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Best Ways to Store Art Supplies: Paper, Markers and Beyond

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Pencils, paper scraps, paint tubes, and paintbrushes. It’s easy for our art supplies to get disorganized and turn into a pile of chaos.

When all of our art supplies are in a messy jumble, it’s easy to lose motivation to do art at all. Suddenly, feeling inspired to do art gets replaced with an annoying sense of burden to clean and organize everything. That will squash a good art session really quickly.

We’re talking about the best way to store your art supplies to preserve their quality, while also being easy for you to maintain.

Storage for Markers and Pens

Single-tip markers and pens should be stored vertically with the tips facing down. Dual-tip markers and pens should be stored horizontally. Remember that ink is fluid and, like everything else, is impacted by gravity. 

For your single-tip markers, you want to make sure that the ink is always accumulating near the tip, ready to go when you need to start drawing or coloring. When you store markers and pens vertically, gravity works in your favor and keeps the tip full of ink. This will ensure that you use every last drop of ink and help prevent them from drying out.  

Dual-tip markers need to be treated differently than single-tip markers though. If you store them vertically, only one of the tips will have access to the ink, leaving the other one to dry out. Not good. Store your dual-tip markers horizontally so that ink is evenly distributed between both ends of the pen.

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Luckily, there are A LOT better options than pencil boxes and tin cans for storing your markers and pens. Horizontally and vertically, there are some great contraptions that you get to store both of your single-tip and dual-tip markers. 

With all marker and pen storage options, it’s important that each pen and marker has its own individual slot so that you’re not digging around to find what you’re looking for.

Here are my top choices:

Crafter’s Companion PENST14 The Ultimate Marker Storage Rack

Look how pretty all of those markers look when they’re neatly organized next to each other. As an artist, this Crafter’s Companion storage kit checks the box for being extremely functional, while also being really nice to look at. I mean, half the fun of having nice art supplies is to gaze at them lovingly, right?

Another thing I love about it is that the shelves aren’t attached to each other. In total, you’ll get 14 shelves. But, if you only have 4 shelves worth of pens, you don’t have to stare at 10 empty shelves. Or, if you’d prefer 2 separate sets of 7 shelves each, easy peasy. I love simple things that work really well. If you’re looking for storage of your dual-tip pens, this is it.

crafter's companion PENS14 storage

Check out the Crafter’s Companion Storage on Amazon here

AdirOffice Horizontal 6 Slot Display Stand

Ok, I lied. There’s another great option for storing your dual-tip markers horizontally. But, this option only works if you have a small number of markers.

Luckily, this pack comes with 2 units, so you can store up to 16 markers, but that’s still not a lot. It also leans heavily on the aesthetic appeal side of the spectrum and less on the space saving side. The AdirOffice stands looks really nice, but it takes up quite a lot of space for the small number of markers it holds. If you have the space and you like the style, go for it! It is rather classy.

Now that we have our horizontal pen storage units covered, let’s talk about some great ways to store your pens and markers vertically.

adirOffice pen stand

Check out the AdirOffice Stand on Amazon here

BIG NOTE about vertical storage units: A lot of the product photos show markers being stored with the tip facing up. This is because it looks better and it’s easier to see the colors. For storing your own markers, you’ll want to store them tip facing down in order to preserve the ink. 

U.S. Art Supply 60 Hole Multi-Level Plastic Organization Rack

What I love about all of these storage options is that they are so simple, yet so brilliant. Look how pretty all of the pens look in such a simple storage rack? There are a number of these on the market, but the reason I picked this U.S. Art Supply one is because of its multiple tiers. It’s SO easy to grab whatever pen you need given that they’re on different levels. It also looks nicer, which you’ve guessed is a priority of mine by now.

us art supply pen stand

Check out the U.S. Art Supply Stand on Amazon here

L’émouchet Premium Marker Holder Desk Stand Made from Whole Piece Acrylic with 85 Slots

This L’émouchet choice is similar to the U.S. Art Supply choice aside from size. If you’re looking for a long and narrow choice that can run along your desk, this should be your go-to. A huge key to successfully storing your art supplies is understanding the space constraints within your art space and picking storage materials that fit well within them. When deciding between a boxy option and a lengthy option, consider where it will live and where it will fit best. 

l'emouchet marker holder

Check out the L’emouchet Marker Holder on Amazon here

ArtBin Satchel with Marker Tray Art & Craft Organizer

Sometimes you want an easy way to grab your markers and go. Or, maybe you want something stackable that can fit well on your shelf of art supplies. This option by ArtBin is a great choice. Not only does it come with a great marker rack, it also has room for other supplies you might need. Fill it with your art necessities, grab it at a moment’s notice, and suddenly you have everything you need to make beautiful art during all of your adventures. 

artbin satchel

Check out the ArtBin Satchel on Amazon here

BTSKY New 171 Slots Marker Case Lipstick Organizer-Canvas Markers Holder

Look how this BTSKY case fans out the markers into a beautiful marker display! Yet another functional, yet aesthetically appealing option. You can choose to either fan out your markers, or keep them standing up straight. With either option, your markers will be easily accessible. This carrying case can hold a whopping 171 markers, but is also easy to take with you.

