How to Put Together a Travel Watercolor Kit (You'll Love the Drinking-Straw Hack!)

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Taking a journey to anywhere can jump-start your creativity. But that's not all a trip can do. It can also help you edit your watercolor supplies as you pack. The payoff: a lightweight, portable kit that lets you paint as well on the go as you do at home.

Sure, you could buy a travel watercolor kit. But why? Putting together a kit that works for any type of getaway is simple — you can even do it with stuff you have in the house. We'll show you how!

Pare Down Your Paints

You don't need to bring every color of the rainbow with you when you travel. Just tote tubes of the basics — primary colors plus black and white.

Need more colors? Put generous dabs of your faves on a small palette or plate. Let them dry the night before you travel, so they harden into cakes. Cover your palette in plastic and you're done — all you need to do when you're ready to paint is add water. Be sure to bring a little more paint than you think you need, especially if you don't have a backup supply.

Protect Your Brushes

Your mantra for your travel kit: Keep it simple. One fine and one larger paint brush should be enough, and you can add any others that you think you'll really (and we mean really) need.

Keep those delicate bristles from getting damaged by slipping them into the protective tubes they came in. Of course, if you're like most people, you tossed the tubes right away. If that's the case, here's a hack: Use a drinking straw!

Simply cut a straw into several pieces. Then place the straw over the bristles of your brush, making sure it has about half an inch of clearance on top.

Tape the straw to the paint brush. Place a dab of tape on top, too, to keep your brush from getting dirty.

DIY a Palette

Instead of buying a travel palette, bring along some small ceramic plates. Teacup-sized ones are perfect, and they're already coated so you can use one for mixing colors. Best of all, you can buy them on the cheap in a dollar store.

Grab a Jar

Mason jars are perfect for holding many things, from jam to margaritas. But they're also great for storing water while you're painting outdoors. And if you're bringing paint tubes, you can store them inside a dry jar.

If your bag is bursting, skip the mason jar and just use a plastic cup — not as cute, but still functional.

Pack a Pad

A small watercolor pad is ideal for on-the-go artists. If sheets of paper are more your style, store them between sheets of cardboard so they remain crisp. Don't cram your pad and paper in your suitcase; you'll end up with crumples. Instead, pack 'em in a carry-on or cushioned between your clothes for extra protection.

Tip: Pack all your supplies in plastic freezer bags for extra-extra-protection.

Once you get where you're going, unpack those paints and let your creativity loose! Inspiration awaits.

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How to Put Together a Travel Watercolor Kit (You'll Love the Drinking-Straw Hack!)