Making a Watercolour Box from Scratch

I have used and loved my watercolour box for 40 years, unfortunately it is now full of rust, not big enough for all the paints that I like to own. I will keep the box, 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 I decided to make a bespoke 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.



About Sarah

Sarah Wimperis is a professional artist and illustrator and also works for Artlook in Client Support and as our Artist Ambassador. Sarah's Artlook website is here.