BTSKY marker case

Check out the BTSKY Marker Case on Amazon here

Storage for Art Paper

Paper can cause a lot of problems when it comes to storage. If you’re like me, you’ll create a beautiful little stack of your papers, nicely color coordinated and organized. The next day, you need a color on the bottom of the stack and your papers are back to being an uneven jumble again. Great.

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Like markers and pens, the secret to well-organized paper is separating all of the different types and colors. Luckily, this doesn’t mean that you need to spread all of your papers all over your art room in individual stacks. The great inventive minds of today have come up with some great ways to store all of your papers in a space efficient way.

EZSTAX File Organizers – Letter Size, Stackable Trays for Desk

If you have regular, letter size, craft paper, this is such a cool collection of stackable trays that you can use to store them in. When you’re done, your stack isn’t that much larger than it would have been without the trays, but they are so much more neatly organized and accessible. Need some cardstock from the bottom of the pile? No problem. Just lift up the other trays, grab the paper you need, and put the tray back down like nothing ever happened. No more jumbled mess of papers falling out everywhere.

EZSTAX file organizers

Check out the EZSTAX File Organizers on Amazon here

Wall Storage Pocket Charts with 10 Pockets File Organizer

Yep, a file organizer isn’t just for files! Each of these pockets is big enough to hold a standard magazine or two, so as long as you don’t have hundreds of pieces of each type of paper, this will work well for you. This file organizer is the epitome of space-saving storage. Hang a few of these behind your doors, in your closet, along a wall, and all of your craft paper is suddenly hidden away.

wall storage pocket charts

Check out the Wall Storage Pocket Charts on Amazon here

Stamp-n-Storage Paper Holder

This Stamp-n-Storage paper holder is actually designed to be compatible with IKEA Kallax Shelving Units. It’s a great standalone unit, but if you’re looking to deck out your room with new IKEA shelves, you’ll wind up with a really beautiful and organized paper situation. As you can see, this paper holder comes with individual slots for all of the papers you have. It’s simple, works well, and doesn’t take up a lot of space. What’s great about this option in comparison to the EZSTAX is that it can hold paper up to 12×12”, which makes it a great choice if you have a lot of larger paper.

stamp-n-storage paper holder

Check out the Stamp-n-Storage Paper Holder on Amazon here

Wire Display Rack 30 Slot Scrapbook Paper in White

Alrighty, here is our heavy-duty, big leagues paper holder. It’s what you see in craft stores. This wire rack can hold up to 30 different papers up to 12×12” each. Each slot can hold up to 100 pieces of paper, which means that you can tame up to 3,000 pieces of paper with this one storage unit. If you have the space in your art room for this unit, it’s the creme-de-la-creme for storing your papers. 

wire display paper rack

Check out this Wire Display Paper Holder on Amazon here

Ultimate Office TierDrop Literature Organizer

We’re rounding out the list of paper organizers with this TierDrop that has some great, customizable features. Out of the box, this paper organizer comes with 10 individual compartments. You can use 2 of them, or all 10, depending on your needs. Do you need more than 10 slots? No problem. Just buy an expansion pack and you can have up to 36 paper compartments. It might not be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but it’s versatile and will do a good job keeping all of your papers in check.

tierdrop paper organizer

Check out the TierDrop Paper Organizer here on Amazon

Storage for Paint Supplies

When it comes to storing paint tubes, there isn’t a secret tip aside from having an organization strategy in the first place. Many of us, myself included, have a big box of paint tubes that we can barely open because the paint has dried and sealed the cap onto the tube. So, we’ll be diving into some simple solutions and DIY projects that can turn your painting chaos into an organized rainbow of color.

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As for paint brushes, the first step for storing them properly is to let them dry completely first. It can be annoying and time consuming, but resist the urge to put away your paint brushes so quickly, especially if you’re using a carrying case that isn’t exposed to the open air. If you’re storing them in an open jar, you have more leniency here. 

Once your paint brushes are dry, store them so that the bristles aren’t pushing against anything. Don’t pack them in too tightly or let them jam up against your other art supplies. Personally, my preference is to store them upright in jars so that their bristles aren’t touching anything else and they have full access to the open air. But, if you like to travel with your paint brushes, or need to better utilize your space, there are some great options for carrying cases.

