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Garage Sale Remake: My $13.25 Custom Kit!

I’ve had so much fun lately seeing what other artists have done online, tricking out empty wood boxes and turning them into awesome kits!  So, when I saw this wood box at a garage sale for $2 a few weeks ago, I snatched it up!  With my background as a product designer and a retail display designer, I was really in my element with this project!

 All of the dividers were just pieces of cardboard, which came out very easily to reveal a nice, sturdy box:

I removed ALL of the hardware (handles, latches, hinges, and metal corners), sanded the whole thing, and then primed it with white…

…then I used some paint that I already had on hand from previous projects to paint the box.  The outside I painted a really dark gray, and the inside is sortof a blue-ish purple.  You can see here that I also put in a couple eye screws and a chain so that the lid would stay vertical when open, making a perfect design menu surface!  I spent about $5 on new screws to re-attach all the hardware. (the old ones were pretty rusty)  So, at this point I’ve invested $7.00…

I really loved the old-tyme-ie suitcase look that it had with the leather handles and hardware, so when it came time to decorate the outside, I let the box itself inspire me!  

design sketched out with a white colored pencil

starting to paint it in…

I used acrylic paint to add some “leather” straps (that align with the case’s latches), and then painted some “patches” on the case.  If you have ever traveled with me, you would know my suitcase is covered with patches that I’ve collected from my travels.  There is never any mistaking my luggage for someone else’s!  So, for my paint kit I did a big patch for my business name (Paintertainment), a happy face patch (because hey, my job is to make people smile!), a patch with a brush and paint blob to match my brand, and then a triangular patch with my home city’s name.  I could keep painting patches forever but stopped myself….think it turned out pretty cute!

I debated for a while whether I should put some sort of folding legs on the bottom to make the case it’s own table…possibly adding wheels and a handle.  But, then I realized that my little folding cart (similar to this one) works perfectly to add these functions without having to add more bulk to the box itself…

…this cart folds down to just a couple inches thick which is great for transport.  When opened up, I can simply set my case inside and wheel it to my gig.  Then, when it comes time to set up, I can just set the case right on this cart and I have my table!

The box sitting on my cart is just the right height!

I found this great little set of battery powered LED lights on Amazon for $6.25 and attached them around the inside of the cover with hot glue.  It works great to both attract attention to my services and light up my design menu.  So that’s where I’ve reached my whopping $13.25 investment.  Of course I did have a lot of materials on hand already that I know most people don’t have lying around, but I was so happy to have spent so little for this little experiment!

Battery box and switch for the lights…attached with velcro to the top corner in the lid

The white background of my design menu is made using some magnetic receptive vinyl.  I had scraps left over from one of my old county fair booths.  It’s not a magnet itself, and is not metal, but magnets stick to it.  It was a super expensive purchase for my booth years back, but I’ve gotten so many displays out of it. I had a couple scraps left that were just enough to cover the inside lid of my box. All of my designs are magnets so I can always change my boards in seconds. The vinyl is so much lighter than the old sheets of steel I used to use.  Next, I needed something to cover my designs but didn’t want any heavy plastic or glass.  So, I cut a piece of clear vinyl, attached ahesive-backed magnet strips all around the back edges, hid the magnet from the front with a nice piece of ribbon that matches the inside purple color, and it simply sticks onto the vinyl, covering and protecting my designs from any water splashes.  (and weighing next to nothing!)

Clear vinyl sheet attaches to the magnetic receptive vinyl backing to cover design menu.

I love this business card holder…I think I got it years back as a freebie from a vendor while I was working as a display designer for Best Buy….

Business card holder, velcro’d to the lid

…The spring holds my cards up and fans them out so it’s super easy for people to grab them.  I put some velcro on the bottom so it attaches to the top of my lid when it’s open.

I cut a piece of black towel to fit inside the bottom of the case, which also attached with velcro so I can pull it out and wash it.

Set up and ready to use!

I’m thinking about putting some sort of sign on the front of my cart.  But, I’m also thinking that I can maybe attach my balloon twisting apron around that case if I’m doing both.  I just started twisting and I’m still waiting for my new apron to arrive!!  You can see my tray of paints sits nicely on the edges of the box, but I put that on my lap when I paint.  So, underneath I have my laptop case full of all my TAG one strokes and base blenders.  On top of that is my hand mirror.  My glitters always look nice and organized in their little jars!

I keep my paints in screw-together jars (less lids to worry about), and when I’m painting I set them on a towel lined tray that sits on my lap.  In the spirit of re-designing my kit, I thought I’d cut a couple towels to exactly fit my tray too, and add velcro.  They look really nice and neat…

I have a double layer of towel along the right side of the tray because I tend to dab off my brushes and lay them there after rinsing them.

Case with all my paints packed in

Everything fits nicely in the box.  My little Loew Cornell brush well ($5.49) is great for compact kits like this. You can see it on the far right…I covered mine with some funky duct tape that matches my Fatmax.  But, it works as a brush holder that protects all the bristles, AND the cover acts as a rinse water jar when opened.

SO, there you have it!  I have tried many different things in my 18+ years as a professional face painter, and I am excited to try out this new kit.  I’ll have to stop back and leave a review once I’ve painted with it.  Last year I purchased a Fatmax after reading so many rave reviews about them.  I kindof have a love-hate relationship with my Fatmax.  I love that I can bring just about EVERYTHING I own and have it all instantly accessible for the gigs that require this.  But it’s also murder on my already bad back getting it in and out of my car.  My other setup, which consists of a grocery cart with a custom fitting tabletop and fabric wrap, works really awesome, is super lightweight, and takes up very little space.  But, it doesn’t have quite enough tabletop space now that I’m carrying a kit of one strokes.  So, we shall see how this kit fits into my spectrum!  I still find myself choosing certain kits for certain gigs, and I think this will be a great one when I need to be super compact.  It can also work great just sitting on any existing table if I’m provided one.  So, stay tuned…I’ll try to post about how it worked once I’ve used it at an event!