Custom Art Supplies Chest





Introduction: Custom Art Supplies Chest

My brother asked me to make him an art tote with a handle to help him lug around his art supplies. I didn't want to do a tote because that seemed too easy so I made a chest instead. I didn't plan to make an instructable for this so my pictures aren't very informative so bear with me.

Step 1: Supplies

I used quite a bit of materials. So I'm just gonna throw them all out here

Tools :
Miter saw
Circular saw (table saw if you have one)
Drill bits for drilling various size holes
Finish nail gun

Materials :
Wood, birch, pine, whatever you want
Aluminum trim pieces
Furniture pins
Plumbing conduit
Chest handles
Pvc pipe
epoxy resin
Wood glue
Wood screws

Step 2: Cut the Wood to the Size of the Chest.

Mine was 24 inches long, 15 inches high and 13 inches wide. Then glue each side and put some screws in to the sides if you think it'll need it. I used a finish nail gun to put some 2 inch nails into it, I didn't want the screws to get into the way of the metal trim I'd attach later I did put screws into the bottom to hold the sides in place.

Step 3: Make the Drawer

I stained the inside and then cut out a hole into the side that would fit a small drawer into it. Then I made the draw basically the same way I made the chest, but the front I made larger than the hole so that it wouldn't slide all the way in.

Step 4: Make the Inside Sections.

I just cut some thin strips of wood and glued then down to form sections. The drawer goes under one if the sections, so I had that section elevated so the drawer would go under it. I'm sure that's confusing without pictures. Sorry

Step 5: Brush Holders

I wanted a removable brush holder that he could take out and put on his desk while he worked. I left a space in the chest for this to nestle into when he's not using it, so I measured that space and cut the wood to that size, then drilled holes into the wood. I used different sizes. My idea is that the larger holes can hold some markers, scissors or whatever larger utensils he uses and the small ones for his brushes, pens, pencils. Whatever he wants.

Step 6: Attach Sides and Bottom

I made the two side walls and bottom of it then attached with glue and finish nails. I made it 4 inches tall. Then stained it and sprayed it with 5 coats of lacquer

Step 7: Pvc and Epoxy

I have no photos of this. And it was the most complicated part so naturally this won't make sense, but here goes anyway.
I needed to have the utensils confined into the holes they are set in, basically they needed to have walls so that if something falls in then it won't be sliding around inside.
So I cut different size pvc pipe to fit the holes. Some I had to cut a bit of the pipe off to fit up against the side. Of course I didn't think about the hole size so finding the correct size wasn't possible so I had to just get what was closest to the hole size. Then spray painted them just so they'd be a uniform color and slid them under the holes. (this is why I only put two walls up at first.) I tried to glue the pvc into place, but that was about as effective as trying to kill a cockroach with one hit. So I improvised, which worked out well. I got some epoxy resin and mixed it and poured in a very small amount into each hole, just enough to come up about a quarter inch into the pvc pipe, holding it into place. Once it fully cured (72 hours later) the pvc was firm in place. This also is great because now the bottom of each hole is highly waterproof so any wet brushes he drops in, it won't be an issue.

I then screwed in one of those bolt things with the hole in the top to serve as the handle.

Step 8: Making Removable Tray

Again, no pictures of the process. My bad.
I wanted to have a tray he could put his oil paints on that he could also take out and put on his desk while working. This would only fit at the top of the chest, so I screwed some 1x1 into the sides of the walls about 3 inches down for the tray to sit on. I didn't make the tray the entire length of the chest because the brush holder needed to be removable and the 1x1 would have gotten in the way trying to pull it out. So I just made it large enough to come to the edge of the brush holder.
The tray is made out of 1/4 inch birch plywood and it's just a basic tray with 2 1/2 inch walls. I attached two small knobs on both sides. They were actually the pieces that attach to the top of a lampshade to hold it into place. I just screwed a bolt through the bottom of it and screwed the knob on then I poured some more of that handy epoxy I had to make that waterproof as well. And because it will be holding his paints it will help protect the wood and be cleanable.

