Tusk’s Tips: Create a Cheap Wet Palette
by Andy Welton
This is the first of hopefully many tips and tricks I use for miniature assembly, modeling and painting.
Some may have seen my article before, but since a wet palette is such a useful tool, I figured I would post it again on my first article for Muse on Minis.
For those that do not know what a palette is, its a surface for mixing paints to achieve additional colors. Some use an old Cd/tile/hand/table. A wet palette is basically the same thing, but it is intended for mixing acrylic paints (GW P3 etc) and not having them dry out as fast. That way that specific color you mixed for your highlights will stay usable. The wet palette can hold paint much longer than a normal dry palette. In the long run, you should end up losing less paint to dry out by using a wet palette. my little design allows you to be able to store your mix overnight.
For the longest time I used a wet paper towel as my palette, It wasted a ton of paint. So I was looking for new options. My roommate had picked up the Privateer Press wet palette from our local game store. I saw the contents and realized I could just make one myself and save some money. I did, it works like a charm.
Step 1: Either buy a miniature from Privateer Press or some other company that sells models in a similar clam shell packaging. Privateer Press has the perfect packaging that to make this type of palette. Usually in the same package, they also supply the foam needed for the palette.
Step 2: Take out the mini(s) and the foam out of the package. Save the blister and the foam. You can dispose of the miniature if you wish. (Your opponent won’t mind if you don’t field the Great Bears)
Step 3: Cut the foam to the size of the blister package, so it fits snugly at the bottom of the tray. The foam will expand slightly when it is wet so you may need to cut it slightly smaller than the tray. Make sure it fits properly in the blister tray.
Step 4: Now you need some tracing paper. I had some left over from another project. I am not sure it makes a huge difference, but I would make sure it is Acid-free. The paper that is supplied in Privateers wet palette is slightly thicker than the stuff I got. I am sure you can always get something thicker to match. Some people suggested using cooking paper.
Step 5: Cut a sheet to size, you want it slightly smaller than the foam, it will expand as well.
Step 6: Now I put some water into the blister, I make it as deep as the foam is thick.
Then put the foam in the water, let it soak up all the water. (you may have to squeeze the foam to make it soak) Drain off the excess. Waterline should be slightly below the foam.
It should be pretty saturated and the water should pool slightly when pressure is applied.
Step 7: Lay the tracing paper on top of the foam to wet one side of it, then make sure to flip it over and wet the other side or else it will curl up.
Step 8: I then take a Kleenex and dab it over the paper to suck up excess water. you basically want a flat, not glossy look on the tracing paper.
If you have any standing water it will cause the paints on it to bleed out. and be hard to control. You will have to adjust the amount of water in the foam to what you desire. Too little wont keep the paper wet enough and the paint will dry out. You may need to add more water as you use the palette.
Step 9: PROFIT!! Now you have a wet palette ready to use.
The best part about using these Privateer blisters is that they close, so it can have a slight seal to keep the paints overnight as well. Just close the lid to store.
Some other tips. You want to wash out the foam or get a new one periodically, I noticed that when used it tends to stink after a while.
Additionally, watch the water levels, too much = bad, too little = bad, you will have to find your happy medium.
— Andy Welton