrats Jamie!!! Your box looks BEAUTIFUL!!! I know you can't wait to get out there and paint with them!!! Thank you for showing all of us your new box...and how you altered it!!! It is incredible!!!

Now....get out there and start paintin.....we want to see that box at work!!! (or really....play!!)

Thanks again!!


03-02-2003, 04:07 PM

This is great! I got one of these boxes from Cody Art supply when I ordered some pastels but didn't like the foam that they put in there. They suggested I buy some more foam and do what you've done and now I can see some great potential. Thanks for including photos.

Since I immediately break all my pastels in half, I'm very impressed with how neat and tidy your pastel box is.

Do you find the foam cleans the pastels between use?


03-06-2003, 03:17 PM
Fineartstore.com just replied to my e-mail enquiry telling me that the cheapest shipping to the UK for the pastel tote would be between $42.95 and $48.95. Sadly I'm going to have to give this one a miss!

The search for an affordable yet stylish pastel box goes on...

03-13-2003, 03:40 PM
OK, I'm terribly excited and had to post... I learnt this week that at work we're being given a bonus ~ it's not a huge amount [sadly!!] but as my dear dad would say, it's better than a kick in the pants :D I have decided to splash out on the pastel tote and have just this minute ordered one!! I'm having it shipped to the home of a friend's family in the States, which makes shipping $7.95 rather than $42.95, and when they visit the UK next month they're bringing it with them! Happy joy. Jamie, I suspect I will need your guidance as to what exactly to buy and do in order to stain and seal the wood! I haven't got a clue! :rolleyes:

03-13-2003, 05:33 PM

Your "Pastel Case" looks fantastic. My husband just gave me an "Art Bin" case and I thought that was fantastic. This is much better.

My art teacher from the museum suggested that we buy little plastic compartment cases (like for fishing tackle or screws or something) and fill them with oatmeal, rice or corn cob ??? She said that this will keep the chalks clean or clean them when they are not in use.

Has anyone tried this and if so what results have they had? I really hate taking the time cleaning my sticks after each use. I'm lazy and feel it takes away from my painting time!

Going to check out the site and possibly order this case.

Good luck with yours,

03-13-2003, 05:44 PM
Hi EJ and Roni. The case has worked out fabulously well. I took it to my pastel class on Tuesday and everybody loved it---the teacher too. It was so nice having NO setup time, NO boxes to cart around, NO need for a huge table to spread them all out on, NO travel hassles with all that stuff! Just open the case and you're all set up.

Roni, I really can't tell you how clean or not clean the pastels stay in this box because I haven't been using it long enough to know the answer to that. However, because the Rembrandts' foam from the box fits right into the case, I expect those will stay just as if they were kept in the box. The Unisons seem to stay in place with the foam there and not shift around. Mostly they get dirty from my dirty hands while I'm working, and from touching them on different colors when painting.

EJ, about finishing the case....I'd recommend you not do it the way I did! I used a combination poly-stain in one, and did three coats. The result would have been much, much better if I'd done the staining in one stage, and then the clear polyurethane over. So that's what I'd suggest you do. My stain is very uneven because of the way I did it.

Also, some of the velcro strips pulled up from taking the panels on and off. I just glued those down and they've stayed put just fine. All in all, I can't envision a better way to carry pastels around than this case.


03-13-2003, 05:46 PM
Hi Jamie
You made a good job of the varnish...I am sure the extra time you spent doing this will repay you over the years. It was a surprise seeing the box loaded and ready for work...you never waste time do you! LOL.

04-22-2003, 05:56 PM
Mine's here! :)

04-22-2003, 06:09 PM
Yea!!! EJ, so happy yours arrived. I did see on the sketches thread that you did the finishing the same way I did and warned you about. LOL...You and I are so much alike....We just couldn't wait to get it done, could we? :evil:

It looks great! Have you loaded up both sides? Does it hold all your pastels well? Did you leave in both foam pieces, or take one out?

I just love mine. Every time I go to class, I appreciate it even more. 'Just grab one case, with a handle no less, and I'm all set. Even for painting at home, you just can't beat the convenience of having them all together like that. I hope you get many years of good use out of yours, EJ, and feel it was worth the money, wait, and hassle!


