Storing Art Supplies: Art Supply Storage Tips

This entry was posted in Fine Art on by .


Many artists come to Florida for several months each year to work and create some of their most stunning pieces. Some of the most influential artists in the world work in Florida while living in a cottage by the ocean, while living in a high-rise apartment with a loft for a few months, or while living in a small artists’ community where creative collaboration begets greatness.   For many artists, a temporary change in location during the working months sparks new ideas and new ways of seeing the world. If you’re a traveling artist, you probably have art supplies and projects stored in the different cities you work in. Here’s a useful guide on storing art supplies safely.

Storing Oil Paints

Professional artist-quality oil paint can last for 10 to 20 years or longer if stored properly. In Florida’s climate, the humidity level and heat can cause oil paints to age faster if not stored carefully. Since oil paints are pricey, take precautions when storing them for extended periods of time. Before you store oil paints, unscrew the cap and wipe off any residue paint around the cap with a cloth. Then screw the cap tightly on and store cap end down in a plastic airtight container.

Storing Acrylic Paints

When stored, acrylic paints will not last as long as oil paints, but most can last for 5 or more years if stored properly. Professional-quality acrylic paints can last 10 years or more. First, make sure there isn’t a leak (such as a pinhole) in the tube, as this will ruin the paint and cause it to dry out. If you notice a leak, a small piece of duct tape can prevent air from entering the tube and ruining the paint. To prepare acrylic paints for storage, wipe away any excess paint before storing the tubes, as this paint will dry out and crust over, making it hard to open the tubes again. Store acrylic paints in a waterproof, airtight plastic container.

Watercolor Paint Storage

Watercolor paints can last a few months even on the palate, but you won’t want to leave a dirty palate before packing up for the season. Prep tubes of watercolor paint for storage by wiping excess paint off the caps and dispenser end. Make sure tubes are sealed tight. As long as the paint tubes haven’t dried out, they’ll be just as good as new next season when you need them.

Storing Pencils

The general rule with art pencils and colored art pencils is that the higher the quality of pencil, the more carefully they should be stored.. The primary damages that can occur with pencils is heat damage and moisture damage. Colored pencils with soft wax content (such as Prismacolor® pencils) can melt or lose some of their pigment potency if subjected to extreme changes in temperature for an extended period of time. For example, if they’re left in a box in an un-air-conditioned garage, or left in a hot car. If you have many art pencils (colored or otherwise) consider storing them in a cool, dry place.

Storing Chalk and Charcoal

As long as chalk and charcoal are kept in waterproof and airtight containers, they will last for years and years. Sharp changes in humidity can damage these art supplies so even though they’re quite durable, keeping them in a plastic container with an airtight lid is a wise idea.

Paintbrush Storage

The most important thing to remember when storing paintbrushes is to put them away in good, clean condition. Good paintbrushes are an investment and should be washed and dried carefully right after each use. Prior to  long-term storage, use a brush cleaner rather than just washing the paintbrushes the way you usually do, with water or paint thinner. Paintbrushes should be stored away from leaky paint tubes. Most paintbrushes will store well for many years as long as they are in good condition and impeccably clean when they’re put away.

Storing Partially-Completed Art Canvasses

Unfinished works of art should be stored away from risk of moisture damage, vertically on a canvas storage rack, preferably in a museum-quality storage unit. Make sure the canvas is dry before placing it on a rack.   If you need storage space for your art supplies or art collection, Museo Vault is here to help. Museo Vault offers clean, climate-controlled, and secure art storage units of varying sizes in Miami. To reserve your art storage unit today, contact Museo Vault.