Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tiny Travel Palette DIY with Altoids Mini

For the next week, I will post my array of mini, compact and travel plein air set ups, from the tiniest to the biggest.

Make a mini pocket palette with
  • a tiny Altoids smalls tin,
  • Sculpey Oven Bake Clay
  • Wisp
  • plastic deli lid
  • self stick magnetic strips.

Cover the interior of the box with a thin (about 3mm or 1/4") layer of Sculpey or Fimo. Once you've covered the interior of the box with Sculpey, split it in 6 equal parts using strips of Sculpey. I started by laying a strip lengthwise in the middle of the tin, separating the interior in 2 long compartments. Then, I put four equally-spaced squares of clay to split each half-tray in 3.

Once you're done, you should have 6 compartments of roughly equal size. Use the Wisp to carve and smooth out any sections too small for your fingers. A crochet hook can be used as well. I baked this in the oven at 275 degrees F for 17 minutes. Thinner clay takes a little less time.

After it cooled off, I cut a thick plastic deli lid to fit inside the Altoids lid. I attached it with self-stick magnetic strips. It makes a nice mixing area for my paint and is removable for cleaning or replacement. (You could spray the inside of the lid with white enamel for a similar effect.)

Fill each of the empty sections from tubes of artist's quality watercolor. I used a warm and cool of each of the three primary colors.

Top Row: Permanent Yellow Deep, Vermilion, Manganese Blue

Second Row: Winsor Yellow, Crimson Red Lake, Ultramarine Blue Deep

Tip: Stir freshly squeezed color with a toothpick to make sure it is evenly distributed. Fill each well in two stages, halfway to start. Allow paints to dry with the lid open overnight before topping up and/or transporting.

You can use empty or purchased half pans with self adhesive magnet tape attached on the bottom to hold them in place. However, I prefer the extra width the Sculpey provides so that the adjacent colors don't mix together so easily.
Update: Scroll down my list of broadcasts for a replay of my live demonstration on

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