Watercolor Palette – What You Need to Know

posted by Misfit

Watercolor Palettes



There is something mesmerizing to me – when setting up a new watercolor palette with fresh paint.   I have to say it’s one of my favorite activities!   And over the years – I’ve come up with 3 criteria that I use when choosing a watercolor palette – which I will be sharing with you today. So here are…



It seems pretty self explanatory – but knowing how many paints you would like to store in your palette is a pretty good starting off when choosing watercolor paint palettes.  Over the years – I’ve accumulated a larger selections of colors that I knew I wanted to store in a larger palette.  For this reason – I choose a pallette that could hold 48 colors.  Smaller travel size palette usually hold 8, 12, and even 24 colors.  So evaluating how many colors you would like to store will help narrow your search.     


The next question you need to ask is HOW ARE YOU PLANNING ON USING YOUR PALETTE?  Will you be traveling with your palette or leaving it to sit in your art studio or creative corner.   Since, I wanted this particular palette to hold a great deal of me paints – yet still allow me to travel with it if need be.   That meant that porcelain palettes (which are actually my fav type of palette) would be out of the question.   So I had to decided between plastic and metal for this palette.  I chose metal due to it’s sturdy structure and well because quite frankly – I hate plastic palettes.  Which leads me to my last criteria…


If you’ve been working with watercolor for sometime – you’ll realize how important it is to get your paint to behave correctly inside your palette.  This means pooling (or puddling is good) and beading it bad.   Porcelain palettes are the best when it comes getting your paints to pool.  But as stated earlier – porcelain palettes aren’t great for travel.   Plastic palettes are the worst when it comes to beading in my opinion. Metal palettes are somewhere in the middle – hence why I prefer metal over plastic.   Since I chose a metal palette this time – as more of my travel palette – I new I’d need to do some prepping of my palette for it to work for me instead of against me.  This prepping was quite simple.


If you want your paints to puddle in your metal palette – simple take a toothbrush and some any brand of toothpaste and scrub the inside mixing areas of your palette.  The slight abrasion to the surface will help the paint to adhere to the surface – thus creating puddles (which we all love)!

watercolor palette questions


  1. Choose a watercolor palette that holds all the colors you desire
  2. Choose a watercolor palette that is easy to travel with (in my opinion metal palettes) or stationary (porcelain palette)
  3. Prep your palette to work for you and not against you if need be (metal needs prepping – but porcelain can be used immediately) 


>>>WHAT I USE<<<

  •  METAL WATERCOLOR PALETTE – FCLUB 48 removable half pan set purchased on Amazon 

click here for the link to metal palette on amazon

  • PORCELAIN WATERCOLOR PALETTES – (I own 3 at varying prices) 
  1. S CURVE PORCELAIN 36 wells watercolor palette. Purchased from Dick Blick Art Supplies.  – sadly it appears they don’t sell the brand I own anymore at Dick Blick Art Supplies 🙁
  2. Darice 7-Well Porcelain Palette, 6-Inch. Purchased from Amazon (this is my favorite porcelain palette to work with)  click here for link to amazon for Darice Well
  3. Mini White Porcelain Square Tasting Plates, Set of 8. Purchased from World Market (great for mixing large washes) click here for link to tasting dishes at World Market

Well, that’s it for this post – lots of love ya’ll and I’ll talk to you next time.   

(Affiliate Disclosure – To be transparent, we do receive a small commission for Amazon products which costs nothing to you and it helps us continue to produce awesome content 🙂 )



Alicia November 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm

Hi! I’m new to your channel. I’ve been thinking of starting watercolor, I really like the selection of colors you had in your pallet is there any links or a list of all the paints that were in your palette?

Matt January 2, 2020 at 11:52 pm

Thank you this was SUPER helpful for deciding which watercolor palette to travel with to life painting. ( I went with a metal palette) I currently use a plastic one with gouache which is fine as it is thicker even when watered down, but as I make big puddles for watercolor it was clear plastic was not the answer. Great break down for the 3 Criteria. Also great tip on the toothpaste, I have used one of the Mr. CLean magic erasers in the past and those work well too


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