A wet palette is a key tool in any miniature painters arsenal. There are number in the market, including the Masterson Sta-Wet palette. If you wanted to make your own wet palette, there are many sites that show you how to make a wet palette. However, for simplicity and ease-of-setup, the Sta-Wet palette is utilitarian. It is one of the most popular wet palettes you can buy. But, there are times when you want to use your own palette paper, instead of the store-bought sheets, or if you are making a DIY wet palette; what palette paper should you use for your acrylic miniature painting needs?
In this article, I show you the best paper to use in your wet palette. Are you looking for a cheaper alternative palette paper for your wet palette? Check out the alternative palette paper that works well and why you should try it in your wet palette.
I’ve tried all types of wet palettes: the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) disaster and even the fancier “Everlasting Wet Palette” (Red Grass Games). These are either mold-farms or over-hyped and expensive palettes.
How you make a wet palette requires a few items: a water-tight container, a sponge of some sort to hold the water, and a water-permeable membrane (e.g., usually a paper material).
What I discovered, that although DIY options work well, and “how to make a wet palette” instructions and tutorials are everywhere, the simplicity of a commercial system is unbeatable.
Yes, they do cost a little money, but not much.
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette: The Most Popular Wet Palette for Miniature Painters
The best wet palette in my professional opinion is the Sta-Wet Palette. Tried and true, it’s been around for many, many years! Why fix it?
The Masterson Sta-Wet palette fills my happy middle ground for painting miniatures. Masterson even makes a bigger sized palette if you’re looking for more paint mixing space. If I had more table space for painting miniatures, I’d get the larger size.
I tend to use wet palettes to mix colors for layering and glazing on miniatures.
Problems with Commercial Wet Palette Papers
- May not work with thin paint mediums, such as those used by miniature painters, e.g., Citadel, Vallejo brand paints
Given that wet palette paper is disposable, the use of commercially available wet palette paper can get pricey. This is true if you replace your palette paper after every session.
No matter what you do, the paper will get tossed.
The other issue with general wet palette paper, is that miniature paints are much thinner than other paint mediums.
That is, acrylics we use for painting minis are thinner and absorb into the palette paper. The Everlasting Wet Palette I mentioned has overcome this with a different kind of paper. However, the paper is pricey (relative to just as function alternatives), cut to size only for their version of the wet palette, and doesn’t do a better job.
What Do I Recommend for Paper?
I’ve discovered that you don’t actually need to buy commercially marketed wet palette paper.
I know a ton of you guys already know this, especially those who fall into the DIY palette camp. To make a DIY wet palette, you need good palette paper. What is the best substitute wet palette paper?
Here’s what I think is the best non-indicated paper you can buy for any wet palette: Reynolds Kitchen Parchment Paper. It’s cheap, endless, and functional for all your miniature painting needs.
Reynold parchment paper comes in huge rolls. Simply, pull a sheet, cut to size and apply to a pre-wetted sponge.
Quick Warning About Choosing Wet Palette Papers for Miniature Paints
Remember to avoid parchment papers that have a hydrophobic coating, such as wax. This will make the paper useless for our miniature painting needs.
You want the water from the sponge to seep through the paper into the paint sitting above. Baking parchment or sheets usually use wax coatings to make them non-stick to cookies and stuff.
Instead, go for parchment paper. Parchment paper, baking paper, or bakery release paper are cellulose-based papers that have been treated or coated to make them non-stick. They are used in baking as a disposable non-stick surface.
They should not be confused with wax paper or waxed paper, which is paper that has been impregnated with wax.
Other Thoughts on Choosing the Best Tools for Miniature Painting
At the end of the day, we just want to paint miniatures efficiently and effectively. I’ve painted hundreds of miniatures using wet and dry palettes. Everything in this article is an opinion formed through experience. Your mile may vary (YMMV).
What are you looking for in a wet palette?
That means acrylic paint that doesn’t dry right away. It means a palette that allows us to mix and thin paints for our particular application.
Every tool we use for painting miniatures is a personal choice. There is no perfect instrument.
I prefer a wet palette that doesn’t break the bank over time (with constant upkeep). Disposing of old paper and sponges is required to prevent mold.
A wet palette can improve your miniature painting if you know how to use them properly. You can either DIY or buy a wet palette.
If you’re making your own palettes, how do you set yours up?
Let me know with a comment below.
Thank you for reading!