Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ready for the Great Outdoors

Steve and I have been busy this past week, working on making a do-it-yourself plein air pastel box to replace my old makeshift one that finally gave out, and we finished it up this evening. Steve picked up some wood and made the basic box along with the wood dividers to create the pastel compartments, and put a nice brass latch on as well. We took the leather carry strap off my old half-French easel that I no longer use in the field and used it for this box.
DIY Pastel Box Closed
A piano hinge holds the box sides together and allows the box to open flat for resting on the easel shelf. Steve made thin wood panels lined with foam to cover and cushion the pastels during transport, while I fastened canvas offset clips to  hold the panels in place when the box is closed. A divot was cut out of each panel for easier removal. I also attached screw eyes to the back of the box which hook onto locking levers attached to my French easel, keeping the box secure while painting. We used extra-thick cushiony drawer liner for the pastels to rest on in their respective compartments, and the cushioning, foam and divider strips were all glued down securely.
DIY Pastel Box Open, Panels in Place
My pastels are generally arranged more or less according to value, although I unfortunately am not strict about maintaining that and frequently find the different values "visiting" each others' compartments...
DIY Pastel Box Open; Panels Removed
The photo below shows the foam cushions glued to the panels, with spaces between them matching up to the pastel compartment dividers, to provide the panels a snug fit over the pastel compartments on each side of the box.
DIY Pastel Box Open; Panels Removed, Showing Foam Liners
Looking forward to taking the new box out for a test run!

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