Mixed-media paper crafter; stamper, freelance craft tutor, designer of PaperArtsy JOFY stamps

14 June 2016

The perfect travel art kit...

.... is there even such a thing - I find what I want to pack depends on where I'm going, what the holiday plans are and what my favourite tool/ media is at the time of packing! 

While packing I try to be practical and stern with myself (listening to my little inner voice asking 'do you really need that? will you actually use it??')  This year in the lead up to our holiday I made a list of all the equipment I used when making something and kept it at the side of my desk, things I used repeatedly... it was quite a useful little list - really showed what is 'essential' and what isn't.. I'd recommend trying it, could also show what is actually needed on the desk.... (as opposed to all the 'stuff' that stays on the desk just in case..)
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When putting this blog post together I looked for the photo of the kit I took the last time we had a holiday in Mexico (3 years ago)....


...and compared it to the kit I took this year.  It made me smile because 3 years on:
* I'm still using the same bag.
* I still pack: Archival Black ink, a diddy alphabet stamp set, craft sheet, Snowflake Fresco Finish paint, long rubber in pencil form, Tombow glue stick, Cut'n'Dry foam, and stencils....

There is much more in there that you can't see in the photo:
* Koh-i-noor paints - they've been replaced by Winsor & Newton watercolours
* Decorative tape - 2 rolls packed above- tape didn't make it at all this year and I missed it - I thought I'd packed tape but hadn't... gggrrrr (1 inch brown paper tape - the type you have to wet the back of to make it stick - I was quite disappointed because I had plans for that!!)... still packing double sided tape :o) (I remember thinking I don't need to pack tape because I can create tape with paper and glue... yeah right!)
* The flower stencil/mask was swapped for alphabet stencils

This year I think I'd planned more for journaling and painting, rather than packing with no plans as was the case last time....

Here's this year's kit:
Its all the things I would normally use at home but travel sized - an A5 cutting mat and craft sheet, a short metal ruler, very limited amount of stamps - I didn't take any of my motif stamps because that helpful little inner voice of mine was saying - 'you don't need to take stamps of images you've drawn, you can draw them - draw new ones'... lol the voice has quite a good point don't you think! (might have to give my little inner voice a name...)(suggestions welcomed)

I also pack a limited amount of other 'stuff' to use - stencils, papers to use as backgrounds (book text, captions from magazines, gelli printed pages (NB I liked the ones shown in the photo so much I couldn't bring myself to use them!), scrapbook pages.... and in the bottom left of the corner of the photo is the sketchbook I took with me - 6x6in spiral bound.... (most of this came back with me... but its better to pack it than not - see above re the paper tape!)

I planned ahead by creating a colour chart of my Winsor  & Newton watercolours in the back of my sketchbook - so glad I did this - it was really useful.  They worked really well with the Fresco Finish paints I'd packed.  I killed a couple of my drawing pens by writing on wet paint (I have limited patience, but in fairness to me Mexico is VERY humid this time of year and things were taking longer to dry)(no, I didn't pack a heat gun!)... and so I rediscovered biro pens.. aaaah the good old biro pen!

I'm not sure there is a 'perfect' travel kit but this one worked for me (this year!)... its all down to personal preference isn't it?

My major fail this year was not taking my everyday sketchbook - the 25x25cm sketchbook I 'think' in  (it also works as a good work surface because of its size..) I found it really hard to sketch and think in 6x6in sketchbook... sigh... I missed it.

I must remember the next time I pack the 'perfect' kit:
some things just can't be exchanged for 'travel size'



  1. Interesting read Jo. I always want to take stamps but can never decide which. Making that list sounds like a very good tip

    Lesley Xx

  2. I love your kit and I think it is bang on for items that one would use in a travel situation....not too much, not too little, but all very user friendly in a travel situation! Love it, thanks for sharing! :)

  3. What an interesting post. if I had holidays I am sure i'd have the same problem..love your travel kit tips!

  4. Great post, enjoy your holiday. Tracy x

  5. How about "Nora-know-it-all" for inner voice. Very interesting read Jo. I took a ridiculous amount away last week as we were in the car, in this country. Was more excited about packing craft goodies than other stuff. Great idea to do inventory of recently used equipment too.

  6. Great kito...and we'll thought out....I would have a clue where to start but this has helped!

  7. I've never taken craft stuff on a plane before but might have to now I've seen this - I've really missed my craft desk over the last 2 weeks. xx

  8. What a helpful piece of information! I realized so many items I should've put in my traveling bag. You are the Bomb! Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Jo could you please tell me the brand of the alphabet stamps = am looking for small compact set and these look ideal. Thanks

    1. Hi Anne, the alphabet stamps are 'Studio G' by Hampton Art.. They're really inexpensive - I bought a couple of sends for a £1 each (!!) but the ones I bought recently at The Range were a little bit more I think - maybe £2-3 which is still a nice price for an alphabet set. They do several different fonts. I like them a lot :o)

    2. Hi
      I went to the Range today - they have small alphabet stamps - which is what I think I saw previously - Dovecraft, £1.25


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