Organizing coloring supplies

1 February 2016

I jumped aboard the adult coloring book craze last June. I loved coloring as a kid and I love it now. It’s so wonderful that so many interesting types of coloring books are available. And the coloring supplies! When I was a kid, I used Crayola crayons. Now, I use pencils, pens, markers…it feels like the sky’s the limit.

As with many new hobbies, part of the fun is acquiring the supplies. I now feel like a kid in a candy shop in an art store, which is a new feeling. (I’m not particularly artistic.) But with the acquisition of supplies comes organizing challenges. I worked out a great organizing system for my colored pencils that I thought I’d share here. (I also color with colored Sharpies and I’m still working on a system for storing those.)

My first purchase was a single coloring book and a tin of 36 Prismacolor Premier colored pencils. Those were great—I loved the quality of the pencils and the blending I could do with them. They were contained, so all I had was a book and a tin, which I kept on the end table by the couch, along with a clipboard used while coloring a single page. Easy peasy.

But soon 36 colors wasn’t enough. So I went to locally owned Art Mart and bought more individual Prismacolor pencils. That’s when I started having a storage challenge. Then I bought more pencils and books (I asked for Art Mart gift cards for my birthday) and I had not only a storage challenge, but an organizing one. I love this kind of challenge!

Enter these lovely acrylic pencil trays from the Container Store. They’re high quality and hold two dozen pencils. I bought three. So I have space to store 72 pencils plus the 36 in the original tin.

So here’s how I worked it out. I sorted the pens by color category that made sense to me. In the acrylic trays I have:

  • Reds
  • Blues
  • Neutrals

In my tin, I have three trays of 12. I’ve divided them into:

  • Greens
  • Purples
  • Yellows

There’s a little overlap—some oranges could go in either the red or the yellow tray and some blue-purple pencils could go either way. Pinks go with the reds, but I put some with the purples. It’s all about how I think of them.

Here are some photos.

Organizing coloring supplies

Organizing coloring supplies

I store all the pencils in a Bigso Letter Box from the Container Store, along with my pencil sharpener and a box cutter for cutting pages out of a coloring book whose pages aren’t perforated. (I prefer to color a single page on a clipboard.)

See how nicely they fit?

Organizing coloring supplies

(Incidentally, all these photos were taken using the SHOTBOX tabletop photo light studio.)

I used to store my coloring books in a second Bigso box, but after my friend Patti gave me six books for Christmas, my books outgrew the box. So I now keep them in magazine holders on a bookshelf in an adjacent room and keep my not-yet-organized collection of Sharpies in that second box, along with the current page I’m coloring on its clipboard. (I’ll post again when I figure out my Sharpies and other markers!)

The two boxes reside stacked on the end table, because I typically color while watching TV (though sometimes I color on the dining room table nearby). If we have visitors, it’s easy for me to move them out of the way.

If you’re a colorer, how do you store your supplies?

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These look beautiful in that box. I’ve definitely been needing to organize my art supplies – they’re in fifty different places. Love that you organized them by color!

Jordan 02/11/2016 10:39 AM

Thanks, Jordan!

Janine Adams 03/07/2016 07:32 AM

Thanks for a great idea. I’m going to order the clear boxes from the Container Store for my pencils. THEN I’ll have to figure out what to do with the gel pens and Sharpies! (Unless, of course, you have a solution for that problem, too!)

Martha Lawlor 06/04/2016 04:23 PM

Thanks, Martha. I love those trays for my pencils. I did end up storing my sharpies in mugs. I blogged about it here: A storage solution for my colored Sharpies.

Janine Adams 06/04/2016 06:06 PM


Patti Cancellier 05/13/2017 07:57 AM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

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