Organizing your coloring supplies

Starting to color is easy, it's knowing when to stop that's my problem! It started out innocently enough for me. I spotted a book in the store and bought it entirely on impulse. Now I needed something to color with. I dragged myself to the store at midnight and bought a cheap set of pencils. I couldn't even wait a few days for Amazon to deliver my beautiful new 72 set of colored pencils!

After that, there was no looking back. I bought artist-quality pencils. Then more sets to 'have something different.' Then I discovered watercolor pencils and of course, needed to get them too. It's been a little more than 6 months since I started coloring. Already I've amassed an impressive collection of books and supplies.

How do you store your pencils/pens when you have so many? Here are a few ways you can store your supplies:

The Original Tin

If you're buying quality pencils or pens, they usually come well packaged in tin or wooden boxes. The wood cases are stunning to look at but often take up a lot of room. Not to mention they can be twice the price of the tin case.

You can keep them in the original tins but I find them too inconvenient. They are often laid out in plastic trays lying on top of each other and the one you want is always at the bottom!

Jars & Bottles

The easiest solution is to put them in mason jars or empty bottles from your kitchen. You can group them by color or by brand. This works amazingly well, especially if you only have a set or two.

If you have many different sets though, it may take up too much space on your table. It's not a great solution if you want to take your pencils when you travel. Also, it doesn't offer much protection against drops and spills. But it is free!

Pouches & Roll-ups

These are perhaps the most common organizers. You can get a roll-up pouch for cheap on Amazon or buy really pretty ones on Etsy. You can find them in sizes ranging from 48 all the way up to 120. They are inexpensive, take up little space and protect your supplies as well. I got one of these early on for my pencils and liked it a lot.

However, as I got more sets, laying them flat took up too much space. Even if I got the really big ones, fitting 400+ pencils in these would be frustrating for daily use.

Cases & Bags

These are the best solution if you have a lot of pencils as I do.

The Tran Deluxe is a good quality case that fits 120 pencils. The 120 pencils case from Global also has very good reviews for large cases. You can also get them in canvas and non-leather options if you're vegan.

My favorite organizer, however, is the Derwent Carry All. It's cheaper than Tran or Global cases. It actually holds 132 pencils, which is perfect for those with Prismacolors. The bag comes with 3 'leaves,' each of which has 11 loops on one side. 2 pencils can fit in one loop which means a total of 44 pencils per leaf (2x11x2). Out of the box, it can hold 132 pencils.

But there's more. Derwent sells extra leaves in packs of 2 so you can add them to your bag, fitting even more pencils! Although I've heard you can fit 6 leaves in a bag, I really think 5 leaves filled with pencils is the limit. Any more and I'm afraid it's too much of a struggle trying to close the zipper.

I have one for myPolychromos, one for my Prismas and one for my Albrecht Durer + Inktense. The bags also come with a strap so you can carry supplies for travel. There is a wide loop that can hold a small notepad at one end and a nylon mesh pouch that closes with a zipper for your sharpeners, erasers etc.

My recommendations:

  • Free: Original tins/mason jars
  • Budget: Pencils wraps
  • For artist supplies: Trans/Global/Derwent cases