How to make a portable miniature paint station

My homemade paint station has everything I need to paint minis wherever I want.

Painting miniatures means amassing an amazing amount of items.

When I first started, I had a few paints and a few brushes. Now I have dozens of paint pots, droppers, washes, glazes, brushes, mediums, bases, thinners, razors, files, clippers and clamps.

And that’s not even including all of my airbrush equipment or the boxes of minis I have awaiting paint.

At my house, all of that is housed in an old desk in my basement. I can build models, create terrain, make molds, and do whatever else is needed for various projects.

The basement could become my art room, something like a studio maybe. I haven’t yet thought about what all I may have to do to convert it into a studio but I can start with renovation and repair, for instance, hiring services for basement waterproofing in St Louis (or elsewhere), wall insulation, painting, adding some furniture pieces and art supplies like a couch, a table, painting stand and canvas, art tools, etc.

And sometimes, if I want to be more nimble, I can set up a portable paint station.

I can take it upstairs when I want to watch a movie and paint, or I can bring it to a buddy’s house for a hobby night.

For me, the idea was not to have a giant box with everything I might need. I wanted a secondary and portable paint station with room for a few paints, a few brushes, a few models and various other pieces.

You can see what’s in my new portable station right here.

So here’s what I put together:

1) Carrying Case

Though I like the look of some MDF and wooden stations, I wanted something durable I could carry around.

For starters, I dug out my old Blick ArtBin QuickView Carrying Case, a small translucent plastic case that locks closed. I already had it on hand, but you can get a small one for less than $10 or the large one for $15 to $20.

You can use any kind of small case, tacklebox, tupperware or anything really that has enough space. The idea is something lightweight that doubles as storage for your stuff and a surface to set your brushes, palette, minis and whatever else you need.

2) Paints

Once again, I wanted to be portable. So I didn’t count on having space for dozens of paints. I’ll likely be using this to paint only a few colors at a time, so I made space for up to five P3 or GW paint pots.

3) Brushes

You can really put in as many brushes as you want, but I’ll only carry two or three.

4) Palette

I have a decent ceramic palette on my main paint area, but for portability, all I’m using here is the plastic blister from an Infinity model. A plastic portion cup you can get at a restaurant or any small container would work great.

5) Razor/X-acto & super glue

If you plan on assembling models, you’ll need these. 

6) Cleaning cloth

Just a few squares of paper towel to clean my brushes. I took one sheet of paper towel and cut it into a dozen small sheets. 

7) Water

For cleaning brushes and thinning paints, I put a shot glass in there. I figure I can find a bit of tap water just about anywhere. 

8) Space for minis and models

This is probably the biggest user of space, but that’s OK. You need a little space to keep some miniatures and to protect them, so I actually put a little foam in one side of the box to keep the little dudes safe.

9) Light

Though this one is last on the list, it’s probably one of the most important. Stuck into my little box is a book light. You need good lighting when you’re working. It’s not always an issue, but it can be really hard to see what I’m working on when painting in my bedroom late at night. A portable LED book lamp is compact, inexpensive and plenty bright.




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