DANIEL SMITH Watercolor for Camping and Hiking

Jodi’s Watercolor Travel Kit

DANIEL SMITH Staff Rave:  Jodi Steele’s Watercolor Travel kit for Camping and Hiking

When setting up supplies for painting with watercolors on the go, I was so inspired by Brenda Swenson’s Forbidden Fruit artwork – that I had to put together a set of my own.

Initially I created a set using almost the same colors with a Heritage palette and it was great, until I took it camping and tried to put it into my day pack, with my Stillman & Birn Delta Series Sketchbook, water, snacks & first-aid kit (I have kids and it’s a small pack). I realized that I wanted to go smaller.

Joe, in our Seattle store, had a wonderful compact kit that became my second inspiration. Using a metal gift card tin that I found for .99 as my case, I glued magnetic strips to the bottoms of 10 empty full pans so that they stuck to the bottom, and could easily be switched out for different colors later.  I was delighted to discover that I still had room for a Niji brush and two Niji brush tips. The tips are interchangeable so you can save space and carry just one Niji waterbrush handle, and the water won’t drip out of the handle (the water reservoir) when the tips are not attached!

The 10 DANIEL SMITH watercolors I chose for filling the empty full pans are all single pigment, transparent colors:

I Gessoed the inside lid to create a washable, white mixing surface – and added a color chart card as a handy reference (thanks Deborah for that tip!)  Lastly, a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist’s Pen to tuck inside the S&B sketchbook binding wire.

All in all, I’m delighted with my new travel set – it fits in my pocket and if I choose, I can swap out colors very easily.

-Jodi Steele, DS Website Manager

Thank you Jodi!


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DANIEL SMITH Watercolor for Camping and Hiking — 6 Comments

  1. Great tips! I love the idea of using a tin gift card holder as the box, and using magnectic strips to keep the pans in place is absolutely brilliant!

    • Hi Annie! Yes, adding the magnetic strips is such a wonderful idea, keeps the pans secure, and easy to change out!

  2. Very cool. So, if you Gesso the inside of the tin’s lid, it creates a surface you can mix on? Water won’t take it up? Also, do you fit your pens into that tin? Would a longer, skinnier tin work out better? I have a travel kit of my own, but it’s very rough–basically, a ziploc bag. 😉

    • Hi Linda, the acrylic gesso is permanent once it’s dry. Best practice is to apply 2 coats (allowing to dry between coats) to the metal (I would suggest lightly sanding the metal to give more “tooth” for the gesso to adhere to). Then when the gesso is fully dried, lightly sand any brush lines to smooth the surface. The gesso will allow color mixing and is easily wiped clean, or gently washed clean in water. However, staining colors will stain the gesso, just as it does watercolor paper. If the surface becomes too stained, simply apply more gesso over it!

      Take your pens with you to find a tin that will fit them too. If you can’t I would simply rubber band them to the outside of the tin with 2 “broccoli” (the heavy blue rubber band around veggies) rubber bands.

      I think you will find these ideas will help you make a great kit!


  3. Magnetic strips so you can interchange them…. You are soo timely. I was getting ready to complete my little altoids box now there will be another clever addition! Thank you! I do believe it was Joe that inspired me to create an altoid tin too! You guys are awesome! I love your stores and I love the way you guys are soo nice when I come in! You make me want to come back again!

    • Hi Kelly! Yes, Joe has an altoids tin he carries around with him! Glad this was very timely for you, and thank you for the nice compliments, I will let Joe know!