04-22-2003, 06:20 PM
Jamie :D

The other side only contains about ten small pieces of conté stick at the minute ~ as you can see I don't have a vast number of pastels. I bought a couple of Unisons today and the amount of velvety colour that comes off them is just gorgeous, so I'm saving up for a set of them... and that'll be the other side of the box sorted :D

I've left my pastels in their original foam or plastic inserts and find I don't need, or even have room for, the extra sheets of foam that came with the box ~ they're all held in by the piece of foam that's attached to the detachable flap and don't seem to move around at all.

Now I just have to find some time to paint!!

All in all... happy :)

04-23-2003, 04:47 AM
Oh, wow, this looks sooo good! Great deal you got there E-J! Any chance those friends of yours are willing to start a little business? :D :D
I am looking and looking too. Haven't found it yet. So the table needed to spread all my pastels around is getting bigger and bigger. So far, the best solution I've come up with is to buy a set of drawers and put each drawer on the table when I'm working on something, and put them away when I am not. Now I have to find the perfect sized chest of drawers.....No way I am going to pay that $45 shipping. There MUST be something here in the UK......

04-23-2003, 06:04 AM
Just to say that I would not recommend putting oatmeal, or rice, in with your pastels. Yes, it might clean them a bit, but the horrid thing is that when you go to pick up a pastel, you also pick up bits of rice and end up scratching your picture with a bit of rice, if you work fast, as I do.

The oatmeal will just get filthy and make a horrible mess everywhere.

Cleaning pastels need not be too much of a chore.

Get some semolina, it's the best thing to use.
Put your pastels into a large plastic tray, (or bag) the kind you get with veg in at the supermarket, put some semolina in with the pastels, quite a bit, and give the tray or bag a good shake around.

Then, using the same tray, and a plastic seive, seive the whole lot into the tray. You will end up with a tray full of filthy semolina, and a seive full of sparkling clean pastels. Except the Unisons that is, You might have to wipe them with a cloth - I have found NOTHING cleans Unisons!


04-23-2003, 06:06 AM
Incidentally EJ - this box looks rather better than anything on the UK market. I have a large wooden box, with lots of compartments for my pastels, which is great for separating them into light, medium and dark tones ..........but I have to put a separate bit of foam into each compartment. This works fine.... but when I am out on location or in a life class, I am always hunting around for lost bits of foam at the end of the day!

You did well, I think, even tho I personally would have liked some separation for the tones.


04-23-2003, 08:30 AM
The other day at WalMart I found the neatest thing to carry pastels for those that go outside to paint. I found it in the sporting goods dept. It was a case with plastic boxes with compartments. There were about 4 of these small boxes but large enough to carry plenty of pastels.and the compartments you can change the sizes of, so you could even carry pencils. It was so neat and only cost about $15.00. I wish I had bought it now. I'll have to go back and get that. It may come in handy. It had a shoulder strap. Darn I'll go get it and take a pic of it and show you all LOL

04-23-2003, 09:10 AM
Jackie, I too initially thought dividers for the case would have been a good idea. But when I started using it, I saw that the pastels lock in so tightly when the lids are sealed on and the case is closed, that they do not shift at all inside the case. So, there is no contamination among adjacent colors!

Jackie, thanks so much for the cleaning advice. I'd have a fit if the rice bits scratched my paper! I'll be sure to use semolina when they get to that point.

I wonder where these cases are made, and if you could get somebody to import them into the UK. I no longer have the box nor any information that mine came with. Do you have anything, EJ?


04-23-2003, 09:34 AM
Nope... I don't recall there being anything at all printed on the packaging the box arrived in.

04-23-2003, 09:58 AM
I am sure they would be too costly to import - the weight would make the transportation charge high.

However................I might ask someone to make me one like it...................if I don't do well selling my paintings, I could go into business selling boxes! I can see it now......The Jackie Simmonds Pastel Box....................fame at last.


