DIY Watercolor Mini Travel Palette

Friday, February 24, 2017

altoids tin metal case, half pans, watercolor tubes, painter's tape, enamel spray

I’ve recently travelled to the US and so I had the chance to get my hands on some art materials that are hard to get and/or are too expensive to get in Brazil.
I’ve got some M. Graham watercolor paints, which I was very excited to try! I might show them in more detail on the blog later on.
But since I knew I was getting them, I planned to get also a few empty half pans and some metal tin cases to make a nice gift for an artist friend of mine.
I enjoyed the process of makinh these mini travel palettes so much that I decided to make the same with a small selection of my not-so-high-end Shinhan paints, and that’s what I’m going to share today.

This is how my little cuties turned out:

M Graham, Shinhan, Altoids

The Altoids mini tin couldn’t hold more than 4 half pans, so I filled the empty space with a piece of kitchen sponge, for  cleaning the brush.

M Graham, Shinhan, Altoids, half pans


- watercolor tubes of your choice
- empty half pans 
- metal tin mini case (Altoids or other)
- magnets (I’ve used a magnet sheet with adhesive)
- utility knife or scissors


- sponge (I’ve used a kitchen sponge)
- painter’s masking tape
- enamel spray paint (I'd recommend a glossy finish, as I've found the matte one I used stains too much)

I’ll include a link for all the material I could find online, at the end of this post, in case you’re interested.

So here are some pics of the process:

step-by-step, how to, tutorial

Prepare the pans with the adhesive magnets and name of the color (1 and 2) before pouring the paint, to avoid messing up. The magnet sheet is mild, but strong enough to prevent the pans from “dancing” inside the case or falling out. Pour the paints (4). Carefully cover the whole metal tin case in painter’s masking tape, except for the lid, that will work as a mixing well later on (6 to 12). Use a plastic bag or old newspaper to protect the surface and spray the inside of the lid a few times, allowing a few minutes between each coat (13 and 14). Let it dry completely before removing the masking tape. Place the half pans and sponge (optional) and you’re done!

tiny, metal tin, mixing charts

There are so many advantages of having these small palettes. Not only they make a great gifts, they are also easy to carry any and everywhere and they are an excellent way for beginers, like me, to practice color mixing. It’s amazing the range of colors a tiny 4-color-palette can give you!

I hope this post is helpful to you in some way. Have fun making your own mini travel palette! Feel free to leave a question or comment, if you feel like it. Happy paintings!



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