• Mido

How to Make a Wet Palette

Want to improve your water-based acrylic brush painting and make your paints last longer?


Then go ahead and bring these four common household items to your sink because today we're making a wet palette!

  1. A sealable airtight container like an old food container

  2. Parchment paper

  3. Paper towel

  4. Scissors

Wet palette materials
A wet palette can be made from common household materials

Why we want one


A wet palette is a specific type of painter's palette that helps to keep water-based acrylic paints the proper consistency, easy to blend, and storable. If you have ever wondered how paint seamlessly transitions from shadows to highlights on figures, there is a good chance a wet palette has been used.


Water-based acrylics like Vallejo's Model Color line can be stored in a sealable wet palette for several days, even after you have mixed colors. This greatly lengthens your workable paint time and reduces waste from paints drying out.


If the paint separates after sitting for a day or two, no worries, just mix it back together!

Wet palette paint storage
Blended paint that has been stored for several days will still go on fine

How it's made


The idea behind the homemade wet palette is that the paper towel will retain water that is eventually passed through the permeable parchment paper to the paint sitting on top.


You might have already guessed how we are going to make one, but in the spirit of modeling, where even the simplest ones have instructions, I give to you the following 8-step process.


Step 1: Chances are your container of choice is being repurposed from food storage duties. I suggest you rinse out the container with warm soapy water to remove any residual food oils.


Step 2: Cut or fold two even layers of paper towel that will fit on the bottom of your container and set them inside. The paper towel should not roll up the sides of the container. Smooth out any lumps.


Step 3: Cut out a single layer of parchment paper that will fit on top of the paper towel. It is okay if the parchment paper is slightly smaller than the paper towel. The key is to avoid having a piece too big that it will roll up the sides of the container.

Assembly almost complete
Two layers of paper towel followed by one layer of parchment paper. The scraps can be saved for cleaning brushes or another wet palette

Step 4: Remove the parchment paper and paper towel from the container, and fill the container with some water.


Step 5: Dredge only the parchment paper through the container once or twice. All that we want to do is wet both sides of the parchment paper. Place the wet parchment paper aside and discard the water.


Step 6: Set the two-layer paper towel back in the container and add water slowly so that the paper towel becomes moist. You want the paper towel to act like a sponge. You do not want excess water sloshing around the bottom of the container.


Step 7: Set the parchment paper back on top of the paper towels and tamp it down gently until it is sitting flat. Be careful not to press too much water out of the paper towel so that it becomes dry.


Step 8: Add a few drops of paint and you're ready to go!

Figure awaiting paint
A German tanker waiting for some of Vallejo's Panzer Aces highlights and shadows

Parting thoughts


Making a wet palette is an easy way to boost your brush painting game. It won't make you a better painter outright, but it will enable you to execute some of the more technical aspects of painting with ease.


It will also allow you to work more slowly and deliberately because you will no longer be fighting evaporation and rapidly drying paints as acrylics have a tendency to do. For highly intricate paint jobs like camouflage, you can even work on a small section, take a break, and repeat.


The best part is that blended colors will remain in the same proportions as you originally mixed them. What convenience!


Time to let the paint dry, on the model!


Thanks for reading,

Mido


Contact the author: mido@igluemodels.com

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