When it comes to the realm of miniature painting, utilizing a wet palette is an exceedingly prevalent approach for those wielding water-based acrylic paints. The inherent benefit of this tool lies in its ability to facilitate a constant and unwavering color scheme. Akin to a bastion of stability, painters are able to ensure that their pigments remain well-mixed and avoid succumbing to the deleterious effects of unwanted dehydration. Nevertheless, it is important to be cognizant of the potential shortcomings of wet palettes. The first of these pertains to the arduous task of cleaning them, which may prove to be a daunting and time-consuming endeavor. Moreover, one must be prepared to grapple with the considerable expense that is associated with the acquisition of such an instrument.
What is a Wet Palette
A wet palette, that repository of painting sustenance, consists of a receptacle, replete with an aqueous nectar, wherein a hydrated sponge rests, forever quenching the thirsty brush of the artist, and thereby halting the desiccation of the vital pigments upon which their creative inspiration depends. This wondrous invention extends the longevity of the paint’s usefulness, ensuring that the artistic endeavor may persist unabated for untold hours on end. Such is the boon that wet palettes offer to the painter, the painter who wishes to create without interruption or the intrusion of the merciless march of time. Simple it may be to concoct, with the most meager of ingredients, or purchase it pre-assembled from an establishment, whether in-person or online.
The Basics of Getting Started With Wet Palettes
In embarking upon the crucial journey of configuring your fledgling wet palette, the initial step shall be to saturate your sponge with water. It is of utmost import that the sponge be wholly enshrouded by the aqueous substance; however, do not add such an excess of the liquid so as to produce an overflowing deluge, thereby permitting the sponge to transcend its subaqueous habitat and levitate above the vessel’s base. On most occasions, the sponge shall engorge in size following its contact with the water molecules. Thus, I am inclined to suggest that you introduce the water incrementally, gradually and with parsimony, in order to facilitate the sponge’s total absorption of the fluid.
How Much Water to Add to Your Wet Palette
To best avail of the wonders of wet palettes, one must, first and foremost, endeavor to attain the optimal water level, such that it is observable upon tilting said palette on its side, yet not so pronounced as to be noticeable when the palette lays flat. This approach shall secure the ultimate amount of contact between the sponge surface and the water, enabling the perpetual preservation of the illusive, yet quintessential, surface tension.
In the event that your paper, or papers, for that matter, finds themselves afloat above the sponge surface, it is highly likely that one shall encounter the unwanted onset of unsightly bubbles, which may, in turn, render the paper susceptible to distressful wrinkle and disfiguration. Hence, resulting in the manifestation of desiccated spots upon the very surface of the paper, an unforgivable offense to any artist or artisan.
Add Water to the Sponge Regularly
Adding a little water to your wet palette every once in a while is a good way to keep it from drying out. I like to use a goose neck squeeze bottle so I can get the water into the edge between the paper and the container without making a mess.
The bigger your palette, the faster the water will evaporate. Dry places also make the water evaporate more quickly than humid places. You will need to learn how often to add water so your paint surface stays happy.
Add Your Paper
After your sponge is hydrated, add the palette paper on top. Make sure the paper is flat and held down until it absorbs the water.
Saturate the Palette Paper Before Placing it on the Sponge
I set up my wet palette near the kitchen sink. This gives me plenty of room to get it ready without squeezing it under the bathroom sink or pouring water at my painting table.
I run the palette paper under the running water to saturate it. I turn it over to make sure that it is fully wet. This makes the paper stretch without tearing and have proper surface tension.
How to thin your paint on a wet palette
When using a wet palette, you can still thin your paint. Put some paint on the paper in a small area. Add one drop of your preferred thinner next to the pool of paint. Drag a small amount of paint with your brush into the drop of thinner. Swirl your brush around the paint, adding a little bit at a time until it is mixed to how you want it. Test the paint consistency on your thumb or scrap paper to see if it is how you want it.
All about Palette Paper
Stop Wet Palette Paper Curling
One of the most frustrating things about wet palettes is that if you don’t prepare your paper correctly, it will dry out and curl up. In order to make sure your paper stays wet and usable, there are a few things you need to do.
Use a Stiff Card to Stretch and Flatten the Palette Paper
Take the container and fill it with a copious amount of water, ensuring that its entirety is fully submerged. Then, gingerly position the exquisitely moist paper atop the sponge, taking special care to centralize its placement. It is vital to be vigilant in this step so as to not compromise the end result. Next, locate an area of the paper that is free of any undue gas pockets or bubbles, for this is the most opportune place to commence your painting. However, should you be plagued with the unfortunate presence of these air pockets, fret not! Simply use an aged library card to exert an even amount of pressure, caressing the surface of the paper until it is smoothed out to perfection. This step is crucial in order to ensure that the foundation of your painting is as level and pristine as possible, which will ultimately lead to a harmonious masterpiece.
Make sure that you remove all drops of water from the top of the palette paper
Once you have smoothed out the palette paper, take a paper towel and dab it on top of the paper to remove any droplets of water. This is important because if the water comes in contact with your paint, it will dilute it.
What Paper to Use in Your Wet Palette
In the realm of mini painting, it is no secret that palettes can make or break your artistry. When it comes to these tools, a crucial element to consider is the paper that accompanies them. You see, palettes specially designed for mini painters often offer a high-grade paper that provides superior results. It is for this reason that I wholeheartedly recommend utilizing said paper for optimal outcomes.
Now, when it comes to wet palettes that were not precisely engineered for miniature painting, one may find that the paper that comes with them is, regrettably, more porous than what we require. This, of course, is due to the fact that these palettes were created to cater to heavy body acrylic paints that are, in turn, thicker than the paint commonly used in mini painting.
Fortunately, there are various approaches to crafting a wet palette that is suited to your needs. For example, some people prefer using parchment paper. Why, you might ask? Well, one of the benefits of parchment paper is that it does not absorb paint in the same way that regular paper does.
However, if you opt for parchment paper, it is essential to keep in mind that you must utilize the paper that came with the palette as a template when cutting the parchment paper to size. In the unfortunate circumstance that you do not have any paper left from the original packaging, fear not, simply trim the parchment paper so that it allows for approximately half an inch on all sides between the paper and the palette wall.
You can use metallic paint on your wet palette
Some people are worried that the metal flakes in metallic paint will get into their sponge and then transfer from the sponge into their non-metallic paint, contaminating it.
The metal flakes from the paint are bigger than the regular pigment in the paint. So if the red pigment doesn’t turn your white paint pink, you can be sure that the metallic flakes also can’t get through the paper and contaminate the paint on top of your palette.
You might be worried that the metal will rust or become discolored over time. But think about it this way: those same metallic flakes have been in water-based paint for a long time without rusting. They aren’t the kind of metal that rusts or becomes discolored from exposure to water.
If you are still unsure if metallic paints should be used on the same wet palette as non-metallic paints, then get a second palette and use it specifically for metallic paints. This will help keep your different paint colors separate.
How to Keep Your Paint From Overhydrating
Upon acquiring my inaugural wet palette, I naively assumed that its purpose was to ensure that my pigment was sufficiently hydrated for protracted periods of time. However, I was soon informed that the wet palette’s raison d’être was, in actuality, to preclude the rapid desiccation of one’s paint whilst painting in arid or extended scenarios.
By utilizing a wet palette, it’s plausible to preserve one’s pigment in a usable state for several days. However, despite the myriad techniques one might implement, I’ve discovered that relying on these methods is a precarious endeavor at best. What is especially exasperating when attempting to sustain workable pigment over the course of several days is the disconcerting realization that the moment you return to your artwork, your pigment has disintegrated into an insipid, unusable sludge that has permeated the wet palette paper.
The fundamental cause of this conundrum lies in the dampness of an enclosed space. Whilst viscous acrylics can endure such conditions for a lengthier duration, our paint specifically formulated for tabletop miniatures is not quite as hardy.
In order to circumvent the annoyance of flaking pigment, one may either curtail the humidity in the area or decrease the amount of time that water takes to evaporate.
Try adjusting your lid
If you happen to possess a cover that can be conveniently separated from the base of your palette, you may choose to perch it upon the base with a degree of looseness so as to avoid an excessively hermetic seal. By doing so, you shall enable a certain amount of moisture to escape, thereby preventing the internal humidity of the palette from reaching an intolerable level.
Occasionally, low-priced wet palettes may be found sporting a lid that is attached by a hinge. In such a case, it is highly recommended that you bore a minuscule orifice in the lid itself. By undertaking this step, the palette will be able to maintain a sufficient degree of moisture whilst remaining unused. It is advisable to drill this aperture in one of the corners, ensuring that the humidity level remains uniform.
Should you happen to anticipate that your palette will not be called into service for a prolonged interval of time, it is of utmost importance that you thoroughly cleanse and sanitize it, allowing it to air-dry fully. Leaving any residual paint within the confines of the wet palette for too protracted a duration shall merely serve to engender a lamentable mess.
Store the palette in your refrigerator
Putting the palette in your fridge, especially in the summer, helps to keep the temperature low. This will help to keep the moisture evaporating from your sponge into the paint to a minimum.
How to clean your wet palette
The hygienic maintenance of your artistic toolkit is paramount to the realization of your creative vision. As such, it is imperative that you undertake a thorough cleaning of your wet palette after each painting session. This entails the complete disassembly of the apparatus and the ablution of its constituent components. Even in the absence of an interlude between creative endeavors, the ritualistic cleansing of your wet palette should be observed with the utmost diligence. Should you desire to take a brief respite, it is sufficient to simply shutter the lid and allow the palette to repose until your artistic impulses beckon once more.
When it is time to clean out my wet palette I do the following
- Dispose of the paper in the trash can.
- Take the sponge out of the water and rinse it off. Squeeze the water out of the sponge and put it somewhere to dry.
- Some of the containers you can wash by hand. But some of them you can put in the dishwasher. It might not say that it is dishwasher safe, but it will be okay.
- Tip the container upside down so that the water can drain out and it can dry.
Recommended Wet Palettes
The acquisition of a wet palette, a most handy and useful implement for the artful practitioner of paint and brush, constitutes a most commendable and judicious decision. Forsooth, such an instrument provides a most prodigious aid in the facile and facilely facile production of color mixtures and the consistent maintenance of chromatic uniformity throughout one’s work. As an expert in the field of painting, I must fervently insist that the acquisition of such a tool is a most sagacious move for those who are indeed dedicated to their craft.
And should you be one who prefers to sample the benefits of this implement prior to committing your resources to its purchase, fear not! For the creation of your very own wet palette is entirely within your grasp. To wit, herewith are the instructions for the creation thereof:
Everlasting Wet Palette
This is a popular wet palette. It has gotten more popular in recent years. It used to be only available on the Redgrass games website. But it is now also available on other websites. It comes in different sizes.
The Army Painter wet palette
I own this wet palette. I like it because it is set up well and coated with an anti-mold treatment.
AK Interactive Wet Palette
The AK interactive wet palette is a good value. It also has easily available replacement foam for just a couple of dollars.
Sta-Wet Masterson Palette
This wet palette is designed for painters who use acrylic paint that comes in tubes. It’s a really big surface area. If you get it, you should use parchment paper instead of the paper that comes with it.
How does a wet palette work?
A wet palette works by using a water-soaked sponge to keep the paints moist. This prevents them from drying out and makes them last longer. It also keeps the colors mixed together better, which is why many artists use them.
How do you set up a wet palette?
To set up a wet palette, you’ll need a container to hold water, a sponge, and some paper towels. Fill the container with water and moisten the sponge. Place the sponge in the bottom of the container and cover it with some paper towels. Put your paints on top of the paper towel and let them absorb some of the moisture. The paint will stay fresh for longer this way.
Do you water down paint on a wet palette?
No, you should not water down paint on a wet palette. If you do, the paint will become too diluted and will not mix well with other colors.
How much water should I use in my wet palette?
You should use enough water to keep the sponge wet, but not so much that the paint becomes too diluted.