More Watercolor and Gouache Palette Talk

Many people have been asking me about this watercolor palette over the past couple of days. I have explained in a previous post what I did, but perhaps that got overlooked because I didn't provide a photo of the actual conversion (above). When I bought this palette, it came with twelve half pans, secured in metal holders. I hated the paints. I took out those paints, replaced the colors with my favorite tube colors, and over the years have reconfigured it many different ways.  If you're interested in one of these, I've found the palette alone for a very reasonable price at Wet Paint Art --- click here.

I really like the size of this palette. It's small and portable, even when the flaps are opened up, and not too heavy for a metal palette. If you look at the image below, you'll see that you can not only fit half pans into two rows, but if you use the middle section (which is meant to hold brushes), you can fit a third row in there too.
For a long time, that's the way I configured this palette --- with three rows of paints, like the image below:

When looking for a way to incorporate my gouache pigments in the same palette as my watercolors, I needed more space. I removed the metal plate and clips that hold the half pans in the case. By doing that, plus turning all the half pans so they ran horizontally, I could fit in another entire row of half pans! Using just the outer metal case and removing the inside dividers also lightened the palette considerably. I secured the half pans in the case using the white tacky putty you can get at Staples or in craft stores to hold posters onto walls.

In the first photo at the top of this post, the bottom row of paint is gouache. You can read more about my pigment choices and this setup on this post. Remember that if you put watercolor and gouache into the same palette, you have to be sure to keep them separate when you mix your colors! Allowing the gouache paints to migrate into the watercolor pans will diminish the transparency of your watercolors. I use the bottom metal flap to mix my gouache, and that leaves the top two, larger mixing areas for my watercolors. Since I generally go from transparent to opaque (if I go opaque at all), I use the entire palette for watercolors, then just the bottom for gouache near the end of the process. I clean off the bottom mixing area before using it again for watercolor.


  1. Thank you for all the great info and teaching you give us in this blog. I liked this palette. The link you provided is dead but I searched the site today and found they do still have it:,11596.html

  2. SanRio Hello Kitty pencil boxes are white enamel on the inside. It's much cheaper than the $20 Manet box. In fact, many 99 cent stores have them. You can then buy the empty half or whole pans (bulk form Kremer is the cheapest), and use your putty method, or hot glue them in. I've also found that many of the metal boxes are ferrous, so you can glue magnetic sheeting on the bottom of the pans, and they will stick to the metal box! The only question is whether you'll paint over Hello Kitty. :-)
    Kremer, mentioned earlier, also sells somewhat decent metal paint boxes, but they aren't quite as sturdy as the old genuine watercolor boxes. Still, it's better than plastic.