Stay-wet palettes are available in all good art shops - at a price - and they're great for keeping paints workable for much longer. You can make a perfectly good one in a few minutes at home. You might even have all you need already to hand (and if not, it won't cost much).
Because I sometimes use quite large quantites of some colours, I mix quite a bit of those colours all at once - and I always use a stay-wet palette for them. It means I can carry on using the colour for maybe a few months, whereas left out they'd last just minutes.
To Make a Stay-Wet Palette You'll Need:
- a plastic tub with a lid that seals. For small palettes, you can use the food tubs that you get at some takeaways (they also sell them 8 or 10 in a pack at the pound shop). You can also use larger plastic tubs if you want a lot of colours on one palette.
- greaseproof paper (baking parchment)
- absorbent paper - I found the best is the kitchen towel called Plenty (other kitchen towels leave paper bits in your paint but Plenty doesn't, and no I'm not being paid by them!). If you don't have Plenty in your country, do you have a kitchen towel which claims to be stong and hold together longer than others? You could also use a non-woven cloth - anything which won't shed fibres.
- a little water.
How to Make your Stay-Wet Palette:
Fold the kitchen paper (one sheet is enough in a small palette) to fit the bottom of your plastic container
Sprinkle a couple of drops of water on top of the kitchen paper
Cut a sheet of greasproof paper to fit in top of the kitchen paper and place it on.
That's it - it's really that simple! You can mix your paints in there and keep them for weeks or maybe even months. If you find they are a little thin or watery, you've probably added too much water to the paper towel. If you find they dry up quickly, you may not have added enough water (or you left your lid off!).
You might find you end up mixing all your colours this way - I do! It certainly saves a lot of waste.