20 Apr 2022Mont Marte

Knowing where and how to store paints and paint palettes will not only extend the life of your products but it can also help you save money and who doesn’t love that? Here are our top tips for storing oil, watercolour, acrylic and gouache to help you get the most out of your paints and leftovers.

1. Keep oil paints out of the sun

Red and yellow oil paint squeezed out of the tube

When it comes to oil paints it’s best to store paints out of direct sunlight to make sure they stay in their tip top shape. Too much heat and a lot of direct sunlight can risk your paints oxidising and even change the way the paints apply.

2. Bring oils back to life with a thinner

Four oil paints squeezed out onto a wooden canvas

After a creative session, you can re-use your oil paints (as long as they haven’t been in direct sunlight for long and haven’t gone tacky or rubbery). Store your left-overs in a sealed, air tight container and if your oils still feel a little difficult to work with try adding in a thinning medium such as an amber thinner.

3. Keep your oil palettes

Yellow oil paint squeezed out onto a wooden canvas with red paint

When it comes to palettes, you can store paint palettes either wrapped in plastic wrap, or foil, in a cool dry place or store your left-over oil paints in a sealed, air tight container.

4. Reuse muddy oil colours

Blue and red acrylic paint squeezed out and mixed together

If you have some muddy colours left- over, the good news is that you can still put them to good use for tinting. Store paint leftovers in a sealed, air tight container and then thin the oil paints down with turpentine before applying the mixture as a tint for canvases or boards.

5. Store watercolour pans with a sponge

A hand holding a brush dipping into a watercolour palette

To avoid sticky pans and prolong the life of your watercolours, grab a sponge to absorb any left-over moisture before storing watercolour pans away. Leave the pans open for a few hours before stowing away so you don’t end up with too much moisture in your pans and risk mould.

6. Reuse your dried up watercolour tube paints

Watercolour tube laying next to a watercolour brush

If your watercolour tube paints have hardened, don’t worry, there is an easy fix! Use them once again before giving them the toss, by cutting the end off of the tube with a pair of scissors and adding a few drops of water to the tube. Once the paint absorbs the water, it will become a paste and you’ll be able to work with your watercolours again.

7. Spritz your watercolour palettes back to life 

Yellow watercolour pan with brush sitting in

Keep your palettes in a cool dry place with a sponge to soak up any leftover moisture and to stop any mould. The next time you create, add a spritz of water to your watercolours and they’ll be ripe and ready to use.

8. Keep acrylic paint palettes wet

Messy acrylic pot palette with a mix of paint colours

It’s no secret that acrylic paint dries fast. Acrylic can dry in as little as 20 minutes so you have to work quickly! To stop your acrylic paint palettes from drying out, lightly spritz your paints using a spray bottle or plant sprayer.

9. Wipe down your paints before storing away

Metallic purple paint squeezed out of tube

This may seem like an obvious tip, but cleaning your paint tubes before storing them away can prolong their life and stop paint from drying up and hardening.  Be sure to wipe the tube caps and screw heads of your acrylic paints with paper towel or an old rag before storing them away. Once you finish unscrewing the paint cap and squeezing it out onto your palette or canvas, give the cap and lid a quick wipe before screwing them back on.

10. Storing acrylic paint palettes

Bunch of dimension acrylic paints squeezed onto palette

For left-over acrylic paints, you’ll want to cover them in cling wrap to slow down their drying time or keep them in an air tight container along with a wet sponge. If you don’t have a sponge, you can also try keeping left-over palettes in a sealed Ziploc bag with a wet paper towel to stop any paint from drying out.

11. Pop a sponge in with your gouache left-overs

Series of coloured gouache wells filled with water

Gouache is a great medium for taking breaks and coming back to creating. Plus storing gouache away is actually quite easy too. Simply leave the gouache out to dry and crack completely before you store it away. For gouache palettes or left-over paints, cut a wet sponge and put this alongside the paint or palette in an air tight container. Then give your gouache a spritz with water when you want to use it again.


Looking for more? Check out our recent how to video on looking after and stroing your palette knives. Or shop our range of paint palettes here.

Use your left-overs for your next creative session and show us how you go by #montmarteart or tagging us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook, we’d love to see what you create.