This one is customized in the sense of what I want in it, you can customize to your preferences easily (as long as it fits in the box.
Mine is based on a Candy box I found in an Asian Grocery Shop in a Melbourne suburb. It had a sliding cover that would slide all the way off, this at first I saw as an inconvenience but later turned out could be an advantage
I sanded the paint off the cover using fine metal sanding paper.
The cigarette box and card (equal to credit card size) is there for scale. It is a 20's, Aussies have one that holds 25's
The contents are most likely what you already have or can easily be obtained at a Dollar store and art supplies-shop.
So, TOP ROW : piece of natural sponge, piece of "magic eraser sponge (I got this one from SAA, UK. But as Neal (NM Serie) has pointed out the household microfibre sponge available from a supermarket will be just as effective) , a hotel key card. The latter I chose because it fits as is, you can cut an expired credit card or any credit card sized card at the corners to fit.
SECOND ROW : a Koi/Sakura waterbrush, they are short and come in 2 parts that fit the box., An item from my wife's discarded manicure set, cut in half. One has a two pronged metal end (for scratching) and the tail a flat but pointed end. A metal pencil sharpener and a piece of eraser. Avoid the kneadable ones as they tend to stick when packed. Last is an item from a make up shop, one end is a blending tip and the other is a brush end. ( might as well use your time and browse while doing porter or ATM duty for the wife LOL)
THIRD ROW : An alligator clip and a 2 B Pencil stub.
ON the far right you see the cover and the box in which I have mounted 4 full paint pans and 4 half pan s, initially empty and later filled with tube paints.
NEXT : cover the filled pans with the card divider, if you let the tube paints dry overnight they wont run but still need to be separated from stuff put on top. The it is like a jigsaw puzzle, fitting all comfortably but not loose on top. Place each part of the brush on opposing sides and the eraser sponge in the middle.
On the 2nd pic you see a pink brush I found in said cosmetic shop that I put in as it looked useful for brushing artefacts and special effects. Have NOT used it for washes etc cause cosmetic brushes are generally not built for that purpose. This can be left out
Closing the box is by sliding the cover on, in the event you include a similar brush as the pinkie make sure the hairs point in the direction of the sliding movement.
Using the box :
The cover is attached to the box's side using the alligator clip, it gives you a reasonably flat mixing area. There are 3 ways you can do this, which will position your mixing area in 3 positions.
The 3 rd is the opposite of the last one. I found the space between the wings of the alligator clip useful as a "thumb rest" (mine is not that well developed )
This I found were the redeeming factors of a separated cover lid.
NOTE : keep the box in a plastic zip-lock bag as you need to keep the other items together when not in use. If you don't carry that many items it may even fit folded in the box.
When you carry a 5X3 inch sketchbook (165 gsm minimum) you can flip it open, rest the box on the level part, hold it down with your thumb and keep the vertical part on which you sketch upright with your forefinger and rest of your hand.
This allows you to sketch standing up, against a wall , a corner would be ideal or a tree and make it less easy for onlookers to look over your shoulder LOL.
You could spray the inside of the cover with white ENAMEL paint, however in use I found that the metal color actually served as a midtone to compare color tones with. White does tend to set off color tones relatively darker.
You could make carrying the box easier and make it waterproof IF it is the exact size of a cigarette box. I found an item made of plastic on a neckstrap that would open flip-like (fliptop) and was meant to waterproof your cigarettes. Again, the Dollar store. It would also conveniently house other items not in use and easy to retrieve as it is clear plastic
Lastly, there is a huge Shop selling craft material and lots of other stuff called : "Spotlight", our Aussie members will know it . On their 40th Anniversary they gave away this cute Sewing Kit to customers, which I immediately swiped before the ladies noticed.
I guess I need not explain as to why, right ? LOL
It has an attached lid and may not give a level mixing area but that is easily remedied by gluing a thin long piece of double tape under the hinge, enough to level it when opened. You can leave the silicone coated paper on the other side on.
That wraps it up, happy tinkering and happy painting.
Jen (aka JAKA)