’ve had a few questions about my studio tray and how I made it. I made it from simple materials from Home Depot. I made it myself in an afternoon. If I can do it, so can you! The bottom of the tray is a 2’ x 4’ piece of Masonite. The dividers are 23” 1” x ½” lengths. I had them cut for me. I used some wood glue to secure them and once that was dry I turned it over and tacked them in with small tack nails. Then I lined each section with thin foam that I got from a good fabric store. It is not Memory Foam or anything special.

I bought a second piece of Masonite to use as a lid for the tray. In the photo mine is covered with a piece of paper that now has lots of paint and sketches on it. The lid keeps everything clean and allows me to use that surface when I’m not using the pastels which is pretty handy sometimes!

Here’s a materials list:

2 pieces of 2’ x 4’ Masonite or pressboard or plywood (one for a lid)
9 pieces of 23” 1” x ½”
2 pieces of 48” 1” x ½”
wood glue
tack nails
thin foam for lining the sections

Now comes the hard part; organizing all your pastels! This project is well worth the investment of time and expense. Here’s a pic of my old tray. The new tray is organized by hue, value and intensity which works much better for me, but the old one is beautiful and I’ve had it hanging in my studio space for many years!


With Warmest Regards,


Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

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