How do you store your paint containers?

citytransplant(zone5)March 2, 2010

This has probably been discussed in the past, but since DH is finishing the basement, (he says it will take a year or so, but I like to plan ahead), I am trying to figure out how to get and stay (haha) organized.

Right now I keep my paint in the drawers of plastic rollie carts. I tried to have them all bottoms up, so I can see the colors and like colors together. Each time I remove paints the rest of them fall over and get all jumbled.

I always wanted the paint holders they sell in magazines, but geeze, they are expensive. I am willing to make something, but would like as many ideas a possible before I make something that is not quite workable.

So please share what you do use and what you would like to use. Pictures would help.



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I too am very anxious to hear some results. Right now I'm just using an old shelve and colors together. Should they be stores upside down. Is this a good idea to keep them from hardening.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 11:56AM
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DH made these several years ago and they survived a flood. It took time to build but are fantastic and could be made to fit the size of you paints.

DH used the concept of a cabinet with shelves. Each shelf allows a bottle of paint to be removed easily and each collar is set so that the bottle fits with the neck of the bottle on the half circle front.

The collar is made using one piece of wood that using a center line, he cut the holes in the wood and then cut the wood in half. It is all made with light weight materials and lots of finishing nails and wood glue.

For us it was cost effective as he had all of the wood in his scrap wood pile and the wall space was an ideal place for storage and I (for once) wasn't picky about the finished look as it is in the closed off pantry.

If you are interested I will be glad to take measurements and send them along to you.

Hope this helps and I too will be interested in how others store their paints. Also, no matter how you store your paints they will have some drying or lumping, a piece of a nylon stocking stretched across the top, under the lid, will help keep the lumps in the bottle not in the puddle of paint you are using.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 1:00PM
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Joan, it's good to plan ahead and get lots of ideas so you can find what works best for you. I've tried lots of different things over the years too and still don't have it right.

I bought one of the too expensive storage things and don't like it because it's too hard to pull the paints out of the holders. It's a canvas holder with "pockets" on it. I'll try to post a pic for you later--don't have time right now--but I DON'T recommend it!

Belle, I am green with envy over your paint holder that your DH made for you. It looks wonderful! I'm not very handy with making things like that or I'd be asking for the directions for sure. Will show it to my DH and see if he might want to do one for me--but that's doubtful, he'll just tell me to use the one I already have! LOL

Someone on here showed how they had theirs stacked in little boxes turned sideways, so I've purchased a few of those at the TS and am currently using them on my countertop. They work pretty good but sometimes when I go to pull one out, I get more than one. I really like having my paints within reaching distance, and keep a little turntable on my workspace to hold the paints I'm using for the current project I'm working on. Usually always keep the "regulars" like white, black, green, etc. on there too. I'll come back with some pics later to show you.

If you do a search, some of the older posts should come up on this topic too. I remember Kathi had used one of the purchased storage towers and had it hanging on the wall and that seemed to work good for her too.

What it really comes down to is how you like to work and what works in the space you have.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 3:05PM
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I usually don't follow the colors given with painting instructions, just kinda use what I have on hand... so, I store my paint upside down so I can see the colors easily and decide which to use.


Love your set up, the downside is not being able to see the colors and I am very visual. I have dabbed the paint on the lid of containers in the past, and can surely do it again. Doing that would make your DH design very useful. Yes, please give the deminsions. This will not be in a cabinet, but on a table top. My plan is to have an L shaped work surface..... I think.....


Thanks for the tip on the pricey storage system. Finally, I no longer feel deprived having wanting one for so long. LOL Not crazy about the stacked boxes idea, I do not want the paints stacked in anyway that if one is moved any of the others might move too. I think Belle is on to something good. You are right that each of us would have our own way of setting up and working our spaces, but sometimes someone has ideas that I never would have thought of and I really need ideas. Please share your pictures.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:27AM
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I don't think I will be much help because I simply store mine in a desk. The desk was given to me and it is 30"x60". I put most of my bottle paints in the three drawers to the left and my oil paints are stored in a fishing tackle box, my fabric paints are stored in 12 quart plastic containers. My brushes are in glass jars that I save and keep on a lazy susan. I have all the paint colors separated and the brushes are sorted. With all that I still have my favorite colors and my favorite brushes to paint with. One day when I finally get my room cleaned up I will have to take pictures because you may not believe how much stuff I have.

If you have room for a desk with drawers (you can find them on Craigslist) it is the best thing I ever got for my painting room and I have had it since 1982.

