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Friday, April 19, 2013

R is for Repurposing Boxes for Pastels

'Canyon Country'          5x7         pastel       ©Karen Margulis
click here to purchase $75

'Raven Watch II'      5x7     pastel   Click here to purchase $75

Both paintings done with the pastels in my Box #1

I have a thing for boxes.  I love a good box and I tend to collect them in my thrift store forays.  I'm not always sure how I will use them but I can't resist a well made box.  Recently I went through my collection to come up with possible candidates for a small plein air box for pastels.

Oh I have my trusty Heilman box. But I will be going on a three week adventure in the Southwest and my travel companions have agreed to travel very light. So no big box and easel for me. I came up with three possible solutions and I will be trying them out over the next few weeks. 

I had a great time repurposing these boxes and would like to share a few tips.

Box #1

 Box #1  Is a small black aluminum case that once held binoculars. I took out the dividers and found an empty Unison pastel box that fit snugly into the case.  I lined the unison box with foam (from a fabric store)  You can fit a surprising number of pastels in a small box if you use small pieces. For transport I will put the lid on the Unison box and secure it with rubber bands.

The great thing about this little box is that it has a hinge that allows the lid to stay open. I can prop a foamcore board and paint...a mini pochade! Everything is stored behind the lid flap.

Box #2

Box #2 is my well travelled 'cruise ship' pastel box.  This thin wood box was a Mancala game box.  I removed the innards and lined it with foam. It holds lots of pastels and they never break or shift in travel. The lid on this box opens completely flat which is great for painting in windy conditions. The box won't blow over!  I love this box!

Box #3

Box #3 is a lightweight aluminum box that once held barbque tools.  It doesn't open flat so I am able to use it to paint like a small pochade box.  I repurposed a small cardboard box from some Diane Townsend pastels lined with foam and filled with a selection of small pastels.  Not shown in this picture is the piece of foamcore I put into the lid to hold my extra supplies.


Sarah Bachhuber Peroutka said...

I love how you think outside the box! The big, heavy expensive commercially made boxes, that is! I'm in Spain right lugging around a heavy load and boy-o-boy am I going to reduce, reuse, recycle when I get home! sarahperoutkastudio.com

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Great ideas on all these fantastic boxes. I confess I am always on the lookout for the perfect box. It is nice to have different sized sets to pack along on a trip.

I also use my extra sets as class supplies to share with my workshop students who don't want to buy supplies.

Cris K said...

My great discovery is cigar boxes. Most tobacco shops have empties for sale for about $1-2. They are still made of wood and quite lovely.

I use mine to section off my studio drawer of pastels. Not sure how to use for travel, but I will keep you posted.

Adriana Guidi said...

I love all your ideas on boxes Karen! I'm always saving boxes thinking they'll come in handy like this.

Amy R said...

Love your alphabet series of posts and especially this one on repurposing boxes. I found one I'd like to repurpose -- it will lay flat and I could put pastels on each side. My question: how can I secure the pastels when I close it? Put an inner board on each side, but how could I secure it? What do you recommend? Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, something else I can look for in second-hand shops.

Karen said...

Thanks everyone for the great comments and ideas. It is so much fun to see what we can make from thrift store finds!!