If you are familiar with miniature painting then chances are that you have noticed how how quickly Acrylic paint drys. Now this is great when your painting your model and you don't have to wait several hours for your last layer to properly dry. However, when you've meticulously mixed a color only for it to dry before you have completely used it, then fast drying isn't such a good thing. Well to remedy this problem let me introduce you to the Wet Palette.



A Wet Palette takes advantage of the fact most acrylics used for miniature painting are water soluble. By keeping the surface in which the paint sits moist, it prevents it from prematurely drying out. Not only will it expand the lifespan of your paint it also makes painting in thin layers and wet blending that much easier to do. But the best thing about a wet palette is that is relatively cheap and easy to create, and in this tutorial I will be explaining how.

What you will need

Before we begin you will need to get your hands on a few inexpensive items that you can probably pick up from your local store:

Sponge - This is important for retaining the moisture of the wet palette. Ideally it should be a no thicker than half the depth of your container. I find that cellulose sponge is excellent as it usually comes in flat sheets
which can easily be trimmed down to fit.

Tupperware Container - Although this isn't always necessary (you could just use a tray) I would strongly suggest purchasing one with an airtight lid. By replacing the lid during breaks in painting you can keep your paints workable for much longer. It can be any size you want just make sure that it is shallow, deep tubs can prove awkward when painting.

Baking Parchment - This will form the actually surface in which your paints are mixed. This is pretty easy to get hold of and comes in huge rolls, you may even have some in your home already.

And that's it, some of you may have all of these items in your home already but if you don't they can all be picked up for less than the cost of a few pots of Citadel Paint.

Assembly

  1. Trim down your sponge so that it fits snugly inside the Tupperware container
  2. Cut out a square of baking parchment that will fit on top of the sponge, do not put it in the tub yet
  3. Wet the sponge so that it is damp. Do not flood the Tupperware, ideally you should only have a small amount of water in the bottom of the tub. This will provide a little more water for the sponge to draw up if it starts to dry out. 
  4. Place the parchment on top the sponge. It may curl up initially as it begins to absorb the water, just smooth it back down until it stays flat.
So now you have your very own Wet Palette which is ready for immediate use.

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Use

When using your wet palette it is generally good practice to only have on layer of paint. Do not completely fill the parchment with paints as they will mix with each other. Regularly replace your parchment paper layer with a fresh one when your current ones becomes filled. In order to prevent the sponge from rotting you should rinse out your sponge and replace your water at least once a week. Failing to do this will cause your water to become stale, not only will it start to smell horrible it is also unhygienic.

When using the palette for painting it works in very much the same way a dry palette. However, one thing you may notice is that the oil can sometimes separate from the paint. This only really happens if the paint has be left for a while and can be resolved just by mixing them together again. To prolong to lifespan of your paints remember to replace the lid whenever you stop painting.

Summary

So that was how you can make your own Wet Palette. For the low cost of and ease of assembly means that pretty much anyone can take advantage of one. Not only will it help your painting but it should also prevent wasting paints as they will no longer dry out before you can use them completely. Once you've used a wet palette you will find it very difficult to go back to a conventional one.
 
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