Sunday, March 26, 2017

Making a New Paint Box

I have used and loved my watercolour box for 40 years, unfortunately it is now full of rust and not big enough for all the paints that I like to own.  I will keep the box as it has travelled all over the world with me but the time has come for it to go into retirement.  I was going to buy a cigar box and make a new one but that felt a little bit too easy, so this is how I made a new one.
Now my woodworking skills are a little rudimentary, plus I don’t own any jig saws or fancy machines so I thought that I would buy strip wood and design it from the paint pans outwards.
I got pine strip wood 90 cm long that measured 9.2 cm wide, one that measured 2.5 cm wide and one that measured 1.8 cm wide, they were all 6mm thick.  I got a lovely length of wood that was 5mm square, I got a long hinge of 30 cm and some smallish screws, various glues and some cocktail sticks. And set to work.
I played about with the paint pans and made a basic plan.  I did some measuring and cut the strip wood up into the right lengths.
With a bit of glue and then pegs made from cocktail sticks I ended up with a box.  The small square strip wood made the dividing places to hold all the paint pans in place. 
I had to add some extra strips of wood to take up the screws for the hinge and I added a strip of wood so that I could put folded up paper towels inside the box.  
The inside had four coats of gesso and one of white emulsion, I thought that would make a good surface for a palette.  The rest had a good staining then got waxed with black bison wax, mainly because I like the smell.  

 After it was all dry I put all the paint pans in with a little silicone glue to hold them in place.

So now it will gather a lovely patina of paint as it is used and I have a lovely new paint box for the next 40 years.


6 comments:

Katherine Tyrrell said...

That's a brilliant design! Now file your patent, find a man who can make these and start selling!

Jim Serrett said...


That is very, very cool, great information on the how to. I love that you built the whole thing with simple hand tools. Beautiful paint box and a superb share, thank you.

vivien said...

love it!

Fred Marsh said...

Why a man??

laura said...

How ambitious! And you did it beautifully--love the finished product.
My old tin palettes are all rusty too; I tried rubbing off the rust and painting the box, but the results were not so pleasing!
At an exhibit in Boston I once saw Winslow Homer's old metal paint box, just like the one you picture here. I think it's a great idea to keep it as an artefact!

Mireille said...

Très bonne idée, résultat magnifique, qui donne encore plus envie de peindre ! bravo