04-23-2003, 10:03 AM
Jackie, there was a thread about a different box. I think it cost something like $400. Then somebody posted about this one and where they got it (Rochester Art Supply----finearts.com), and I got mine from there for, I think, $60. But I'm almost certain that this box was not made in the US, which means it was imported from _somewhere_, and the UK dealers should be able to get it from "Somewhere" as well!


04-23-2003, 10:29 AM
Jackie ... if only I was a carpenter [wasn't that a song? No, don't worry, I'm not going to let rip] I'd make you that wooden box and you could put all your insecurities about not selling into it, seal it with Superglue, weight it down with some large rocks and chuck it in a nearby river :)

04-23-2003, 11:35 AM
EJ - oh boy sounds good, wish it was that easy to get shot of insecurities! However, .....you will be pleased to know that I spotted the lesson here between the lines..... stop banging on about it Jackie. Okay Will do.

Jamie........if ever you find out where the box was imported from, do let me know. I might well investigate importing it myself! I doubt you would be able to find out tho - it will be a well-guarded secret. I am sure that the supplier would not be too keen for you to discover that he buys it in from Korea or somewhere similar, where it is made for him for about $5 probably, by young slave labourers. Hmm - not sure I would want to import it, come to think of it, if that turns out to be the truth! Many a true word spoken in jest, they say.


04-23-2003, 01:04 PM
I'm curious now.... when I ordered a large set of pastels from the Wyoming art store - shoot I forget their name at the moment - anyway, they gave me one of these boxes but replaced the inside foam with some foam separators for my pastels.

I then tried to use this for my pastel carrying box and loaded it up and when I opened it, the velcro didn't keep the lid on and all the pastels came shooting down into the bend of the box. all mixed together.

Has this happened to either of you? I'm wanting to try it again since I'm certain it's the same box given your photo, but I'm a bit hesitant.

Now... I didn't replace the foam to match what you have with just a single thin layer on the bottom and the one on the lid as well - so perhaps I need to try it again.

Let me know what you think. Barb

04-23-2003, 01:56 PM
Barb, what a nightmare. This has not happened to me. There are strips of velcro all along two sides; I don't see how it could come loose as long as the lids are firmly in place before the box is closed. Some of the strips were not firmly adhered to the wood of the case, and I reglued those before loading it up. I plan to check on it periodically and reglue as needed. Perhaps you could add more velcro if yours did not come with enough.

Oh---one down side to this case. When it's filled with good pastels, it may be too heavy and large to sit comfortably on the drawer of a french easel. I haven't gone plein air painting with it yet, so I always have a table to set it on, but I see that a case of this size, when opened, could be a problem out in the field. Of course, once you have it with you on location, you can always pick out the colors you need from the case and put them in the easel drawer to have them handy.


04-23-2003, 02:23 PM
Jamie - the only thing I can figure is that I loaded it up too heavily so now I'll doubt check that. This may be my "outdoor" box.

I usually put my pastel box on my good old fashioned TV tray. I go to Goodwill and for $3.00 I toss it in the trunk of my car and I always have a table stand to put my supplies on.


04-23-2003, 04:49 PM
Ok I went out and bought what I was talking about. They come in various sizes and are found in the fishing section of WalMart It's called KWIK DRAW tackling system of all things LOL You could even carry some wipes in one of the cases. Pretty neat. Now I have to go somewhere to need to carry my pastels *S*
You can make the sections the length you want them in the compartments.




04-23-2003, 04:57 PM
Luvy, the system looks great. Do me a favor and use it a few times and then please update us on how well it works. It seems like a great solution!!!


04-23-2003, 05:03 PM
Luvy, too cool! :cool: I'd love one of those for my colored pencils. I'm forever searching through the box for the color I want...I could separate them by color and find them so much easier. I don't think there's a Walmart nearby....I wonder if Sports Authority would have it.


04-23-2003, 07:49 PM
Boonan Don't know when I'd use it. I use some tackle boxes for my pastels now. the clear cases. This is just an all in one thing I saw the other day. Passed it up but then thought I might need that .

Jamie I just looked on the Sports authority website they have the hard cases. WalMart has those too.

