Here’s my setup while test driving the new box!
Click on any images below for a larger view. The post below this one gives instructions for making the box shown in these images.
I’ve had this idea brewing in my head for almost a year, and finally made my car/laptop painting box this weekend! I wanted something extremely lightweight. This is made out of a single sheet of black foamcore! I used foamcore to make my pastel boxes, and was amazed by how sturdy it turned out to be when constructed properly. I used the same techniques to create this painting box. Best of all is that it weighs only one pound!
The white palette is a foam meat tray. I found them in an 11.25 x 9.25″ size and thought that would be ideal for palette inserts for my box, and also to use as palettes for oils and acrylics in open studio. They are perfect for gouache and casein too! I found a place online that had them and ordered a case of 250. A stack of four can fit in this lap box.
Here’s what the case looks like when it’s closed up for traveling. It measures 17x10x2″. The front closures are velcro strips.
The box is sealed with a couple of coats of Golden GAC100, so it can be wiped clean and should be fairly water resistant in case of water and paint spills.
Inside the box, there’s ample room for brushes, paints, several foam palettes, paper towels, a small solvent container like the mini one made by Guerrilla Painter, or a collapsible water container like this Aqua Tote for acrylics.
I found the little containers (above) in the camping department at a sporting goods store. They have an air-tight seal, so I think they should work out great for holding and storing all types of paints. With these two, I can hold more than enough colors for an outing plus a way to store leftovers when I’m done. However, the box is deep enough to hold tubes of paint if I prefer to bring the tubes.
I decided to make the back hinges out of heavy duty velcro. Because this box is for multi-media use, and I also plan to use it for painting in my car, I wanted it to be as versatile as possible. Velcro hinges make the lid completely removable if the car is tight for space and I want to separate my drawing/painting support from the box itself, or if I need to lie it flat for watercolor work.
This side arm prevents the box lid/painting support from opening too far. I decided to use velcro for this feature as well, in order to have greater adjustment potential. The velcro “hook” strips along the side (above) and the back (below) secure the arm made of the “loop” velcro.
The Aqua Tote water holder, below, is one of my favoite items of painting gear for water media. Not only does it pack up into a small space in the box, but it also serves as my brush holder, and is very lightweight.
These are available online from Dick Blick, Jerrys Artarama, and ASWexpress.com.
Another helpful item I found recently was a package of small misters. These are helpful for keeping acrylic paints wet on the palette, as well as for moistening paper for watercolor and acrylic wet techniques. They are only four inches long and 1/2″ wide. I found them at my local Michael’s Arts and Crafts shop.
Now that I’ve finished taking photos and typing all this out, I’m going to find something to paint and give my new box a test drive!
Update after field testing:
I’d suggest using duct tape for the back hinge instead of the velcro strips. I’ve found that I have yet to make use of the capability to remove the box lid, and the velcro strips keep pulling up.
Instead of office clips to affix my painting support, I am finding blu-tac much more convenient. It enables me to paint right up to the edges of my work.
The office clips can be used on the left side of the lid (if right handed) to clip some paper towels or a rag to the lid. That way, the left side of the lower tray can be reserved for paint tubes/containers, mediums, and water/turp.