Every miniature painter and hobbyist need a water cup to rinse their brushes while they paint. Of course, you can use any disposable cup or container, even an old coffee mug. But, if you’re looking for a dedicated water cup for cleaning your brushes, then check out these top 10 paint cups and accessories. You may find something that looks great on your desk, works well with acrylic or oil paint palettes, and stores or travels well. Whether you’re painting miniatures, traditional acrylic or oil on canvas, or simply doing arts and crafts, you will always need a container of clean water or solvent.
In this article, I show you the best 15 useful paint cups and accessories for rinsing your brushes while painting.
In a hurry? Check out the top 3 favorite picks!🥇
- Citadel Water Pot (Best Overall)
- Portable Stainless Steel Painting Brush Washing Bucket (Most Portable)
- Paint Water Cup & Matching Mug (Popular Gift)
Continue reading for a review of 15 paint brush cups for painting miniatures and other hobbies.
Do you need a water cup for rinsing your paint brushes?
Yes, every artist and painter needs to wash or rinse their brushes, either during or at the end of a session. Of course, you don’t need a fancy cup or mug to hold your rinses water or solvent. You can use a disposable paper cup, a bowl, or any other non-porous container. If you’re traveling or painting with kids, these cups may be perfect.
But, if you want a dedicated paint brush cup, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m always on the lookout for unique, novel gadgets, and things for the miniature painting hobby. If you’re an traditional artist, you may also find this article fun. In my search for the best water cup, I discovered this huge niche, artsy market.
A great paint cup accessory may have a minimalist design, or festooned with all sorts of built-in features, e.g., portable lids, scrubbers, and more. For a really useful paint rinse cup when you travel, you’ll love having a small paint cup with locking lid and carry handle, such as this Leak-Proof Premium Brush Washer or the Collapsable Faber-Castell Artist Water Cup.
Maybe you want something with a neat aesthetic to liven up your hobby desk? There are a plethora of water paint cup designs on Etsy (I highlight a few select favorites below). For dedicated hobby spaces, water/solvent rinse cups go well with other useful hobby paint storage racks and organizers.
Are you looking for a cool paint cup to rinse your brushes, but want to know the variety of options available? Continue reading to see what some of the best examples of paint rinse cups that would go well with your ideal hobby workspace and miniature hobbies.
Are dedicated paint cups for painting miniatures worth it?
I know a lot of miniature painters and artists who continue to use household cups, mugs, and random dishware as brush rinse cups. They all work great. For the longest time, I used a fun ceramic mug that my old job gave as a parting gift (I resigned for a new position elsewhere).
Here’s the problem with using dishware as brush rinse cups: At some point, you’ll neglect to notice it’s not a normal beverage cup and try (and perhaps succeed) to drink from it. Paint brush water is gross. Or, worse yet, you’ll dip your paint brush into your real beverage cup.
Okay, for real though, for those who are more mindful of their surroundings, random dishware as a brush rinse cup is a poor substitute to cool toys. Getting a dedicated paint cup that you take care of and treat as a partner in your painting hobby adds to the enjoyment of your art.
A nice water cup won’t make you a better miniature painter or artist, but like all worthwhile tools, a dedicated painter’s cup can add to your sense of confidence, self-efficacy, and pride in your work. Don’t believe me? Read on below and don’t tell me you’re not intrigued. 🤪
There are 5 key reasons a hobby painting cup for brush rinsing is important for any miniature painter and artist:
1. Reduces stress
The constant need to remember what and where your essential tools are will drain you. Slowly and surely, if you’re not organized and have accessories you know you want to use, but can’t find them, you’ll stress yourself out from regular routine painting. It just won’t be as fun.
Sure, a painting water cup is, well, just a cup. But, a dedicated cup you use for painting will be a part of your hobby arsenal that you can rely on. Every. Damn. Time.
2. Increases satisfaction
When you paint with tools and equipment you know are reliable, your end result is more satisfying. If you fail at achieving the artistic result because some brush or water cup seemed sub-par, you’ll naturally project blame on your external environment.
