Thursday, May 07, 2009

Homemade Pastel Palette Trays and Storage

I've been reading on the web all the interesting ways pastel artists setup their palette, store and transport their pastels. Because I only recently returned to working with pastels, I've been collecting several different kinds and brands (GADS is that expensive!!). I've been very deliberate about returning each pastel back into its respective spot within the original packaging. (I'm really not THAT organized! hahaha) All the boxes took up a large amount of space on my work surface. I am sure I tended to grab just my favorites instead of picking the best color or hue for the task at hand.

After I recently got my plein air pochade box pastel palette filled, I thought it was time to tackle the studio palette. Here is the before view, taking up most of the left side of the work table. (I'm left handed.)

And below is the 'after' shot. I created several trays from foam core board which is extremely lightweight and easy to work with. I can slide these up to the top of my table, and it leaves me lots of room below to work. I left my pastel pencils in the original tin.

I was surprised how much empty space is left in each bin! I am sure eventually, they will be filled up. I attempted to organize these with the lights on the top and the darks on the bottom. I see looking at the photos that will take more work, but I don't think perfection is that important, since things will get moved around as I work. I'd just like to keep the lights on top to keep the dark dust from them.
I wanted these trays to fit inside an Artbin Super Satchel that I already owned. I thought it would be a nice size to hold everything when I wanted to put them away, and if I went to a class it would be easy to transport. I wanted to stack these and three tall worked out perfect. (My prototype tray turned out a tiny bit too wide and tall, but I can use it for holding my working pile of pastels.)

I took foam core board and created 1" high boxes. I cut a square at 12 3/4". Then cut the side pieces at 3/4" tall, so the trays end up close to 1" tall. I couldn't find my craft glue, so just used some liquid nails from a small tube which was handy. Turned out, this seemed to be a good choice. It grabbed quickly, didn't even require bracing, and setup really fast. I couldn't believe how sturdy these feel.

I thought about putting in dividers but I think I will work with these for awhile before I make up my mind. It will be easy enough to do later.

The glue is a beige instead of white, but that doesn't bother me much. I am sure eventually the boxes won't look so pristine anyway!

To give some cushion, I used thin white foam that is used inside padded shipping envelopes. I tacked it using double sided tape.
Here's a view of three trays stacked inside the Artbin. I might have to add some little handles made from clear packing tape to make them easier to lift each one out.
Here's a closed view. If I was going to take these to a workshop, I would layer some soft foam between and on top to keep the pastels from moving.

I always love to find inexpensive ways to solve a problem. Guess I'm just a cheapskate for some things. Now that I know how easy it is to build things with foam core, I'll have to think about what other ways I can use homemade boxes.

1 comment:

Marion said...