Watercolor Palettes – 3 Things to Look For

Just a bit of background…

I’m gonna be real with you – the past couple of weeks have been literally chaos! First my father-in-law discovered he had kidney cancer and had to have emergency surgery to remove the entire kidney. Then, once that had settled down, my husband and I decided to go to the gym and have a basic work out. But that didn’t go according to plan – and instead we ended up in the ER via ambulance due to my husband passing out. Thankfully everything checked out – but he’s still having to see a couple of doctors to rule out any underlying issues. So you would think – tings would calm down after that right? NOPE! Next – our sweet little pup decided that trying to eat her crate’s zipper was a brilliant idea. So literally – 24 hours after being with Stephen in the ER – we were then with Pepper at the emergency Vet trying to figure out if she needed emergency surgery. Thankfully, she didn’t and is fine now.

The remedy for chaos…

Needless to say – when it rains it seems to just pour. So what is the best remedy to such traumatic chaos? For me it’s putting together a new watercolor palette and just squeezing out a bit of the rainbow into my watercolor palette.

I LOVE setting up new palettes! They are my favorite thing to do when it comes to watercolor. Just seeing fresh new paint laid out so beautifully in a row along the edge of my palette makes my heart sing.

3 Criteria for Watercolor Palettes

So that’s what this week’s agenda is about – setting up a new palette and sharing with you three things I always look for when choosing a new watercolor palette. And those 3 criteria are – Surface, Wells, & Travel.


When choosing a watercolor palette – I want a palette with a smooth surface that is bright white. This first allows me to mix pools of paint (or large puddles of paint) in my palette and helps me judge color as well as paint ratio while mixing. My preferred surfaces for palettes are metal and porcelain. But porcelain palettes can be pretty pricey to your wallet. So I’ve come up with a system that is the best of both worlds – a metal palette to hold my paints and a porcelain tasting dish for mixing my colors.


The next thing I look for in a watercolor palette is large wells that a slightly slanted. I prefer this set up because it allows me to use larger brushes with my palette as well as allows the water to rest in the corner of my well – keeping my paint wet longer.


And finally the last criteria I look for is a foldable travel palette that can go with me on vacation. For me personally – I don’t really care if my palette is super small – but I do have a preference for foldable palettes that have the wells lined up on one side. This set up makes it to travel with – but also I find my paints don’t come loose from the palette as often when the wells are located on just one side as opposed to two.


So those are the things I look for when purchasing a watercolor palette. If you want to use the same palette set up as me – I’ve included links below to the items I use. I will say though – online you can only buy sets of 4 of the tasting dishes I’ve listed below – but if you walk into the store you can buy them individually – which is what I did to save some money :) .

Color Around Aluminum Watercolor Palette 20 Wells
World Market Mini White Porcelain Rectangular Tasting Plates



About Author

Hi there! My name is Carrie and I'm a Watercolor Misfit! What's a Watercolor Misfit? Well, anyone who is willing to try new things and not afraid to get their hands covered in paint! So what do you say, are you a Misfit-ian?


  • Ginger Sparks
    September 30, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Hi first I love this video it answered a lot of my questions and concerns. But there’s another piece in your palette that looks like something you placed in there to put more paint it looks ceramic with long whole pan like. I very much would like to get one exactly like it if possible. Where did you get it? Can I get a link if possible. Thanks again!!

  • FAYE
    November 6, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    I love your work, Carrie! Every time I see the Teddie’s little face in the breeze I get a jolt of happiness :D Thank you for sharing what you do with us!

  • Julie
    April 26, 2020 at 12:26 am

    Hi Carrie! I just rewatched this and you have more colors in the main portion of the palette that kind of look like full pans, but not! What are those please?? :-)


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