How to make a tiny art journal kit & create art every day

If you’re looking to get into a daily art habit (like I am), then carrying around an art journal kit is the key to success. Keeping a ready-made collection of art supplies means there’s fewer excuses to getting something on the page, as it were.

Even more key: carrying around a TINY art journal kit, because space is limited! This kind of kit can also be carried while on vacation or long road trips– the perfect companion!

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Benefits to a tiny art journal kit

  1. Portable, can fit in almost any purse, backpack or suitcase.
  2. Good for spontaneous art journal creations. Now you won’t have an excuse NOT to make an art journal page!
  3. Pared-down art supplies forces you to be more creative about your art pages.
  4. It’s adorable!

My kit’s stock is focused around gluebook style collages, since that’s what I enjoy doing the most. It’s heavy on glue, tiny scissors, and things to create collage layers. However, you can fill your tiny art journal kit with whatever you want– totally adapt it to your particular art needs.

Things to consider

Where are you going? How long will you be there? How big of a bag are you willing to bring?

Me, I like to travel light. Especially if I’m bringing something with me every day– I use public transit to get to and from work, so I need to keep my purse really lightweight.

So I keep some things in mind: how much will I ACTUALLY need over the course of one work day, how small can I make my kit, and can I use each item for more than one thing.

The heaviest thing to carry is the journal itself– so for daily travel I use either a mini journal or a small junk journal. I leave my big, manila paper journals at home!

Bonus tip: Prep your journal before you go somewhere. Paint gesso onto the pages, or do colored backgrounds ahead of time. Then you’ll only need to bring stuff to do the other layers, instead of worrying about background paint supplies!

Recommended supplies

Here’s what I recommend for the tiniest art journal kit, good for daily use or for short weekend trips:

  • Small art journal (doesn’t have to fit into the bag, but bonus points if it does!)
  • Dina Wakley’s Scribble Sticks
  • A decent waterbrush (Pentel is pretty good)
  • Sharpie markers (two sizes)
  • Gluestick
  • Plain paper tape; I have white in my kit but next time I’d get the brown version instead
  • Stickers or rub-ons
  • Small pair of scissors*
  • Mini mister
  • An archival stamp ink pad in a solid color like black or dark brown
  • Small makeup sponge

*Not if you’re going onto a plane. Airport security is not kind to small scissors, even with a safety cover.

And for extended trips, try adding these:

  • Colored pencils, markers, gel pens
  • Ink decanted into waterbrushes (a la Dyan Reaveley)
  • Paint decanted into travel size cosmetic bottles– also gesso and Mod Podge*
  • Small stamps and a multi-colored stamp pad (or mini-sized stamp pads)
  • Stencils/masks
  • A small ruler
  • Needle + thread(s) for one-the-go book binding
  • Small selection of ephemera or tissue paper
  • Washi tape or decorated paper tape
  • Extra paintbrushes

*If you’re going onto a plane, remember to put these in your liquids bag for TSA.

What’s in my kit?

Well, that’s all well and good, but what do I ACTUALLY carry around with me? It varies a bit depending on what kind of trip I’m doing, or if it’s for daily use, but the basic supplies remain the same.

Here’s my actual, current travel art journal kit. I carry it around in my mini-backpack (which I use as a purse), so I’ve kept it super paired done.

I keep my travel art supplies in a cosmetic bag I got from IKEA a few years ago, but any small cosmetic bag will do.

Inside it: mini notebook/gluebook, mini mister, waterbrush, Scribble Sticks (stored in a plastic baggie to save space), bamboo paper towel (reusable!), Sharpie, white gel pen, black gel pen, glue stick, paper tape, bone folder, small sheets of ephemera, small scissors.

The small scissors are kept in the front pocket so I don’t accidentally stab myself when reaching into the bag.

I try not to bring things that could explode if pressurized or get smushed in my bag, so I leave all wet paints at home. Dina Wakley’s Scribble Sticks are my new favorite thing: they’re dry, so you can use them like crayons or add water and use them for backgrounds. Which is where the waterbrush and mini mister comes in! You could substitute them for a decent watercolor set (like this one), but the Scribble Sticks are much more pigmented. It all depends on what kind of look you like. I like big, bright colors.

The bamboo paper towel is in case something leaks or drips– I almost never have a napkin when I need one.

The Sharpies/gel pens can basically write onto anything, and I bring multiple kinds so I can do both fine detail work and big thick borders if I want. The gluestick is for paper ephemera I find on my travels, and the paper tape can either keep the Scribble Sticks from leaking into the spine or for making DIY washi tape on the go. I use the bone folder to help press down the tape/ephemera.

Do you have a travel art journal kit? What do you bring with you? Drop a comment below!

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  1. This is a great post! I’m going to my cousins’ house for their Christmas celebration soon, and I’m trying to decide what art supplies to pack. I suspect I’ll bring a sketchbook, blank postcards, colored pencils, two two-tipped black Sharpie markers, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, a watercolor palette, and two or three brushes for the watercolors.

    1. That’s a good packing list! It’d be super cute if you could get your cousins to do a little something, too– like writing a Christmas wish on a postcard, maybe, or putting a doodle in your sketchbook. Could make for some fun family memories!

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