I made this pochade box for $5 and I use it for plein air painting. I like to paint on 6″x 6″ gesso-boards and canvas panels so I made this box to fit that size panels. The canvas panel sits inside the recessed lid and is held in place with 2 offset clips that I had for picture framing. I am able to twist the clips to remove the painting.  I glued two wood dividers that came with the inner tray, you can see them on either side of the canvas panel. This photo also shows my supplies at the bottom of the cigar box that stay under the palette.
oil paints and supplies for plein air painting

This is the interior tray that came inside the cigar box. I removed most of the cigar dividers to make room for supplies. I turned the tray over and applied linseed oil on the wood surface, this would be the palette area.

interior tray for how to make pochade box from a cigar box by PJ Cook

palette area for mixing oil paint

I drilled a hole in the corner of the upside down tray so the tray can easily be removed. The palette area can be wiped off after finishing your painting. This is where I applied linseed oil on the wood. This works nicely because it is recessed and stays in place well when mixing paint.


paint brushes and paper towels can be stored here

I have a few brushes and plastic wrap for storing wet brushes. This area is recessed so more supplies can fit in this area on top of the palette. Other supplies to have on hand would be rubber gloves, wet wipes and plastic bag for rags.


cigar box plein air paint box

This is a piece of wood that came with the box and I attached it with small nails, it supports the lid when it is open. The hinges that came with this box were sturdier than some of the other boxes but I may replace them in the future. I will see how long they will last. I was amazed at how light the box was after it was filled. I put the pochade box in a canvas bag with handles along with other supplies and I am ready to paint.


make pochade box from a cigar box by PJ Cook

This is the brand of cigar box that I bought for $5. The Carlos Torano brand had the nice tray and a piece of wood inside that I used to support the lid when it is opened. The cigar shop had several boxes on display for 2 – 5 dollars each. I looked thought most of them and decided on this one. Look for one that will fulfill your plein air painting needs the best.

If you have any questions send a comment below.

Thanks, PJ Cookmake pochade box from a cigar box by PJ Cook

I normally paint under an umbrella or in the shade but I was so excited to use my new pochade box that I sat right down on the sand and started painting in the sun!