What is a Wet Palette and why do you need one?

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. Or 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.

These will be sufficient to meet your needs as an absolute beginner. But there will come a time in your hobbying career when your homemade palette will no longer be fit for purpose. And 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

But before getting into what a wet palette is, it is important to understand how acrylic paints work. So, let’s start at the beginning.

As a hobbyist, the vast majority of paints you use are acrylic.

Acrylic paint is a water-based paint made of water, acrylic resin, medium, binder, and pigments. And the drying process is in two steps: first, the water in the paint evaporates. And 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. You spend less time waiting for your coats to dry.

But 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. And especially if you are painting in a warm room or not thinning your paints with extra water. But 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. And thus your paint is being hydrated, and it won’t dry out ahead of time.

And it also means that you can safely paint in a warm room without fear of your paints going hard on the palette.

But 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.

home made wet palette

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. And you will not have to keep re-mixing your paints. And you will not waste paint anymore.

Pros and cons of a home made wet palette

But 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. And they are heinously unreliable and their components are not designed to be turned into a wet palette. And 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.

home-made-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. You can mix paints and keep them wet for longer. And this means you will be able to access more colour shades and smoothly transition from one colour to the next. Doing so means that the color transitions across your figures are smooth and realistic.

everlasting-wet-palette-blending

And 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.

gold-nmm-cmon-giraldez
Gold-NMM credit: CMON-Studio Giraldez

If you use these techniques 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

But your 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.

what is a wet palette

RedgrassGames’ specially designed Hydration Foam and Hydration Paper ensure the ideal amount of water is delivered to the surface of the palette. Your paints can thus remain hydrated at all times.

You will be able to paint with confidence. And 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. And your paints will be good to go the next day, just as you left them.

Once you have experienced a RedgrassGames’ wet palette, you will not look back.

If used and looked after properly, RedgrassGames’ wet palettes can keep your paints fresh for days at a time. Your hobby will be waiting for you right where you left it. And even if your life sometimes gets in the way of your hobby!

WHICH WET PALETTE IS MADE FOR YOU?

RGG-wet-palette-cheap-best-for-the-money
Painter-lite-wet-palette

The RGG wet palette Painter Lite, is the smallest palette we make, and is perfect for most miniature painters. Especially if you are new to wet palette painting! But the size is just the right amount of surface area to make a start on nailing those difficult blends. And you can also be a portable painter with the Lite, as it’s also small enough to take your figures elsewhere to paint.

Redgrassgames painter lite

The RGG wet palette Studio XL is the ultimate in palettes. The perfect companion for highly experienced and professional painters. You have every square inch of room you could possibly need with its huge surface area. Enough to get every blend, every shade, every tiny dot of paint for your figures.

RGG-wet-palette-studio-xl

Are you still wondering if Redgrassgames’ wet palettes are right for you? Then you should check out this independent review!