Do you struggle to care for your tubes of watercolour paints? I certainly do! I don’t want you to experience what has happened to me, several dried out tubes of paint!! There are a few things you can do to prevent your paints from drying or exploding upon opening.

In this article, I am going to share with you some tips to keep all those expensive tubes of watercolour paint in good shape for use whenever you need them.

Let’s begin by examining what a good tube of well cared for paint looks like. These tubes of paint are around $25 each and you want to care for them properly in order to get the most value out of them. To the right of the good tubes are examples of tubes that have not been well cared for.

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What causes the tubes on the right to end up like this? Poor maintenance is what causes it. When you first open a tube of paint, try not to squeeze on the tube as you open it otherwise paint comes shooting out the end and usually more paint than what you require! Open your tubes of paint gently when you are first opening them. A build up of pressure in the tube will also cause the lid to break apart and dry out your entire tube of paint.

Below are 2 tools I recommend for keeping your paints well managed; baby wipes and scissors that can open paint lids properly. The baby wipes can be used to clean off the area around the top of the paint after you open it. Be sure to clean it before putting the lid back on. I also recommend cleaning the paint lid by running it under water to get any excess paint out so the lid can screw onto the tube of paint properly.

Sometimes the paint lid won’t unscrew, that’s when I resort to using the scissors. If I still cannot get the lid off with the scissors, I run the tube of paint under some warm water until the lid opens. You won’t have to do this if you keep good care of your paints.

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Below on the right is an example of a tube of paint that has been well cared for. If you have not taken care of your paints properly and they have dried out, don’t throw them away! You can always reconstitute the paint. I cut my dried paint tubes open and put the dried out paint in my palette to use. You will need a water mister to wet the paint down for use. I have even seen some people store their paints on a wooden rack so they are readily available for use. How you do this is with a small binder clip. Clip the binder clip on the empty end of the tube. The tube then gets displayed upside down. The clip hangs off of a nail that is hammered onto a wooden board.

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I hope these tips helps you maintain your paints to get the most mileage out of them. If you are looking to purchase good quality paints such as these, which are M. Graham and Co.  and Daniel Smith, I recommend these art stores.

The Paint Spot

Delta Art and Drafting

Kensington Art

Alberta Art and Drafting in Red Deer.

If you are interested in learning more tips for watercolour painting, you can check out the articles below.