But, if you have everything just the way you like it, and fail, then you’ll more likely have learned something special about yourself. You have nothing to blame. On the other hand, then if you succeed, well that’s just a special feeling I know many miniature painters and artists strive for: A quiet contentment, nobody can rob you of (not even your doubting self).
3. More organization
A water cup will sit on your desk in it’s dedicated spot. It will fit within your hobby space along with your organized paints in their racks and displays. Some paint rinsing cups will have brush holders built into them, or other neat features like lids. These all can help you locate other objects within your hobby workflow. Organization is the key to efficient productivity in any hobby, including painting and modeling.
4. Better for paint brushes
Not every container will be a good match for rinsing paint brushes or keeping them clean. A rough edge or hard, angular bottom in a cup can abrade the bristles of your more expensive paint brushes. The safe bet if you don’t want to use a purpose-built rinsing cup is to use an old glass jar (here’s a classic).
Look for a paint water cup or mug with rounded, smooth edges. If its a ceramic cup, make sure there are no chips or cracks that can catch bristle hairs. A glazed ceramic or porcelain cup for made for acrylic or oil painting have a great aesthetic, but come with some limitations.
5. Saves money
Many painters start with disposable cups. Some are made of plastic, others paper. The problem with these lower-quality “containers” is they don’t last. Eventually, they fall apart or require a thorough cleaning they can’t handle. At this point, you need to toss out your paint rinse cups.
Over time, this cheap disposable habit adds up into an expense that drains your hobby budget. A dedicated, good quality paint cup will last a really long time. Of course, if you get a cup/mug you enjoy having on your desk, whether it looks good or does the job particularly well, then that painters cup will have made up its value!
Should you leave paint brushes to soak in water?
A quick note about best practice for proper brush care. Don’t soak your brushes in water too long. A water-logged brush handle (which are usually made of wood) will break apart the glue holding the metal ferrule and bristles together. I don’t recommend that you leave your paint brushes soaking in water overnight. Instead, if you’re looking for a deep clean, you should use a brush rinser with a restorer agent to perturb stuck-in and dried paint in your brushes’ bristles.
What features to look for in a great water cup for rinsing your brushes?
Here are 5 things to consider in an ideal cup for rinsing and cleaning your paint brushes:
A larger paint cup will hold more water or rinse solvent (duh). Additionally, with a larger volume cup, you won’t need to replace your dirty water as often because you’ll dilute out your rinsed paint and other debris for a longer period of time. For those with sinks located farther away from your hobby desk, this could be a huge time saver.
On the other hand, a limitation with larger painting cups is that they take up more space on your desk or table. They will also be heavier for those who are looking for travel-ready, portable options.
A standard water cup is 8 ounces (or about 240ml). For larger containers, you may have to look harder at “water buckets or washers”. Or, you can get a paint puck accessory and turn that huge glass Mason jar into a truly useful paint washer.
The #1 reason the shape of a paint water cup or rinsing bucket is important is stability. A top heavy or tall cup/mug will be at a greater risk for tipping over and spilling dirty paint water all over your table (e.g., a disaster for any work-in-progress or a major hassle).
Heavier water cups and mugs, or those with wide bottoms will have greater stability. One of the reasons I love my Citadel Water Pot (reviewed here) is because it has a wide bottom and designed to not tip over.
Other water pots, cups, and brush washers may have features built into their design, such as brush holders or ribbed texture to help gently you scrub your bristles like a laundry washboard.
You can find water and solvent cups for painting in almost every material, e.g., plastic, glass, metal, ceramic. Although I haven’t found a good paint cup made of wood, I’m sure there’s one out there. I’ve even discovered miniature painting water cups that you can 3D print yourself.
Choose the material of your water cup, wisely. The material of your water cup will affect its durability (e.g., glass breaks, plastic warps, metal dents). Additionally, some materials can be heavier than others, or have cool aesthetic designs built into them. Some of the artisan painting cups on Etsy are amazing works of art.
I know some miniature painters and artists travel to conventions or other places. Some painters even work outdoors in the natural light painting miniatures. In this case, the ability to move your painting stuff easily around is a necessity. There are a lot of options for portable water cups that are both pleasing to use and highly functional.
