Can you bring colored pencils on a plane? Yes, but there are rules..

Can you bring colored pencils on a plane

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Whether you are an artist about to embark on a flight with your art supplies for the first time or flying long haul with kids and you need to keep them entertained you may be wondering, “Can you bring colored pencils on a plane?”. What about coloring books or crayons? The answer is yes, you can bring them on a plane but there are some rules. You can’t bring any large sharpened objects onboard. The TSA states that it is ok to bring art supplies on a plane as long as they’re not liquid or gel based over 3.4oz/100 ml.

They also say that you should be able to take markers, crayons and pens (No to tactical pens) onto the flight with you without having them confiscated by airport security. In this post we will cover each topic as there was one line on the TSA website that concerned me and it said “”The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”

So let’s go into a little detail because the TSA website also says “Pencil Sharpeners. Carry On Bags: Yes. Checked Bags: Yes. For more prohibited items, please go to the ‘What Can I Bring?’ page.” So what are these prohibited items that we need to know about.

So can I bring my art supplies on a plane? and if so what art supplies can I bring?

Generally you can bring most art supplies on a plane that are not long and metal or sharp or can be used as a weapon.

As long as you can show that they are well packed and safe they should be allowed but with everything, the rules can sometimes be subjective where the TSA agent can make the judgement call that a paint brush that you have looks like a weapon and flag it to be packed with your checked in luggage.

You also need to take into consideration any changes in the risk alertness at the time of your flight may change things.

Can I Bring Colored Pencils On a Plane?

Yes, you can bring colored pencils on the plane as long as they’re not sharpened and once again, you don’t want to carry them in your hand luggage or have it seized by security for being too dangerous. If you need to bring colored pencils on the plane without as carry-on then you need to ensure they are in your checked luggage.

Can I bring solvents for blending coloring pencils on a plane?

Yes, as long as the solvents are not flammable and in a sealed container that is less than 3.4oz/100 ml then you should be ok to bring a solvent on board.

If you are unsure what blending agent you can bring then any that are flammable are alcohol based such as mineral spirits, turpentine, rubbing alcohol.

Any that are oil based such as baby oil or coconut oil are deemed safe. While you are allowed to bring hand sanitizer on board I would read the following article to see why.

My suggestion is to leave any blending activities to when you have arrived at your destination. You wouldn’t want to risk ruining your artwork with a little turbulence!

Again, if unsure contact the TSA either via their website or Twitter.

Can I Bring Markers or Crayons on a Plane?

Yes. While markers and crayons are not specifically mentioned they would generally fall under Pens and yes, these are allowed as both checked bagged and carry on. I have also seen the question posed to @AskTSA on Twitter numerous times and their response has always been Yes, crayons and markers are allowed.

Calligraphy pens are also allowed as the nib or tip is not considered dangerous or hard enough to cause much damage if any.

You do need to note that if your pen is classed as a “tactical pen” then this will not be allowed as carry on as a tactical pen is designed to be used as a weapon.

If you want to know if you can bring Sharpies on a plane the answer is also yes as they fall under the category of markers and pens and pens are allowed on a plane.

Can you bring a sketchbook on a plane?

Yes. Sketchbooks are considered art supplies and they should be allowed as a carry-on or checked bag.

Can you bring pencil sharpeners on a plane?

Yes. If the sharpener is in your hand baggage then it would need to meet the general restrictions for items that can be carried onto an airplane. I have yet to see a pencil sharpener with a 6 inch blade so I assume you’re safe. If you use a box cutter or knife as a pencil sharpener then the answer is that these are now allowed on a plane.

So if you use any of these as a pencil sharpener: Box cutters, razor blades (that are not in a cartridge i.e. loose blades) then these are prohibited in carry-on.

The TSA website also states that any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

Can you bring highlighters on a plane?

Yes, you can bring highlighters on a plane.

Can you take art paint on a plane?

Yes, you can take art paint on a plane.

What Can’t You Bring On A Plane?

We started this article posing the question can you bring colored pencils on a plane but we also need to ask what art supplies can’t you bring on a plane.

You also have to be aware of certain things that you cannot take with you onto the airplane no matter how harmless you think they may be.

While art supplies are not listed on the TSA website for prohibited items, specifically there are some that generally fall into generic categories such as any liquid over three ounces (that includes paint tubes, medium, solvents etc), Flammable Paints (not even as checked in baggage) as well as anything made out of metal such as palette knives, scissors or any cutting implement that has blades over six inches long, multi tools/knives without springs attached, while glass items seem to get the Okay.

I personally had some issues bringing a hand made glass sculpture on a plane. I was made to pack it in my luggage and needless to say I came home with a very expensive broken glass sculpture from Venice.

For quick, helpful answers from the TSA about pens and pencils on airplanes, contact them at @AskTSA.

Can you bring colored pencils on a plane

What happens if I try to bring prohibited art supplies on a plane?

If you try to bring any prohibited items we just went over on to a plane such as prohibited toxic paint-based items or anything flammable then if they are found during the screening process at security checkpoints or in checked baggage processing, TSA will advise you that these items need to be discarded (thrown away or confiscated) unless you have approval from the airline carrier to carry them onboard as a part of your carry-on bag and its contents or that you will need to have them packed safely and securely in your checked in baggage.

You may also want to check with the specific airline carriers before you travel since different airlines have their own rules about what can or cannot travel aboard an airplane flight.


I hope that you found this resource “Can you bring colored pencils on a plane” and more, useful.

If you have any questions about bringing colored pencils on a plane, please contact TSA at or consult airline carrier before your flight departs.

Please visit the blog again for more art tips and tricks to do when your plane arrives at your destination.

If you found this article useful, feel free to share it with your social circle or with any artist who is about to travel with art supplies for the first time.

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Image by Stuart Bailey from Pixabay 

Photo by Rayner Simpson on Unsplash

About the author
Joe Colella - Chief Wasted Talent
Joe Colella – Chief Wasted Talent

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