Painting basics – The wet palette (and how to make a cheap one)

For  the first twenty years or so of my painting life, I didn’t know about wet palettes and how useful they were. If I needed to use a paint I’d flip the lid of the pot and dip the brush in. While I still do that for a few paints – like Citadel Blood for the Blood God or Citadel Typhus Corrosion, its not good to do with paints you use more often, because they dry out in no time. Another reason I moved to a wet palettes, was because I started using a lot of Vallejo paints which come in dropper bottles that you can’t dip the brush in.

One of my pals, Ste recommended making a wet palette about eight or nine years ago, and I’ve never looked back since. He’s an outstanding painter and has a a very good wet palette, but explained the quick and easy way to make one, and here it is in glorious technicolor.

The only things you’ll need, are, a plastic tub with a lid – like the ones you get from the chippy, or Asda/Home Bargain or a supermarket of some sort if you don’t have either of those where you’re from, two pieces of kitchen towel, and a piece of baking paper/parchment and of course, some water.


First things first, you’ll need to fold up the kitchen towel so that it fits in the bottom of the tub.How-to-make-a-wet-palette

Next, add water to it so that the kitchen towel is soaked through. Once it’s wet you can squash the towel down so that it’s flat; this means that the parchment will sit on top of it without gaps where it doesn’t touch the towel. If there are areas where the parchment doesn’t touch the towel, the paint will dry out quicker.How-to-make-a-wet-palette


Now we want to add the baking parchment/paper onto the wet kitchen towel. This provides the membrane that stops the paint thinning too quickly, and drying out too much.Cheap-and-easy-wet-palette


Once the paper is down you can start using it. Add a small amount of the paint you want to use to the paper, and crack on.


The great thing about this wet palette is that it costs next to nothing to make and allows you to save on paint, keep paint mixes liquid, and leave them overnight to continue using the next day. Certain paints separate quicker than others, and I’ve found that the Model Air colours are like this as they are thinner paints to begin with. Vallejo Model Air Chrome separates in under an hour, but, if you just put a small amount down, you’ll use it before that happens. Or, you can just stir it back together with your brush and use a slightly thinner mix.

It’s worth working out what is the best amount of water to use for your particular palette. If you add too much to the towel your colours can separate a lot, and you’ll have to thicken them again the next day, too little and they dry out. One thing is for sure though, I’ve not had a paint dry out on me for some time.

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