Look for paint cups with lockable, water tight lids. These often have rubber gaskets that form a tight seal around the lip of your painting rinse cup. This is particularly important for those of us who use oil paints on miniatures, and need mineral or white spirit solvents to rinse our brushes.
Lastly, size and weight become major factors for those looking for portable paint cups to take with them when they travel. Check out a few of the best portable cups and containers for painting below.
Money is always a factor to consider in any hobby or art. The advice I give to other hobbyists is to get the quality you need. If you always get the best you can afford, you aren’t looking back in regret when your stuff fails you. You know you’ll need a dedicated painting cup, so get one you love.
The value in something comes when you use it often. What other accessory will you use more in your miniature painting hobby than a water cup and your brushes? Get the best, the coolest, and most useful!
Best 15 Paint Brush Cups for Painting Miniatures and Hobbies
Here are the 15 paint cups and mugs for painting miniatures and other artistic hobbies:
- Citadel Water Pot
- Paint Brush Cleaner Rinse Cup (All-in-One) Fine Art
- Portable Collapsible Paint Brush Washer with Brush Holder
- Sargent Art Non-Spill Paint Cup
- Stainless Steel Palette Cups
- Paint Puck Brush Cleaner
- Faber-Castell Clic & Go Artist Water Cup
- Paint Water (Don’t Drink This) Ceramic Coffee Mug
- Artist Brush Washer
- Portable Stainless Steel Painting Brush Washing Bucket
- Ceramic Water Cup
- Handmade Ceramic Watercolor Cups
- Farmhouse White “PAINT” Painter’s Water Cup
- Speckled Clay Cup
- Paint Water Cup & Matching Mug
The Citadel Water Pot is the top of the list for a good reason! You can see a full review of the Citadel Water Pot (TL;DR – Amazing for miniature painting). The Citadel Water Pot is perfect for miniature painters. It holds a respectable amount of water and has an anti-tip over shape. The bottom of the pot is wider than the top, which makes this super stable.
Built into the water pot is a brush holder. Placing your paint brush on the water pot itself is more useful than you may think. When I first started using this water pot, I was shocked how often I found myself naturally using this brush holder. Form follows function, I guess.
Inside the pot are “rib” textures that act like a washboard for gently agitating brush bristles while cleaning. Simply swish your brush along these ribs and the texture scrubbing action does all the work for you. It’s a neat feature!
Overall, I highly recommend the Citadel Water Pot. It’s a thoughtful combination of form and function.
The Paint Brush Cleaner Rinse Cup is an all-in-one solution for a miniature painter, artist, or hobbyist. It works great for rinsing brushes for acrylic model painting or water coloring. Some miniature painters use oil paints, and this works well with mineral spirit solvents, too.
This brush rinse cup is versatile with built-in brush holder around the outside of top lip, as well inside if you’re looking to soak your bristles for a while (although you don’t want to soak your brushes in water too long).
Inside the cup is a silicon brush cleaner (e.g., the knobs on the bottom). This will help you softly scrub your brushes and quickly dislodge any paint or debris in your bristles. Around the cup is a dish that will catch any dripping from hanging brushes. This also acts to stabilize the cup and prevent tipping and spilling.
This is a very popular brush rinse cup for artists of all walks of creativity, including miniature painters!
Are you looking for a portable paint brush washer? The Portable Collapsible Paint Brush Washer is a minimalist design. It’s simple; it works. Made of soft silicon, the rinser works well as a travel ready water cup. It will fit in a small space, even your portable paint station. Because this brush washer is silicon, you can throw it in the dishwasher and use hot water to clean it.
The only limitation is the slightly smaller capacity for water and the top-heavy shape. There is some risk for spillage if you fill too high. On the other hand, this is a great alternative for disposable paper cups.
The Sargent Art Non-Spill Paint Cup is a versatile brush rinser with an ingenious design. From a functional perspective, this cup has a unique funnel built into the top. This allows the cup to keep its water from spilling out even if the cup is tipped over on its side! There is also a snap locking lid.
