But before I share, I just can't stress enough that when it comes to kits, one size most certainly does NOT fit all. My setup may not work for you, and vice versa. The important thing when looking at others' kits is to simply find ideas for storage, and then filter those ideas through your own work style. When deciding what to put where, think about things like:
- Where will I be standing and facing while working out of this kit?
- Where will my customer be standing/sitting or facing while being painted?
- What items do I use the most, and want closest to me?
- What items do I want with me, but can be hidden away when not in use?
- What items am I worried about kids getting their fingers into, and how can I avoid this with their position in my kit?
- Do I sit or stand when I paint?
- Where am I most messy when I paint, and will my kit be clean-able?
- How will everything shift when this is packed up and turned on it's side? Will anything get damaged? If so, how can I protect it?
- What sort of venues to I work in and what is my transportation to these venues? Is the size and weight practical in these situations?
- Where is the best place to put personal valuables?
- What areas of my kit do I want customers to interact with (ie buisness cards, mirror, design menu, etc) and what areas do I want them to stay away from (paints, brushes)? How can I make the boundaries clear to my customers?
- How permanent do I want everything? Will I move anything from one kit to another, or re-arrange things depending on the type of event?
- Will my kit need to be able to endure weather such as wind or rain?
- etc, etc...
If you'd like to look back at some of my other kits, you can see my wood "suitcase" style box kit here, or my smaller aluminum case kit here!
Last year I found a guitar case for about $20 bucks at Goodwill. After seeing so many cool guitar case kits on Facebook, I couldn't turn it down. In the same shopping trip I found a perfect mirror for it, a practice head, AND an ice tube mold (aka brush holder)! Score!
The first thing that had to be done was gutting the case...taking out all the white fur, foam, etc.
|Peeling out the fur and foam padding|
|Fur removed...as much as I could do with my hands|
|Using my dremmel to remove old glue, fur, etc|
The next issue to fix on this beaten up guitar case was the corners. The corners of your kit will take a lot of abuse, so it is important to make sure they are reinforced. On my kit, some of the corner molding was missing or cracked. So, I actually broke off any remaining pieces and realized the corner molding was the only thing really holding this kit together:
|Corner molding removed|
|Pulling out old hardware bits|
I started with my needlenose pliers, just pulling out whatever I could. Some of these popped out...others needed more help...
|Cutting off nail heads with a Dremmel|
The Dremmel tool again? Twice in one project? Yeah, I'd consider it paid for itself now! ;-) I used the cutting wheel to cut off the rivets that wouldn't pull out. Watch out for sparks!
But beware of cutting metal with your Dremmel as it gets hot....
|Accidental carpet "bling!"|
Don't do this with little kids in the room ...above is a hot nail head that flew off and melted it's way down into my FLOR carpet square! I now have a few of these little buggers in my studio carpet! ;-)
Now I had to basically re-assemble the thing with new corner guards. Naturally, my retail fixture design background told me to my faithful friend and supplier of all things hardware: McMaster-Carr. I ordered some black plastic corner guards with peel-n-stick adhesive backing that matched the remaining corner guards on the case. This was thin enough that I was able to cut it to length with a pair of scissors, and was able to slip the ends right back under the existing metal corner guards.
I decided to line the inside with adhesive backed black vinyl. Black because it hides dirt/paint, and vinyl because it is easy to wipe off and can be purchased in huge rolls. (less seams in your surface means less places for dirt and glitter to collect)
|Starting with the corners|
|cutting around the strap|
|Inside of the lid all covered|
I don't have a photo of this, but I took out some of those wood dividers. I left the two closest to you in the photo, and took out everything to the left. That left me with a section just the right size to snugly hold my laptop case, and the narrow section is where I put my stack of screw-together paint jars. If it doesn't work for your kit, take it out! But if it fits your supplies perfectly, why not use it, right?
Inside my lid I mounted that mirror you saw in the first photo from the thrift store. I decorated the edges with my graffiti patterned duct tape.
|Inside the case when packed up|
At the time of making this kit, I worked sitting down. So, I needed something that would hold up my kit but at a height that worked for my chairs. I found these great little folding camping stools, which held a lot of weight and were very sturdy. One under each end worked great and they fit inside the kit when not in use (see the greenish-gray pouches on the right side of the case in the above pic)
|Stools in use|
In the center of the lid I attached a piece of steel from a thrift store, covering the sharp edges with red duct tape, to create a magnetic design menu board...
|Magnetic design menu board|
To the right of my menu I made a custom panel that attaches to the kit with velcro. It's basically a cardboard rectangle covered in fabric, and then I sewed on elastic strips and velcro strips right through the cardboard. This is the same thing I did in my smaller aluminum kit, so now I can swap containers and paints from one kit to another using the same velcro. Check out my aluminum kit post to see more details on how I sewed these custom panels.
Like I said, at this time I was working sitting down. (I now use a director's chair and I stand) My own chair that I sit in is in a bag with a strap so I throw that over my shoulder. But, the chair I put the kids in is a folding chair from Ikea. Since it has a bent metal bar rather than 4 separate legs, I had a nice bar to connect to. I decided to get a couple little wall hooks at the hardware store and mounted them to one side of the lid, as shown:
Now, I can simply set my chair in those hooks, and use one bungee cord to hold it around the top:
....but then I still needed a way to transport the whole works. On the other end of the lid I attached a long, metal cabinet handle:
...and on the bottom I attached two (NON swiveling) casters:
Now I can simply pick it up with one hand and wheel it behind me wherever I go, with my other chair over my shoulder, all in one trip. Quite a nice setup!
I don't use this kit for birthday parties because I feel like it takes up a lot of real estate for someone's potentially tight living room. However, I think it's great for larger or longer gigs, and bigger events like festivals where guests are paying per face and you want to wow them with your full smorgasbord of colors. I have taken this to a couple of community baby showers to paint bellies and it was great. I liked having a surface to work from and a LOT of supplies, all in one handy place.
|My belly setup, with the kit sitting on a cloth-covered keyboard stand.|
Working on your own custom kit? Be sure to check out our custom kit design section in our shop! We have all sorts of great stuff, including unbreakable plastic mirror sheets, funky duct tape, magnetic tape, Gorilla glue and Velcro!