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.
Are pencils allowed on planes?
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 art supplies in my carry-on?
Yes, you are generally allowed to bring art supplies in your carry-on luggage when traveling by air. But there are some restrictions on the types of art supplies that are allowed. The restrictions are to do with those that could be considered dangerous or hazardous.
For example, aerosol spray cans, flammable paints, and certain types of solvents may be prohibited or have restrictions on the amount that can be brought on board.
It is advisable to check with the airline and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for specific guidelines on what art supplies are allowed in carry-on luggage.
It is also a good idea to pack your art supplies in a way that makes them easy to inspect, such as placing them in clear plastic bags or packing them in a separate case that can be easily opened for inspection by airport security.
What else might be restricted on a plane?
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.
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 on a plane
Yes. While markers and crayons are not specifically mentioned they would generally fall under Pens and yes, you can bring markers on a plane as both checked in baggage 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, you can bring a sketchbook on a plane in both your carry-on luggage and checked luggage. Sketchbooks are not considered dangerous or hazardous materials, so there are no restrictions on bringing them on board.
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 generally bring highlighters on a plane in both your carry-on luggage and checked luggage. Highlighters are not considered dangerous or hazardous materials, so there are no restrictions on bringing them on board.
However, it is always a good idea to check with the airline and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for specific guidelines on what items are allowed in carry-on and checked luggage, as regulations may vary depending on the airline or the country you are traveling to or from.
In general, it is recommended to pack your highlighters in your carry-on luggage to prevent any damage that could occur if they were packed in your checked luggage.
Can you take art paint on a plane?
The rules regarding taking art paint on a plane can vary depending on the type of paint and the airline you are flying with. In general, oil and acrylic paints are allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage, but there are some restrictions on the amount and packaging of the paint. (Do not expect to be allowed to open an easel and start a small oil painting mid flight!)
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), paint must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item, and all containers must be placed in a clear, plastic, quart-sized bag. This bag must be placed in a carry-on bag and taken through the security checkpoint for inspection.
However, there may be additional restrictions or requirements for specific airlines or countries, so it is important to check with your airline and review the rules and regulations of your destination country before packing art paint in your luggage.
It is also a good idea to pack the paint carefully to prevent spills or damage to other items in your luggage. You may want to consider using leak-proof bags or wrapping the paint in bubble wrap to prevent leaks during transport.
Can you take watercolor paint on a plane
Watercolor paints are usually allowed on a plane in both carry-on and checked luggage but there may be restrictions on the size and packaging of the paints, as well as restrictions on the amount of liquid that can be carried on board.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires that all liquids carried on board be in containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item, and all containers must be placed in a clear, plastic, quart-sized bag. This bag must be placed in a carry-on bag and taken through the security checkpoint for inspection.
Watercolor paint tubes and pans are usually small enough to meet these size requirements, but it is always a good idea to check with your airline and review the rules and regulations of your destination country before packing art supplies in your luggage.
It is also important to pack watercolor paints carefully to prevent spills or damage to other items in your luggage. You may want to consider using leak-proof bags or wrapping the paint in bubble wrap to prevent leaks during transport.
Can you bring art on a plane?
Yes, you can bring art on a plane in both your carry-on luggage and checked luggage, but there may be some restrictions or guidelines depending on the type of art and the airline you are flying with. So please check with the airline.
For example, art that is considered fragile or valuable, such as sculptures or paintings, may require special packaging or handling to prevent damage during transport.
Another example is glass. When I was returning from Murano in Venice I had a large glass sculpture with me that I was intending to bring aboard as carry on luggage. At the check in counter, I was forced to pack it into my checked in luggage as it could have been used as a weapon!
Needless to say when I arrived home it was smashed in 3 places. Had I checked in advance, I would have shipped it via airmail as a fragile item.
It is advisable to contact your airline in advance to determine if there are any specific requirements for transporting your art safely.
Additionally, if you are traveling with artwork that contains liquids, such as oil paints, you should review the regulations for carrying liquids on board and ensure that your art is packed in a way that meets those requirements.
Overall, it is important to take necessary precautions to protect your artwork during transport, including packing it securely, labeling it as fragile, and considering purchasing insurance in case of damage or loss.
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.
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.
Can you bring colored pencils on a plane – Wrap up!
I hope that you found this resource “Can you bring colored pencils on a plane” a useful guide so that you can stop stressing before getting on a plane.
If you have any questions about bringing colored pencils on a plane, please contact TSA at tsa.gov 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.
Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech).
While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney.
While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts making Art his full time source of income from the age of 18 until 25.
His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia.
He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.