Build your own French Mistress...

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


I first posted this DIY onto my own blog early in April of 2013. I thought I'd re-post it here with a few edits to help better understand the dimensions and materials I used. I built this paint box for my studio to replace the way-too-small palette I was using before. How they got the name "French Mistress" I have no idea, other than maybe the folks at Richeson were feeling bawdy in the naming office one day. Anyways, I took some photos along the way so I could tell you how it was built. The box holds a 16x20 sheet of glass for a palette.

Materials:

Sheet of wood, at least 44"x18"
Glass panel, 16x20"
6 poplar square dowels, 36"x3/4"
Wood glue.
Wood finish
Shellac.
2 12" piano hinges
8 decorative corners(optional)
2 brass toggle catches
Enough acrylic paint to cover a 16x20" panel. Colors: white+black/umber/etc (your choice)
Silicone caulk

Step 1: I planned out what I needed. I took a sheet of birch plywood that I bought from OSH, but whatever sheet of wood that you prefer should work. The one I used was slightly less the 24x48, with a 7/32" thickness. I also got 6 each of the 36" poplar square dowels with a 3/4" thickness.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

Step 2: I carefully measured where I needed to cut the square poplar dowels down to the size I needed to make the parts of the box. I cut them down to these sizes:
  • 2 each at 21-3/4" in length
  • 4 each at 10-13/16" in length
  • 6 each at 17-3/4" in length
I then cut opposing 45° at the ends of each of these newly-cut square poplar dowels.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 3:  I cut the sheet of birch plywood into 3 separate pieces:
  • 1 piece at 21-3/4" x 17-3/4"
  • 2 pieces at 10-13/16" x 17-3/4"

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 4: I then glued the square poplar dowels to the freshly cut birch panels. It helps to have C-clamps to make sure they adhere securely to the panels, if you have them handy.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

*Sidenote: If you want to make these into cradle board canvas panels, simply stop here and glue canvas to the front side of the panel.

Step 5: I next applied several coats of wood finish to every exposed part of the wood with a bristle brush.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 6: Once the wood finish dried, I applied a couple of coats of shellac to each side of the panel. I then waited a few minutes for it to dry.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 7: I then screwed the piano hinges to the sides of the poplars so that the hinges fold inward. This will make sure the box closes shut. Be careful to line up the hinge with the edge so that the box closes straight.


DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 8 (optional): I screwed in 8 decorative corners to the box (4 on the bottom, 4 on top). Not only do they help protect the corners from getting banged up, but they add a touch of class to the box.


DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box



Step 9: I screwed one brass toggle catch on each side of the box lid. This will make sure the lid doesn't open if you move it.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


  Step 10: I like mixing on a toned palette, so what I did was take a mix of white/burnt umber/red oxide acrylic paint (well mixed, no streaks), covered one side of the glass, let it dry, flipped the pane over, then set it aside.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 11: I spread silicone caulk and applied it to the sides and corners of the box, and created an "X" in the center of the box.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Step 12: I set the glass painted-side-down into the box, let the caulk dry to seal the palette to the box, and then laid some paint down on it!

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Optional mods: I drilled a screw into the side of the right-hand box lid. When I slide my palette cup around the screw, it makes sure it doesn't slide everywhere when you're using it. I also cut 4 foam squares to glue to the corners of the lid. This will cushion the lid when you close the box, as well as help it the box top lay flat while closed.

DIY Build your own "French Mistress" Palette Box


Let me know if you have any improvements to the set-up! I'm all ears.

Bonus! Link to the Youtube video: http://youtu.be/D1YjqYtqbxg



Sergio Lopez
Sergio Lopez
Painter and Instructor, Sergio's passionate about painting the figure and blogging about his experiences as a plein air and studio painter.
You can also find him here: www.themainloop.com      CONTINUE READING MORE
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