You’ve found it! The hobby that entertains and relaxes you all at the same time. The creativity and precision are intoxicating – luckily, the paint fumes aren’t.
As your hobby progresses, you may struggle to find space for all of the different paints you need. You only have so much space, and you want an easy, efficient, and inexpensive way to resolve this growing dilemma.
What are the best paint racks to hold acrylic paint sets for miniatures? Determining what’s best for you depends on your work style, workspace, and personality. We’re going to look at the best racks for:
- Wall Mounted Storage
- Desk-top Storage
There are several options on the market that offer various features and benefits. Let’s dig into this a little deeper and learn more about your storage options, and some general helps for taking care of your paints.
- Paint Storage Options for Acrylic Paints
- Wall Mounted Storage Options
- Desktop Paint Storage Options
- Portable Options for Storing Acrylic Paints
- Paint Storage Dos and Don’ts
- Mixing Your Bottles of Acrylic Paints
- Painting Your Miniatures – the Best Brushes to Use
- About Acrylic Paints
- Getting Your Paint On
Paint Storage Options for Acrylic Paints
The possibilities for storage are wide-ranging; you can get anything from a clear acrylic tiered rack similar to what is seen in nail salons, like the Gospire 66 Bottle 6-Tier Rack for about [amazon fields=”B073TVMPZ9″ value=”price” link_id=”20724″] to this 5-tier acrylic organizing rack for [amazon fields=”B078T4GMG6″ value=”price” link_id=”20725″].
As we already touched on, your best storage option is going to depend on what works best for your work style and your workspace. In addition to the two options we discussed in the introduction, let’s look at a few other ways you can store your paints.
Wall Mounted Storage Options
If you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated space for your hobby, perhaps a wall-mounted paint rack would be a great option for you. Here are a couple that are designed specifically for small bottles usually used in crafting painting:
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You’ll need about 15 square inches of wall-space and about $55 for this storage unit, but it will store up to 81 different 2-ounce bottles of your paints. This particular unit has garnered 4.5 out of five possible stars from 68 different users.
The manufacturer estimates that fully loaded the rack will weigh about 14 pounds, so you’ll want to use sturdy nails or screws and anchors to hang it. Don’t want to put holes in your walls? You could also set it on your table and lean it against the wall.
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This particular model is made of wood and, as with most online products, comes with mixed reviews. It seems that some have had challenges with assembly.
Even so, it comes with a 4.3 out of a possible five stars from 21 users. This unit will hold 43 of the 17-milliliter paint bottles, and when assembled correctly, staggers them for easier viewing. This model is 15.25”x12.20”x2.04” and costs about $21.
Desktop Paint Storage Options
If you prefer to have your paints in your immediate reach, here are a few desk-top options that may work better for you than a wall-option might:
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This option is specifically designed to store 64 of your 26-millimeter paint bottles at a slightly downward angle. It has 4.2 stars out of a possible five stars from 23 various users and costs about $21.
This storage rack is about 11-inches wide and 3.5-inches deep, so it won’t take up too much of your work-surface space. It requires the assembly of five pieces, and they suggest using white glue, standard wood glue, or CA (super) glue.
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This tiered rack sits on your workspace and has space for 42 two-ounce bottles, eight larger thinner bottle spaces, and places to store 22 of your brushes at the top of the rack.
This inexpensive option costs about $20 and has a 4.1 rating from an impressive 334 users. This model will take up about 13.5-inches by 4.5-inches of your workspace. You will need to assemble the unit.
Portable Options for Storing Acrylic Paints
Maybe you don’t have a dedicated workspace and need to bring your paints with you when you’re ready to work on your projects. Here are a couple of portable options:
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This snazzy tool not only offers you a way to store and transport 32 of your 5-ounce bottles but stores them in two separate trays that each have a stand allowing them to tilt for easy viewing.
The bottles store upside down in the trays, so as long as you’ve effectively secured your lids, you don’t need to worry about getting the paint to the top of the bottle before you put it on your palette.
