Selecting The Right Artist’s Paint Box

This post may contain affiliate links. I may make a commission if you purchase through them. :)

Every artist needs a home for all his supplies.

To some extent, the medium he uses will play a role in the size of container he needs.

An artist can find an array of boxes at an art supply store and even more if he is shopping on-line.

However, there is no need to limit yourself to art supply stores when shopping for a storage container. Thinking outside the box can help the novice find a perfect container to accommodate the tools he needs for creating a masterpiece.

Which Storage Case Is The Right One?

Every artist has different requirements and ideas on what goes into his toolbox. A beginning artist should not rush out to purchase a box right away. If he does wish to purchase a container, he should buy something inexpensive, as he may quickly find that the initial purchase is not adequate for his needs.

An oil or acrylic painter typically uses very long handled brushes. The tubes of paint are good sized, and he may have an assortment of mediums, oil, turpentine or other supplies that are stored in his toolbox. On the other hand, the watercolorist uses brushes with much shorter handles, uses small tubes of paints or pan paints and needs nothing other than a container to hold water. An artist painting in egg tempera has similar needs, while a pastel artist needs only a small box to hold a set of chalks.

When the artist decides to buy a storage box, he should assemble all the tools and equipment he wants to put into the container and lay them out on a table. Measure long things, like paintbrushes, and pile up groups of things, like tubes of paints. This way the artist can visualize the size box he needs for the supplies.

Traditional Wooden Case

The student who is looking for the traditional artist’s case will gravitate to the wooden storage box. Before there were plastics, the artist used a wooden case to carry his supplies, and there are a number of manufacturers producing styles reminiscent of those used by artists of bygone eras.

The cost, style and dimensions of these boxes vary significantly. Like any fine wood piece, they require a gentle hand to avoid damage. This investment piece will be a cherished possession to the lucky artist who owns one.

These cases are costly, but the craftsmanship and materials assure they will last a lifetime. Before purchasing a case of this caliber, make certain the equipment to be contained in it will fit. Utrecht, Julian and Jasart are well-known manufacturers of wooden cases, although there are many others.

Plastic Or Metal Toolbox Styles

This type of case is very popular. They are strong and can take a lot of hard use. There are two basic styles with many variations and a number of sizes. The basic shape is the same as a carpenter’s toolbox. The high lid is hinged on the back and fastened with one or two secure latches and they have sturdy handles. Inside is where the differences are found.

One version has a removable tray, which holds long items like brushes and rulers. Beneath this is ample space for paints and other supplies. This type of case does not usually have dividers for small objects. However, some models have small compartments with pop up lids, which are built into the lid of the case.

The second version opens to reveal a tackle-box style with one, two or three trays that rise on hinges for access to the different levels. These trays may have fixed or removable dividers, and there is storage for larger items in the bottom.

Cloth Totes And Duffle Bags

There are a number of different styles of cloth or canvas carriers for art supplies. They range from simple totes to zippered duffle bags with pouches, or a multipurpose bag that doubles as a campstool. These can be very inexpensive, as in the case of a plain tote bag, or very costly in the case of the campstool.

Minimal supplies for an occasional outing may not require the purchase of a substantial toolbox. A canvas tote may be all the artist requires if transporting art supplies is a rare occurrence. A duffle bag with sewn in compartments is great for the occasional traveling artist whose supplies may change over time. A soft-sided carrier can take up less room when not fully loaded, but can be crammed full to bursting if necessary. This makes a cloth duffle bag a versatile choice for many artists.

An artist who plans to paint en plein air requires a compact, all-in-one setup. A campstool that is attached to a supply case is a grand idea for someone who paints on location regularly. There are also supply cases that will accommodate a portable easel. This specialty items few artists need, but the availability exists with prices ranging from moderate to outrageous.

Backpacks And Rolling Cases

Two other types of tool cases are backpacks and luggage-style rolling cases. Several manufacturers make backpacks that are great for carrying painting supplies. Creativo, Zuca and Utrecht have several models from which to choose. A number of other companies also produce backpacks specially styled for an artist’s supplies.

With telescoping handles and wheeled bases, a rolling supply case is a useful accessory for the artist who regularly travels with supplies. Whether attending classes or setting up to paint at various venues, a rolling case is a great convenience. This type of carrier is available from a number of companies with many variations, sizes and prices. This lends a professional appearance to the artist, and is easy to use for a person who may not be able to carry the weight of other style toolboxes.

Considering all the different kinds of cases may be confusing. Do not rush out to buy a case without deciding what is necessary or superfluous. The artist may discover that he needs more than one style of case. There is no reason not to have several, if he leads a diverse painting lifestyle. Office supply stores, hardware stores and home improvement centers all carry innumerable storage cases, boxes and cartons. Luggage shops and outdoor sporting goods stores may be additional sources for useful cases.

Consider all the options when selecting a toolbox for your painting supplies. You might be surprised with some of the solutions you find.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *