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How to Make a Fabric Roll Up Paintbrush Holder

Tutorial for Watercolor Paintbrush Holder
I made a bunch of cute bags for Christmas Gifts which I completely forgot to take pictures of. Just imagine something amazing and I’m sure you’ll have it about right.

I made a bag for my mother-in-law, who paints watercolors, and I wanted to make a paintbrush roll up holder to match her bag, but I had no idea what sort of size or shape would be needed. So, I carefully measured hers when we were there over the holidays, and promptly forgot the measurements.

I had figured there would be 10,000 of these tutorials on the web, but the ones I found were not super helpful, so I’m making my own. I did find a lot of tutorials on how to make crayon caddies, but for the life of me I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t just use the crayon box to hold your crayons? Unless you are like my mom and make your kids use the worn out nubs of scrap crayons from other kids’ yard sales. (“They color just the same! What are you making such a fuss about?”) In which case, please just buy them a cool crayon box (She-Ra please!) from the actual store to spare them a little dignity.

ANYWAY, if anyone can shed some light on why everyone is making these crayon holders, I am genuinely interested. In the mean time, here is how to make something that will definitely be useful to anyone you know who watercolors or paints or otherwise needs a fashionable way to carry around brushes.

Tutorial for Watercolor Paintbrush Holder


Obviously you can adjust your sizes based your brushes.  If you’re making a holder identical to mine, you’ll need:

  • 18.5 x 17.5 inch piece of outside fabric (flowers here) (a fat quarter would work)
  • 18.5 x 17.5 inch piece of your lining fabric (blue here)
  • 18.5 x 17.5 of cotton batting or fusible fleece, etc.
  • 18 x 4 inch piece of fabric of top flap fabric (green here)
  • 18 x 4 inch piece of fabric of your lining fabric (blue here) (or you can use the scrap leftover from your fat quarters ~3 inches)
  • 18 x 1.5 inches of fabric for your strap – this can be much shorter but I was feeling fancy. OR you can use a ribbon for this.
  • Button
Note: I added a 1 inch green trim around the edge of my outside fabric. To do this, just cut out 1.5 x 18.5 inch fabric strips, and sew onto a 18.5 x 15.5 piece of outside fabric before starting with the steps below. 

Tutorial for Watercolor paint brush holder

As you can see, this caddy features a top flap to keep all your brushes from dumping out of it when you turn it upside down.  And it ties shut using a strap and a cute button:

Tutorial for Watercolor paint brush holder

The paintbrush pockets are sewn in using quilting lines that run the length of the holder (seen here from the outside)(note the aforementioned green trim):
Tutorial for Watercolor paint brush holder

Ok, let’s get down to business:

Step 1: Make your strap:
Fold/iron in the long edges of your strap 1/4 inch.

Then fold/iron the whole thing in half. I use spray starch to make the folds hold better. Then sew up both sides of your strap. The first line of stitches is to hold your fold closed, the second is to make it look cool.

tutorial fabric paintbrush roll up holder

Step 2: Make your case:
If you are using fusible fleece or fusible batting, iron your batting/fleece to the WRONG side of your outside fabric. If you are using regular batting, just layer them as you see below:

tutorial fabric paintbrush roll up holder

Stack your materials like this: 1. Batting 2. Outside fabric (Right side up) 3. Strap (6 inches down from top) 4. Lining fabric (Right side down)

tutorial fabric paintbrush roll up holder

Pin everything up and sew around the edge using 1/4 inch seams.
Leave a 2-3 inch gap unsewn along the bottom, and use this gap to turn your fabric right side out. Iron your layers and sew a scant seam all the way around the outside edge of your square.

Step 3: Make your pockets:
Fold up the bottom of your fabric 5 inches and pin it.

Take a ruler and pencil and draw on your quilting lines that you will use to create your paintbrush slots. I varied mine from .75 to 2 inches.

Begin sewing your quilting lines like so, going up and down the whole length of your holder (don’t sew over your strap):
Paint brush holder

Step 4: Make your top flap:
Layer your flap pieces right side in. Pin and sew around all edges, leaving a few inches unsewn at the bottom. Turn your flap right side out, press and then sew around edges.

Pin your flap to the top inside edge of your holder and sew a scant seam across the top to attach them.

Step 5: Sew on your button to the outside of your holder, on top of where your strap originates.

Step 6: Nothing, you’re done!


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