Let’s start with some ideas for your paint tubes and then get back to the paint brushes.

DIY Paint Tube Board

If you search Pinterest, you can see beautiful and fun way to store your paint tubes with paint tube boards! All you need to do is hammer in a few rows of nails, attach binder clips to the ends of your paint tubes, and hang them. Easy peasey! If you like the look of it, you can hang it on your wall and call it a practical and functional art piece. What I like about DIY options (especially EASY DIY options) is that you can customize them to your needs. Simply use as many nails as you need for the amount of paint tubes you have.

ArtBin 6828AG Paint Storage Tray, Art & Craft Supply Storage

If you have opaque paint tubes like the ones used in the DIY example above, this storage method won’t work as well. But, it’s a great option if you have wide-bottom, translucent paint bottles. This organization option from ArtBin gives you 21 different compartments for storing your paint bottles and can even be mounted on the wall for more space efficiency.

artbin paint storage

Check out this ArtBin Paint Storage on Amazon here

Loew-Cornell 390 Multi Bin Brush Organizer

If you’d rather not grab an old jar to store your precious paint brushes in, this brush organizer is a really cool choice. With 49 slots, you’ll have more than enough room for all of your favorite paint brushes. This brush holder can fit easily onto any shelf to keep your brushes safe and well organized.

Check out this ArtBin Paint Brush Organizer on Amazon here

MyLifeUNIT Multifunction Paint Brush Basin with Brush Holder and Palette

Need a palette for your paints? A basin to wash your brushes? A storage unit to keep your brushes safe? Well, this MyLifeUNIT does all 3 with 1 simple unit. It’s quite a multi-tasking champ. Sometimes the best thing you can do to maximize your storage is to limit the amount of supplies you need to buy. This paint contraption covers 3 bases. No need to get a separate holder, basin, and holder. That’s pretty efficient if I do say so myself.

my life unit paint basin

Check out the MyLifeUnit Paint Basin on Amazon here

ArtBin Essentials Brush Box

With this great paint brush box from ArtBin, you don’t have to worry about any of your brushes getting squashed. I love that it has a hard, plastic shell that makes it durable for on-the-go use.

Even if you don’t intend on traveling with your paint brushes. This box makes it easy to stack your art supplies on a shelf without worry about damage. The length of this box clocks in at 14” and can hold 20 of your favorite brushes. It’s really thin, so if you have more than 14 brushes, I’d suggest getting two of them, since it won’t take up that much more additional space.

Check out the ArtBin Essentials Brush Box on Dick Blick here

Paint Brush Set with Professional Wood Handle

If you have a lot of paint brushes and want to store them all in one place, this is a great option. This canvas roll-up holder can store up to 38 paint brushes.

But, not only does it store 38 paint brushes, it also comes with all 38 paint brushes!

You may want to swap them out for your own paint brushes, but it’s still a great bonus. What I like about roll-up carrying cases is that they look pretty small in relation to the amount of brushes they can carry. They’re almost like the clown cars of art supply storage options. To give you an idea, this case is only about 3” wide when it’s all rolled up. And that’s WITH the 38 brushes inside of it.

canvas paint brush holder

Check out this Canvas Paint Brush Holder on Amazon here

Storage for Pencils

There’s no secret method to storing and organizing your pencils aside from the fact that you need to DO IT. A lot of us have a tendency to throw our pencils in boxes, which eventually get really full and messy. We sit down to draw or color and end up spending unnecessary time sifting through everything to find the pencils we need. Having a great pencil case can save you a lot of time when you sit down to do your art. 

It can also help protect your pencils. When our pencils are thrown into boxes, they have more of a chance of banging against each other and breaking. The pencil cases we’re about to talk about will not only save you time by allowing you to find the pencils you’re looking for more quickly, they’ll also protect them from damage.

YOUSHARES 220 Slots Colored Pencil Case

Look how nice the pencils look in this YOUSHARES carrying case! I know I know, looks aren’t everything, but aren’t these just beautifully organized? I don’t know about you, but opening this carrying case and looking at my pencils laid out so beautifully would inspire me to get drawing and coloring. Inspiration is half the battle, so don’t take that for granted.

