Monday, December 22, 2008


Here's a page from my daily Moleskine journal. I draw and write with a Gel Xtreme pen by Y&C to make and add watercolor from my little recycled Altoid's tin which is now a handy paintbox.

Making little paintboxes has become a bit of an obsession. I collect flat, lightweight containers such as makeup compacts, vintage metal cigarette boxes, vintage aluminum soap boxes, children's watercolor sets, mint, candy, and cough drop boxes can be converted into little paintboxes. I spray the inside of the boxes with white enamel so I can use this as a mixing area. I order empty half pans and full pans from Daniel Smith and adhere them to the bottom of the box with doublestick carpet tape, fill them with a warm and a cool of 3 basic colors, add a tiny Koi waterbrush, and I'm set to paint wherever I go.

The face is a handcarved rubber stamp that I made from a tracing of a photograph. It was very difficult to carve the details but it's close enoough so that I don't feel the need to re-do the carving.


  1. Anonymous10:02 AM PST

    Jo I haven't looked at blogs in so long yours is just dreamy. I love this little box so much it makes me want to start learning how to watercolor....and your journal page with your image is just so inspiring. Now I will have to start collecting little tin boxes. How cool they would make for gifts.
    Miss you.

  2. You're right about these boxes making good gifts, Randi, although I find it hard to give any away yet. I need one for my purse, one for the car, one in the kitchen, one in the living room, and several just because. Making them is addictive and fortunately, so is using them, though they aren't big enough for serious watercolors. They are wonderful for travel journals because they can be put to use in an instant.

  3. Anonymous9:27 PM PST

    These are so cool (the sketchbook page, stamp and paintbox). Thanks for instructions on how to make the box. I have some new gouache paints coming from Dick Blick this week and making one of these would be perfect. Thanks!

  4. Let me know how it works for you, Jana. I used carpet tape to adhere the pans to the box. Carpet tape is double-sided and very sticky and works well for lots of heavy duty sticky needs.

  5. What charming little paint boxes those are...and such a terrific idea for all those little boxes that seem, for some reason, so hard to throw
    Also...wonderful job on that face stamp!


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