These thoughtful engineered features significantly reduce the risk for accidents and spills. Although the cup doesn’t have a big volume, in aggregate, the cup’s design takes the hobby to next level of risk management. Two brush holders on the top of the cup also allows you easy access to your frequently used brushes. Easy and useful!
The Stainless Steel Palette Cups is made specifically for those painters who need to stay mobile. As a simple design made of metal, you can use this for holding water (for acrylic painters) or mineral spirits (for oil painting). It is an affordable, no nonsense cup for rinsing your brushes.
Although it doesn’t have a cover, or any other features, this palette cup has a spring clip that lets you attach it to the edge of a palette or thin board. The volume of this cup is smaller, too, which is expected for a portable accessory. When working with oil paints, the smaller volume doesn’t matter since you don’t need a lot of solvent for rinsing or cleaning your brushes between colors. Check it out!
The Paint Puck Brush Cleaner is a brush rinsing accessory that enhances any other water cup. Simply drop the paint puck into a container of your choice. Use the soft silicon knobs to scrub your brush bristles. The texture will open up the filaments and help you clean the bristles like a toothbrush. Inexpensive and effective, the paint puck is great for those who want to use another cup as their rinse cup or washer.
The Faber-Castell Clic & Go Artist Water Cup is another great collapsible rinsing cup for brushes. If you’re traveling or want a compact solution for holding your brush water, this is a solid option. The cup holds about 350ml or 12 ounces of water. Made of latex-free PVC, this is a durable, heavy-duty painting accessory.
Although it’s not made for solvents, for hobbyists who need to pack and go, this is excellent. The top of the cup also has multiple brush holders that work even in the collapsed position.
The Paint Water (Don’t Drink This) Ceramic Coffee Mug is normal ceramic mug, e.g., coffee or beverage of your choice, but with an extra bonus. It’s labeled properly! Have you ever dipped your paint brush in the wrong cup? If you haven’t, then you will. 😜
Makes a great gift or office mug, e.g., a great conversation starter. Or, use it for your miniature painting hobby and combine it with the paint puck (#6 above). Of course, this will hold quite a bit of water or solvent and could be very useful! As with any real dish ware, you can throw this in the dishwasher for a quick clean.
The Artist Brush Washer is a brush cleaner and dryer all-in-one. A spiral brush holder above the rinser container holds brush handles with the bristles downward, which is the optimal way to dry and store brushes. Inside the brush rinser is a strainer that lets you scrub your brushes and allow loose pigments and debris to settle to the bottom of the cup washer.
The overall size of the washer is quite large and will easily handle any brush you use for painting miniatures and models. Although the container has a lid, it is not water tight. So, it’s not meant for traveling. Rather it’s there to prevent sudden splashes or to prevent outside debris from settling in your cup while you’re away.
Overall, this is a convenient all-in-one solution for brush rinsing, storage, and care. Works great with water for acrylic painting, or white/mineral spirit solvent for oil painting. Take a look!
The Portable Stainless Steel Painting Brush Washing Bucket is my favorite portable brush rinser/washer. It has a built-in strainer inside that lets you gently swish your bristles on while letting debris and pigment fall below. This is particularly nice if you’re oil painting miniatures or models.
The washing bucket holds a good amount of water or solvent, which makes this perfect for any hobby application. The lid has a rubber gasket that creates a water tight seal when the clamps are engaged. You can literally turn this washer upside down and nothing will come out.
The metal carry handle is a cute touch and works well. I take this with me when I want to work in a different room in the home or outside. The cover and handle let me reuse water or solvent instead of tossing it out every time I need to move around. I highly recommend this for those of you who want a portable brush rinser/cup. It’s also affordable!
Sometimes you want something pretty and unique for your hobby desk. If you’re a painter or artist, you’ll understand that your tools must also reflect your sensibilities, too. These Ceramic Water Cups are an artisan crafted accessory that takes your hobby or art to a different place.
Made to order and handmade, every cup will be unique! No two will look alike. A built-in brush holder adds a touch of utility to an otherwise simple, sturdy, and utilitarian design.