The satchel is also translucent so if you have multiple cases and only want specific colors, you can see which cases you want to bring with you. Just under $25 seems like a bargain for this type of solution.
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This zipping heavy-duty canvas satchel has a foam insert that is made to hold up to 60 bottles of your paints in 1-inch diameter round holes.
Want something in addition to your paint storage? Well, this model comes with six fine-detail paintbrushes too. For about $28, this sturdy portable option may be what you’re looking for.
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If you have Citadel pots and want a place to store them in a rack that is specifically made just for them, this is your option. This plastic case has two racks that will hold 21 pots of the Citadel paints and still leave space below them for another 28. This option is just under $44.
If you’re interested in being the envy of everyone at the conference and having something on the high-end side, Frontier Wargaming’s Baltic birch plywood paint case may be just the thing! You can even have it custom engraved.
This case comes with a shoulder strap, a fold-down worktable, and holds up-to 96 Vallejo or 54 Citadel paint bottles. It also has five supply boxes, stands for the miniatures you’re working on, and a box for brushes and tools.
This model will set you back just under $103, but you can add on a case LED light attachment and/or a light cable extender for an additional $31.
Pro Tip: When you don’t have a dedicated space to work on your miniatures or models – or if you’re working on something at a convention – plan ahead as to which colors you will want to use during this painting session and take only those to your workspace.
This will keep you from having to sort through multiple tubes that you have no intention of using and will help keep your work area from becoming unnecessarily cluttered.
Paint Storage Dos and Don’ts
Now that you have several different options for storing your paints, it’s probably a good idea to revisit some of the basics of best practices for paints and how to keep them ready for you to use them.
Keeping the Color True
When you’ve spent tons of time and effort getting just the right color combinations for your miniatures, you want to make sure that those colors stay true to what you bought. One way to do this is to make sure that you keep your paints fresh.
- Shake It Up. When you’re using your acrylic paints, shake your bottle thoroughly before you open it for use – every time. Once your bottle of paint is mixed well, put some on a palette and immediately tightly reseal your paint container. This will help you keep your paints from drying out.
- Give it a Spritz. Speaking of drying out, have your paints started drying on your palette before you’re finished with them? Spray a bit of water on your palette to revive your paint’s texture. If you have a sta-wet palette, you won’t have to worry about this because the palette is created to keep your paint malleable.
- Watch the temperature. While your paints are in storage mode, keep them in a moderately temperate environment. Most acrylic manufacturers recommend that you keep your paints in an environment that doesn’t have much variation than between 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit and away from direct sunlight.
Pro Tip: If your hobby area is in the attic or the garage and it doesn’t have a controlled temperature environment, one of the portable paint storage options is probably in your best interest so you can keep your acrylic paints indoors.
What If Your Acrylic Paint Freezes?
There are mixed reviews on whether or not you can recover your acrylic paint once it has frozen in its tube or bottle. This is pretty much a trial-and-error situation. Give it a chance and see if, once thawed, your paint is the same color and texture.
The one thing that is unanimous about frozen paint is that there will come a time, after a few freezes, that you won’t be able to recover the paint.
Mixing Your Bottles of Acrylic Paints
Maybe your paints have been sitting for a while, and you’re not sure that simply handshaking them will get your paints mixed back together. There are small mixers you can buy that are pretty reasonable.
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These are the exact same concept as what is inside of nail polish bottles. These rust-proof stainless-steel balls provide the resistance inside of the bottle to make sure the paint blends back together.
If your paint bottles have tops that can be removed, this may be a simple, and fairly inexpensive solution to keep your paints mixed.
This particular option comes with 100 mixing balls for about $15. Since you only put two or three mixers in each bottle, one order of these would be enough for between 33 and 50 bottles of paint.
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If you prefer the thought of having a mechanical shaker similar to what the paint stores have, but on a much smaller scale, this may be exactly what you want.
This option works on bottles between 1/4-ounce and 2 ounces, so if you have the larger 5-ounce bottles, this won’t meet your needs. Since most of the paints we’ve been discussing have been in the one-to-two-ounce range, it should be a viable option.
