paint brush storage

Paint brush storage: How to Store Paintbrushes—Tips for Artists

By finding the right paint brush storage solution, you can keep your brushes safely, preserving the bristles, meaning that they will last longer.

In this guide, learn some brilliant ways to organise your paint brushes, with some space saving tips and advice about how to store paint brushes when travelling or painting outdoors.

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What’s the best way to store paint brushes?

Store paint brushes with the bristles upright, in a jar, vase, or cup. There are some cost saving ways to store paintbrushes, you may find a jar or cup you already have in the house. If you want something more custom, like handmade pottery to improve the look of your space, or organisers to store your large collection of brushes, then I’ll recommend some of the best products available later in this guide. 

Another great way to store paint brushes is in a canvas or leather roll. This is a more compact solution that is great for travel and packing away in smaller studio spaces. The great thing about using a roll for brush storage, is that it prevents dust collecting in the bristles. Brushes will be cleaner when you come to use them for painting.

The third paint brush storage option is to pack them away horizontally in a drawer or on a rack.

Tips to keep brushes in good condition

When storing brushes upright in a jar in the studio, bristles can collect dust. This is especially noticeable in soft sable brushes. If you choose to store brushes upright, I would recommend washing them before use. Either run them under some water, or use a brush soap to thoroughly remove any dust particles or paint residue. This way, you can ensure that no dust will be transferred into the paint film of a painting. 

After a painting session, make sure brushes are clean and dry before storing. After washing with water or soap, lay down flat on a towel to dry. This will prevent bristles becoming misshapen, or hardening from the paint residue that has collected at the base of the bristles. Again I recommended cleaning with the Master’s brush soap, which not only cleans but also conditions and preserves brushes. It prevents paint build up around the ferrule and keeps them springier for longer.

If you paint with oil, you actually don’t have to use solvent to clean paint brushes, use the Master brush soap instead, to keep your space free of solvent fumes.

Another tip whilst washing brushes is to not leave them facing with the bristles down in a jar of water or solvent. Swirl the brush in the water or solvent to loosen paint, wipe on a paper towel and swirl in a fresh jar of water or solvent to remove any residue, wipe again, then lay them down flat.

For some more tips on how to take care of paint brushes to keep them performing like new for longer, check out our guides, for acrylic painters and for oil painters. In both these guides, discover how to restore old paint brushes that have hardened paint in the bristles.

Paint Brush storage ideas: in the studio

There are a range of paint brush storage ideas and solutions for a manner of studio spaces and sizes. 

You may want something compact you can pack away into a drawer. Or you might want to create an aesthetically pleasing display. If you have a lot of brushes you might want to look at getting a larger organisational system to hold each brush, so you can find your favourites easily.

Paint brush holders

Paint brush holders are perhaps the most classic and easiest ways to store paint brushes. Jars are great for if you want your brushes on display, on a shelf or a desk.

Mason jars

Best brushes for acrylic painting

Buy jars on Amazon

Mason jars can store just about anything, including paint brushes. Just get taller jars for longer brushes. You might already have some in the kitchen, but you can pick them up pretty cheaply on Amazon. This makes them an amazing budget option.

Handmade pottery

Support another artist and buy some handmade pottery to store paint brushes in. Handmade items are a beautiful way to add an authentic touch to your studio space. 

Ceramic paint washer & holder

This type of brush holder is for watercolour and acrylic artists that wash their brushes in water. Storing brushes with the bristles down in water for too long can cause them to splay. With these handmade ceramic brush washers, you can store your paint brush flat on its side before and after cleaning.

Personalised paint brush holder

Paint brush storage: personalised paint holder

See product on Etsy

This brush caddy comes ready to paint—paint it in whatever design you want! Draw on it with permanent marker, paint with acrylics or create a decoupage piece by sticking on paper cutouts.

Paint brush organisers

Jar wall caddy

paint brush storage: wall caddy

See product on Etsy

If you have limited space in your studio, consider putting up this wooden shelf to hold jars to display your paint brushes. It’s handmade from sustainable Oak, Maple, Walnut, or Blackened Maple and comes with hanging hardware and four jars. Choose to have it engraved, for a personal touch.

Glass jars and desk organiser

paint brush storage: desk organiser

See this product on Etsy

Select a desk organiser made from maple, oak blackened maple or walnut. If you have paint brushes for oil or acrylic with long handles, this seller provides taller jars to accommodate for that.

Personalised paint brush organiser

See this product on Etsy

Neatly store all your brushes in this solid wood organiser. With separate holes for individual paintbrushes, keep pencils, brushes and other materials arranged in one place. The wood is sealed with tung oil to protect it from paint stains.

Paint brush storage rack

paint brush storage: brush rack

See product on Etsy

This large paint brush storage rack will store all your paint brushes upright. Sometimes, when using a jar to hold brushes, they can look a little cramped and it can take some time to find the one you’re looking for. This solves that problem, keeping all paint brushes arranged, organised and properly supported. If you’re ultra organised, you could even separate them by brand, bristle type or size, but I’ll leave the fun of sorting to you!

Large studio cabinet

Buy here

Get a studio cabinet with drawers, shelves, a space for a mixing palette and brush washers. It’s the perfect piece of furniture to organise your art supplies and store brushes in.

Flat paint brush storage

Brush rest

See product on Etsy

Use this whilst painting to rest brushes on after washing. Keep your brushes organised and in one place during your painting session (and keep them out of the water jar!).

Paint brush storage rack: horizontal

See it on Etsy

This solid wood rack is beautifully made from black walnut, or cherry and finished with natural oils and beeswax. Keep your paint brushes on this rack whilst painting, or for storing in between sessions.

Artists’ toolbox

See product on Amazon

This storage box can fit a range of brushes, pencils, accessories and supplies. It has two top level compartments perfect for long handle brushes and its own handle so you can easily transport it.

Drawer organiser

See product on Amazon

Drawer organisers are multipurpose, but they can be used for paintbrushes. I keep my sable watercolour brushes in a drawer, organised with one of these. This bamboo organiser is extendable and has larger sections for long oil brushes.

Paint brush storage for travel

If you’re travelling with paint brushes, or taking them with you to paint en plein air, regular pencil cases are too short to store most types of brushes. The best option is to get a roll up brush case, or a box. 

Some paint brushes are designed especially for travel, like the Da Vinci Maestro watercolour brushes. They are compact and come with their own lid that you can screw on the end for protection. 

When travelling, before packing brushes away, ensure the bristles are dry. I’d recommend taking paper towel with you to wipe excess water after washing. When you return from painting on the field, take your brushes out of the roll, box or case to allow them to thoroughly air dry, otherwise they could go mouldy.

Paint brush roll

Paint brush rolls are convenient and great for studio use too. There are lots of options available to artists, some will have extra compartments for sketchbooks and other materials like pencils, sharpeners and rubbers.

Paint brush storage: Pin it!


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