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7 Cute Art Supply Storage Ideas for Max Organization

Art supply storage that is organized, stylish, and practical can be a challenge. Hiding art supplies in stylish bins and boxes can damper the urge to create, while open storage can feel chaotic. What’s the best way, then? I think it’s through creatively displaying them!

In this article, I’ll show you 7 ways to stylishly store your art supplies while keeping them visible. With a few organization tips, your supplies can be close at hand- without feeling chaotic- ready for inspiration to strike.

7 Organized Art Supply Storage Ideas

1. Store Pens and Paintbrushes in Vases and Planters

 art supplies organized in my Sony studio in vases and Planters

Vintage planters can make great pieces to store and display are supplies of various sizes. Vases and pitchers store tall paintbrushes while small, squatty houseplant planters can contain pens and markers. Grouped together in like vessels, these distinctly different types of art supplies create a unified and organized appearance on a bookshelf or tabletop.

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To prolong the life of paintbrushes, they need to be stored bristles up, so paintbrushes love to be stored in cups glasses and deep bowls. Upgrade this storage by replacing grungy paint cups with pretty vintage planters and tall vases designed for flower bouquets.

Tall paintbrushes love the extra support of the deep vase, and shorter detail brushes – as well as markers, pens, pencils – love to fill out vintage planters. Often the vintage planters have strange interior shapes, so if you have trouble getting your brushes or pens to stand upright, pack a little tissue paper into any excess hollow spaces in the planter.

2. Repurpose Vintage Luggage as Art Supply Storage

 this small vintage suitcase works perfectly to store envelopes and stamps on a styled bookshelf

Although I’ve dedicated an entire post to hacking a vintage cosmetic case to hold illustration markers, vintage luggage, in general, is great for keeping art supplies organized but within reach. If you do multiple kinds of craft or hobby work, suitcases can be a great way to organize each “genre” of crafting into its own container. For example, you could have a stack of vintage luggage as a coffee table – but each case could be a ready–to–go kit for picking up your cross stitch, knitting, polymer clay, or watercolor project.

PRO TIP: A lot of vintage luggage carries the odor of storage or the previous owner’s cologne. To remedy this, check out my article on how to refresh your vintage luggage.

Recently, a friend pointed out how I “live with” my art supplies in a unique way. Rather than attempting to squirrel them away in boxes and totes (that would end up cluttering common spaces anyway), I tend to think creatively about how to purpose my most-used art supplies as decor. I arrange my art supplies in such a way that art supplies “left out” in living spaces of my home actually become part of the look. Once my art supply organization methods assigned each item to a dedicated and attractive home, my home looks organized and my creativity is sparked by always having art supplies within reach.

3. Organize Paper in Pretty Vintage Trays or Baskets

 vintage trays and baskets make a great way to organize flat items or paint

I picked up these vintage wood “inboxes” one year at the Canton Flea Market (get similar paper organizers with these search terms in the vintage section of Etsy). Although papers, notebooks, and sketchbooks are easy to stack, containing a stack within a frame or a basket helps create a more organized look. In this picture you can see how I’ve contrasted the contains stacks of notebooks with a basket filled with, yes, more notebooks as well as a page of color swatches.

If you use jars with a hinge top or screw-on lid that is airtight, you will also notice that art supplies like paint or markers will last longer. Just like storing something in a zip top bag, the airtight seal of the jar can help prevent art supplies from drying out.

4. Store Paint and Crayons in Sealed Jars

 decanting my art supplies into jars and hurricane glass keeps them visible and organized

Strangely, I don’t think I saw a hinge top jar until it was well into my 20s, but now they are one of my favorite things to use for art supply storage. They’re perfect for art supplies that can dry out!

These jars are easy to open and close, and if you purchase new jars (or replace the seals on vintage jars) you’ll find that the rubber seal is totally airtight. This airtight seal makes them perfect for storing tubes of paint, polymer clay, or any other art supplies that can dry out during storage.

5. Try Storing Art Supplies in Tool Caddies

Tool caddies– both vintage and new– make excellent ways to store art supplies and group supplies needed for certain projects. Tool caddies can also be prepped for kids’ projects – it’s great to have everything collected and on hand to start a project as well as have a location for kids to return supplies when they are done.

In the photo below you can see a Pottery Barn kid’s version of a modern tool caddy that’s working great to hold supplies, and above pictured is a  vintage toolbox that I restored with a special process.

6. Decant Ugly Paints or Glue Into Small Jars

For the particularly aesthetically-obsessed studio curator, decanting paints is an option. If you cannot hide a liquid in a drawer or a box, decanting is always an option. Small spice jars work well and in the case of glues is often possible to purchase a plain container that works even better than the original packaging (though not pretty by any measure, glue syringes were a eureka–level discovery for me).

7. Clipboards and Mini-Easels

Clipboards and easels are delightful holders for blank paper, works-in-progress, and finished art. Clipboards and easels can be used separately or you can pair them together to create a dynamic art shelf that changes from day-to-day.

Clipboards are functional. They’re perfect for paper art supply storage that makes it easy to begin creating art anywhere– even without a table- and good-looking. Although Etsy has some really unique vintage clipboards, clipboards are one product that hasn’t changed much in the last few decades, and it’s not hard to find new clipboards at Amazon that look vintage.


These are a few of my ideas for creative art supply storage, but I’m guessing there are many more creative ways to store art supplies I haven’t even thought of- I’d love to hear feedback and gather more ideas.  Post your ideas for creative art supply storage below.

organized art supplies in my studio

With the exception of professional artists with dedicated out-of-home studios and hobbyists with the luxury of dedicated studio space,  art supplies storage never turns out looking quite as good as the uber-organized craft rooms depicted in magazines. Instead, art supplies tend to spill into common spaces, especially for those of us who paint at the kitchen table, sketch in bed, or stitch patterns and projects in the living room.

In this post, I outline a few of my best art supply storage ideas and tips that can help you organize your supplies and get inspired- because when your art supplies are always visible and always at the ready, you can be ready to create whenever the inspiration hits!


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

I love the vintage flower pot storage idea!

Lindsayanne Brenner

Thursday 17th of August 2023

Thank YOU!