Pretty Purple Boxes

Somebody on a beekeeping forum once remarked, ruefully, "I never realized beekeeping involved so much carpentry." It really doesn't, not in the long term, but at first it can seem like it.

Woodenware ready to paint

Today I lined everything up on a tarp outside to paint. You don't have to paint your woodenware, but it will last longer and look better if you do. Some people dip their woodenware in a preservative oil, but I don't have enough stuff to do to make that worthwhile to set up. Painting is cheaper and easier to set up, though I admit that it can be pretty tedious.

Can of cheap paint

Instead I went down to Pagano's and picked up a can of cheap paint. Most paint or hardware stores will have a shelf full of messed-up colours or returned paint, super cheap. It's perfectly functional, just not the right colour for whatever reason. This gallon of paint, normally more like $50, was marked down to $6. Sure, it's not quite the colour I would have picked, but you can't beat the price.


But first I primed everything. I guess I didn't need to; the paint was cheaper than the primer. But I find this Zinsser primer we use all the time keeps tannins in the wood from leaking through the paint, so I put a layer down.


The purple paint dries a lot more slowly than the primer, so I got only one coat on each piece done before it started getting too dark to paint effectively. Then I moved everything into the basement to keep it out of the fog, because one of my favourite hobbies is carrying large wooden boxes up and down stairs.

I'll probably finish the painting on a tarp downstairs. It's just one more coat all around, plus I like to do the top and bottom edges of each hive body, even though the bees will gunk it all up with propolis. Then I'll get to spend the rest of the winter assembling frames. Woo hoo.

posted by ayse on 12/17/11


I'm sure you know this, but paint dries way more slowly in cold weather than in warm.

We keep bees in East Oakland, and have three thriving hives at the moment.

Yeah, the last bits of painting have gone really slow because it's been so cold lately. Fortunately, I have plenty of time before bees show up to get all the equipment ready. I've never started from scratch before; my old hives were splits from a beekeeping friend in Napa, and he gave me a bunch of drawn comb as well.

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