Tips for Travelling with Art Supplies

Photo c/o SC Stockshop

Photo c/o SC Stockshop


Hal and I travel fairly regularly - usually by car - and there have been a few trips where I’ve needed (or wanted) to take my art supplies with me. Just taking in the “creative chaos” of my studio desk is overwhelming, not to mention trying to figure out how to pack it all up! With the holidays basically here (!!!), many of us will be hitting the road to see friends and family. Here’s what I’ve got to keep me sane:

My husband got this for me for my birthday this year and it has changed my life. Even just carrying my supplies from one room to the next is not quite the same hassle. I especially love the protective plastic along the top - if you must put your brushes away damp, your case will survive. It also has a zip pocket I use to store erasers and a pencil sharpener.

With watercolors, it’s much simpler (and less wasteful) to leave your colors in your palette and not wash it out. I’ve got quite the collection going and these lids are great if you have to put things away while your colors are still wet (though I wouldn’t jostle them around too much). These are a nice-to-have; if you have time for your paints to dry, there’s no harm in simply stacking your palettes up and carrying them with.

I use watercolor tubes and the collection can get a little out-of-hand (anyone else guilty of finding a “new” color and wanting to test it immediately?). A lined art or school supply bag can be a lifesaver for hauling tubes around. If any stray paint gets on the liner, you can simply wipe it off! Much better than having it on clothes or other supplies. (NOTE: This is only appropriate for car trips. Paint tubes are considered liquids by TSA and therefore you’d need to store them in a clear plastic bag for flights.)

  • Packaging Supplies

Before using watercolor paper, it’s usually safely packaged in a block, pad, or plastic casing. But after you take it out and paint on it? If you have the room, I suggest bringing your plastic art sleeves and cardboard backing. Even if you aren’t ready to ship, it’s easy enough to unseal the sleeve and reseal it if need be. (If this seems like a lot for one suitcase… it is. I normally take a laptop backpack. The laptop section fits my laptop and my paper - and gives paintings a little extra, non-bending protection.)

  • Optional: Paper Towels & Plastic Cup

If I’m familiar with the paper towel/paint cup situation at my destination, I won’t worry too much about this step. However, it is something you should keep in mind - maybe paper towels aren’t readily available (hotels) or your host would prefer that you don’t use their coffee mugs for your paint water (guilty…). In that case, I bring either a roll or a few sheets of paper towels and a plastic cup. Not as fancy as my usual gold-monogrammed mug, but it’ll do the trick!

What kind of tips would you add? If you are traveling for the holidays, safe travels! I’ll be taking next week off the blog to enjoy some family time (the 26th is Hal’s birthday!). Merry Christmas and see ya in 2018!