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"Paints on a Plane" Topic

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Anerion25 Jun 2012 7:15 a.m. PST

Hi all,

I found one post on this that was 5 years old so I thought i'd try and get an updated view..

Has anyone taken any paints abroad? I'm doing alot of travelling from UK to Germany for work and the evenings can get dull, so why not finish my army!

Does anyone do this? got any advice?


Ashurman25 Jun 2012 7:40 a.m. PST

As long as you are taking them in checked baggage (with suitable provision for leakage), they are in small containers/normal sizes, and so on, they are generally OK. I have never tried to carry them on, and would advise against it (the aggregate total of liquid is very likely to set off any bag inspections).

On the other hand, if you have to ship them, often the shipping company will not send liquids…I lost a LOT of paint in error that way once.

It can't hurt to include a note, printed, that tells what they are for in a few words and very large print. I have never had much leakage and never any breakage. Oh, and any sprays are right out…lost a couple of those, once, to security on the checked baggage. When I carry paint I do it in checked baggage, with baggies for some, in a plastic box, with a note and the brushes included. So far, no problems…

Personal logo Rrobbyrobot Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2012 7:50 a.m. PST

I think I'd be concerned about a bumpy ride. Also, dimwits among TSA staff.

Heisler25 Jun 2012 7:55 a.m. PST

Paints are okay in checked luggage. I divide them into small ziplock bags, then place those into a larger ziplock bag and label that so TSA knows what it is.
It also doesn't hurt to clearly label anything in your checked luggage. I've had boxes taped closed with a note attached stating – Art supplies, please handle with care. Contents include non-flammable, non-toxic acryllic paints, files, Xacto knives, rotary hand tool and bits, lamp, brushes, ceramic palette, etc. Once I started doing that I found my bags were searched, but the box was most often left undisturbed. I presume, because I provided a contents list, they can easily scan the smaller box, and check the image for the items without necessarily having to open the box and tear everything apart.

Ivan DBA25 Jun 2012 8:16 a.m. PST

Good advice.

I've checked paints many times with no major problems. I do advise putting them inside two ziplock bags, one inside the other, just to be absolutely safe.

lebooge25 Jun 2012 8:20 a.m. PST

I'd recommend any box you store them in is see-through as well. Reduces the likelihood of TSA agents needing to verify that your bill of materials is correct.

Dynaman878925 Jun 2012 8:58 a.m. PST

As others have said, if they are in checked bags they are probably fine. You will not be able to get them through in a carry-on. Well you could get a total of 3 ounces of 3 colors through.

combatpainter Fezian25 Jun 2012 9:29 a.m. PST

I did it all the time pre 911. Since then, I have done it a few times and have run into no problems. Just carry in a baggie in case there is some mess.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian25 Jun 2012 9:42 a.m. PST

I've taken them in carry-on with no problems. I generally put small quantities of paint in small snap-top pots from a craft shop (because I'm not going to need a whole pot for a few days away, and to reduce weight and bulk.) Pack well, use zip-lock bags.

I don't think the security people count up ounces of liquid combined. If they did, angry women would be demanding their make up bags back at every checkpoint. It's 2 oz per container. They might question if you have twenty of the same thing.

Angel Barracks25 Jun 2012 10:18 a.m. PST

I thought this thread was a bad film spoof.

I have had it with these motherBleeped text*g paints on this motherBleeped text*g plane

Dynaman878925 Jun 2012 10:18 a.m. PST

Don't be upset when some TSA agent correctly does the job then, the rule is 3 liquids, each up to 3 ounces. My wife complains to me ALL THE TIME when she gets by one spot with more but has to dump stuff on the way back…

TheWarStoreSweetie26 Jun 2012 7:23 a.m. PST

I carry on my brushes and figures that I am working on. Paints get packed in 2 ziplock bags and then into clear boxes. Do not try to ship spray cans -- big no no. If I have to have my whole kit (I'm teaching classes), and I'm not driving, I either put it on the truck if we are vending or I drop-ship it to folks in the area.

Anerion03 Jul 2012 6:03 a.m. PST

Well, I took my paints with me to Germany,

Put them in sandwich bags and in a big sealed tupperware box in my main luggage.

No paints popped open, no broken models and no intimate questions from customs! So thanks all for your advice.

A piece of return advice.. make sure the main paint you want to take with you isn't the old dried up pot.. it's somewhat counter productive to the painting process! :)

Muerto07 Jul 2012 5:01 a.m. PST

I suggest a bit of masking tape around the lids so there are no accidents. Then, as they said above, in a labelled ziplock bag. I tend to label in English and the languages of any security personnel who might be in my bags on the way (given a Roman alphabet).

Another tip – you want a really, really well-sealing bottle to take Future floor polish with you. That stuff escapes.

Aldroud18 Apr 2013 8:51 a.m. PST

Tuperware is your friend. Always carrying 20-30 paint bottles with me in checked luggage. Always find the little print out that TSA rifled my knickers. No biggie.

seanswgcorner28 Jul 2015 8:11 a.m. PST

I just wanted to add an update to this thread based on my recent travel experience with paints in my carry on luggage.

You can read the long version on my blog here: link

But the executive summary is:

1. You can carry them on like any other liquid, ie containers 3oz or less that fit in a 1qt ziploc bag per person.

2. It's probably a good idea to have Data Sheets on hand should you be questioned. (I was not.)

3. Although allowed by the rules, both Airlines and TSA officers have final say on what goes on the plane. Period.

4. You can always put paints in your checked in luggage.

5. In case it's not obvious I am only talking about pots or dropper bottles. Not aerosols.

For reference the TSA 3-1-1 rule is here: link

and the TSA blog:

and contact link: link

Have a good one.

John Treadaway07 Aug 2015 10:53 a.m. PST

As far as I'm aware, the UK (and probably, therefore, European) regs on bottles is 100ml – 3oz doesn't mean that much to me but – more importantly – not to security in non US areas (where you may well be flying to – and therefore back from

Quoting the regs I've just looked up:

If you do take liquids in your hand luggage:

containers must hold no more than 100ml

containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm*

contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed

the bag must not be knotted or tied at the top

you're limited to 1 plastic bag per person

you must show the bag at the airport security point

Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally can't go through security even if the container is only part full. There are some exemptions.

My bold emphasis.

I bet those exemptions don't include paint for toys…

* Maybe you'd get 20 bottles of paint, dropper style, in bag that big, more or less. Remember, you have to tie it shut…

John T

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