These Ceramic Watercolor Cups are the ideal cups for those looking to spruce up their hobby or art desk. These are hand made ceramic cups that have an organic leaf stamped design. They are finished with a gloss, shiny glaze. This not only makes them simple to clean and rinse out, but attractive as well. Two dips in the top of the cup allow you to rest your favorite brush.
The Farmhouse White “PAINT” Painter’s Water Cup is one of my favorite artisan water cups. It reminds me of my favorite coffee mug, with a brown accented bottom and brighter, white top. Of course, this is stamped with the word “paint”, so as not to be confused with a drinking mug.
The top half of the cup is speckled buff clay with a glossy glaze inside and the top. The bottom half is a raw, unglazed clay. This contrast in texture and color is likely white I love this design so much. The brush holder on the top of the cup is a nice reminder not to leave your brush in the water. Overall, this is definitely one of my favorite handmade pieces you can get as a gift or for your miniature painting hobby or art.
The Speckled Clay Cup is a labor of love. Each cup takes hours of work, requiring wheel-thrown clay, trimming, carving, and a kiln for firing. Each cup is unique and formed by hand. There is a brush holder on the top of the cup and a textured bottom for easier brush cleaning. For more details check out this handmade clay water cup on Etsy.
The Paint Water Cup & Matching Mug popped up in my search for the best gift package for miniature painters. This set comes with two cups: one is for paint brush rinsing, and the other is a mug for your favorite beverage. The paint cup has a brush rest and the mug has a handle. You can’t confuse the two! (Or, can you?)
An optional matching dish is available for this bundle and is multiple purpose. Use the dish a spoon rest, a tea bag holder, or to clean your brushes. Truly, this makes a great gift for someone else or as an accent to your hobby space. Check it out!
Summary table of the cool paint water cups for miniature painting and hobbies
|Citadel Water Pot||Ideal for miniature painters|
|Paint Brush Cleaner Rinse Cup (All-in-One) Fine Art||Versatile brush rinse cup with brush holders and drip dish|
|Portable Collapsible Paint Brush Washer with Brush Holder||A compact, collapsible water cup for those who travel or need a small form factor|
|Sargent Art Non-Spill Paint Cup||An ingenious anti-spill design, e.g., great for kids or those who are more accident prone|
|Stainless Steel Palette Cups||Popular cup for oil painters who don’t need a lot of solvent and want to stay mobile|
|Paint Puck Brush Cleaner||A brush cleaning accessory you can use to enhance another water/solvent container of your choice|
|Faber-Castell Clic & Go Artist Water Cup||Heavy-duty, PVC collapsible water cup with built-in brush holders and rests|
|Paint Water (Don’t Drink This) Ceramic Coffee Mug||Fun ceramic coffee mug that doubles as a water cup for painting, e.g., popular gift
|Artist Brush Washer||A highly functional brush wash bucket with hanging brush dryer|
|Portable Stainless Steel Painting Brush Washing Bucket||Travel ready water or solvent cup with removable strainer and watertight lid
|Handmade Ceramic Water Cup||Handmade ceramic water cups with brush holder|
|Ceramic Watercolor Cups||Unique ceramic water cups with artistic design elements|
|Farmhouse White “PAINT” Painter’s Water Cup||A themed water cup with raw and glazed clay finishes|
|Speckled Clay Cup||Artisan crafted clay cups for brush rinsing and cleaning|
|Paint Water Cup & Matching Mug||The perfect cup and mug pair for the hobbyist, miniature painter, and artist|
The ideal paint brush cup, rinser, or mug depends on your specific needs, e.g., portability, taste for versatility, and aesthetic appeal. Instead of using cheap, throw-away paper or plastic cups, a dedicated brush rinsing accessory will last years, adding value to your hobby and avoiding necessary waste.
There are literally hundreds of options for what you can use for holding brush water or solvent. So of course I’m sure I missed a few. Check back for updates as I discover other interesting and neat brush rinsing/washing products for painting miniatures, models, and more.