When my paint starts to separate I shake it good and then turn it upside down. They sell a little paint shaker but I haven't taken the time to get one yet.

The little bag is actually about 10" x 12" and it was originally blue. I wanted to paint it white but couldn't paint the blue plastic strap. So I used Williamsburg Blue to paint the checks and the ribbon to tie in the strap color to the rest of the painting. The five roses are on the front and the smaller roses are on the back. This little bag might have held a hair dryer one time, I am not sure but it is one of nine suitcases I purchased for $20. A pretty good deal I think.

Hope this helps a little.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:32PM
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I store mine on their sides similar to Pezabelle above but I have no room to spare, even for separating shelves. I have a very small space and have to make use of every inch. I have one wide singular shelf and stack the tubes from one end to the other and up. Below is a pic of just one section of my table storage system. Gravity makes this system work for me. I have so many bottles of paint that when I pull out the ones I need gravity keeps all of the other ones in place. You can see gaps where bottles have been pulled out. The names of the colors and brand initials are on the lids for easy indentification. Of course the number of bottles of paint I have long ago outgrew my system but I keep one of every color of regular acrylic paint I own of every brand available to me at my table with extra bottles in storage. My huge number of specialty paints (enamels, Patio Paints, etc.) are stored in an adjoining room.

I'm also glad to see someone else has loads of brushes like myself. Frankly I'm suprised sometimes that I have any room at my table to paint! LOL

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Oh my goodness you do have a lot of brushes! I love the old desks. Reminds me of all of my bookkeeping years and yes they are handy, it would be great if I can find one. Your box is really nice. Love your roses. HOw smart to work with the color of the handle... it worked out perfect too. Why don't you post this in the gallery so everyone can see it?

Krafty... gee how does that work? If you removed say, three or four of the blue paints on the bottom, will all of the colors, green shift and mix with the blues? I am going to find something and experiment, just to satisify my curiosity. I am amazed that they even stay put.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 10:51AM
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I saw this idea over on the Cricut message board. A gal took one of those revolving CD storage racks with the slots for the cds--probably could find one at the TS. She just made "shelves" and spaced them to hold her paints! She also made other sizes of shelves to hold other craft items as well. Since this topic had come up here, I wanted to share this idea in case it might be useful to anyone. Luvs

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 2:07AM
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Here is the directions for my shelving units, might sound difficult but it is really simple but take time.

Here is a not so quick idea of how my paint storage shelves were made.

All wood is ¼" wood stock, we used some old paneling & other scraps, but any wood would work.

Measurement need to figure the sizes you needed.

Back height: mine is 23" wide by 22" high and it holds 135 bottles. To find height: The distance between the bottom of the first shelf and the top of the next shelf is 2 ½" and each shelf is the same ending with the bottom shelf ¼" up from the bottom of the back, 2 ½" times the number of shelves you need plus ¼ equals the back height.

Back width: Each bottle fit into a 1" "U" shape with ½" spacer area between where one "U" ends and the next begins. Beginning at one side measure and place a mark at ½" From that mark measure & mark in 1," then ½" then at 1" and continue ending with ½" My row of 15 bottles = 15"+ 8" (16 spacers @1/2" each) equals 23" per shelf. Ex: 20 bottles = 20" + 21 spacers@ ½" each for 10 ½," or 20" + 10 1/2"= 30 ½."


Back and 2 sides, using your measurements.

Shelf bracing: cut strips ¼ x ¼ wide x width of the back. ex. mine is 23" wide so we cut ¼" X 23" cut as many as the number of shelves you are using.

Shelves: Cut ¼" X 4" deep X width.

Neck holders: ¼" x 1 ½" x desired width. Using the entire length, find and mark the center (3/4) at both ends and several more time if necessary. Draw a line from one end to the other. Using this center line and beginning at either end place a mark at ½," from this mark measure in 1" and mark, continue the ½" then 1" then ½" across the board ending with ½"

Find the center of each 1" area, and using a 1" hole saw, cut out a circle. Repeat to the end. When done cut the board down the middle, you now have two scalloped boards. Repeat as needed. DH cheated here and taped two boards together and cut two at a time. He then used one as a template for the rest, cutting two at a time.

Glue one straight edge of the neck piece to each shelf edge. We used contact cement, but any good wood glue would work but watch for movement of the pieces. Let dry.

