Can You Bring Art Supplies On a Plane? TSA Rules 2024

If your kid love drawing, or you are an artist who loves to travel, you might want to bring your art supplies on a plane.

There are some rules and guidelines that you need to follow, as well as some tips and tricks that can make your journey easier and safer.

In this post, I’ll answer all your questions about traveling with art supplies in both domestic and international flights.

Let’s dive right in 🎨.

Tip: Check out this Travelpro Platinum Elite 21” Carry-On Spinner, a sleek and versatile carry-on that is designed to fit within the limits of most airlines, to save you from the hassle of the airports and the pesky airline fees.

Art Supplies TSA Rules

The TSA is the agency that oversees the security of the traveling public in the United States, and they have some guidelines for what you can and cannot bring through the security checkpoint.

According to their website, you can take most art supplies in your carry-on bag, as long as they are not flammable, explosive, hazardous or have sharp objects.

This includes supplies like brushes, canvas, water brush pens, scissors, sketch book, artist palette, pencils, and pencil sets.

However, some art supplies may require additional screening or approval, depending on their size, quantity, and composition.

Tubes of paints

I have already covered traveling with all the different types of paint, water-based paints, such as acrylics, tempera, and watercolors, are allowed in both carry-on and checked baggage.

You can bring up to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) of non-flammable liquid paint per container, and you must pack them in a clear, quart-sized bag; you can pack your paint anywhere you want after you pass the security checkpoint.

Indisputably, oil-based paints, spray paints, and turpentine are not allowed, as they are considered flammable liquids.

Art Brushes

Brushes are qualified to go in both carry-on and checked bags, as long as they are clean and dry. You can bring any type of brush, such as synthetic, natural, or animal hair, and any size or shape.

Art Pencils

Pencils and pens are okay to bring in both carry-on and checked bags, as long as they are not sharp or pointed. You can bring any type of pencil, such as graphite, charcoal, colored, or mechanical, and any size or shape.

Pencils that have metal parts, such as clips or erasers,  may trigger the metal detector or the X-ray machine. You can also bring pencil sharpeners, as long as they are not sharp or pointed, and erasers, as long as they are not liquid or gel.


Markers are good as long as they are not flammable or explosive. You can bring any type of marker, such as permanent, washable, or dry-erase, and any size or shape. 

Tubes of Glue

We have a detailed post about all types of glue. You can bring glue, white, clear, or colored, and any size. However, you should avoid bringing glue that has acetone, toluene, or other solvents, as they may be considered hazardous materials. 

Small Scissors

Scissors are allowed in both carry-on and checked bags, as long as they are not sharp or pointed.

You can bring any type of scissors, such as metal, plastic, or fabric, and any size or shape, as long as they have blades not longer than 4 inches (10 centimeters), as they may be considered weapons.  

You can always feel free to contact TSA customer service on X (formerly Twitter) if you have a specific item not covered here.

Simply snap a photo of your item, tag @AskTSA, and ask your question. They’ll respond promptly.

For instance, when Jessica (@lessjangley) asked about carrying powdered pigments (art supplies) in her carry-on.

The @AskTSA gave her the green light.

However, there is a detail not mentioned in their response.

Powders over 12 ounces / 350 gram will need to be removed from the bag to undergo additional screening.

Can you take art supplies in checked baggage?

If you don’t have enough space inside your carry-on bag, or you want to avoid the hassle of the security checkpoints, then checked baggage is the way to go.

However; there are some pitfalls for check in your art supplies.

There is always the risk of items getting damaged, mishandled or even missing, this is because baggage handlers will not handle your luggage as carefully as you do.

It is advised to avoid placing any expensive item in checked baggage.

Are there specific airline policies for art supplies?

In the United States, TSA regulations are applicable to all airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest etc…

However; most airlines have some form of weight and / or size restriction for both carry-on and checked baggage.

These policies may vary depending on the airline, the destination, and the ticket class, so you should always check with your airline before you travel.

You can use this airline’s baggage calculator to get the standard size and weight of your airline.

Can you take art supplies on international flights?

For international flights, additional considerations come into play. 

While many TSA regulations are applied universally, it’s important to do a small research and comply with the specific regulations of the destination country. 

Some countries may have more stringent rules on certain art supplies, and documentation, such as a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for certain chemicals, might be required. 

What is the best way to pack my art supplies for travel?

Packing your art supplies correctly will make a big difference in your travel experience, as well as the safety of your art supplies.

Use a separate bag or a special case for your art supplies: 

The best way to transport art supplies is by keeping them with you in the cabin, and to protect them from damage, and make them easier to access.

You can use any type of bag or case, such as a backpack, a tote, or a hard-shell case, as long as it fits in your luggage. 

You can also use a bag or case that is specially designed for art supplies, such as a painting travel kit, a sketching travel kit, or a scrapbooking travel kit. 

These kits usually have compartments, pockets, and straps to hold your art supplies securely and neatly.

Label your art supplies clearly: 

This will assist to identify your art supplies, as well as inform the TSA agents and the airline staff about the contents of your bag or case. 

You can use any type of label, such as stickers, tags, or markers, as long as it shows your name, contact information, and the name and description of your art supplies.

Keep the TSA rules in mind:

To avoid any delays, confiscations, or fines at the security checkpoint. You should pack your art supplies according to the TSA rules that we discussed above, such as the 3-1-1 rule for liquids, gels, and aerosols, and the 4-inch rule for scissors.

Final Thoughts on taking art supplies on planes.

Traveling with your creative tools doesn’t need to be a daunting task.  

While most art materials are permitted in both carry-on and checked bags, you need to be mindful of restrictions on flammable or hazardous items. 

Also It is important to consider the potential risks associated with checked baggage, such as damage or loss.

Hope this helps 

Happy travels