I’ve painted off and on for about 12 years now. Quilting often takes first place in my time, though. I was very happy when I found out that a few ladies were meeting on Sunday afternoons at our Clubhouse to do watercolors. That’s the medium I enjoy! I’ve been painting with them for a few Sundays but I’m really out of practice and taking it slow.
Years ago, I quickly took apart an old bag to make a paintbrush carry-all to take to our paint group. It’s not a very pretty thing but it does do the trick. I probably shouldn’t even show you the ugly thing, but I’m all about truth so here’s what my brush carry-all looks like.
Even though it’s an ugly thing, my painting buddies like the way it holds all the brushes so they can be easily found. I told them I’d make up one for each of them. Need I say theirs are MUCH prettier than mine?
These were made from remnants and leftovers I had on hand. The outer part of the carrier is made from a piece of upholstery fabric. The inner section where the paintbrushes are is a piece of fabric I trimmed off the quilt I was working on the other day. They just happened to be colors that worked together! I thought you might be interested in how to make one of these, perhaps for yourself if you paint or for someone else. The nice thing about this carrier is you could also use it to hold knitting needles and if part of it was shortened (and I’ll show you how) you could put crochet hooks in it! Now how’s that for finding other uses for it?
Here’s the tutorial for making your own brush organizer/knitting needle case.
Cut a remnant of sturdy fabric 29 1/2”x20 1/2”. I used a remnant of upholstery fabric but you could use duck, canvas, corduroy as long as it’s sturdy.
Cut (2) 1 3/4” x 20 1/2” strips of fabric. One is for a strap, one for a header for the vinyl.
Cut a 5” x 20 1/2” strip of clear vinyl.
1. On the two narrow ends of your large piece, fold the edges over 1/4” and again another 1/4”. Stitch in place.
2. Measure up 8 1/2” from the bottom edge of the large rectangle. Fold and pin this in place, right sides together. Stitch and turn this section.
4. Holding one of the 1 3/4” strips, slide the long edge of the vinyl between the fold, encasing it in the fabric. Stitch in place along the edge of the fabric. No special foot needed as the vinyl is not sewn “raw”. You are sewing with the vinyl between the two layers of fabric.
5. Measure 4 1/2” from the end of the narrow side of the large rectangle of fabric. Mark with an erasable pen. Pin the vinyl strip along the 4 1/2” line and then stitch in place.
6. Now the vinyl is secure by the edging stitched across the unit. It will hang down into the body of the carrier and the lower edge will be caught in the lower section.
7. Now you are ready to make the sections to hold the paintbrushes. Measuring from the edge, ( I started on the left), measure across 1 1/2″ and mark that with an erasable marker. I use the white Fons & Porter ceramic pen to mark on dark fabrics. Continue marking at the width you need. I marked two 1 1/2″ sections for the bigger brushes I own, and then all the rest are 1″ all the way across the carrier.
8. Next step is to stitch along those white lines, backstitching once or twice at the top edge of the line. This section will get some tugging as you take out and replace brushes so a few extra stitches there to keep it in place.
9. The next thing I do is stitch about two inches up from the bottom of the bag half-way across. These are long sections and some of the thinner brushes are quite a bit shorter and can slide down in and get “lost”. See where the pin is marking the location of my horizontal stitching.
10. You have two raw edges to deal with from the folded area to the top of the piece. I simply folded 1/4” and caught the edge of the vinyl in and zigzagged the edge, repeating on the other edge. If you wish to have cleaner edges, you could stitch a binding down both sides. That would look great and give it a very finished look. +Should you decide to bind all edges, skip step #1 on the top edge as the binding will enclose the raw edge there if you bind all the way around.
11. The remaining 1 3/4” strip that you folded needs to be folded, pressed and folded again just as in Step #1 only now you are going to stitch that opening closed, to be a tie for the closure. Measure halfway down the right-hand side of the fabric and mark it. You will stitch the tie on the OUTSIDE of the carrier, not the inside.
12. Fold the tie in half and attach the tie with a few machine stitches to the outside edge at that mark.
The vinyl was added to protect the fabric when you put away your brushes damp. No need for vinyl if you use this for other purposes, like knitting needles, crochet hooks or even screwdrivers and ratchets!
Add your brushes and fold the top flap down over the top of the brushes. Now they won’t slide out and end up on the floor! Roll up the organizer from the side with no tie. Once you get it rolled up the tie is ready to be wrapped around the whole organizer and tied.
I didn’t realize I had forgotten to fold over the flap of the organizer on the right until I saw this photo. Wondered why they weren’t the same size! That’s why; the flap needs to be folded before you roll up the organizer. Two brush organizers for two Paint-y Friends.
I hope this makes sense to you. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them but I hope I put it all out there clearly.