Step 9: Attach the Outer Hardware

Before I attached the hardware I sprayed the entire thing, inside and out, with lacquer. 5 coats. I attached a hinge that extended the length of the chest and attached the lid. Then I glued on some aluminum trim that I got from lowes. I'm not sure what exactly its use is so I can't even tell you what it is or how to find it. But I got it with the metal corner guards and other metal materials.
I just used some construction adhesive to attach it, but I could still pull it off so I drilled holes in it every couple inches and hammered in some silver furniture tacks. It adds a bit of support and decoration.

Step 10: Handles and Latches

I wanted the handle to be semi unique looking so I got some galvanized piping and conduit and made a handle and bolted it down on the top. I attached one front latch that can be locked and then two more fastening latches on both sides, just to help keep it shut since the lid is so large.
I got two chest handles that collapse so they don't stick out so much. The chest is so heavy with all the crap I put into it. (40 lbs) so it's not practical to use the top handle because it's so large to hold with one hand. Which is why I attached the side handles.
I also put a simple handle on the drawer.

Now the chain hanging awkwardly on the side is an unfortunate necessity. I needed something to support the lid so that all the weight isn't on the hinge. But I didn't save any space to attach any hardware on the inside or it would get in the way of either the tray, or brush holder and they wouldn't be able to be removed. So I had to attach this eye sore to the outside of the case on one side to hold the lid.

Step 11: Fill'er Up!

My brother lives across country so I just staged this to show what my idea of what the spaces would be used for.
Sorry I didn't have the best pictures to show the process. If you have any questions about how I did something feel free to ask.



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    20 Discussions

    At least you finish a project before you get bored. I have about 10 half finished projects that I have to force myself to go back I normally finish them 6 months to a year later.

    Thanks a bunch! I'd love to sell the stuff that I make. I'm no pro though. Plus I lose about half of my interest after making something once. I like to make new and custom things more than I do duplicates.

    How much did it cost total to make it? It's absolutely stunning!

    1 reply

    Thanks a lot. It cost memore than you'd think, about $220 in total. It was more than I'd planned. But I'm including in that cost the stain, lacquer, a saw blade and a few other materials you may already have on hand. If I were to duplicate it I could probably do it for $175

    Great job!! That's freakin awesome!!! That could maybe also be used as a knitting chest? I am going to show this to my husband in the morning! That's beautiful! I want one!

    1 reply

    Hey thanks! I did stage it with some yarn so I'd say sure it could be a knitting chest.

    How much did it cost total to make it? It's absolutely stunning!

    Nice job! Could be modified to be less bulky, but the idea is great.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    This is. Wonderful instructable. I am definitely going to make one. How much does it weigh. I might have to add wheels or a carry strap as I am often carrying tools and supplies back and for to class and workshops. I love the removable tray and side drawer. Well thought out.

    1 reply

    Thank you. It is actually very heavy for its design. It is 38 lbs empty. Meaning any added weight from the actual supplies would make it not practical to carry often. So it's intended purpose was lost in the making. It just got too bulky and heavy. So I see it more as a stationary art supply box. It certainly could be carried and moved, but you'd just have to be willing to lift it. A shoulder strap wouldn't be of much use because of how wide it is. But wheels would work perfectly. I just don't like the look of wheels. But if you modified this to fit your needs you could make it lighter and maybe smaller and use a shoulder strap. It's very tall because my brother uses oil brushes which are like 15 inches tall so I needed it to be tall enough to house those.

    In hindsight I'd use a lighter wood. I used different sizes all around but I'd recommend nothing greater than 1/2 inch for any of it. I'd also cut the house in the brush holder after getting the pvc pipe. That way it could just slide into the holes and I could just pour the resin into each without needing to glue them down. Believe it or not but I used an entire tube of construction adhesive trying to fill the voids between the pvc pipes so they wouldn't move around so that added unnecessary weight.
    Thanks again for the interest. Hope yours turns out lighter than mine

    you didn't intend for this to be an instructable? WHAT!?!? this is better than most instructables!

    1 reply

    Haha thanks! I just didn't take many pictures of the actual construction of it so it isn't too detailed. I think most people just go by pictures on here.

    I hope so. Gonna cost me 100 bucks to ship the thing. He better love it :)