Jul 08 2015

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Making Socket Organizers More Visible

Imperial Test in Drawer

I have these Craftsman socket holders in my big toolbox where it is difficult to see the writing because it is just raised grey on grey. I remembered a post on SawDust Girl where one of the contributors used white paint to fill in the markings on a Kreg jig to make them more visible. Now the markings on my socket organizer are raised instead of recessed but I thought maybe I could do something similar.

Metric Test after first coat of paint

My first test was to paint the background white and wipe the paint off the markings. This turned out to be quite fussy for several reasons. I didn’t want to paint the entire organizers so I had to tape off areas I didn’t want painted. Once it was taped off and I applied the paint, it took me a while to figure out how to wipe the paint off consistently without disturbing the background paint. I finally found that wrapping a paper towel over the tip of my index finger gave me enough control, but I still had to move the paper towel every few markings or I just started pushing paint around rather than removing it. Also to get decent coverage I had to apply to coats.

Compare Metric and Imperial Tests

I wasn’t satisfied with this method, it took way too long for one panel and I had 5 more to go, so I tried another method. This time I just applied paint to the raised markings with a fine brush. This turned out to be much faster and provide a higher contrast than the first method. It also took a while to figure out how much paint to load on the brush. Too much and I got paint in the middle of closed numbers and the sides of curved numbers which made the markings less readable. I finally dialed in the amount of paint to load and this Imperial panel went faster. It looked so good I could have stopped at one coat, but I decided to go for two coats.

Now I just need to remove the paint from the metric panel so I can redo it the second way and then paint four other panels.

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