What is a Wet Palette?
An Introduction to the Wet Palette
What is a wet palette? If you are new to miniature painting, you may or may not already possess some form of palette. Perhaps you bought a shaped plastic one, or did what most people do: found an old piece of plastic to use, grabbed a folded square of kitchen paper, or dug a tile out from the shed.
Whilst these will be sufficient to meet your needs as an absolute beginner, there will come a time in your hobbying career when your make-do-and-mend palette will no longer be fit for purpose. You will need something that helps you unlock new ways of painting and that supports your progress through your hobby.
So, why do you need a proper wet palette for miniature painting?
Acrylics and You
Before getting into what a wet palette is, it is important to understand how acrylic paints work. So, let’s start at the beginning.
The vast majority of paints that you will use during your career as a hobbyist will be acrylic.
Acrylic paint is a water-based paint made of water, acrylic resin, medium, binder, and pigments. The drying process is in two steps: first, the water in the paint evaporates. Then, acrylic starts a chemical process called polymerization, resulting in a continuous flexible film of plastic!
Your paint can dry either very quickly, or very slowly. It depends on the amount of water, the composition of the paint, and/or the temperature of the room.
One of the reasons acrylics are chosen by painters is because they can dry quickly. It means you will spend less time waiting for your coats to dry.
Unfortunately, although fast-drying acrylics mean you can be efficient with your time, this does also mean that acrylic paints can dry out too quickly. Especially if you are painting in a warm room or not thinning your paints with extra water. Thinning your paint is something you should always endeavour to do.
The Wet Palette: What and Why
Because acrylic paints dry so fast, using a wet palette ensures your acrylics remain hydrated before they are applied to your figures.
The basic science behind a wet palette is that a layer of absorbent material both holds and gradually delivers moisture onto a piece of material which can be hydrated by water, yet is not so porous as to risk flooding your paints. Your paint being hydrated, it won’t dry out ahead of time.
It also means that you can safely paint in a warm room without fear of your paints going hard on the palette.
A lot of people will make home-made wet palettes using a takeaway pot. They will pack it with a few sheets of kitchen towel, and then a layer of baking parchment. By adding a little water to the base of the tub, the kitchen paper will soak up and hold the fluid and slowly deliver it to the sheet of parchment on top of it. Simple.
Because a wet palette ensures your paints stay wet longer, you will be able to guarantee you get a perfect and consistent blend of colour across your figures. You will not have to keep re-mixing your paints. You will not waste paint anymore.
Pros and cons of a home made wet palette
The good thing about home-made wet palettes is that they are cheap. You’ll have probably everything you need in your home already. But home-made wet palettes come with a lot of downsides. They are heinously unreliable and their components are not designed to be turned into a wet palette. Also, they can be very fragile and spoil quickly, and whilst they might keep your paints wet for a short time, they aren’t going to have the longevity of a made-for-purpose wet palette.
Why is it an Essential Tool for Miniature Painting?
With your paints remaining wet longer, you will be able to start mastering more advanced painting techniques.
The foremost amongst which is blending. Being able to mix your paints and keep them wet for longer means you will be able to access more colour shades and smoothly transition from one colour to the next. Doing so will mean that the flow of colour flow across your figures is smooth and realistic.
You will also be able to master realistic skin tones, those tricky ripples in robes and fabric, and even begin exploring eye-popping techniques such as object-source lighting (OSL) and non-metallic metals (NMM). Both terms are worthy of a Google should you be unfamiliar with them.
With these in your painting arsenal, you will be well on your way to creating some truly special miniatures.
RedgrassGames’ Everlasting Wet Palettes: Painter and Studio XL
A homemade wet palette is not a long term solution because there are so many ways making your own wet palette can go wrong.
So RedgrassGames have taken the science of the wet palette and perfected it so you don’t have to.
RedgrassGames’ specially designed Hydration Foam and Hydration Paper ensure the ideal amount of water is delivered to the surface of the palette. It ensures that your paints can thus remain hydrated at all times.
You will be able to paint with confidence. Your carefully crafted blends will not dry out before you have had a chance to finish that all-important layer!
When you are finished for the day, close the palette up. Store it away in a cool and dry place. Your paints will be good to go the next day, just as you left them.
Once you have experienced RedgrassGames’ wet palette, you will wonder why you ever even considered making your own at home.
If used and looked after properly, RedgrassGames’ wet palettes can keep your paints fresh for days at a time. Even if life gets in the way, your hobby will be waiting for you right where you left it.
WHICH WET PALETTE IS MADE FOR YOU?
The RGG wet palette Painter, the smaller of the two palettes, is perfect for most miniature painters. The size is just the right amount of surface area to make a start on nailing those difficult blends. It’s also small enough to be portable, should you like taking your figures elsewhere to paint.
The RGG wet palette Studio XL is the ultimate in palettes. The perfect companion for highly experienced and professional painters. The enormous surface area ensures you have every square inch of room you could possibly need. Enough to get every blend, every shade, every tiny dot of paint for your figures.
Still wondering if Redgrassgames’s wet palettes are the right one for you. Check this independent review.