The type of paint palette a Warhammer painter uses may seem like a trivial matter, simply pick a clean piece of plastic and go at it. Indeed, this is usually sufficient for most painters… until they try a wet palette. A normal dry palette’s job is to simply hold paint temporarily for mixing a custom color or getting the consistency just right. The bad part is that, over time, some of the water in the paints evaporate. This means the painter has to constantly keep adding more thinner to the paint to keep the desired properties. This added burden can make for inconsistent painting.
The miracle cure for this problem is called a wet palette. A wet palette slowly adds water back to the paint mixture at the same rate as water leaves through evaporation. This means the painter only has to mix the color once and leave it alone until the mixture runs out no matter how long it takes the painter to lay down the color. Another great thing about a wet palette is it will keep the paint wet for weeks and even months. That way the painter can jump right back in where he/she left off and not have to worry about remixing the perfect shade or hue again to match previous work.
Now that we know the benefits, how much do these wet palettes cost? The good news is that most hobby stores carry wet palettes, and they are not very expensive at all. The problem comes from the fact most wet palettes use proprietary pads and covers. When the pad becomes fully used then it may be hard to find that exact part again, or worse, they could no longer be in business! Also, most cheaper wet palettes are made out of hard plastic without a tight fitting lid. Simply put, they are cheaply made and if dropped, they will break. I know I’ve blundered about my work area before, as we all have.
The obvious answer to this is doing what we model makers do best, make it ourselves with cheap-ass parts.
I went to Hobby Lobby and studied a few designs. A wet palette is just a short sided container with a lid and some absorbing material. Using my in-store research and some pointers from other painters, the following is what I did to make a wonderful wet palette that I have been using for over a year.
Buying the right container for your needs is the most important step. I decided on a rather large container from Rubbermaid. It is a short sided, 1 gallon, rectangular container that cost me roughly 4 dollars at the local WalMart. For those that want the exact name: Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Large Rectangular. The container is made of the signature Rubbermaid durable plastic and has an air tight lid. It is quite big for a smaller workspace, so be sure to keep that in mind.
The next step is to buy some parchment paper (NOT wax paper and NOT cooking sheets.) Parchment paper has a special property in that it lets on a very small amount of moisture cross its barrier. The last thing needed is a roll of paper towels.
- Rubbermaid or like container (short sided)
- Parchment paper
- Paper towels
- Distilled water
- Ruler/measuring tape