DIY Wet Palette

In these harsh economic and meteorological times (yes, it’s STILL hot!) not everyone can afford stuff like this:
diy wet palette

To help preserve paints in the heat, and also because mixing that one colour again was a once in a million thing and it’s a shame to have it dry up … let’s have a look at a cheaper DIY solution!

Usually, the palette used is unimportant; a clean piece of plastic will do. Old CDs are a prime candidate in the Mancave for being turned into palettes, “Take THAT, Mariah Carey’s Greatest Hits! Whaaapaa! There’s some Snot Green for ya!!” and so on. The normal palette allows me to mix colours and thin them with my thinning agent of choice. However, over time, the water in water based paints will evaporate and the paint will dry out rendering it useless! Even under optimal conditions, the drying out of paint is inevitable, more or less in the extremes of summer heat, in air conditioning and ducted heating. It’s a nightmare!

The amazing cure is the wet palette. It’s simple goal is to maintain moisture in the paint at the same rate that it evaporates. Custom colours mixed p on the wet palette remain useable for days after they are originally combined and you can jump straight back into painting with your colours where you left off without having to remix them up again to match your previous work!

DIY Wet Palette Ingredients

diy wet palette
Tupperware – it’s everywhere you want to be!
diy wet palette
Baking Paper – also called parchment paper, grease proof paper, etc.
diy wet palette
Sponge – not the sort that lives in a pineapple under the sea.
The cost of ingredients is my favorite part of this project; it’s made from stuff that’s just lying around!

  • Tupperware container – EVERYBODY should have this stuff lying around. The Tupperware container, in this case, is about the size of your standard ham and cheese sandwich, any plastic container will do and they’re generally available in supermarkets for a couple of bucks for ten. Ideally, the container should be about the size of the sponge that will be used as the basis for my wet pallette.
  • Baking Paper – The baking paper, which has many names based on your location, is a water resistant paper that will allow the paint to sit above the sponge, absorb moisture and not soak into the sponge. This stuff is cut to a slightly larger size than the sponge on which it will sit.
  • Kitchen Sponge – It cost about 88 cents for a pack of five. We’re not talking high quality, here. It absorbs water and sits in the bottom of the plastic container. From previous observed results; it also starts to rot in the container after about six months of sitting in the water.
  • Water – You get it out of a tap.

DIY Wet Palette Construction

diy wet palette
1. Fit the sponge into the container. If it’s a little too big, the sponge can be trimmed down with scissors.
diy wet palette
2. Same goes for the baking paper. Cut it to size; about the same size and shape as the sponge it will sit on.
diy wet palette
3. Here we hit the hard bit. How much water is too much water? A rough guideline seems to be enough water so that the sponge can absorb no more. This part is a bit experimental.

The finished product ready for paint …
diy wet palette
Based on the process of evaporation and other factors like humidity, you may see the sponge dry out faster or slower. Keeping the lid on the plastic container between uses will reduce the amount of drying out of both the sponge and the paint on the wet baking paper.

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  • http://creativetwilight.com/ Thor

    Nicely put together tutorial.

    I started using a wet pallet maybe 6-months ago and I don’t know why I didn’t start sooner. I did much the same as you did here and it cost virtually nothing to do.

    • http://spruegrey.invurted.com/ Adam

      Thanks, Thor! Like everything, there’s got to be an easier way!! I forgot why I stopped using my last wet palette, because in the last few days it has been a paint saver. The best thing about it? If the paper gets too used or the sponge needs to be replaced it’s DEAD simple!
      I’ve seen the same idea implemented with paper towel instead of sponge, but have found the sponge to retain more water for longer.

  • David Munro

    Dumb question for you Adam – does it matter which side of the baking paper goes up? The stuff in my cupboard has one side more waxy than the other.

    • http://spruegrey.invurted.com/ Adam

      Dave,
      I put mine together waxy side up. It seems to make the paint last longer too.

      • David Munro

        Thanks Adam