Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How to Make a Stay-Wet Palette

Anyone who paints with acrylics will know how fast they dry.  While that's a good thing when it comes to getting artwork finished quickly, it's not so good for keeping colours mixed and ready for a few days (or even months) while you work on a project.


Stay-wet palettes are available in all good art shops - at a price - and they're great for keeping paints workable for much longer.  You can make a perfectly good one in a few minutes at home.  You might even have all you need already to hand (and if not, it won't cost much).

Because I sometimes use quite large quantites of some colours, I mix quite a bit of those colours all at once - and I always use a stay-wet palette for them.  It means I can carry on using the colour for maybe a few months, whereas left out they'd last just minutes.

To Make a Stay-Wet Palette You'll Need:

  • a plastic tub with a lid that seals.  For small palettes, you can use the food tubs that you get at some takeaways (they also sell them 8 or 10 in a pack at the pound shop).  You can also use larger plastic tubs if you want a lot of colours on one palette. 

  • greaseproof paper (baking parchment)

  • absorbent paper - I found the best is the kitchen towel called Plenty (other kitchen towels leave paper bits in your paint but Plenty doesn't, and no I'm not being paid by them!).  If you don't have Plenty in your country, do you have a kitchen towel which claims to be stong and hold together longer than others?  You could also use a non-woven cloth - anything which won't shed fibres.

  • a little water.

How to Make your Stay-Wet Palette:


Fold the kitchen paper (one sheet is enough in a small palette) to fit the bottom of your plastic container



Sprinkle a couple of drops of water on top of the kitchen paper

Cut a sheet of greasproof paper to fit in top of the kitchen paper and place it on.

That's it - it's really that simple!  You can mix your paints in there and keep them for weeks or maybe even months.  If you find they are a little thin or watery, you've probably added too much water to the paper towel.  If you find they dry up quickly, you may not have added enough water (or you left your lid off!).


You might find you end up mixing all your colours this way - I do!  It certainly saves a lot of waste.



23 comments:

Whitney-Anne Baker said...

I had no idea they would keep for so long - it's such a pain trying to remix the same shade exactly! Anything to make life easier.

Wendy said...

Yes, it definitely makes life easier! They're more likely to last longer if mixed in larger quantities, but it extends their life considerably, even in very small quantities.

ImportKt said...

This is a great tutorial and so well timed! I got on the computer this am with the intention of finding some books about painting and paint, since I know almost nothing about them! Thanks for a very handy piece of advice, I look forward to more in the future!

Wendy said...

I'm glad it was useful!

Mythillogical said...

What a brilliant idea. Will definitely be using this!

Claire Mackaness said...

Genius! I used to have a Daler Rowney stay wet palette, now long gone but I think I still have some of the liners! *runs to the pound shop*

Jeanne said...

Fabulous!!! I will love not having to mix and remix every time!

glaudius said...

Don't you have to put in something to stop mold ? I can imagine many uses for this (enamels, clay etc.). Thanks for sharing!!!

Wendy said...

You might see mould occasionally on the paper, but if the tub's spotless to start with, it's unlikely - I've not had much of a problem with it, and never in the actual paint (which probably already has a mould inhibitor).

martine said...

Brilliant. I never knew such a thing existed and it is just what I need, am doing a long term painting project at the moment and I have been using jam jars and empty cream cheese contains as palettes.
thanks
martine

*kelebekana*-* said...

ÇOK ÇOK GÜZEL HARİKA....*-*

mizdarlin said...

Thanks for this..like many great ideas, you have to scratch your head and wish you thought of it..from a new follower in Canada...♥

Cherie said...

I use acrylics a lot! Thanks for the idea. Now I won't have to attempt to remix the same shade =D

Divya N said...

thats all you need??? why didnt I know this before when I used to paint a lot in college..thanks for a great tute

Highland Monkey's said...

Brilliant idea, thanks for sharing.

Sue said...

What a great idea. I work with the elderly and we paint occasionally and I have such a lot of wastage as I have to mix the colours for them and them wash the pallettes to put them away. I will definitely use this system. Thankyou.

Martin English Norwich said...

Great idea. Thank you.

Martin English Norwich said...

Oops. Forgot to ask... Why does it matter what quality of kitchen roll you use? surely the grease-proof paper will prevent any bits of kitchen roll from getting into the paint.

Wendy said...

Martin, I tried it with cheaper kitchen paper, and the wetness causes it to shred and it does end up in the paint. Might not be too bad if you only have small blobs of paint.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you for posting this. Love this idea!

Anonymous said...

I generally store my mixed paint in the refrigerator; spritzed with water and covered. Last for weeks, even months... But, leaves less room for food. If only my family didn't need to eat..LOL! SOLUTION: eat out more often ;-)

In-Ji said...

Thanks a lot for this easy tutorial!! I'll try it out :)

pixiedusk said...

Wow thank you for that! I am so doing this,. I just need to buy those tubs so that I can have a place to put my colors! I also love your blog! So nice to discover it!