How to Pack Art Supplies To Take Almost Anywhere

Art supplies are bulky.

But you don’t have to let the awkwardness of art supplies keep you from being creative on your next trip! Whether you travel for work, have a day trip planned or a week away, take your art supplies with you. There’s few things like being out of the routine environment to stimulate creativity.

There’s ways to work around carrying around a lot of stuff.

Here’s what I do.

A DIY Compact Paint Palette

In Instagram stories last year I shared the watercolor palette I put together for on-the-go. I can’t take credit for the idea, I think I got the idea several years ago from a blog. I couldn’t tell you whose it was, but it was a great idea I sat on for a long time!

Grab an altoid mint container and five or six water bottle caps.

Glue gun the caps into the altoid container.

When it dries, add the watercolor paint you want to bring along.

One of the things I love about watercolors is their ease of use. You can put the wet paint into the container, it will dry. When you want to paint, simply add water and you’re ready to go!

You can create a palette of your favorite colors or simply add a variety of colors and you’re on your way. Along with the made-for-you palette, I bring along several brushes, a few pencils, an eraser, neolites (watercolor based crayons to be used wet or dry) and a few odds and ends that I stick in this makeup bag.

What to Do with All Those Cosmetic Bags

If you’ve been looking for a way to use your gift-with-purchase bags, making them into art bags might be just the idea you’ve been looking for! I built up a collection of those bags over the years and now have turned several into travel art bags, stationary bags, etc.

You can bring individual pieces of watercolor paper, but if you do that, be sure to grab masking tape to secure the paper on to something so it doesn’t warp. (this also means you’ll have to find something to tape it to, a hard book or magazine, which shouldn’t be too difficult, but it’s something to think about).

Personally, I bring a watercolor sketchbook that doesn’t warp. It’s easy to store, whether in luggage or my purse. I brought one like this through Europe with me and it worked perfectly.

I can put all my supplies in the bag except for the 6×9 sketchbook. The sketchbook fits snugly into a purse or carryon.

Other supplies I carry with me include:

  • Pencils
  • Eraser
  • Ink pen
  • White gel pen
  • Masking tape
  • A few papertowels
  • Paint brushes: 3-5
  • Scissors (sometimes you can’t take these on flights, so be aware of regulations).
  • Neolites- these are watersoluable art crayons that can be used wet or dry. Not essential, but lots of fun for adding color or intensity to sketches and paintings.

Let’s be honest: we never paint and create as much as we want on vacation. BUT, I found keeping my creative travel gear simple and easy allows me to bring the stuff with me everywhere and as a result, I create more than if I didn’t have anything with me at all.

In order to find time to create when I’m traveling, I let go of some routines from home:

  • In the mornings, when I’m waiting for others to get ready to go- I’ll pull out my sketchbook and work a bit.
  • Get up before others and sip on a cup of coffee with my art supplies
  • Pull out sketchbook/paints in the evening while talking instead of watching television or move

The beginnings and ends of my day are normally where I find time to create. You might have opportunity while a little one naps or when others go out for an excursion you opt out of.

What are you creating this summer? Would love to see what you’ve been up to. You can post a comment here or find me on Instagram @melissauclair.

I hope this idea for compact traveling encourages you to take your art supplies on the go!

If you bring art supplies with you while traveling, what tips and tricks can you share?