Mini Watercolor Paint Palette

Tiny Watercolor Paint Palette and Brush

Tiny Watercolor Paint Palette and Brush

I’ve never been one to paint outdoors or in public, even though I admire those types of paintings.

I’ve wanted to paint outdoors, in public, but have never worked up the courage.

But I’ve been taking classes in journaling, and following blog posts about sketching in public, and I’m gathering up the nerve to do it.

My reading has led to a variety of websites that talk about the supplies that artists take when working on location. Maybe having the right supplies will give me some incentive to try painting in public.

Although most paint suppliers offer compact travel paint palettes, artists seem to want something even smaller. Several artists have made miniature paint palettes from Altoids tins that look intriguing. They then fill the tins with high-quality artists paint.

Well, I love cool art supplies, and miniature things, and I’m always up for a challenge. So I decided to see what I could come up with.

Not being satisfied with a regular Altoids tin, I bought a tin of Altoids Smalls. It’s about half the size of a regular Altoids tin. Then, I found a small eyeshadow compact and bought that also (for $2.99).

I don’t have any fancy tools or metalworking skills, so I put on my best MacGuyver face, got out my hot melt glue gun and went to work.

I started with the makeup box. It came with 4 wells and a clear plastic lid that opened flat. The lid seemed like it could be a mixing tray, and I liked that it was clear. If I divided each well in half, then I’d have 8 wells for paint. So I scraped the eyeshadow out, gave it a thorough wash, and let it dry.

Cosmetic Palette

Cosmetic Palette

Cosmetic Palette and Mint Tin

Cosmetic Palette and Mint Tin

Cosmetic Palette and Mint Tin - Sides

Cosmetic Palette and Mint Tin – Sides

My idea was to use hot melt glue to form wells to hold the paint. It’s kind of rubbery so it might be waterproof. I wasn’t sure how well the glue would hold its shape, so I cut tiny strips from the lid of a plastic butter tub to use as dividers. I bent them into U-shapes, thinking that the sides of the U could be braced against the sides of the wells for support.

I then glued them in place. Apparently, my gluing skills need help. But it worked. I haven’t filled this one with paint yet, but it’s certainly usable.

Cosmetic Palette Finished

Cosmetic Palette Finished

For the Altoids tin, I thought I could divide it into 6 wells. I cut one long strip of plastic about a 1/4 inch wide and long enough to run the length of the tin. I cut slits in it at intervals 1/3 and 2/3 along. Then, I cut two smaller strips, each also about 1/4 inch wide and long enough to fit the width of the tin. Those got slits at halfway point. The slits go halfway across the strip. (The strips are 1/4 inch wide, so the slits are 1/8 inch long roughly.) My thought was to fit the pieces together at the slits.

Altoids Smalls

Altoids Smalls

Dividers for Paint Palette

Dividers for Paint Palette

I put the dividers together, fit them into the tin, and then used the glue to hold them in place. I made sure there was glue all along the seams – where the dividers touched each other and the tin. Think of it like caulking a window or bathtub – put the glue wherever paint shouldn’t leak through.

It was a little awkward to do, but the glue set quickly and held the dividers in place nicely.

Tin and Glue Gun

Tin and Glue Gun

The finished tin. My gluing skills got better with practice. I really like it. Next time, I think I can make one that has 8 wells.

Finished Palette Made From Mint Tin

Finished Palette Made From Altoids Tin

I squeezed some of my nice Winsor & Newton artist quality-watercolor paint into each well and let it dry. That, plus a Niji waterbrush, and I’m in business.

The best part – I’ve actually USED this in public. And didn’t embarrass myself too much. I even kept my niece and nephew entertained recently because I had this palette, a couple of waterbrushes, and ACEO-sized paper in my purse. They painted for a good hour.

Mini Altoids Paint Palette

Mini Altoids Paint Palette

Here are my two mini palettes shown with a regular Altoids tin and my compact Cotman watercolor palette. I like the Cotman palette very much – it’s a great size and comes with a super cool travel paintbrush – but couldn’t pass up the challenge of making one of my own.

Several Mini Paint Palettes

Several Mini Paint Palettes

The Cotman palette is available from art supply stores and on Amazon. Please note, this is an affiliate link:

Winsor & Newton Cotman Sketchers Pocket Box Set

2 Responses to “Mini Watercolor Paint Palette”

  1. aquariann says:

    Clever idea, and a great way to recycle Altoids tins!

  2. […] I use my mini watercolor palette and water brush to add some color. They only take a few minutes apiece, but they’re cheerful […]


 
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