plastic hanging organizer laying on table with tubes of watercolor paint in each pocket

How to Organize Art Supplies in and Around Your Studio Space

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You may have an enormous 2,000 sf studio, or a tiny art nook in a closet, but at some point you will want to organize your art supplies, so you aren’t looking around for that one paint color for 10 minutes or repeatedly tripping over papers.

If you need simple but effective ideas for how to store and organize art supplies, peruse my list, implement a few ideas, and feel the immense satisfaction of being able to actually make art because your paintbrushes are all standing at attention, waiting to be utilized.

organize art supplies - paint brushes and pencils on shelves with other supplies around them

How to Organize Art Supplies for Easy Access

When it comes to art supplies, I am of the mindset that more is always better. In fact, I have been likened to an art supply store on more than one occasion, and I consider that a massive compliment.

It’s taken me a while to figure out how to organize art supplies so I am not searching around in the middle of creating time. Not only does that throw off my creative mojo, it’s just a waste of time.

It’s not hard to figure out how to organize art supplies; you really just need the right organization and storage tools. Oh – and you need to remember to use them. 🙂

I’m going to go through a number of the most popular art supplies and gives you ideas for wrangling them in your art studio or space. If you have a cool idea for organizing your art supplies, let me know in the comments!

How to Organize Your Paint Brushes

Paint brushes can be fine in jars, and actually that is the easiest, most straightforward way to store them and keep them within reach.

To organize your paintbrushes in jars further, you can separate them by size or brush shape. You can also hang your jars on the wall to get them off of your work surface. Anything I can do to free up table space makes me a happy maker.

L: I love the simplicity of this 2/pack of mason jar wall hangers. Thank you, Etsy. 🙂

R: Pretend the dirt and plants in this photo are paintbrushes, and you’ve got yourself a cute DIY project that would be perfect for storing paintbrushes.

L: By all means make one of these awesome paintbrush holders if you are handy with the tools… made for artist Josh Tiesen by his dad. 💚

R: Of course, you can always go the more romantic-looking ceramic pots or glass apothecary jars for your paint brushes. There is something extremely appealing about a full bouquet of paint brushes in a lovely vessel.

If you are kind to your brushes while they are drying, and choose to store them the way they should be (hanging brush-side down), this is a brilliant solution. It also keeps them off of the table, but still close by.

If you’re feeling DIY, here is a paintbrush holder you can make with some clothespins and a few other supplies. And this genius DIY paintbrush holder makes use of a pool noodle to hold and dry your paintbrushes!

Organize Your Paints

Paints are EVERYWHERE in my studio. Literally. I have tubes and jars of paints strewn across every surface, nook, and cranny of my space.

At one point I had a super-efficient and organized paint bin that had 9 cubby holes. My daughter put little color-coded stickers on the front of it for each hue collection, and it was glorious. Then we moved and for some mystery reason I never put my paints back.

Here are 4 options I found on Amazon that would work well for this paint-storing method:

Paint Storage Bins

If you want to geek out over these amazing steel industrial cubby cabinets, Zoro has just about every configuration you could possibly want. I am drooling. These are the stuff of paint organization dreams.

L: A brilliant way to organize and store watercolor paint tubes, complete with painted color swatches in each pocket.

R: A DIY pegboard endeavor so you can organize your paint tubes and have them right above your work table.

Organize Art Papers

Papers are probably more of a storage and organizing problem than paints are for me. I have white card stock neatly put away in a little drawer-like unit, but when it comes to other art papers, they are hiding under every piece of furniture in my studio. And sticking out awkwardly.

I yearn for a paper rack or set of flat file drawers to keep my papers organized, clean, and not something my dog tries to make a nest out of (true story).

2 flat file cabinets as used in art studios to organize and store art papers and prints

Peruse the vintage flat files on Etsy to get totally inspired – there are some beautiful options for paper storage, or you can go the modern route with a cool steel flat file cabinet.

Organize Pens, Pencils, and Markers

Organizing your mark-making tools can be a huge headache when you have zillions of them. I do not recommend throwing them into a plastic bin and having to rifle through them (from experience).

It’s recommended to store your markers, gel pens, and drawing pens nib-down so they don’t dry out. For dual-ended markers, you’ll want to store them flat. For colored pencils and drawing pencils, you really just have to protect the points and keep them from rolling off the table.

Here are some lovely and practical ideas for organizing and storing your drawing tools – oh can I just be snarky for a minute and say how much I hate that people are using toilet paper rolls to organize markers? Pffffffft.

Art Marker, Pen, Pencil Organization

Tape Storage

I love this idea if you have any sort of tape to store – I use painters tape a lot with acrylic painting, and I always end up losing it or placing it on the floor, where it picks up ALL the dog hair. Keep your tape right you can reach it (and put it away easily) with a modified coat hanger.

rolls of washi tape hanging on wall organized on a coat hanger
image originally from SpearmintBaby.com

Art Canvas Storage

If you use canvases to paint on, you will quickly become overrun by them in your studio unless you find a great storage system. Canvases really need to be stored standing up so the canvas doesn’t get dented, stretched, or torn. Plus storing them upright maximizes your space.

There are plenty of ideas for making your own canvas storage systems, or you can buy a pre-made option.

L: These racks on Etsy get excellent reviews. R: I guarantee you will want everything you see on the art-boards.com website to organize your art supplies. They make gorgeous modular art studio storage pieces.

Blick offers one canvas/portfolio storage cabinet that looks lovely and sturdy and fits pieces up to 24″ high.

And now, if you have the sudden urge to go buy new art supplies just so you can organize them all cutely, here are the best places to buy art supplies online. 🙂

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