Updated on December 1, 2015
7 Tips for Storing Colored Pencils, Markers and Pens
Storing colored pencils, markers and pens correctly can improve your adult coloring and save you money.
Pencil, markers and pens spread all over the house? Finding it hard to quickly find the color you want? Markers drying out not long after you buy them? Wasting your colored pencils because you have to sharpen broken tips?
I have built up quite a stock of tools for my adult coloring (never mind the pile of coloring books and printables!). And I never thought about how I was storing colored pencils, markers and pens – some were in mugs, some I kept in their original packages, and some I just kept on my work surface – which means they were really on the floor because many have a tendency to roll – who knew? 😉 I never thought about “right” or “wrong” ways to store them.
But there are, and if you are storing your tools incorrectly you could be unnecessarily shortening their useful life, and with markers making the colors less vibrant and smooth. Nothing worse than taking a marker or pen to a drawing and having the color skip, scratch or smudge.
Follow these tips to keep your pens, pencils, and markers in tip-top shape.
- Store dual-ended markers and pens horizontally. If you store markers, like Prismacolors and Tombows, on their ends, the ink will settle at one tip and the other may dry out. Storing them flat will also make the pen or marker last longer because the ink in the barrel is less likely to dry out in general.
- Store single-ended markers and gel pens vertically with the capped tip facing down. This way the ink stays at the nib and is ready to go when you are – no slipping or streaking.
- Store colored pencils vertically or horizontally. If vertically, make sure the sharpened tips are pointing up. The tips are less likely to snap off, and you won’t have to sharpen them as much. If you store them horizontally, place a piece of foam or fabric over the tips to protect them.
- Always keep your colored pencils in a container. If a colored pencil falls on the floor, not only will the tip break, the core can shatter making it practically impossible to sharpen – ‘bye ‘bye pencil. If you are using a few pencils a lot in one sitting, keep a little tray or cup handy to hold them so you don’t have to keep digging through your whole collection for the same color over and over, and to keep them from rolling off your work surface. I kept a couple of the divider trays that came inside my Prismacolor pencil tins for this.
- Keep colored pencils stored away from direct light or heat. It can be a nasty surprise to have a pencil lay down a glop of color when you wanted to use a light hand.
- Organize large collections in groups of similar colors. To make this easier, have one section of your storage for color groupings on the basic Color Wheel. You will have an easier time finding just the color you want.
- Keep your markers and pens tightly capped. Some manufacturers say that you can leave them uncapped for up to 24 hours and the tips won’t dry out. This may be the case, but the ink will keep evaporating from the pen – such a waste. Keep ’em capped.
Some ideas for storing colored pencils, markers and pens
What you use for storage depends on personal preference as well as where you color: desk, recliner, dining room table, subway…. I am a big believer in the Three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), so I made a portable container for my colored pencils, pens and single-ended markers by tightly packing toilet paper and trimmed paper towel roll tubes into a box, like this:Obviously I’m no Martha Stewart, but this works for me. I’ll eventually decorate the box with some colored-in line drawings.
If you’re not inclined to create your own storage, you can also use stuff you have hiding around the house such as glass jars and clear plastic food containers. You can also make your own storage by assembling purchased components; Ikea.com and Muji.com/us are fantastic sources for inexpensive trays, cups and other great pieces.
And finally, there are some reasonably-priced storage solutions you could buy.
Whether you’re sneaking in a bit of mindfulness at the office or have just a few tools to store, this is a classy little case. This version holds 24, but there are also ones for 48, 72, 96, and 120, and it is also available in brown as well as black.
Organize and hide away your pencils and markers in this binder-style zippered case The case can hold 120 pencils: 60 slots each hold up to 2 pencils, pens or markers. Made of waterproof material, the case is 10.5″L x 8″W x 3″H
Great for pencils, pens and single-ended markers, this rotating, self-contained carousel features 7 flat compartments and 3 tiers of pencil and pen storage.Rubber feet keep it from sliding around on your work surface. Overall dimensions: 10.5” D x 5” H. Note: Copic markers won’t fit into this caddy.
What do you use for storing colored pencils, markers, and pens? Leave us a comment below to share your ideas!
Messy Pens image from www.tOrange.us