Organise your Studio

written by Sophie | Materials & Technique

As it is the Lets-Get-Organised month on the blog I cannot skip a good tidy up. Artists are infamous for being messy! But if you ask me, I think it is all hearsay. Who doesn’t love their boxes, folders, drawers, baskets and bins? All together it can still look a tad messsy, I must admit but WE know where it all goes, don’t we? Let’s tidy up the studio!

There are many ‘organise your studio’ articles online. They often vary from the beautiful to the ridiculous. Although it might look cool to stick your brushes into a great big plant pot, I doubt it is very practical. And adding magnets to your paint bottles so you can hang them upside down from a metal shelf? Well erm…yeah.

So what do I do? Well, let me show you.

Sophie Ploeg Blog Let’s Get Organised Studio

Brush Storage

Where and how to store your brushes? There are as many options as there are brushes. Think pots, tins, jars, glasses, mugs, vases. Think drawers, cutlery trays, cutlery baskets, boxes, pencil cases, pencils boxes and more. I store my brushes in empty mugs and jars.


*Jackson’s offers this handy looking brush holder that can stand up so you can easily take what you need. 

Pro Art brush case

*This Pro Arte brush case seems very simple and handy. Click the image for more info and to buy at Jacksons

Sophie Ploeg Studio
My brushes live in mugs, vases, jam jars and tins

Pastel and Pencil Storage

Pastel storage box
Jacksons pastel storage box. Click the picture to buy

Mmm, you might have noticed a very recent blog post about my newly acquired pastel drawers. I am over the moon with them. They look neat, are easy to use and don’t take up much space.

*Have a look at how I organised and stored my pastels

*This wooden pastel box with padded trays is very useful to store a pastel collection.

* Check out my Pastel Pinterest board for storage ideas!


Sophie Ploeg Studio
My pencils and pastels live in wooden drawers

Paint Storage

Sophie Ploeg paint storage
My stationery drawers hold all my oil painting tubes

There are a million-and-one solutions for storing paint tubes.  I have put them in this metal stationery drawer unit. I find it handy as I put it inside a wheeled trolley which sits right next to my easel.

Artbins are very useful for storing paint, brushes and other stuff

I have organised the paint by colour, and labelled each drawer accordingly, so that I don’t have to search long if I am after a certain colour. I make sure that I don’t pile up the tubes, again so I can grab a tube quickly without having to dig around in the drawer.  Not having them piled on top of eachother also helps to avoid a tube piercing another tube. I have had times when I dropped a tube a little too casually into the drawer and the corner of the metal tube fell onto another tube – and piercing a hole into it. Not good! I am more careful with putting my tubes back now.

Others store their paints in boxes, crates, artbins and more. I am not sure many artists are as neatly organised as Nicholas Jainschigg, but hey, you never know, it sure does look fab:

Nicholas Jainschigg studio
Paint tubes hung up neatly in Nicholas Jainschigg’s studio

 Paper and Drawings

Storing sketches, paper and drawings requires a flat solution. These things need to be stored flat to avoid creasing and smudging. You can buy a huge variety of folders to carry and store art works flat.

I have two of these marbled folders and have had them for decades. They last forever and are used to carry drawings to the framer, to a life drawing session, classes or just to store things in the studio.

*Buy green marbled folders at Jacksons.  NOW ON OFFER

jakar teletube
Jakar black extendible teletube carrier with strap.

*To carry your art works rolled up, these tubes are super useful. Throw over your shoulder, so much easier to carry than big bulky folders.

Wooden planchet, ideal for storing paper, art works, mount board and more. Click the picture to buy at Jacksons

The seriously impressive flat storage: a planchet chest of drawers is ideal. But they are pricey. No doubt cheaper versions can be organised with some creative thinking at Ikea or a DIY store. But these beauties from Jacksons are probably hard to beat. 


Bits and Pieces

If there is any shop that is a ideal for boxes, drawers, pots, jars and who knows what else, it is Ikea.

Ikea storage
Ikea is great for bits and pieces such as boxes, trollies and trays

I am eyeing up one of those trollies. My current trolley is on its last legs. It holds my paint tube drawers (see above) and on top I have my palette. So I haven’t found the perfect solution yet but I am on the hunt. One can never have enough boxes. For example, I use boxes for all sorts of tape; parcel tape, framing tape, masking tape etc.

More handy bits

Cutlery trays are ideal; they can hold pencils, brushes, pastels, screws and bolts, stationery stuff, and much more.

A nice looking ipad stand, ideal for those working from photos to put next to their easel. Made from aluminium for easy cleaning.

I use a trolley like this to wheel large paintings from the car to a gallery. Use some straps to secure the paintings and make sure they lean safely.

Little buckets on a rail are good for anything. These are intended for plants but you can hang them over anything, like a door, or a rail, or on your easel perhaps. Ikea has a similar set of buckets on a rail which I use.  l I find them really useful for pens, brushes, bits and pieces.

More Ideas

Check out my Pinterest board on everything to do with an art studio. 

This book looks like it is full of yummy pictures of artists’ studios – no doubt including some great ideas!





A book full of famous artists’ studios!

Published: January 16, 2018

More to read....

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  1. I love that diy hanging tube idea! I’m excited to make one myself. My work space is always so crazy when I work in any medium. Not only does my wet brushes roll around and fall off the desk, but my paints are just thrown into a box that I have to sort through. By the time I find the paint I need my hands are painted as well.

    1. That’s what I thought! Those hanging tubes look really cool. You sound like you get covered by paint a lot, LOL! Perhaps put your wet brushes in a box so they don’t roll off the desk? I usually put them on my easel ledge, or in my palette box. But then I don’t look very ‘arty’ when I paint; no splatters, no paint on me at all… 😉

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