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Traveling With Acrylic Paints

Traveling with paints can be a hassle. Traditional oils don’t dry fast enough to pick up and move without ruining the painting or getting paint on other luggage. There is also the problem of flying with paints, which can be harrowing if TSA decides that you are violating carry-on restrictions or attempting to check hazardous items on to the plane. Fortunately, there are some tried and true ways to travel and still satisfy your artistic urges.

Acrylic is less mess

Acrylic paints dry quickly. This means that within a day of painting, you should be able to stow your canvas without fear of either smearing or getting paint on other items in your car or other transportation. Acrylic paints and oil paints are different, of course. But in terms of traveling, nothing beats the durability, ease of cleanup, lack of fumes, and inexpensive price of acrylic paints.

The cost of travel

For the price, you can risk bringing acrylic paints along on your next trip. If lost, your lost investment is much less that with a palette of similar oil paints. Plus, you can leave the solvents at home. That’s good news for plein air painters, or at minimum, painters that don’t want to drive around with flammable liquids in the car.

Stay wet while keeping dry

For many vacationing painters, acrylics are the obvious choice, due to their quick drying time, but that speed comes with some disadvantages as well. Acrylic paints tend to dry out much more quickly if left uncapped, or if stowed in non-air tight containers. There are, however, many special acrylic palettes readily available for purchase online or at your local art supply store. These acrylic palettes come with tight fitting tops that allow you to walk away from work in the middle, but more importantly, allow you to travel with paint on a palette. The inside of your car will stay dry while your paints will stay wet.

Flying with Acrylic Paint:

It’s always a good idea to check the TSA website for updated information. In general, 3oz acrylic or oil paint tubes can be brought in your checked luggage in one, quart-sized, zip-lock baggie. This is especially important if you are going to need the paints for a show, or only have a short time period to get to your destination, paint and return home.

Many painters report paints being confiscated in checked luggage. This can be costly, so travel at your own risk-- one more reason why acrylic is a great choice. Being a bit cheaper than oil, acrylic is less likely to break the bank if lost to security personnel. One helpful tip is to print out a manufacturers’ Material Safety Data Sheet and bring it with you. This can be helpful in settling any TSA disputes. Including an MSDS in your checked bag may stop your paints from being removed, a fate to which there is no recourse. Once your paints are confiscated by TSA, they are not retrievable.

Despite these potential issues, you can travel and paint to your heart’s content if you take a few simple precautions.



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