Packing Your Paint for Air Travel

Artist grade oil colors are based on vegetable oil with a flash point above 550. THEY
ARE NOT CONSIDERED HAZARDOUS. Pack the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
from the paint manufactured with the exact flash point info. Each manufacturer will
have this information on their packaging and/or web site. You may want to include
MSDS information specific to each color. I have printed and included the sheets that
are specific to the paints that I regularly use.

According to Robert Gamblin of Gamblin Colors, when security asks, "What kind of
paints are these?” Never say, "oil paints.” Say, "these artists colors are made from
vegetable oil and contain no solvent."

For air travel, flammable liquids are those that have a flash point 140 degrees F. or
below. If you do not know the flash point of your mediums or solvent, do not take
them on the plane. Do no fly with solvents and cleaners. Purchase them at your
destination or ship them beforehand by ground. If that is not a good option, you can
use Safflower oil for removing the color from your brushes. When you return home
use your regular cleaning method or soap and water at night during your trip.
The most important thing about packing is to keep things to the bare minimum while
keeping the weight as light as possible. Look at everything you place in your bag to
make sure that it is essential. And, ask yourself, "Is there anything you can remove?".
Now days with the weight restrictions when flying, it is even more important.
Do not take palette knives on board, check them with your luggage. Airport
regulations change on an ongoing basis. It would be wise to go through them and
check on them.

The paint can puncture each other, so when you pack them, wrap each one with a
small amount of bubble wrap. I then place the tubes in a labeled plastic container.
Make sure that your solvent container is well cleaned with soap and water. You want
to be sure to get rid of any residue and odor. Before you refill your container, put a
plastic sandwich bag inside, then slip the metal insert inside. When you are done, you
can pull out the bag, dispose of the solvent and have a solvent container that is still
clean and ready for travel.

Watercolors also require MSDS information as they are no more or less hazardous
than oil colors.


The US Department of Transportation defines "flammable liquids" as
those with a flash point 140 degrees F or below. Artist grade oil colors
are based on vegetable oil with a flash point at or above 550 degrees F.
If you need to confirm this, please contact TSA at 866-289-9673 or their
Hazardous Materials Research Center at 800-467-4922