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Organizing Your Coloring Supplies

Coloring is easy enough to get started with - all you need is a book you like and some pencils or pens you have lying around. But as with any hobby, there are always more and better supplies just round the corner! It started out innocently enough for me, I spotted a book in the store and bought it entirely on impulse.

Pretty soon I was caught up in all the beautiful books out there for colorists, not to mention good quality supplies. It's been a little more then 6 months since I started coloring and already I've amassed an impressive collection of books and coloring supplies. So how do you store your pencils/pens when you have so many? Well turns out there are many options before you. Here are a few ways you can store your supplies:

 The Original Tin
If you're buying quality pencils or pens, they usually come well packaged in tin or wooden boxes. The wood cases are stunning to look at but often take up a lot of room, not to mention they can be twice the price of the tin case. You can keep them in the original tins but I find them too inconvenient. They are often laid out in plastic trays lying on top of each other and the one you want is always at the bottom!

Jars & Bottles
The easiest solution is to put them in mason jars or empty bottles that all of us have in our kitchen. You can group them by color, by brand or even by frequently used order. This works amazingly well, especially if you only have a set or two. If you have many different sets though, it may take up too much space on your table. It's not a great solution if you want to take you pencils when you travel and it doesn't offer much protection against drops and spills. But it is free!

Pouches & Roll-ups
These are perhaps the most common organizers for pencils and pens. You can get a roll-up pouches for cheap on Amazon or buy really pretty ones on Etsy. You can find them in sizes ranging from 48 all the way up to 120. They are inexpensive, take up very little space and protect your supplies as well. I got one of these early on for my pencils annd liked it a lot. However as I got more sets, laying them flat took up too much space. Even if I got the really big ones, fitting 400+ pencils in these would be frustrating for daily use.

Cases & Bags
These are the best solution if you have a lot of pencils like I do. The Tran Deluxe is a good quality case that fits 120 pencils. The 120 pencils case from Global also has very good reviews for large cases. You can even get them in canvas and other non-leather options if you're vegan or avoid leather products for any reason.

My favorite organizer however is the Derwent Carry All. It's cheaper than the Tran or Gloabl cases and actually holds 132 pencils, which is perfect for those with Prismacolor pencils. The bag comes with 3 'leaves,' each of which has 11 loops on one side. 2 pencils can fit in one loop which means a total of 44 pencils per leaf (2x11x2). Out of the box, it can hold 132 pencils.

But there's more. Derwent sells extra leaves in packs of 2 so you can add them to your bag, fitting even more pencils! Although I've heard you can fit 6 leaves in a bag but I really think 5 leaves filled with pencils is the limit. Any more and I'm afraid it's too much of a struggle trying to close the zipper. I have one for my FC Ploychromos, one for my Prismas and one for my Albrecht Durer + Inktense (with 2 extra leaves in the bag). The bags also come with a strap so you can carry supplies for travel. There is a wide loop that can hold a small notepad at one end and a nylon mesh pouch that closes with a zipper for your sharpeners, erasers etc.

If you want quick and easy, mason jars or the wraps should do it. If you want more protection for your pencils or portability, the Trans/Global/Derwent cases are perfect. If you have only a single set that came in a sturdy metal case, there's no need to get anything else. In fact, if you are at all crafty with a sewing machine you can make your own case. Google around and you will find tutorials on how to make your wraps at home. Once again, happy coloring!

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