Tips for organizing and getting the most out of your tubes of paint!

Hi friends! Tonight I am going to show you how I am organising many of my tube watercolors that do not have a dedicated permanent palette. I was concerned about having too many small random homemade palettes to deal with so what I have done is taken the tin that my Qor paints came in and filled it with half pans (or you can use bottle caps, I am sticking to half pans so I can put them in one of my field palettes if I want to at any time) with magnets attached. You are probably wondering why I just don’t glue them to the tin and save money on magnets. Here’s why: I rarely use more than 5 colors in a painting and I wanted to be able to move the pans to the lid with the mixing wells when I am painting and since they have magnets on the bottom they wont slide around on me. As exciting as it is to listen to me talk about this process I’m sure you’d probably rather watch a video so here you go!


I know I covered a lot in this video, here are the references I mentioned.

The gadget I used to get the paint out of the tubes is a tube wringer, Jerry’s has them the cheapest. Don’t bother with the paint saver keys. The one I have is similar to $5.99 model but if you can swing it I’d go with a metal one.

I did find a source of affordable empty half-pans and full pans, I just ordered 40 half and 30 fulls from Jacksons Art Supply on amazon and no matter how many you order (and you can combine half and full pans) it is just one shipping charge of $3.50 from UK to USA. I am not affiliated with Jackson’s or Amazon but it was the best deal I could find (26 cents half/39 cents full.) There is another outfit called Half Pan PH which also has a good price on half pans, they ship out of the Philipines, I have never ordered from them but they just announced global shipping.

The tin came with the Qor set of watercolors. I got a big tin with each set of 6 paints I ordered. They have switched to smaller tins for the small sets because artist complained but i like the big tins. You might ask where you order if you can get a set in a large tin if they still have them. currently Jerry’s has the best price on these at $20.00 (which is a couple bucks less than what I paid sheesh!)

I got the magnets from Oriental Trading but there is nothing special about them, just look for a good price, I got 200 for $6  or you could use rubber cement to tack down your pans but i wanted to be able to move the colors I wanted over to my mixing side so I did not get confused:) and also be able to rearrange them.

I wrote the names on my pans with an ultra fine tip sharpie which I also use to do watercolor pen and ink with:) Someone suggested using a brother label maker to do that so if you have one it’s a great idea. I don’t have one or plan to get one, I can’t even imagine being that organized with life.😀

I hope you found this useful. I have lots of room to store and mix paint in this tin and I actually have 2 more of these from the other 2 Qor sets I bought, one is storing random tubes of paint ans the other one is sitting in my “empty box storage” please don’t call hoarders. Erma Bombeck was talking about me and her mother when she said “She never met a box she didn’t like.) LOL, Gosh, I miss Erma. I sure is nice to have your paint organized and ready to go, almost as good as painting with it which I hope you do. Remember it’s not the paint that makes the art, you do that bit:) Have a good night and as always happy crafting!


7 Responses

  1. Hi Lindsay! Thank you for another great video! Wanted to let you know that you can buy empty pans on eBay. You can get 30 of either 1/2 pans or full pans for about $11!


  2. ooo I love your creative ideas! Please do a tut on the leaf…it’s so life-like. Thanking you in anticipation….


  3. Hi Lindsey,great video as usual,would the gizmo that they use on toothpaste tubes to push up the thoothpaste work on paint tubes? Also I would love to see your tutorial on the leaf you did on vacation,it looks amazing! Thank for all the videos I watch all that I can find!xx


  4. Great video Lindsay! I was looking at Jerry’s at the Qor sets of 6. You mentioned that they come in larger tins, also. I was wondering if the tin you used in this video was the one that comes with the set of 6 or is it a larger one? I know you said we might be able to ask for a larger tin if they had them. I just was a little confused about that. Also, if I only order 6 of the Qor, which set do you suggest to start with? Thanks! Sharon from Florida.


  5. I forgot to say – I just love your idea of filling the half pans and using the magnets – and the tube ringer!


  6. Hi Lindsay,

    I love your web page and the way you present things. I am a newbie to watercolors and would like to know some very basic stuff. What is the difference between dry watercolors and paint in the tubes?
    Do you fill the little wells in a pallet with the tube type and let it dry?

    Why are there two very different kinds of paint?

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two types?

    I really enjoyed being in your class at the library and am looking forward to our next class.



    • Hello Richard! The short answer is there is no difference between the paint in the pan (cake) and the paint that comes in tubes as far as quality. It comes down to personal preferance. Artist quality tube paint is easier to come by here in the states where pans are more popular elsewhere. I let my paint dry in a palette (from tubes) because it is more convienient then squeezing out fresh paint every time and you don’t waste any this way. I also refill my pan watercolor sets (like the ones we used in calss) with tube paint when it runs out. The only time that filling pans from tubes does not work out is with the lower quality paint which might paint fine from the tubes but cracks and dries in the pans. Don’t worry if this happens though because you can add a drop or honey or glycerin in with the paint when you fill the pans and stir it an and it will be perfect. Many paints contain honey for this reason. I hope to see you in the next class!


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