Tiny travel paintbox made from slide top tin

Make your own tiny watercolor box from a seamless metal slide top tin

You've probably seen my tiny watercolor travel boxes made from a mints tin and a smaller on made from a blush compact. Well, my husband definitely wanted a tiny one too but I needed to find another small tin for him. The box solution was this small simple and manly slide top aluminum tin that I bought for making up lip glosses and other tiny products or gifts.

watercolor box Sculpey

When I first started this research into making my own watercolor travel box, I found some very good ideas like this one above but the weight of the Sculpey clay seemed to be less than ideal so I went with my own idea of the Weldbond glue after making a small test sample. You can read about making them with Sculpey here.


This very small tin was only going to fit 10 tiny paint blobs so I started to build up the little walls with Weldbond glue. I pushed them around with a toothpick and as they dried in the sun I could pull the walls upwards instead of just letting them slump and run down into a puddle. This took a bit of patience but the results were worth it.


Above is the project with probably 2 layers of glue and they are about halfway through the building up and drying process which took place over a couple of days.


After a couple of days, the glue has completely set and is very firm. My husband chose his 10 watercolors from our selection of paint tubes and I squeezed in the paints in the layout he had selected.


Here the paints are drying in the tin.


You can see the tiny scale of this finished project, shown here in his palm with his folding Koi waterbrush.


The next day we took our tiny paintboxes out for breakfast at Molly's Reach, home of The Beachcombers TV show and made good use of them. We really only paint from about the time we sit down and order breakfast and the time that it arrives so speed is always in the mix.

Now that we have our smallest watercolour boxes possible there is no excuse for not taking them along with a tiny sketchbook and a pen to be ready to capture that great scene or interesting person at the bus stop, the doctor's waiting room, the commute home on the subway... whatever!

We recently did a home exchange with folks in Chicago and painted with these tiny sets almost every day! Honestly! When we visited some of my highly accomplished figurative artists, we showed them our tiny travel sets and our busy sketchbooks. They were amazed that we were able to work so small when some of them were working in huge scale like Matthew Almy at Ravenswood Atelier.

These magical little tins make wonderful present for anybody artistic! A fun project and they can just be refilled when the paints are used up. Perfect!


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