Back & bracing pieces piece: measure down from the top of the back and place a line at 2 ½" on both right and left sides. From this mark go down 2 ½," repeat the 2 ½" to the bottom, be sure to leave ¼" at the bottom. This is a good time to check to see if this is the correct size and make any adjustments as needed. Extend these marks to the inside and outside of both side pieces. Glue a shelf brace below all the marks you have made on the back of the unit. Let dry.

Assembly: We placed the back piece on a scrap piece of plywood just bigger than the back. Glue and nail the sides to the back. To help keep the shape correct we taped a shelf inside the top and the bottom side pieces. Once the sides were in place we placed a long strip of wood along the outside of the side and secured them to the plywood, thus keeping the side tight to the back. Let dry.

Starting at the bottom, add glue to the back and sides of each shelf and place them inside the frame and on top of the braces. Then add finishing nails along the line on the outside of each side piece. Repeat until you finish at the top of the unit. Again let dry.

We then attached the unit to the wall and were luck enough to have two studs right where we need them, but you might have to use molly screw if you cant find stud. We used 9 screws in all.

The unit is very solid and survived all of the abuse it received during the flood, being shoved from here to there before again claiming space in my craft/panty.

If you have any questions I hopefully, can answer them.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:59PM
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Thanks so much for the detailed instructions on making the paint shelves. They are especially appreciated because I know you have not been feeling well. Making it from paneling is a great idea. DH has 1 sheet of paneling that I have been telling him for a very long time to get rid of it.... or to just burn it...get it out of the way... Now I will go...very humbly... and ask him to pull it out so we can make these shelves.

Luvs, you idea on using the CD holders is nice, but I would need too many towers and so would always be turning, turning, turning them to find the right colors.

Thanks to everyone for the help and inspriring ideas.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 2:34PM
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I used to have a separate room with a little desk, three bookcases and my sewing machine in it. Loved having the desk drawers for paints and supplies. PF, your's looks really neat and so easy to just reach in and pull out what you need. Belle, that was so sweet of you to write all those measurements and instructions. Just wish I had a place for one like that--DH would be upset if I threw out my canvas one since I paid too darn much for it! LOL


    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 11:34PM
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I have six children, so I cooked for a family of eight. I made quite a variety of different foods and had collected a lot of different spices. When they no longer fit into my cabinets, my husband made me a large spice rack. It was very long and had two shelves to it. My children have been gone for quite awhile now and the shelf is no longer needed, for spices that is. I took it down and hung it up in the basement above my painting table. I have all my paints on that. Works great. Vique

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 5:01PM
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Vique, when I first started painting, I had a couple of small spice racks that I used above my little desk--but I quickly outgrew mine! They do work nicely. I really think the most important thing is having your paints where you can get to them quickly and easily.

I've actually been trying to use up some of my older paints, and perhaps pare down the number of bottles I have on hand. I find that I tend to mostly use and reuse the same colors allot--so why do I need all those others taking up space?????

PF got me started using the Americana paints and I sure love some of the gorgeous colors--right now, my favorite is their winter blue--one of the prettiest blues I've ever seen. However, I have discovered that for those times that I want to do DD's One Stroke, I fall back on the Folk Art paints because they are thicker and creamier than any other brand I've tried and I can load the brush fuller.

I think we all just have to find the solutions that work best for us both for storage and supplies. I sure love hearing about new products to try and good storage ideas. Lately, I've been looking at several scrapbooking blogs--now those gals have some storage issues! LOL Noticed that allot of them have paints as well and many just use small plastic trays that can be stacked on a desktop, shelf, or in a drawer--but then they don't usually have the quantity most painters do! LOL


    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Here's a link to CollectionsEtc. They have a two paint holders that aren't all that expensive.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 12:48AM
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Wow! What a fantastic price on that spinning one--those used to sell for over $40 at Michael's. Wish I had the counter space for one! I hadn't been to that site for awhile, so I just had to check out some of the other items too--spent a good half hour there! LOL Thanks Amandasgramma--I think! ;o)


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 1:27AM
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Luvs, I do love Americana paints but Folk Art has improved so much over the years and they even have the true pigment paints (the ones with the gold cap) which can be mixed to get a true color. A lot of bottle acrylics do not have the pigment in it to get a true color mix. And Ceramcoat has improved also, and they have a few colors I love.

Joan, I had those rolling plastic bins once also. And the paints would fall over when I pulled one out. So, I took foam board and cut it for the bottoms. This made the bottom of the bin firmer and the paints would not fall over. You could use a piece of think luan wood but I think the foam core would work fine - or even a firm piece of card board.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:15AM
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