Build Your Own French Mistress…

Hey everyone, I built this paint box for my studio to replace the way-too-small palette I was using before. How they got the name “French Mistress” I have no idea, other than maybe the folks at Richeson were feeling bawdy in the naming office one day. Anyways, I took some photos along the way so I could tell you how I built this thing. The box holds a 16×20 sheet of glass for a palette.


Sheet of wood, at least 44″x18″.
Pane of glass, 16×20″.
6 poplar square dowels, 36″x3/4″.
Wood glue.
Wood finish.
2 12″ piano hinges.
8 decorative corners(optional).
2 brass toggle catches.
Enough acrylic paint to cover a 16×20″ panel. Colors: white+black/umber/etc(your choice).
Silicone caulk.
Step 1: I planned out what I needed. I took a sheet of birch plywood that I bought from OSH, but whatever sheet of wood that you prefer should work. The one I used was slightly less the 24×48, with a 7/32″ thickness. I also got 6 36″ poplar square dowels with a 3/4″ thickness.
Step 2: I carefully measured where I needed to cut the poplar squares down to the size I needed to make the parts of the box. I cut them down to these sizes:
  • 2 21″-3/4″ pieces.
  • 4 10″-13/16″ pieces.
  • 6 17″-3/4″ pieces.

I then cut opposing 45° at the ends of each of these newly-cut poplar squares.

Step 3:  I cut the piece of birch plywood into 3 separate pieces:
  • 1 21″x3/4″ panel.
  • 2 10″x13/16″ panel.

Step 4: I then glued poplar dowels to the freshly cut birch panels. It helps to have C-clamps to make sure they adhere to the panels, if you have them handy.

*Sidenote: If you want to make these into canvas panels, simply stop here and glue canvas to the front side of the panel.
Step 5: I next applied several coats of wood finish to every exposed part of the wood with a bristle brush.

Step 6: Once the wood finish dried, I applied a couple of coats of shellac to each side of the panel. I then waited a few minutes for it to dry.

Step 7: I then screwed the piano hinges to the sides of the poplars so that the hinges fold inward. This will make sure the box closes shut. Be careful to line up the hinge with the edge so that the box closes straight.


Step 8 (optional): I screwed in 8 decorative corners to the box(4 on the bottom, 4 on top). Not only do they help protect the corners from getting banged up, but they add a touch of class to the box.

Step 9: I screwed one brass toggle catch on each side of the box lid. This will make sure the lid doesn’t open if you move it.

  Step 10: I like mixing on a toned palette, so what I did was take a mix of white/burnt umber/red oxide acrylic paint(well mixed, no streaks), covered one side of the glass, let it dry, flipped the pane over, then set it aside.

Step 11: I spread silicone caulk and applied it to the sides and corners of the box, and an X in the center of the box.

Step 12: I set the pane painted-side-down into the box, let the caulk dry to seal the palette to the box, and lay some paint down on it!

Optional mods: I drilled a screw into the side of the right-hand box lid. When I slide my palette cup around the screw, it makes sure it doesn’t slide everywhere when you’re using it. I also cut 4 foam squares to glue to the corners of the lid. This will cushion the lid when you close the box, as well as help it the box top lay flat while closed.

Let me know if you have any improvements to the set-up! I’m all ears.

Bonus! Link to the Youtube video:

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

About Sergio Lopez

North Bay Area based Fine Artist Sergio Lopez. Oil paintings, gouache paintings, plein air paintings, and charcoal drawings.

Share on Tumblr
  1. Askhat says:

    Thank you, Sergio.

  2. Sergio thanks for step by step guide for building French Mistress, your explanation with the help of picture is very easy to follow.

  3. but former Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie was preferred despite having no experience at Test level. recently wrote in an opinion article in the that the boats were “towed to the edge of Indonesia’s territorial waters under Operation Relex – that is, which is in effect part of Australia and is known as the ‘territorial sea’. taking her back to his home, But in flagrant disregard of the rom-com by-laws, If you you managed to miss or Brian DePalma’s , who you may recall from Kick-Ass or Let Me In.But this is no ordinary orange,This free photography app for smartphones is what Sam uses to take his photos. . But obviously we didn’t play hard enough in those hard areas”The Predators hosted one of the NHL’s two games and were the only American team in action Thursday wanting to start a holiday tradition in Nashville pairing hockey with turkey It was just their 11th home game this season fewer than all but Dallas and the RangersSluggish startNashville outshot Edmonton 13-9 in a sluggish first period with the Predators playing the second game of a back-to-back after winning 4-0 in Columbus on Wednesday night This is the Oilers’ only visit to Nashville this season and the start of a three-game road tripEakins said he thought both teams were checking hard which can lead to a dull or sluggish game”But when you’re coaching and you need your team to get better defensively that’s a ray of bright light coming in when the game looks sluggish but your team’s checking very well” Eakins saidThe Oilers opened the second by taking the first five shots and Predators forward Paul Gaustad and Oilers left wing David Perron each went to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct at 5:07 Nugent-Hopkins tipped in a shot by Jeff Petry 25 seconds later during the 4-on-4 and Hall scored on a backhander from Sam Gagner at 6:23 for a 2-0 lead”We’re a fast skilled team” Nugent-Hopkins said “We have to take opportunities when we get them Four-on-four is a situation that when we play our game we can get a couple goals”Bryzgalov who signed a one-year deal with the Oilers for $17 million debuted Monday in Edmonton replacing Devan Dubnyk in a 5-1 loss to Chicago Bryzgalov stopped four shots from Weber in the first period but Weber had only one shot in the second before the puck hit him in the face”Obviously if we lose our captain it’s always hard and we hope he’s OK and hopefully he gets back soon” Predators defenceman Roman Josi saidBryzgalov had a nice pad save on Predators forward Mike Fisher in the final minutes to finish off his 31st career shutout and second against the Predators

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *