Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mini Travel Palette

I have had some issues with my old travel palette (Cathy will recognize this - it's an old Winsor & Newton travel palette that holds full pans. She has one that's identical) I took out the pans and use tube watercolor in the small wells. Below is a photo of my current portable sketch set. The W&N palette, a collapsable water cup, two Utrecht travel brushes, a 1-inch flat squirrel hair brush, a small flat synthetic and a rigger. This is the set I use to paint 95% of the Urban Sketching paintings that I do. I also have a larger travel palette that's really nice and has a lid that seals - but it's too large to carry easily sometimes.

This setup has worked great and is a convenient size, but the little palette is terribly messy and I am constantly cleaning up paint spills. Below is a photo showing how the liquid will flow right out of it if it's still wet when I fold it back up.

I have to include a disclaimer here - I am not advocating the use of a tobacco product, it just happens that the little tins that Camel Snus comes in (snuff in pouches) are perfect for setting up a mini portable palette. You could buy a tin of Snus for about $6 and throw out the snus, ask a friend who uses it for one of their old tins (that is what I did) or look on eBay as I've seen people selling small bunches of empty tins there. Here is a photo of the tin with my glasses close by for size comparison.

As you can see, it's very small - which is something I was looking for. The other thing I was looking for was that I wanted something that had a watertight lid.

If you look closely at the inside of the lid, you'll see a small rubber/foam seal that circles the edge.

It holds 8 half pans perfectly! I painted the inside of the lid with an off-white spray enamel to make it easier to judge colors. (A tip I took from one of Cathy's posts on setting up a portable palette - thanks, Cathy) I used masking tape to cover the foam seal and the outer portion of the lid. I used small dabs of RTV Silicone on the bottom of each half pan to hold them securely in place. As you can see - it's small enough to fit nicely in the palm of your hand, or your pocket. It's a little bit of a challenge to open, but not too difficult. I'll let you know how it goes after I've tried it out a few times.

I'm also in the process of setting up a slightly larger palette in a waterproof cell phone case. (Photo below) It was $5.97 at Walmart. Once I get it completed, I'll post photos and info on how I set it up.

I hope some of you find this useful - I'm looking forward to putting this little fella through the paces.



  1. Very helpful, David! (I'm assuming you are TK). Thanks for sharing. That rubber gasket/seal on the lid is a real selling point. I had one of those Winsor Newton travel palettes, too, and found some of the same design flaws. I'd appreciate if you'd put a byline at the top of the body of your posts. And also tag your name and locale, too.

  2. Very cool, looks like that would work very well. The rubber gasket is brilliant!

    I didn't have a problem with my little W & N palette, but then I wipe the washes or let them dry before closing.

    And yes, do please put your name at the bottom of the posts so people can find you later!

    1. And if you would, use the labels option in the sidebar when you compose a message--your name and even "mini travel palette" or some such! Thanks, David! We're glad to have you with us!

  3. Something I have seen recently was a way to attach that small tin to your wrist. Velcro the can to the Velcro strap that encircles your wrist. Walla...a way to keep it handy and out of the way of drawing. Use museum putty to keep the paint can on a table or place where you are working so it does not continue to fall. I have such a crowded area that this is a working solution.


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