Introduction: Portable Art Box

As an artist, I like to draw a lot. Unfortunately, when away from my house I never have a drawing utensil or paper. I came up with this idea for a portable art box that has all a person needs to draw inside a mint tin.

It can be personalized and is easy to work with. Plus the mints that come in the tin can be a tasty snack while you work.

Step 1: Materials

Some of these materials can be changed, depending on what you have or what you can find.

For the box:

  • Mint tin,I used an Altoids box
  • Small, divided box
  • 4 rivets
  • 1 1/2 inch hinge
  • Velcro
  • Thick cardboard or other strudy material
  • Duct tape
  • Small pencils or other drawing utencils (2 1/2 inches or smaller)
  • Small pencil sharpener
  • Eraser
  • Business cards or folded paper


  • Riveter
  • Drill
  • Dremel
  • Metal cutter, wire cutter, or anything else to cut plastic

For Personalizing:
  • Acrylic paint
  • Gloss finish
  • Anything else!

Step 2: Attaching the Hinge

The hinge is what the pencil holder is attached to so that the holder can swing up for easy access. To attach it, first configure the hinge so that is does not stop the lid from closing, then mark the holes and drill them out so that the rivet can fit. Set the rivet in place so that the washer and the part that will expand is on the inside of the box. This is so that there will not be an ugly lump on top of the box. Use the riveter to attach the rivet and use the dremel to saw off the top of the lump.

Step 3: Attaching the Pencil Holder

Use the metal cutters or wire cutters to cut off a part of the plastic box that will fit the hinge. Also cut off the corners and a part of the middle divider(s) so that the corners don't get in the way of putting the pencil holder down and the holder is prettywell against the hinge. mark the holes and drill them out. Align the rivet so that the washer and expanding end is facing up when the holder is down. Use the riveter to attach the rivet and the dremel to saw the top of the lump off.

Note: Some of the pictures show a screw instead of a rivet. I would use rivets because they are more permanent.

Step 4: Make the Pencil Holder

Take the cardboard or other sturdy material and align it where it covers the base of the holder, but dosen't touch the rivets. Cut out this area and duct tape it to the pencil holder. I would suggest also putting some duct tape at the base of the holder so the pencils don't slide out.

Step 5: Velcro

Take a peice of velcro about 1 1/2 in. wide and 3/4 in. tall and put it on the underside of the pencil holder and the lid of the tin. This will keep the holder from flopping around. Also put some velcro on the underside of the pencil sharpener and the eraser, then arrange them so that they will fit with the lid closed and not be in the way of the pencil holder.

To make pencils that are small enough to fit, break them to where they are about 3 inches long, then sharpen them down to about 2 1/2 inches. You may want some other smaller pencils because bigger ones don't fit well with the pencil sharpener. Now just put the paper in and put it in your pocket!

Step 6: Personalizing

To really make your portable art box yours, try painting it or putting pictures on it or anything else. I use irradecent paint and did a celtic design with small gems on the medalions. To preserve the paint, I suggest a gloss finish.

Now go out there and draw in a public place with your box!

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