This case will hold a whopping 220 pencils. And, given how many pencils it can hold, it’s actually really small. It measures 12” tall, 9” long, and 3” deep. That’s pretty good when you think about the sheer volume of pencils it can withstand! If you have a LOT of pencils, you’ll be a fan of how much organization this case will add to your art life.

youshares carrying case

Check out the YOUSHARES Case on Amazon here

BTSKY Portable Colored Pencil Case – Colored Pencil Organizer Holds 166 Pencils

Look how nice the pencils look in this BTSKY carrying case! I know I know, looks aren’t everything, but aren’t these just beautifully organized? I don’t know about you, but opening this carrying case and looking at my pencils laid out so beautifully would inspire me to get drawing and coloring. Inspiration is half the battle, so don’t take that for granted.

This case will hold a whopping 220 pencils. And, given how many pencils it can hold, it’s actually really small. It measures 12” tall, 9” long, and 3” deep. That’s pretty good when you think about the sheer volume of pencils it can withstand! If you have a LOT of pencils, you’ll be a fan of how much organization this case will add to your art life.

BTSKY colored pencil case

Check out the BTSKY Colored Pencil Case on Amazon here

Marbrasse Bamboo Pen Holder, Wood Desk Organizer

If you want something that can sit on your desk or art table and give you quick access to all of your pencils, this holder from Marbrasse is a really nice choice.

Even though it doesn’t have individual slots for each pencil, there are enough shelves to allow you to spread your pencils out a bit for quick and easy access. Something I love about this holder is that it’s small. It’s only 9” tall, 3.5” inches long, and 3.5” wide. This makes it really easy to find room for it on your desk, or to move it back and forth between a shelf and your desk when you need it.

marbrasse bamboo pen holder

Check out the Marbrassee Bamboo Pen Holder on Amazon here

Multipurpose Art Supply Storage Options

Even if we have our paints, pencils, and paper organized, we have all of these odds and ends that seem to pile up and get messy. Random pieces of yarn; half empty bottles of glue; a sheet of stickers from Valentine’s Day; a collection of random art “stuff” that has no obvious place to live on our art shelves. 

My first tip for organizing all of the “art randomness” is to be ok with giving things away or throwing them out. Do you know someone who can use that sheet of stickers that’s been sitting on your shelf for 2 years? Will you actually use that 12 inches of yarn that keeps getting tangled with everything else on the shelf? Be ok with letting things go.

For things that you don’t want to get rid of, put them in an “art junk drawer.” Yes, I’m actually promoting the creation of a junk drawer. Of course, your art supplies aren’t “junk,” but i like the idea of a “junk drawer” as a term that describes a place to put all of the random things that don’t have any other place to go.

Keeping them contained in a drawer, box, or aesthetically pleasing storage unit is much better than letting them float around by themselves on your shelf. Here are some of my favorite “art junk drawer” options:

Creative Mark Pastel Storage Box, 3 Drawer Wood Art Box with Foam Lining

What I love about the Creative Mark storage box is that it has foam lined drawers to protect your supplies and nice dividers to keep some semblance of organization within your “junk drawer.” It’s also very space efficient given that the drawers are still accessible even if the unit is living at the very bottom of a large stack of art supplies.

With the beautiful wood material, this Creative Mark storage box is not only good for your organizational needs, it’ll add some style and design to your art shelf.

creative mark pastel storage

Check out the Creative Mark Pastel Storage Box on Amazon here

Bamboo Rotating Art Supply Organizer, 7 Sections, Hold 350+ Pencils

If you have objects of various sizes that won’t necessarily all fit in one drawer, this bamboo organizer is a great choice for all of your random art supplies, large and small. Pencils, scissors, glue sticks, rulers; this storage unit has room for all of it. Add to the fact that you can spin it around like a Lazy Susan full of side dishes on Thanksgiving and you have yourself a great art storage option.

bamboo rotating art supply organizer

Check out the Bamboo Rotating Art Supply Organizer on Amazon here

Giantex 15-Drawer Organizer Cart Office School Storage Cart Rolling Drawer Cart

I love these multipurpose storage carts! With 15 drawers, there’s more than enough space for all of your art odds and ends. What I love about this specific storage cart are all of the colors, of course. But, also, I love that the drawers come in two different sizes to accommodate all of the different materials you might have. You can also put additional supplies, printers, machines, or storage units on top of this cart, which just adds to its utility. 

giantex 15 drawer organizer cart

Check out the Organizer Cart on Amazon here

HYGGEHAUS White Desk Organizer

Now this is an adorable desk organizer! This is a great choice for your smaller art materials given that this unit measures 15” tall, 13” long, and 5” deep. Reviewers have gotten really creative with decorating the drawers, personalizing them and even turning them into Advent calendars for the holidays. So, if you’re looking for a great art supply organizer, but also something you can have fun decorating, this is a great choice.

hyggehaus desk organizer

Check out the HYGGEHAUS Desk Organizer on Amazon here

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