As a fine artist, you want to keep all of your painting supplies and tools clean and well stored so that they can be used for a long time. It is important to store all of your painting supplies and tools in a clean, dry storage area that is out of direct sunlight. Here are a few simple ways to clean and store your painting supplies and tools to preserve them and keep them in good condition:
- Paint Brushes: All large and small brushes must be thoroughly washed and dried after each use. When washing your brushes, clean the handle and ferrule well so there is no paint buildup. Store all of your brushes standing up on the bottom of their handles in a cylindrical container. Glass jars work well for this. Store your brushes where you can keep watch on them to prevent moths or other insects from eating or nesting in the brush hairs and bristles.
- Palette Knives: Wipe your palette knives with a clean cloth moistened with linseed oil to remove all paint and other debris. When clean, thoroughly wipe your palette knives with a clean cloth to remove all traces of the oil. Store your palette knives as you store your brushes by standing them up in a glass or metal container.
- Tubed Paint: Before closing a tube of oil paint, watercolor paint, or acrylic paint, clean the threaded end of the paint tube and the inside of the tube cap with a moistened clean cloth. If you were using oil paint, moisten the cloth with pure linseed oil. If you were using watercolor or acrylic paint, moisten the cloth with clean water. Store all tubes of paint standing up on their bases in a container of all the same type of paint. To keep your paints vibrant, store your paint tubes on a shelf out of direct sunlight.
- Canned Paint: When closing a can of paint, completely wipe the edges of the can and the edges of the lid with clean painting medium. If you are closing a can of acrylic paint, wipe the edges with a clean cloth moistened with water. If you are closing a can of oil paint, wipe the edges with a clean cloth moistened with linseed oil.
- Painting Easel: When you are finished painting for the day, wipe off your easel to remove any new paint marks and spills. If you are using a wooden french easel, condition the wood parts with pure linseed oil and allow the oil to soak in for an hour or two. When you are ready to fold up your easel for storage, check all metal parts to make sure they are free from paint spills and wipe all the wood parts with a clean cloth to remove any excess linseed oil. If you are using a metal easel, wipe all parts to remove any paint spills or splashes especially around the joints and latches. Store your painting easel by standing it up on a shelf or by hanging it on a wall.
- Drop Cloths and Tarps: Before you fold your drop cloths and painting tarps, shake them to remove any small bits of paint and debris to prevent these things from drying and sticking on the cloths and tarps. Fold your drop cloths and painting tarps so that all paint marks are on the inside. If you do this each time, you will always have one side of your drop cloths and painting tarps without paint spills so that they will be safe to use on any floor or rug.
- Painting Rules and Guides: Wipe all of your wood and metal painting guides and rules with a clean cloth to remove any paint spills. Store your rules and guides as you store your brushes and palette knives: standing up in a glass or metal cylindrical container.
Keep all of your painting supplies and tools clean and safely stored to preserve them and keep them in top condition. If you take good care of them, they will serve you for many years.