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Colour for ProductsSelling DesignTrue Colour ExpertUnderstanding Undertones

Favorite Storage Solutions for Colour Boards

By 01/15/2021January 19th, 202422 Comments

You’ve invested in the smartest tool for choosing colour, but now how do you store your large painted colour boards safely and also make them portable for client visits? Here are a few designer-approved storage solutions to help you get started.

Understanding Undertones Colour Wheel (included for free with the large colour boards

The System for Specifying Colour 

It is high time this post was on my site. In fact, I cannot believe I didn’t think of putting it up sooner.

Long ago, I stopped looking for storage solutions to sell, alongside my Large Painted Colour Boards because I watched all the amazing ways my True Colour Expert (on the TCE Facebook page) were storing their samples.

While I kept mine in a simple, flat nylon bag, some people chose to file them by undertone, while others preferred to protect them even further by using portfolio storage albums.

Large Painted Colour Boards

First, if you don’t know about my boards, this is how they work:

The whites, complex creams, greiges and the light and dark neutrals that make up the (above) Understanding Undertones System for Specifying Colour, are found in the BM Core Collection AND/OR the SW Foundations Collection.

Each collection includes my free colour wheel. (They are currently not available individually).

If you don’t have ANY of my large painted colour boards, you’ll want THE SYSTEM. Which is found in either the BM Core (above) or the SW Foundation.

If you have either of the above, (or both) you’ll know how useful they are and how impressed your clients are when you show up with a colour you can both SEE IS CORRECT, works in the light that you have, and with everything else that you’re coordinating WITH the colour.

Then you’ll want the BM VIP Collection or the SW Premier Collection.

This collection has MORE neutrals and CURRENT colours that are popular and make it easy to sell because AGAIN the colours are bigger. Which makes all the difference.

These colours do not OVERLAP with the Core or Foundation in any way. The list of my system colours can be found in either of my ebooks, available for purchase here.


And here’s the cole’s notes of how to choose the right colour.

  1. Use the darker samples to IDENTIFY the undertone.
  2. Then work backwards from there to the palest colour (since that is what most people want right     now).
  3. It’s harder to identify the undertone of a complex cream for example, USING a complex cream. But a complex cream is the palest of the beiges, so using THE SYSTEM COLOURS. Find the beige that matches the room. So for example, if your pink travertine tile, looks the best with SW Patience, but you want to go lighter, then you’ll look at the system colours to see that, SW Divine White is the complex cream and THAT is the one you will end up with.

How to Store Your Large Painted Colour Boards

No matter what your organization style is, one of these storage solutions has you covered:

Minimalist – Just the basics please.

Super Tidy Type A – Give me all the pockets.

Designer/Decorating Diva – More style, less function.

I talk to so many people who are still walking around transporting their colour boards with tissue in between them.

Okay so first of all, your colour boards arrive with TISSUE in between each one, and INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO CURE THE BOARDS. Because they are hand painted, they need to be cured for 3 weeks, laid out individually so they can properly dry/cure.

They MUST be CURED before you can stick them in a bag and throw them in your roasting hot car.

However, once you cure the boards, you an easily and safely transport them inside your car and store them in one of these carrying cases, without tissue. 

More tips for storing and carrying your large painted colour boards:

  • If using a bag, boards need to lay flat (either in your car or while being stored) or the edges will start to curl
  • If your colour boards are curling, they will flatten out when you pile them on top of each other.

This past summer when I renovated my studio, I painted the walls the true white that I compare all other whites to: BM Chantilly Lace (below).

I have a set in my studio that I can use with clients and for doing videos, and I have a permanent set in my car.

They are super handy and easy to use, stacked, by undertone on these great acrylic shelves:

Acrylic floating shelf for paint samples

Acrylic Floating Shelves

Designer Storage Solutions for Large Painted Samples

Acrylic Floating Shelves

Okay, let’s move on to these creative ways to store and transport my colour boards:

Here’s what my True Colour Experts said about them:

Faux Lizard File Storage Totes

MOST POPULAR! Grandin Road Faux Lizard Totes (because they are easy to file by undertone) 

“Like a lot of TCEs I’m using this tote! I can’t wait to see how others are organizing theirs. Mine are sorted by undertone.” Cindy Krauklis, True Colour Expert, Surrey, BC


how to store large painted colour boards

Portable Legal File Tote

Grandin Road Tote Storage


Portfolio Art Album

Portfolio Art and Photo Album

This setup has worked so well for me.  I can flip through the portfolios for the color I am looking for with ease.  A table of contents with a number assigned to each board is in the front of the portfolio and   each board is numbered individually on its label for easy return.  

