Frequently asked questions

Why paint a box?

Over 90% of people report that painting an artwork on a street cabinet is fun. Participating in this initiative gives you a chance to make a valuable contribution to your neighbourhood. 

Painting a street cabinet with your original artwork will:

  • Get your art on the street
  • Grow your art practice 
  • Make your neighbourhood look beautiful
  • Develop a sense of community
  • Provide you with healthy challenges
  • Grow your connection to your neighbourhood
  • Help you meet people you would not otherwise meet
  • Foster your sense of community pride
  • Probably make you feel proud and happy

Plus...artworked street cabinets are rarely graffitied. A 2007 study found that 84% of artworks remain free of graffiti for six years (Artforce - An Empirical Report). With the estimated cost of graffiti in Australia being $2.7 billion each year (Keep Australia Beautiful) we think it's a win win!

How long does it take to paint a box?

The time it takes to paint your approved artwork varies a lot depending on the type of design and your experience. It might take between 5 hours to 30 hours to complete a cabinet artwork. 

Expect a lot of interaction, people passing by are usually fascinated and entertained by your work which is wonderful but it can slow down your progress. 

If you are working in an area where there is a lot of illegal graffiti you may get unwanted contributions to your artwork between sessions. To reduce the chance of this happening we recommend completing your artwork in close successions.

What's provided?

Urban Smart Projects supply you with an equipment pack that includes:

  • High quality Resene paint (more info on paint below)
  • Drop sheets and rags
  • Safety cones
  • Safety vests
  • Painting and safety instructions
  • Some mixing palettes

You will need to supply your own paint brushes, containers to mix colours in and masking tape.

Authorised artists are also covered by twenty million dollars worth of Public Liability Insurance.

What's the process?

There are some process steps you will need to work through in order to paint a box. You will have access to your own private, secure ‘dashboard’ on our website to complete the participation steps online. Before you paint you need to register as an artist, request a site be allocated to you, complete the safety induction, upload your design and upload your signed artist agreement. This may take about an hour in total. After you finish painting you will need to book your equipment pack for collection, upload photos of your artwork and complete feedback. This may take about an hour too.

How long do I have to create a design proposal?

Usually one month. Due date for designs is confirmed by email. If your designs are going to be late, contact us for an extension. If your allocation expires the cabinet may be allocated to another artist.

Are there any design restrictions?

Design criteria is often project specific but as a general rule, designs must:

  • Complement the local area and be in full colour  
  • Be an original idea (not someone else’s idea)
  • Foster community pride
  • Not have large areas of blank colour leaving space for graffiti tags
  • Be brightly coloured and not use lots of dark colour (as dark colours can cause the box to overheat)
  • Involve contrast and not camouflage due to vision impairment issues
  • Should include your signature. On the actual box signatures can be 10 centimetres high and 30 centimetres wide.

In general designs will not be approved if they involve:

  • Trademarks, brands, business names, logos or copyrighted images
  • Images that are political or religious 
  • Images that may be considered offensive for example nudity or violence.
  • Significant amounts of text
  • Images that look like illegal graffiti
  • Collage or gluing anything onto the box.

What sort of paint do you provide?

Urban Smart Projects supplies water-based Resene paint. Resene paint is renowned for having low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and long lasting pigments. 

An undercoat is provided for you to prepare the box for painting in the first instance. The right amount of a range of colours is supplied so you can mix any colour of the rainbow. Colour charts are provided to help you mix colours. We recommend mixing colours at home as it can take time. Mix colours in your own containers with lids. 

No markers or other types of paint can be used to create your artwork as they will fade very quickly.

All cabinet artworks must be brushed on. Brushing on paint is cleaner, better for the environment and safer to use.


How long do artworks last?

In general, artworks last up to 6 years. Cabinets are critical pieces of road safety equipment and Urban Smart Projects has no control over emergency replacements of cabinets.

What are the box dimensions?

Actual box dimensions can vary depending on the make and model of the cabinet. If you need accurate dimensions we recommend that you measure your allocated box. 

Standard boxes are approximately 190 cm high, 80 cm wide and 42 cm deep.

Great! How do I get started?

Check to see if there are any cabinets available to paint in your area by viewing the map on the Paint page. Please take note of participation or project requirements. Go to ‘Artist Login’ and register.

Once you’re on your dashboard, click on “Paint a Box” and follow the steps to allocate a box to yourself. You will receive an email explaining to do next.

Don't hesitate to phone or email if you have any questions.