Friday Quick Tip: Portable Paint Set

Ever since I started working for the Fire Department, I've really been in need of a nice compact, durable and versatile way to get my projects to work and back in one piece. From that necessity came my current portable paint set up.

Much of what I have been using has been from things I found around my house and at work. The base of which is a flip top flat box from GW's shipping department. I have used this box as a mixing palette for my terrain projects, a priming surface for just about every model I paint, and as a container to keep some of my most needed paints on hand and organized.

As you can see, I pack the box to it's limit. I routinely pack around 29 GW paints and 6 Vallejo model color paints in this one. I also carry my brushes and pencils in the box as well, if you still have the little plastic covers, they'll stay in great shape so long as you don't have them pressed up against anything. The larger box you get, the more paints you can lug around, but I've found this one to be perfectly sized for my needs.

Another major addition to my paint set that I've recently stumbled across is a document protector that I found around work when I forgot to bring a palette with me. It ended up being the perfect companion piece to an already nicely compact set up. With this you can also fold it over on itself and with a little bit of water around the paint, it will seal off the paint and keep it from drying out should you need to step away for a moment. I just fold this up and throw it in with the paints and close up the box.

The last piece of the puzzle is a durable plastic cup. The cup isn't just for your water when painting either. Should your project be small enough, you can wrap it up in the paper towel and stuff it all into the cup for a bit of protection and a much easier transport! This might not work for army projects, but it gets the trick done for one off models!

And there you have it! A nice compact, durable, and portable paint set that costs next to nothing (past the paints that is!).

How do you get around with painting projects?


  1. Are you an Engine or Truck man?
    What's this making us wait all day for the tip?

    Good idea with the plastic sleeve cover, talk about portable.

    For the cup, I'd say double it... take two cups of the same size. One for regular colors and one for any metallics you may have so you don't end up with metal flakes in your regular colors.

    As for going anywhere with my projects... I'm too spread out on my workbench to try and get it all together to go elsewhere. I'm trapped where I am I think.

  2. We don't have truck companies in my city ^_^. And you can blame work for the later than normal tip! I had to take a test for Medic school this morning!

    Two cups would definitely be a good idea. It would at the very least save me some time from cleaning my cup out every time I use a metallic paint!

  3. Nice tip, I used to just chuck the paints I wanted to use into my backpack and pray to God that they'd not explode everywhere - this is a much better idea.

  4. vredesbyrd, I'm right there with you! Before I started doing this, I was putting paints into my miniature cases. I was always a bit upset when I'd open my case and see the tops a slight bit open, but with no paint pouring out thankfully x.x....

  5. I just use my new fast attack bag.

    best purchase i've ever made!

  6. I don't really have a portable paint setup -- I just got settled into my new place with a nice, big new desk/workbench. However, there are those times when I'm going on an overnighter or something and then I use...wait for it...a flip-top cardboard box much like the one you use, but mine's from Cisco (a small firewall was shipped in it, I think). As for using the cup for model storage, I've done much the same, but with the "coffee cup" lid put on it for extra security!

  7. I use an old citadel figure case (you know the ones that used to break minis really easily - they had a folder over lid!). I ripped the inner foam and the lids out of the interior and i can fit a full set of vallejo paints, plus brushes glues and varnish inside. Because i keep the foam on one side it holds the paints in place! (and ive labelled which side to open it from, after a small accident on the first day of usage!)
    Addmitedly i only ever make it from my study in to the lounge (a full 6 feet!), but its handy none the less....
    As for cups, i think i would take 3, one for regular colours, 1 for metallics (exactly as ron says) and then 1 extra cup for a clean supply of water. I find thats the most important thing to have when painting, completely clear water and a small 'dropper'

  8. Paul has a good point... 3 cups.
    I actually have 3 but I don't use the third for clean water, it's for any glues that I use, I rinse my brushes in that 3rd one.