My Acrylic Palette

July 4, 2015

I thought I’d pause a second and show how I set up my palette for painting with acrylics. As you know, acrylic paints dry very quickly, and within an hour or so the paint you’ve squeezed out can be hard as a rock. There are commercial gadgets on the market that will preserve the paint with a lid over the palette, or have a sponge that will help keep the paint moist while you work or between sessions. My homemade version uses the same concept.


I’m using my 12 inch metal pizza pie plate upon which I’ve placed a wet piece of cotton muslin (from old an t-shirt,) roughly cut to fit the shape of the plate. This fabric is damp, but not soggy. On top of this I’ve placed a sheet of “Sta-Wet” acrylic paper made by Masterson, a company that makes one of those acrylic palettes. You can use regular paper, but you’ll want something that’s thick enough to not deteriorate when wet, and thin enough to remain moist from the fabric beneath it. I lightly dampened the paper before squeezing out paint on it.

While working on my new acrylic painting, the paint on this palette stayed moist on this palette for the whole day’s session, about 4 hours. When I stopped for the day, I placed a large pane of glass on top to keep the water from evaporating. This is why you’ll want a palette surface, like this plate, that has a raised lip of some kind. I checked on the paint about 20 hours later, and it was still wet enough to continue using. For the record, I didn’t use any retarder medium in the paint. It’s all right out of the tube. You can lift off the paper and moisten the fabric again, as well as lightly mist the paper with a water sprayer to keep the paint wetter longer if necessary. Clean up is just a matter of replacing the paper.


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