7 Tips for Storing Colored Pencils, Markers, and Pens

Are you looking for the best way to store your art markers, pens, colored pencils, and more? Do you have a habit of losing a marker or two, or worse - losing their caps? Do you find it troublesome to always dig through your box or storage bag of alcohol markers every time you’re trying to look for a specific color or a set? Keep on reading! We’re filling you in on a few storage tips and hacks that will help you get the best out of your art markers and other coloring supplies!

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Why do we need to store art markers properly?

Even the best art markers that money can buy will eventually dry up, run out of ink, or get blotchy. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on markers! Just like every other crafting supply, you can prolong the life of your alcohol markers, colored pencils, pens, and more with proper care and storage. 

It’s also less clutter when you have a proper storage system or organizer for your markers. You’re decluttering, creating more space for other stuff, and saving money - all at the same time! Plus, it will be quicker for you to find specific colors or marker sets. You don’t need to rummage through boxes, drawers, or bags of supplies.

Right side up or upside down?

The rule of thumb is to store any capillary-action marker on its side or horizontally. However, this also depends on the marker’s nibs. Some examples of capillary-action markers are Sharpies and highlighters. According to Arromark, this type of marker’s nib is “always exposed to the ink inside the barrel by a long soak up mechanism. In this system, the seal of the cap is the only line of defense between the ink inside the barrel and the outside air.” If you want your dual-ended art markers to last long, it is necessary to store them horizontally - not right side up or upside down. For Sharpies, highlighters, and other single-ended markers, it is advisable to store them upside down to keep them from drying out.

Investing in the best art markers isn’t enough; you need to know how to care for them properly. This way, you won’t need to keep on buying new ones because of dried-up or blotchy markers.

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Here are 7 essential tips to help you store your colored pencils, markers, and pens!

1. Store dual-ended markers sideways or horizontally. When you’re creating alcohol marker art, the last thing you’d want is blotchy blending or your alcohol markers suddenly drying out. If you own markers with dual tips - such as our Artist Markers - it’s best to store them on their side or horizontally. This will ensure that the ink won’t settle on one tip, leaving the other tip dry.

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2. Store single-ended markers vertically. As mentioned a few paragraphs ago, for single-ended markers like Sharpies, highlighters, gel pens, fine liner pens, etc., it’s better to store them upside down. This way, the ink will stay in contact with the felt tip fibers, therefore helping your art markers or pens last longer and not dry out.

3. Store them in an organizer. Take a quick browse through Pinterest, and you’ll surely find a bunch of DIY art markers organizer hacks! Having an organizer is the most obvious (and most straightforward) way to store your coloring supplies. However, you don’t want to invest too much in pricey organizers.

For instance, you can create your own art markers organizer by using empty toilet paper rolls or tubes. Instead of throwing these away, you can label them (or even color them with your markers) and use them to keep your colored pencils, pens, and markers safe and organized.

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PRO TIP! If you are still building up your collection and don’t have many markers or pens yet, it’s best to buy small to medium-sized clear acrylic holders like THIS ONE. One acrylic holder can hold up to twelve Artist Markers. It’s also a nifty tool for storing other crafting supplies like scissors, glue pen, mini cube inks, sequins, blending brushes, watercolor brushes, and more!

4. Store them away from direct sunlight and at room temperature. Avoid extreme temperatures when storing your art markers and pens. It goes without saying that extremely cold or extremely hot temperatures will affect your coloring supplies’ quality. According to Arromark, “the change from warm to cold or cold to warm in temperature will create pressure in the barrel.” The pressure might force the ink out of the tip and cause a mess. Markers stored in extremely hot or freezing temperatures need to be degassed to ensure that they won’t leak.

5. Store them in a marker bag. Some of the high-end and best art markers come with their own carrying case or storage bag. If you can’t afford this, don’t worry! Your alcohol marker art will look so much better when you properly store your markers. You can always use any bag you have lying around. It’s better if it is made of thicker and waterproof material. Having a marker bag is great if you like traveling around with your supplies. You don’t need to worry too much about your colored pencils and markers getting squished or getting lost in your luggage.

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6. Store them in a marker storage rack. This is another storage option that you can definitely DIY. You can create a marker storage rack from any household item lying around. For instance, you can repurpose some old boxes or plastic containers. You also need to consider the amount of space you have and how you’re going to store your markers. You don’t want to use anything round or with rounded corners if you’re going to store your markers horizontally.

7. Store them in old jars, glasses, or cups. This hack is super easy; you can even ask your kids or younger siblings to help you decorate them! Never throw away old glasses, cups, or jars! Repurpose them into holders for your markers and pencils. You’re saving money and helping the environment by not contributing waste! Here are a few ways on how to decorate your DIY marker storage:

  • Cover them up with old newspapers or paper scraps from your past DIY projects.
  • Do some watercolor marker art! Paint them with watercolors!
  • Use washi tapes to decorate them.
  • Decorate them with stickers!
  • Use your alcohol markers to create some alcohol marker art.

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There are so many ways to take care of your art supplies, whether they’re markers, colored pencils, pens, watercolor, stamps, dies, or inks. While investing in storage racks, carts with wheels and fancy organizers are all fantastic ideas, if you want something quick, easy, and not as expensive, try the seven tips we’ve mentioned here. In case we missed some, feel free to leave a comment and let us know! One can never have too many storage hacks and tips!


4 comments


  • Lisa

    Good to know!!!!


  • Cheryl Cunningham

    This article is confusing. The artist markers are supposed to be stored horizontal. All the pictures show them vertical. The acrylic box suggested for purchase would hold the markers vertically. I have the acrylic box that comes with each set of Artist Markers. They are indeed nice boxes. Yet they can’t be used in any way other than vertical. If you try to store it on the side all the markers will fall out. I feel this should not be presented as a storage option for the Artist Markers. The only realistic option I have found is a marker storage box I purchased made by Recollections. The markers fit in the slots, the box opens up like an accordion and folds back into a square which saves space and I lay it on it’s side when not in use.
    Cheryl C ~


  • Robin A Patrick

    You know, I’m going to have to write this information down and put it where I can see it all the time. I just can’t remember all the different kinds of art tools that need to be stored in their own way!


  • Technicolor Chic

    Thank you for the great ideas. Repurposing objects you already have is a big plus for the future of out world.


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