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A Guide to Storing Gouache Paint Tubes


Gouache is a versatile medium renowned for its rich, opaque colors and its reactivation with water. However, it can be susceptible to drying out, getting damaged, or becoming contaminated if not stored properly due to its water-based nature. 

This blog post will cover DIY storage options, paid options, and best practices for storing gouache paint. When storing your gouache tubes, you should have two purposes: organizing the tubes to find colors easily and protect your paint.

Table of Contents

Organizing the tubes by color

Sorting your gouache paint tubes by color is an efficient way to arrange them, and this makes it simple to locate the color you’re seeking and quickly identify the hues in your collection. Depending on your preferences, you can place the tubes according to the color wheel, tones, shades, or hues. This technique makes it simple to find any missing colors from your collection. 

One important thing when looking for storage is how many tubes do you have to store, and what sizes are your tubes?

Gouache paint storage ideas
Not all gouache tubes have the same size

Storing gouache tubes in Good Conditions 

After using paint, you should firmly secure the cap or lid to prevent drying out and consistency loss. When you’re ready to paint again, open your tube outside or your palette, as you may get dry paint crumbles falling from the lid. 

Gouache paint should not be near windows, radiators, or other heat sources. The paint may dry out and lose its consistency due to exposure to heat and sunlight, making it challenging to use. 

 


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Keeping the tubes in a cool, dry place is crucial to preserve the paint’s quality. It’s preferable to keep the paint tubes in an area with a stable temperature and low humidity because humidity and high temperatures can damage the consistency and color of the paint. Keep the tubes out of moist or humid spaces like bathrooms or basements.

Until recently, I was storing my gouache tubes randomly in a recycled wood wine box, and it was fine until I had so many tubes that when rummaging in the box I had a tube perforated and had gouache paint everywhere. This is when I looked for different storage solutions. Thank you to the Facebook group ‘Gouache Painters‘ members for providing ideas!

Gouache paint storage ideas

DIY Gouache Paint Storage Solutions 

Make a bespoke storage box.

Making your storage box for gouache paint is one method for keeping your gouache paint tubes organized. You can do this by reusing an old shoebox or creating a new box out of cardboard or wood. You can separate the storage container into sections, each reserved for a particular color family. The paint tubes can now be accessed and organized with ease. 

Make sure you’re adding ways to separate the tubes. This will make finding what you’re looking for easier and prevent the paint from smudging or getting on each other. You can also add dividers inside your storage box to separate the tubes. You can make the dividers out of wood, plastic, or cardboard. 

I recycled a chocolate box from last Christmas to store my tubes by color, but the box is too small (or I have too many tubes!).

Gouache paint storage ideas
Recycling a chocolate box to store gouache tubes

Reuse manufacturers’ packaging

You can reuse the original packaging from your art supply store or online retailer, and this is a good practice because it reduces waste and helps keep your paints safe from damage caused by dropping during transport. Arteza has nice stackable plastic caddies where you can sort different colors inside. Although, Arteza tubes are smaller than regular ones and you can have trouble with storing.

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Gouache paint storage ideas
Arteza packaging reused

Use a pegboard and clips.

A pegboard mounted onto a large gallery frame, with bungee cords and clips, can be a great storage solution for gouache paint tubes. This allows for easy visibility of all the colors and quick access to the desired tube without the need to dig through a box or drawer. It also saves space and makes it easy to organize the tubes by color. Be careful that the wall with the pegboard doesn’t get direct sun!

Plastic containers

Gouache tubes can be stored successfully using a plastic airtight container. This kind of container will aid in retaining the paint’s quality by preventing the paint from drying out and losing its consistency. This form of storage is practical and simple to utilize as well, giving you quick access to your colors whenever you need them, but it can take a lot of space if you have many paint tubes. It also only allows for a little organization, meaning that it can be difficult to find precisely what color you’re looking for when you need it unless your plastic is transparent.

