A Simple Watercolor Box

A Simple Watercolor Box

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Watercolor “fly box” Paintbox is Updated now…click here to learn more!

Sketch Text:
I tend to learn things really well…primarily because I learn things The Hard Way. And so it has been with coming up with a watercolor box I am satisfied with.

First I bought one, pre-filled with the manufacturer’s favorite colors. Then I learned about using a minimal palette of colors and choosing my paints carefully over at HandPrint.com. I gave that box to a friend.

Then I built one using an “Altoids Curiously Strong Mints” box. I gave that one to a friend.

Several wooden boxes followed which were nice, that I also built. You guessed it…friends got those too.

Then I hit on this one and it’s a winner. It’s a plastic “Fly Box” from BassProShops.com. It costs $3.49, is small, floats, and fulfills my wildest watercolor box fantasies!

Added Comments:
I need to add that the wells in this box are also large enough for a 5/8″ flat brush to fit into. That was important to me because I know eventually I’ll attempt larger sketches or paintings in the field. And those will require larger brushes than the water brush I typically use.

15 thoughts on “A Simple Watercolor Box

  1. karen

    As one of the friends who got one of your former boxes, I have to say that my favorite box has been the wonderful tin box filled with Schmincke paints. I love the paints themselves, and I love the tinniness of the tin. I have begun refilling the wells, though I cannot swear I will always refill them with the color they originally held. Like you, I prefer to choose my own palette — though the one that the box came with was pretty darn close.

  2. Sarah

    I love posts about paint boxes! There is something about all those colors that entices me to make yet another. Have tried making several tiny ones but most leaked the softer tube paints, darn! Those plastic daily pill carriers seemed like a good idea but not so much in practice. (leaks) What I use most often is a tiny Winsor & Newton travel set that I pried the colors out of and added my own tube colors to the pans. (Love those Daniel Smith quinachridones). It is one without a built in water carrier, but that does make it smaller.

  3. Don

    Rowland, That’s a teeny little box and a good solution for getting the paints in there using the pans sans the pans. On a metal box like that you could just use regular ol’ enamel paint. looking forward to seeing your drawing of it ;-)

    Karen, I’m mighty glad you like that little box! It’s good to know it’s getting used :-) The Schmincke paints are really good. They seem to be more vibrant when they’ve dried. I’m using a mish-mash of paints these days but thinking I may just start using nothing but Schmincke. The Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna are really nice.

    Thanks for commenting y’all :-)

  4. Don Post author

    Hi Sarah!
    Thanks for commenting :-) Sounds like you’ve been through the trials and tribulations of “gettin’ satisfied” with your paint box as well :-) I think I’ve seen the W&N box you mentioned. They are hard to find though as I recall. Draw me a picture ;-)

  5. Rowlandwithaw

    Hi Sarah, (or anyone else who has an answer…)
    what are quinachridones?

    Is it a Mexican hallucinogenic drug?

    An extreme form of sport involving five games– a triathlon on amphetamines?

    Or simply some type of paint……

  6. Don Post author

    Lol! It DOES sound like a hallucinogenic doesn’t it :-)
    Those are a watercolor paint manufactured by Daniel Smith art supplies. Quinachridone is the chemical involved I think. Check out their site. It’s full of info. on their paints.

  7. Don West Post author

    Thanks for commenting Zoe :-)
    Mine is still going strong with no signs of wear on the painted surface. You wouldn’t have to even paint it if you can tolerate the semi-clear plastic background to mix your paint colors.

  8. Bj

    Are you still happy with this kit? How do you fit the brush in? I am having trouble to visualize that. Thanks!

  9. Don West Post author

    The brush doesn’t go in the watercolor box. I just put everything into a fanny pack. Have a look at this category to see all the tools I use and the fanny pack.
    Thanks for the question and for visiting :-)

  10. Carole Pivarnik

    This is a great little kit. I hadn’t thought yet to look in the fishing supplies section yet for box ideas! Making small watercolor sketch kits has become something of an addiction for me, and I can never get enough of reading about how others put their own kits together!

    I blogged about my Big Fat Sketch Kit (including a link to a video tour of its contents) if you’re interested to have a look. The watercolor box itself is made from a gift card tin (larger than an altoids tin); I bought some empty half and full pans and filled them with my own colors, then stuck them to the tin itself with that blue tacky stuff you use to hang pictures without using nails. So far has worked awesomely. Also has room for two travel brushes in the tin. Everything else goes into a pencil case or pouch…depending on how much I want to cart along. But the watercolor box is a staple.

    Thanks for sharing your own clever kit!

  11. Don West Post author

    Hi Carole!
    Thanks so much for commenting and for the link to your kit. I will indeed have a look at it
    and your website :-)

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