In today’s post I want to show you how I made my own to go watercolor palette. Lately I have been more interested in doing art journaling and sometimes I like to take a small watercolor palette with me on the go. As someone who has been dabbling in watercolor for a few months now, I have collected a lot of tube paints that I really love. The thought of buying a small palette just for travel was not appealing to me since I already have the colors I love at home so after a little research I decided to make my own. The idea of using a mint tin for a watercolor palette isn’t something I came up with so I don’t take credit for this idea! I just thought it would be fun to show you my process.
One benefit to using tube paint (and watercolor in general) is that when paint dries, you can simply use water to re-activate it so the paint never goes to waste. I use tube paint almost exclusively for watercolor and I always squeeze paint out of the tube and let it dry before using it. When I use fresh paint out of the tube I tend to use too much and the consistency is not the easiest to paint with.
Here is what you will need:
A tin (you can buy one specifically for watercolor or just use an old mint tin)
Half pans (quantity depends on how big your mint tin is)
Small magnets or a glue gun to glue your half pans to the tin
Your favorite tube watercolors
Waterproof black pen
Here is the process:
Step 1: Clean the mint tin.
Step 2: Assemble your half pans by either placing the magnet on the bottom of the half pan or using a glue gun to glue them to the bottom of the tin. I prefer the magnets so I can easily remove a half pan and add a different color to my palette.
Step 3: Decide how you want to lay out the colors. Do you want to do them in the order of primary, secondary, tertiary? Or in the order of warm to cool? Once you have determined the order of the colors, fill the half pans. You don’t have to fill each pan all the way. In my case I did about halfway.
You can check out a video of me setting up the palette (steps 1-3) below. You will notice that in my palette I am using 3 pans from the watercolor factory that I really like so I will only be filling 9 pans with my own tube colors.
Step 4: While the paint is drying, you can create your swatch chart. Cut a piece of watercolor paper the size of the cover of your tin (the outside cover, not the inside). Using an empty half pan, trace out the number of rectangles equal to the number of half pans in your tin to create a map of your palette. Make sure to use a waterproof pen to draw the rectangles.
Step 5: Label each rectangles with the brand and name of the color.
Step 6: Once the paint in the pans has completely dried, create a swatch gradient of each color. Activate the paint by adding a drop or two of water to each paint. Load your brush with water and paint a small line across the top of the corresponding rectangle on your swatch chart. Lightly rinse your brush and then keep painting lines with the brush until you create a gradient. This will allow you to see the range of colors you can achieve with your paint. Repeat until done with all colors.
Step 7: Allow the swatch chart and the paint in the pans to dry completely. Once dry, affix the swatch chart to the top of the front cover, not the inside cover of the tin. I prefer to do this because I use the inside cover for mixing color!
Step 8: Take your palette and a waterbrush on the go. Now you have your own custom palette and you can swap out colors as needed or refill them!