DIY: Wet Painting Carrier
I needed a wet painting box that would travel long distance. Inside a small boat, on a trailer, bouncing down a thousand miles of highway. …And I wanted it to survive the trip.
Sure, there are commercial wet painting carriers available, and plans shared on the Internet for cardboard varieties. Most of them, though, are for canvas panels, and I prefer the gallery wrapped, heavy-duty duck, inch-and-a-half thick canvases.
So, I made my own. They’re the four boxes sitting on top of my first try, a lovely lightweight shelving frame that would have fit perfectly between the bench seats on the boat. I was finishing it, when my husband asked, “Will that fit through the door?”
Back to the DIY Project (no need to dwell): For panels, wood supports, or thinner canvases, you can adjust the spacing on the dividing rails to the width of your support–but do add a bit of wiggle room.
Here’s how: Select Your Size of Canvas, and decide how many you’ll want to carry on a field trip; for the inch-and-a-half thick type, a box made of 6″ wide boards (which are not really six inches wide but we’re not in charge of that) will hold three canvases each.
Procure Your Lumber (the small box shown on top is made entirely out of scrap 1×6 pine boards, but the larger boxes are made from lighter weight, half-inch thick poplar boards and quarter-inch oak panels).
Measure and Mark. I kept it simple (nobody comes around, asking me for dovetails). Both top and bottom were the width of the canvas plus a quarter-inch tolerance (or a bit less). Both sides were the height of the canvas plus the depth of the top and bottom boards.
I cut the wood and held the side board against the bottom board on a flat surface, drilled holes, and screwed each into the edge of the bottom board.
Dividers. I used 99-cent, quarter-inch basswood from Michaels to make rails along both sides. There was just enough room for my three inch-and-a-half deep canvases, three basswood rails, and a bare eighth-inch extra in each space.
I plan to lay the boxes flat in storage, so wet paintings will be “shelved” facing up, and that extra eighth-inch might minimize smearing or sticking on the long trips home.
Mark, Glue, and Tack Dividers. I started by laying the first basswood rail along an edge of each side. This rail prevents the top of the wet painting in that slot from touching the inside of the completed box.
Next, I measured and marked, and glued and tacked in the two remaining rails.
Only the two side boards received basswood rails.
Paneling is where I really slipped up, as you’ll see. Theoretically, it’s simple: cut your quarter-inch thin panels the same length, and your box will be square as long as your corners are square.
Ummm… Maybe it was that quarter-inch tolerance, under “Measure and Mark?”
Glue and tack as needed to correct any mis-steps which might cause one canvas to want to fall upon its neighbor.
If this is the case, use the slimmest possible shims. …And, before the glue dries, make sure the canvases still fit in their slots. Better yet, re-think my quarter-inch tolerance!
I used leftover porcelain knobs from a kitchen project, plastic cable carriers as turnbuckles for the lids, and sewed some old webbing to brass D-rings to serve as straps. For salt-water painting sites, I bought stainless steel screw-in tie-downs and stainless steel screws, but the SS snap hooks for the straps are costly. I bought only one set; the others are plated. Brass snap hooks would work around salt water, but the hardware stores in my area are selling bronze in place of brass. I’ll expect to replace the plated hardware.