04-24-2003, 05:10 AM
Luvy, that box looks rather good. Just one word of warning. When you put pastels into these kinds of plastic boxes (I use a small one as a lightweight outdoor kit when I travel abroad), the pastels will rattle around inside the plastic compartments, and break, and create loadsa crumbs. It really is a good idea to line the compartments with thin foam, and also put some "cushions" of foam on top of each section before you close the lid and throw it in the car! Then the pastels will only rattle against each other, which isn't so bad.

The horror story of the wooden box, where everything fell out because the velcro didn't stick, has rather put me off that box!

The largish wooden box I use has lots of compartments, and then a simple foam-lined lid. The lid is hinged to the box, but it LIFTS OFF THE HINGES, and can sit under the box while you work. This makes it a smaller unit all together, but given the problems of space when working out of doors, it might in fact be a better solution. You are right in that it is a good idea to keep the box for your main selection of pastels, and choose the ones you are going to work with a keep them out, perhaps in a small plastic tray. Then all you need to do is dip into your bigger box when needed.

Here is the box. As you can see, I put in extra foam inserts, because when I travel by plane the box gets REALLY rattled about. However, the lid is lined with foam so I probably do not need the extra foam sections. The compartments enable me to split the pastels into coloour groups, and also Light, Medium and Dark sections.

If there is any way of separating out your colours, and tones, in that new pastel box, I do recommend it.

04-24-2003, 05:54 AM
Originally posted by bnoonan
the only thing I can figure is that I loaded it up too heavily

Barb ~ I did find that if I tried to use the extra layer of foam that was provided, it overstuffed the case and the velcro wouldn't hold reliably. I've found that with just a single layer of foam under the pastels, they are kept happily in place.

Luvy ~ your tackle box sounds like a bargain ~ let us know how you get on with it. I'm nowhere near confident enough yet to go striding out into the great plein air with that many pastels :)

04-24-2003, 06:56 AM
I don't fish, but tackle boxes have a MYRIAD of good uses, MILES away from any water, don't they? :D

04-24-2003, 12:42 PM
Lampburke - I have to agree. I used to travel a whole lot and used a bullet box or was it a fly fishing tackle box - for my jewelry. Those little compartments hold earrings nicely.

Jackie - thanks for sharing a photo of your box. I think you've got the right idea with those tiny pieces of foam on top and bottom.

Has anyone seen the box that looks like a coffin? Well that's what a friend describes it as. It's a wooden box with something like foam but not quite on the inside lid and bottom (Jackie - perhaps what you have) and there aren't any dividers. The pastels sit in this cushion and actually are cleaned by the lid keeping them inside. It's very, very heavy but seems to be one of the best things I've heard of so far.

E-J - that means you have one layer of foam below and one above and no dividers for colors?


04-24-2003, 01:09 PM
Originally posted by bnoonan
E-J - that means you have one layer of foam below and one above and no dividers for colors? Barb

That's right Barb. I've done what Jamie did and just kept the foam or plastic inserts from each set of pastels. I'm not using this box with plein air in mind, just for easy storage. When I do a painting I take out the colours I plan to use and use a little plastic fruit punnet as a palette... like Jackie does on her video.

04-24-2003, 01:30 PM
Thanks - I'm afraid I'm probably the only person who hasn't seen Jackie's video or book. I use mine for storage too. It's great to know all those delicious colors are awaiting me.


10-06-2011, 03:24 PM

Your "Pastel Case" looks fantastic. My husband just gave me an "Art Bin" case and I thought that was fantastic. This is much better.

My art teacher from the museum suggested that we buy little plastic compartment cases (like for fishing tackle or screws or something) and fill them with oatmeal, rice or corn cob ??? She said that this will keep the chalks clean or clean them when they are not in use.

Has anyone tried this and if so what results have they had? I really hate taking the time cleaning my sticks after each use. I'm lazy and feel it takes away from my painting time!

Going to check out the site and possibly order this case.

Good luck with yours,

Try looking at PASTEL PODS AT ASWExpress


10-06-2011, 05:58 PM
Jamie, that is beautiful! I love your pastel case. It doesn't have the dividers like my Dakota pastel case but the way you organized it is wonderful. That's a great price too. Your organization is so sensible - harder pastels to one side, Unisons to the other, everything handy in one box. Way cool!