Wednesday 22 January 2020

Wet's in my palette?

A good while back [over a year ago even!] I finally decided to make my own wet palette. Some sponges, baking paper and a small seal-able tub. It couldn't have cost me more than £4 in bits.

So what do I think...? Honestly it has not revolutionised my way of painting as I'd been led to believe it would. I used it during the twin Imperial Knights and as I don't do a significant amount of blending anymore the primary benefit has just been keeping the paint 'alive'. Where I used a colour on the sheets it stayed wet for far longer than my existing palette. As I refuse to abandon my current palette I think the coating of paint absorbs a lot of moisture, in effect becoming a 'dry palette' making any paint put on it dry quicker than a clean one. So the wet palette has allowed me to come back to a blob of paint a few days later and still use it. However, I think I put too much water in so it has bled into the sponges which worries me as I can't tell if they've changed colour from the paint or it's actually mold - something I've been told commonly occurs if you don't use distilled water.

So, despite being marginally impressed I've actually switched to what I'll call 'micro-palettes'. You should find them easy to identify - they're Pringle's lids [clearly we get through a lot]. They're just handy to use, theoretically reusable too with a quick rinse under a hot tap and one less piece of single-use plastic going into land fill [for a while] or hopefully recycled but who knows nowadays?

I just find them really handy and particularly around Christmas I came away with half a dozen or so. No doubt I'll persevere with the wet palette for some things too, I certainly feel regret when dropper bottles squirt too much paint onto a Pringle palette and I know it'd be good for ages on the wet one. So, given my erratic and basic painting methods the wet palette gets a 3/5 for me. I'm thinking if I really wanted to paint a great model with some proper wet blending then I'd be more impressed but I no longer try to paint like that, so it's not as useful. For now it's an occasional help rather than a necessity.


  1. I always reseal the tub and it keeps for days. In fact, the paint often gets too watery and separated to use. I don't use sponges though, just paper towels and baking paper which I replace regularly. So it never goes mouldy. I use regular palettes too but the most revolutionary thing is that I haven't knocked over a pot of Nuln Oil for years! You can't knock a wet palette over!

    1. I haven't spilt one either, I always put the pot inside a plastic tub, which could equally be whacked but is resistant to the simple taps the catch most folk out.

      Bizarrely I have a Sepia wash in an old Army Painter dropper bottle and last night managed to 'spill' that. I should have photographed it it was so bizarre. I'd decanted too much, went to suck it back into the bottle (which is less than half full) but when I squeezed to apply suction it shot a load over my desk (despite me believing there wasn't sufficient in it to achieve such a trajectory!)

  2. In summer I need to use a wet pallet or painting is pretty difficult. Either the heat, or the flow of air conditioning, just dries the paint so quickly, even with added retardant.