Acrylic Paint Containers

I saw someone using these small, clear acrylic boxes to hold their watercolors so I picked some up from my local container store. They work great for Chinese style painting. You can squeeze paint from a tube or drop in several paint chips (I’ll discuss these some other time), add as much water as you think you’ll need, then swish your brush around until you get the desired intensity.

Chinese painting is usually created with multiple layers of color and ink, and not much color mixing. This removes the problem of muddying the color in the containers as long as you clean your brush before dipping into another color.

If you’ve added a lot of water, after a few minutes the solution will settle with a very pale mixture at the top, more intense color further down, and pure pigment at the bottom. You can wet your brush in the mixture and just touch the tip of your brush to the bottom—creating a gradient effect when you touch brush to paper.

paint container

I bought a few of these, then decided I needed more. But, when I brought them home from the container store I found they were slightly different: the first set had square corners and the newer ones had rounded corners. This made them hard to stack.


  • High sides allow you to mix a lot of paint.
  • You can pour your mixture onto the paper.
  • The colors are visible through the transparent sides.
  • Excess moisture can be wiped off the brush against the sides of the box.
  • They’re stackable, so take up less room.



  • Sizes and shapes may vary, making them difficult to stack.
  • There’s no cover, so dust can settle into your paints.
  • If the water isn’t dry before stacking, mold can grow.

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