|Posted on March 23, 2012 at 7:05 AM|
I've had the worst luck with wet-palettes. I could never get them to work like everyone said they were supposed to. I purchased a Masterson's Wet Palette at DickBlick.com but no go. Instead of using the expensive paper that comes with it, I tried using parchment paper that you can pick up from the baking section at the grocery store, still no luck. So I had pretty much given up on it.
Then a friend suggested I try a homemade one that had worked well for him. Well, this one wasn't perfect but it did show potential so I kept tweaking and finally came up with something that works for me.
Now everyone is different and supplies are different so your mileage may vary but if you haven't been happy with your wet-palette, try this.
What you will need:
I picked up my plastic container at the grocery store 3 for 3 bucks. It has two wells in it. The larger one, I use for the wet palette, the other holds water for cleaning my brush, I find it very handy and one less thing on my work table.
I initially bought some cheapo sponges but these had large holes in them. Holes trap air and dry out your parchment paper so if you go with these, find some with the smallest holes possible.
Then I tried a folded up paper towel but I wasn't thrilled with it. Evaporation continued to happen too quickly for me. On a lark, I tried the Sham Wow. I have a couple of these that I used at horse shows a long time ago. They are great for drying off your horse after you've rinsed him off on a hot day. But the Sham Wow's had seen their better days and were getting to the point where I was going to toss them. But then I realized they might just be the ticket for my wet-palette.
I used my container and drew out the shape on the Sham Wow then cut it out. A little trimming and it fit perfectly. I then cut out the same thing of parchment paper. I use Reynolds Parchment Paper. I tried a generic brand a long time ago but wasn't happy with it. Although, I may try it again when this roll runs out.
I've found the best results when I "primed" my parchment paper. You can boil it for about five minutes or just let it set in water for about 10 minutes. But what really worked for me was to put hot water from the tap in the bathroom sink, sit something on top of the paper so it stays completely submerged and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
After I pull out the parchment paper, I put the Sham Wow in its container well and turn on the tap (if you plan on painting, then letting them sit for a day or two - and it can keep the paint wet for that long, sometimes even longer - I recommend using distilled water so you don't come back to strange things growing in your paint). I rinse mine out every couple of hours so I don't worry about growing things. ;))
Only put in enough water to completely saturate the Sham Wow, sponge, or papertowel. You don't want the water to overflow onto the parchement paper. Place the paper on top of the Sham Wow and smooth out any air bubbles.
Here's where the sponge is at a disadvantage because you will never get out all of the air bubbles. For me, the paper towel, didn't retain enough water and I didn't want to use a bunch of them only to throw them away when they got saturated with paint.
The Sham Wow retains a lot of water considering its size. I thought I would have to cut out two or three pieces and stack them in the well. Instead, one did the job just fine and they're washable too! So you have something that's reusable even if it gets gobbed up with paint.
Now you're ready for paint! I put my paint onto the paper and if it's thick, I add a drop or two of water. Use the end of your paint brush to stir, anything sharp like a toothpick will rip the paper. Load your brush with paint and draw it along the paper to remove any excess - and you're read to rock!
Oh, and those sponges I bought that didn't work? I cut one up into a rectangular piece about half an inch wide and three inches long. It now sits in the well that I use for cleaning my brush. I rinse my brush off and then drag it across the sponge a couple of times. This helps remove any paint left deep in the bristles, especially if its wicked up to the ferrule (which will ruin your brush if it dries like that). I'm gentle with it. I drag it over the sponge once or twice then I wipe it off with a paper towel. If the paper towel comes away clean, I'm good to go. If there is any coloration from paint, I do it again until the paper towel stays clean.
I've used this wet-palette for a couple of days now and it has worked like a charm! Because it is small, I get it filled up with paint pretty quickly so I'm constantly rinsing it out. It's good to do that every couple of hours or so anyway. Because I rinse it out, this is the original paper and original Sham Wow so it's very economical too.
I hope you try making your own wet-palette. Post in the comments and let me know what you used and how it worked out for you!