Setting up a Watercolor Palette

It was time for a new palette. My old metal palette just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. Half of it is stained with ink, the other half with watercolor. I’ve collected some new tubes that didn’t really have a spot in my old palette. I decided it was time for a new one!


I gathered the supplies. Included with the palette and paint, was a pencil, paper, scissors, a straight edge, water, and a brush. I also had a couple of porcelain saucers I picked up from the thrift store. I like to use these along with my palette. It gives me extra room to blend colors.


When planning this post, I did a lot of research about different palettes. I ultimately chose the Mijello Fusion palette. There were several reasons for choosing this one. Mainly, it was accessible, relatively inexpensive ($24.99 at Hobby Lobby), and I knew the quality was good. It comes in different colors, but Hobby Lobby only had blue and mauve.


It even came with a small tube of Mission watercolor in peacock blue. You can never have too many blues.


The first thing I did in this process was to make small swatches of each color. I had a scrap of watercolor paper lying around. I cut it into small squares and threw some paint onto each. I wrote the brand and color of each on the back.


Don’t worry about being neat or having any kind of fade on the swatches. I only use these because I do not trust the colors on the tube. I would rather take the time to make a couple swatches than to have misplaced paint.


These two paints look similar on the tube, and in the tube, but show up differently on paper.


These two, however, look slightly different on the outside, but are similar in color on paper. Since I have a very specific way of organizing my paints, this step is crucial for me.


I lined the small swatches along the side of the palette. I played around with the placement. I had started with reds on the left and followed RoyGBiv color order. This didn’t quiet work for me because I have a lot of red-purples and pinks that I didn’t want to separate. It took a few minutes (actually like thirty) but I finally figured it out.


I was planning on including the black paint I have, but there was not room. I wanted to start painting without using black anyway; it pushes me to use other colors to make dark shades. Once I liked the placement, I filled each well with the appropriate paint.


The last step was to make a key. I traced clear palette onto a sheet of watercolor paper and I marked lines where the wells were on the paper. After I did this, I realized I didn’t like it and made a new one. This time I tried to get the same number of rectangles on each side of the paper. I fiddled with it for some time until I figured it out.


I painted each rectangle with a gradient wash. This way I can see the way the paint acts in different levels of water. It also helps get to know how each paint behaves. I ended up miscounting and had to add the last color in the middle with an arrow. I labeled each swatch so I would know what paint it was when it comes time to refill the well. Then, I stuck it in the palette, under the clear insert.


I’m super happy with how this turned out. Using dry watercolor like this helps me not use too much pigment. I like how this system is set up with all of my colors in one, easy to see place. I’ve already been using it in some sketches which I’ll post soon on my Instagram.

Thanks for Reading!

With Love,



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