Recycling jars

Another great way to store gouache paint tubes is by using recycled jars. This is a cost-effective and environmentally good alternative as you reuse jars that would otherwise be thrown away. The tubes can be put inside these jars after cleaning and drying, with the label facing out for simple identification. The paint tubes can be kept fresh and kept from drying by screwing the jars shut. To make it simple to observe the colors in your collection, you can also arrange the jars according to color. This technique can be a fantastic way to organize your paint tubes as well as keep your paint tubes fresh and reduce waste.

Using Ziploc bags

A great way to store gouache tubes is by using quart-size Ziploc bags. The tubes can be kept fresh and kept from drying out by being put in these bags. For easier identification, the bags can also be tagged with the name and number of the color. You can use a larger gallon-size bag to hold all the quart-size bags to keep everything organized and in one place. This helps to keep the tubes safe from harm and in good condition while also keeping them sorted by color and protecting them from damage. In addition to protecting your paint tubes and keeping everything organized, this method is efficient and simple to apply.

Commercial Gouache Paint Storage Solutions

Lipstick organizer

A lipstick organizer is a great way to store gouache paints. This style of organizer is usually to hold lipstick tubes standing. You can keep your colors in several sections, each reserved for a particular color family. The paint tubes can now be accessed and organized with ease. Additionally, it holds the paint tubes upright so that it is simple to identify each one’s color and keeps them safe from harm.

A standard gouache tube is 3 inches tall, and the organizer is 2 inches tall, so all tubes can stand up straight and are easy to grab from the lid. Colors are visible as well, although it depends on the brands. Winsor & Newton has white tubes with a tiny rectangle of color, while other brands have fully colored tubes.

Wood paint tube organizer

Ready-made by the manufacturer, you only have to assemble the wooden elements by clipping them together. There are different shapes and sizes, including corners, and you can build large racks in your studio. It’s very aesthetic, buy might take a lot of place!

Use a fishing tackle box

A tackle box or other tiny container can also hold your gouache paint tubes. To group the paint tubes according to color, you can use little compartments in the tackle box, making this a practical and affordable alternative. Make sure your tubes fit inside the wells. A good practice is to carry a paint tube with you when looking for this kind of box to make tests. 

This one has adjustable dividers so you can move them accordingly to the size of your tubes.

Desk organizer with drawers

You can buy different organizers in the office section, and depending on your taste and budget you can get them with clear plastic, colored drawers, or wood. It’s important that you take the measurement of your tubes and calculate how many tubes you can fit inside to maximize the storage. This can take a lot of place on your desk!

Rolling cart with drawers

If you have a lot of art supplies (like I do) and you want to have them always around you, wherever you’re working, this is what you need. You can store a medium per drawer, sort by colors inside, use the top of the cart to place your palette when painting.

Summary of different solutions

Here is a table with the different solutions, evaluated by:

  • practicality: how easy is to grab the tube you want?
  • color sorting: is it easy to do, and easy to visualize?
  • does it fit for all tube sizes?
  • how much place does it take?
  • how expensive is it?
  • how aesthetic is it? (this one is very subjective, I know!)
  • Average evaluation

Depending on your criteria, you may find the perfect solution for you!

Evaluation of the different storage solutions for gouache tubes

Conclusion

Finally, appropriate gouache paint storage is critical for keeping the quality of the paint and ensuring that it is ready to use for your next painting session. We’ve talked about making a gouache paint storage box and recycling a tackle box or other tiny container as a means to store gouache paint tubes. We’ve also included some storage ideas, such as utilizing a pegboard, a plastic airtight container, or a lipstick organizer.

Whether it’s a specially made solution or a commercially accessible product, it’s crucial to choose a storage solution that suits you and your demands. You’ll be able to enjoy working with gouache paint for years to come if you store it properly. Remember, a happy studio is a well-organized studio!


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Cecile Yadro

I believe that art can help you express yourself, find your voice, and discover who you are. And I want to help you do that. I've seen how powerful my classes can be for more than 20,000 students. In my classes, I focus on giving you the tools you need to express yourself and make your creativity take flight!

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