Oil Painting Box Converted to Plein Air Easel

Oil Painting Box Converted to Plein Air Easel:
shown with a disposable palette paper  pad and  clip-on medium cup

I took an old oil paint box (a Grumbacher Starter Oil Paint Set in Box from my college days) and put a "Guerrila Painter Universal Tripod Mount Kit" on the bottom (available at Judson's Outfitters for about $17).  Because the mount plate is raised, they include rubber screw-on feet for the corners of your box so that you can place it on a table and it will be secure and level.

I have an old  tripod (Slik U8000 - still for sale on Amazon for about $40) with a quick release plate that fits the universal adapter kit.  It works wonderful!
Later I decided 4 mirror clips were enough, and also I trimmed them shorter

The lid of the box has two slots for 16 x 20 panels.  When open, I can paint directly on a panel, and when done, reverse it to store facing the top of the box so the contents of the box do not touch your painting when you close the box and tote it around.
After painting, take the board out and turn it around for transport

If I have a smaller panel to paint on, I use an old 16 x 20 panel as a support board.  To secure the painting panel to the support board, I drilled 4 holes through the support board and then placed plastic mirror holders (at the hardware store) with short bolts (#6-32 x 3/4" Machine Screws) and wingnuts (#6-32) to the back.  The wingnuts protruding on the back of the support board have enough room because there are two panel slots in the lid of the box.  When done painting, I turn it around and slide in in facing the box lid and this protects the painting in transport.

I did find the plastic mirror holders too "deep" and infringed on the painting area too much, so after taking this picture, I took a dremel tool with cutting wheel and trimmed them so the flange was just enough to hold the painting panel.  I did have to use a vice to hold the plastic piece to do this.

I also wanted the option of adding a shoulder strap for carrying this paint box.  After taking these pictures, I purchased two Crown Bolt #4 EEL/Zinc plated DR#-25, BIN-H Dr# 963 plate with swivel ring end at the hardware store and used wood screws to secure it to each side of the box.  I have an old shoulder strap from a computer bag that I clip on whatever box I am using that day.

I no longer had the original palette that came with the box, so I ordered another 16 x 20 from Jerry's Artarama.  I coated it with several coats of polyurethane and now mix my paints on it with the comfort of the finger hole while holding, or I place it on top of the open box if I want both hands free.  After cleaning the palette from the day's painting, it stores on top of the loose gear and holds it in place while the box is closed.

This set up was very affordable and works great, is fairly light, sets up fast and you can hang stuff from bungee cords and clips from the tripod or the box side.  I bought a tripod case with shoulder strap, and then all I need is a light backpack with paper towels, lunch, drink, sketchbook, and medium and turp.

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