How to make your own Aquarelle Watercolour Pallet


I love working with aquarelle watercolours. I have found a lot of paints and colours in tubes in a couple of garage sales. But I noticed that I never used those paints. That’s why I wanted to have them in a palette, so I could go and play more with them. A friend saw my palette and asked me to make her one. I thought that would be a great project for a new blog. The picture above is the new palette I made her, and the last pictures of this post show my own and much older palette.


Step 1:

Buy a cheap palette

I bought a cheap makeup eyeshadow palette at the Action, a store in The Netherlands that is similar to the Dollarstore.  

This palette has 28 shallow pans, and a flat plastic case. I bought his palette for only € 2,99.


Step 2:

Empty the palette

If you want to keep the makeup, you can store them as a powder in small plastic bags or little containers.

I used a Q-tip for the last pieces of powder.

If you don’t want to keep the make-up, you can just empty all the pans without being careful and afraid for cross-contamination of the colours.

But if you do want to save the colours: work from the sides to the middle.  You can let the powder pour into a little dish or container without touching the other colours.

I used a teaspoon to loosen up the powder. This way almost all the powder came out of the tin.

You can loosen up the last bits of the makeup by carefully poking a needle in the corners of the pans.


Step 3:

Clean the palette

I washed a palette with detergent. After that I rinsed it with hot water and I let it dry throughout.


Step 4:

Decide on the colours

For this pallet I used basic colours of two different brands, added with some random yellows and greens. 

The first row of colours are watercolours of the brand Talens, ten basic van Gogh paints, and the second row are watercolours of Winsor Newton, twelve basic Cotman paints.


Step 5:

Fill the palette

I filled all the pans, alternately, so I could touch up and clean the empty pans up if I should make mistakes.


Step 6:

Make swatches

With your watercolour it is important to know how the paints behave and what colour it is on the paper. 

At first I measured a piece of watercolour paper to fit the lid.

I swatched them in an alternating way, so I wouldn’t get the colours to touch each other and cross-contaminating each other. To make swatches I started with the colour on the upper side of the little swatch-box, and dragged with a clean brush some water on the paper up to the colour. This way you can see how the paint behaves and how the colour invades the clear watered piece of paper for the swatch.

When the first batch of colours were swatched, the first colours were already dried up. I could easily start over again with the swatches of the last colours. It is best to have the swatches of the colours on a piece of aquarelle paper. I keep the swatches in the lid of the palette as a reference.


Step 7:

Let it dry completely

It will take a couple of days before the paints are totally dry. Some paints will be dried smooth and even, others will have a more granular appearance. You can eventually fill some of the pans up with more paint, because some of them will shrink more in the process of drying. As you can see, this palette is made of the same makeup case and pans, but is much older. I already played a lot with this palette. The swatches are also less revealing, no dragging of the colour in water. 


Step 8:


Go and play with the colours in your palette. Discover how to make more colours, how to mix them and how the paints will behave. I love the way this palette fits my self made standard size travellers notebook.



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