This process helps me keep track of my boards and prevents me from leaving a board behind after a consultation. Melissa Clark, True Colour Expert, Austin, Texas  


plastic case for large painted colour boards

Portable Clear Plastic Case

I love using ArtBins as they’re hard plastic (with a handle)and really protect the boards, especially if I’m on site or dealing with construction dust. When I lived in the PNW it was also helpful that they were protected from the rain. All the boards fit into 2 bins, although I use three so they’re easier to find. Katy Harbin, True Colour Expert, Southern Pines, NC

 Portable Clear Plastic Case

colour board storage box

Desktop Storage Box  |  Similar Storage Box with Lid


collapsible rolling tote bag storage

Collapsible Rolling Bag


Rolling Cart Organizer for Colour Boards

Rolling Cart with Organizer

“I use a computer roller bag for my paint samples, because they are heavy to carry to a consultation, and this saves my back and shoulders. It also makes for a good storage when I’m not leaving the house.”

Beth Lester, True Colour Expert, Arizona

clear plastic sleeves for colour boards

Clear Plastic Sleeves

Thanks to the True Colour Experts who sent me photos!

If you’d like to have instant confidence, specifying the right white or neutral where you AND your client, OR your SPOUSE can see that you’ve chosen the right colour, you can buy your own collections here.

PS. And remove the tissue, for heavens sake 🙂 but only AFTER they are cured.

PPS. New colour wheels are currently in production. If you are a subscriber you will be the first to know when they become available.

Related posts:

How to Make Your Own Large Painted Colour Boards

An Inside Peek at how my Large Colour Boards are Produced

Never Pick a Neutral without Large Colour Boards:Pssst! they Do it For You

91 pins


  • Barbara says:

    Please explain about curing the boards. Were they supposed to come with instructions?

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes each set of boards comes with a thick hand-out of instructions. Please email our office if you lost them. Maria

  • Sue says:

    Great Post!

  • Maria says:

    This is a great and useful post! When using the acrylic shelving to organize and display the boards, should I sort by undertone in the order listed in your bonus book of whites? For example, I have the BM core collection, would my cream shelf have Mascarpone, Ivory White, and White Down side by side?

  • Jen says:

    Would love to purchase just the color wheel!!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Yes we are working on them! IN the meantime, my best suggestion it to make your own using the system colours. Maria

  • Liz says:

    Maria, is there supposed to be more text after the “Use the darker samples to identify the” line after ‘here’s the coles notes’? 🤓

  • B says:

    Thanks for this! I purchased a set before Christmas (Merry Christmas to ME) and when they arrived, I was a little bewildered with the tissue in there! It’s still in there, in fact. So I think it would be safe to remove it now, correct? I haven’t thought too much yet about how to transport them… there are some great ideas here, which I will think on!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Not safe until you take them out of the box, and cure them for 2-3 weeks depending on which set you purchased. The darker colours should be cured for a minimum of 3 weeks. There’s a thick set of instruction of how to use the boards AND how to cure them that came with the set. Maria

  • Patricia says:

    I would love to purchase a color wheel. Will they be for sale and what will the price be?

    • Maria Killam says:

      We don’t have that information yet, the printing of the wheel was super delayed because of COVID unfortunately. In the meantime, you can make your own using the colour chips from my system. Maria

  • Hi Maria,
    Love reading your blog. So which tote do you use to transport the boards? You’ve said that they should be stored flat, using most of these totes, The the exception of the plastic bin, would be stored upright. Would that matter? Or once the boards are cured it doesn’t make a difference? I wasn’t really clear on that. Please confirm

    Thank you!

    • Beth L says:

      I’ve had them upright (rolling computer bag) for years with absolutely no problem.

    • Elynn Taylor says:

      I have stored them upright for YEARS …. in totes from Grandin Road. The totes fit comfortably on the floor of the backseat of my car. I used to separated the totes according to undertones. Now I separate the totes into “PROBABLY GREAT’ for this client and “LESS LIKELY’ to need. I do a pre-questionnaire before meeting with a client so I have a fairly good idea of the boards that I’ll bring in with me. If I need the other tote its easy enough for me to go out to my car. I highly recommend the totes from GR and I can’t imagine recommending color without using the Maria Killam color boards. Those color boards are as important to me as a hammer must be to a contractor!

  • RL says:

    Is the new color wheel going to be an improvement over the previous one?
    The quality of the colors represented in the previous one was not satisfactory.
    I had to do a lot of cutting and pasting to make it useful.

  • Kayla says:

    I have your color wheel but I’d like to place the actual SW samples on them. Is there a list of which colors go on the wheel somewhere?

  • Kj says:

    “coles notes” must be a Canadian thing. 😀 Here it’s CliffsNotes but most people say “cliff notes.”

  • Margaret Vyers says:

    Holy smokes. Just saw the instructions on Curing the poster boards above, and I’ve had mine for 2 months or so, still packed in the box. I looked back in the box and there is a half-sheet that does address Caring for the Boards. (I had left the box closed to protect this purchase until I was ready to use them – I even packed a pair of thin, clear gloves inside to protect them against smudges.) They’re curing now, but something more pronounced to let recipients know Curing is involved upon opening the box would have been very helpful. Thank you

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