For about $43, this may give you some confidence that you have thoroughly mixed your paints since it shakes at about 5,000 shakes per minute.
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If you prefer an option that you can use with rechargeable batteries, this may be what you’re looking for. At $26, it is a less expensive option than the AC powered option, but it is not intended to be run for extended periods of time, so if you have several colors you need to mix, you may want to spread them out throughout your painting time.
Painting Your Miniatures – the Best Brushes to Use
There are generally two different types of materials that are used for paintbrushes:
Natural Hair – Often Sable
These brushes tend to be more expensive, but there are a few reasons for that. These brushes are known for retaining paint and water a lot better, allowing for longer painting between needing to replenish the paint on your brush.
These brushes are also usually more durable and will hold the point better and longer.
These are less prone to damage as acrylics can be hard on brushes. They’re also easier to clean and less expensive than their sable counterparts. If the tip doesn’t hold up, it will be less expensive to replace a synthetic brush than a paintbrush with natural hair bristles.
Pro Tip: Buy inexpensive brushes when you are starting out. Because you are learning technique and how to effectively use your brushes on your miniatures, it’s highly likely that you are going to ruin your first, if not your first couple sets of paintbrushes.
The harsh reality is that buying high-end brushes when you’re a beginner only wastes your money – it doesn’t make your painting better.
See all of my brush recommendations, for beginner to advanced painter, in this article.
Using Your Brushes on Different Colors
Sometimes it can be annoying to change brushes every time you want to use a different color, so you just choose to rinse the brush you’re using out and keep using it, right?
There’s nothing wrong with using the same brush for multiple colors. There are just a few things you want to make sure you do before you dip into a new color:
- Thoroughly clean your brush with soap and water – unless you intend to have some of the color you’ve been using in your new color and are creating a blended color that includes the previous color you were using.
- Keep a dry towel within reach. Assuming you’re switching colors and have washed your brush out, it’s beneficial to have a dry cloth or paper towels handy to give you a surface to completely blot your brush free of water and any residual color.
About Acrylic Paints
Here are more pros and cons of acrylic paints:
- Easy to clean. Because they are water-based and a cinch to clean up, they tend to be the first choice for use when working on models and miniatures.
- Dry quickly. If you are working on a porous surface that allows air to pass through, acrylics are a great choice because they dry fairly quickly.
- Non-toxic. You don’t need to worry about fumes, which is especially good to know with all of the up-close work of painting miniatures.
- Brushes clean easily with soap and water. Acrylics don’t gum up the bristles of your brushes. As long as you clean them right after use, they’ll wash up very easily.
Using Acrylics on Plastic or Metal
Acrylics are great, but they can be porous. And they won’t adhere to some surfaces without a little help. Luckily, it’s really easy to get a surface ready for acrylics to work their magic.
You just need to make sure that you first use a sealing base coat before applying any color.
These base sealants are often available in a spray can, so this step can be accomplished fairly quickly with a light spray. Once that coat dries, the acrylic paint will go on perfectly.
You will also want to consider putting an overcoat sealant on the miniature or model to protect the paints you worked so hard to get just right.
Oils and Enamels
Oils or enamels are more durable but take much longer to dry and don’t clean easily – you’ll need a toxic solvent such as turpentine to clean your brushes. Although oils and enamels can create a glossy sheen, they also tend to have a strong odor, which can become overwhelming in time.
Pro Tip: Because acrylic paints are water-based, they are very susceptible to freezing temperatures – this includes after they have been applied to your finished product. If your paint has frozen, allow it to come to room temperature and then test before using.
Getting Your Paint On
Whether you’re painting for your own pleasure or you’re painting items to be sold on the market, you want to make sure that you have everything you need to do the best you can.
Now you have several different options you can look at for storing your amazing collection of various acrylic colors. You also have the knowledge of tools you can use to remix your paints when they’ve been sitting for a while between hobby sessions and how to effectively use the acrylics on different types of surfaces.
Now you can go get your inner Bob Rossi on and paint happy little colors to make your miniatures pop.