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Using Trello to Organize my Painting Hobby

The Problem

So I have noticed over the years that I am a hobby butterfly – much like many of you out there – especially the great Mordian7th :-) But as my life is getting busier between work, my son, grad school, and other projects I have been trying to get some organization to my progress. So I want to share how I am using Trello to organize my painting hobby and make sure I keep posts ready for this blog.

Using Trello to organize hobby backlog

Just a small selection of my backlog

I’ve tried the excellent painting charts made famous by Mordian and Admiral Drax using Excel and color charts, but it ended up being more work for me to know when something was ‘almost done,’ ‘done,’ and posted to the blog. It apparently works for them, but I needed something a bit simpler and general – as I have multiple projects going at once (as you can see in the picture above!).

Using Trello to Organize my Painting Hobby

For some of my other projects, I started using a tool called Trello that organizes your tasks into cards that you drop into different list piles. As I work on each task, the card gets moved to a different pile until eventually it can get archived. I also started using it to organize my army build for my Ork Dreadmob.

Using Trello to Organize my Painting Hobby

As you can see, I have seven lists for Broken Paintbrush – Closet of Doom, Building, Ready for Paint, Painting, Ready for Photos, Ready for Post, Finished. Below I will share how I use each list to priorities and keep myself motivated.

Closet of Doom

I forget the wonderful blogger who coined this great term, but this is all the things in my closet patiently waiting for some love. Kits bought on a whim or were part of a combo box. The picture above does not do my closet justice because I have not yet done an exact inventory, I got discouraged after just the first 6 and moved on! I have promised my wonderful wife that I would not buy any more kits until I had a few of these boxes in the finished pile.


I love building the kits – probably my favorite part which is why I have way more models waiting for paint than I have finished! I’m using this list to remember the projects that were put back in the closet (like those terminators) to make sure that I come back to them when I get a green stuff itch.

Ready for Paint

These guys are built and playable, and maybe even primed but awaiting the painting love.


My largest list for sure. This list includes all the things that have received some paint but not yet finished. There are some (such as the three Tyranid cards on top) that I am painting while watching TV. At this point I also add some cards on posts for step-by-step instructions I plan to post so I remember to take pictures along the way.

Ready for Pictures

Everything that is ‘done’ (ask a hobbyist if something is ever done!) and ready for the light box. I also added a few of my older models that I plan to retake pictures and update their posts as I have come a long way in my photo quality. This is where I can create the most for my blog as these are just waiting for pictures and posting! While I have a hard time getting time to sit and paint recently, I can, at least, work on taking pictures and keep the blog going.

Ready for Post

Once models are photographed, I need to do some quick edits and write up the post. Ideally, I would like a couple of ‘filler’ posts here so on the weeks I don’t have anything finished there could be something to share with you guys. But like I said – I’m trying to get organized here. Posts may also sit here for a few days to make sure I go back through and add links to other blogs and proofread at least once before posting.


Where you, my fine blog readers finally see the result! These are the posts I have completed and made viewable to the world, ready for your comments and suggestions. I plan to keep these up here for a while after finishing to make sure I follow-up with any comments or updates that need to happen. After some amount of time, the cards will be archived to clean up the list of new posts.

Army Planning

Using Trello to Plan 40k Army

So the other thing I just put together on Trello is my plan for my Death Skull Dreadmob, which I made public so you can copy it for your use. As you can see in the picture, the cards move from ideas, purchased (but sitting in boxes), building, painting, and finished. Once it moves to completed, I attached the final image and link to the post so I can keep track of the overall look.

I hope this helps give you some ideas on how to keep track and make progress on your hobbies, and maybe even give Trello a try (its free by the way).

What tools, trick, mental flagellates, or comments do you have on getting your projects done?

Update: Sprue Grey has a great article expanding on the painting project management that he uses.