Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review)

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - review of the handy sta-wet palette from Masterson - banner image header

Are you looking for review of the Masterson Sta Wet Palette? Do you paint miniatures and use a wet palette? The Masterson Sta Wet Palette is the best starter wet palette for painting miniatures and models. Even though it is a low-cost option, it is a great tool that I use for painting miniatures.The Masterson wet palette keeps your paint wet and ready to use for hours, which is perfect if you’re doing a long painting session. The palette also has a nice snug-fitting lid to keep the moisture in, and it’s easy to clean. I highly recommend this palette for anyone who does miniature painting!

In this article, I share my in-depth experience using the Masterson Sta Wet Palette for professional and causal miniature painting.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - paint mixing on the palette
Mixing paint on my Masterson Handy Sta Wet Palette.

In a Hurry? See 3 More Wet Palettes for Miniature Painters! 🏆

I paint a lot of miniatures of all kinds, including historical, sci-fi and fantasy, e.g., Warhammer 40k, Age of Sigmar, Bolt Action, DnD. So of course, I’m going to show you some examples of miniatures painted with the Masterson Sta-Wet Palette, so read on for the review below!

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - product photo
The Masterson Handy Sta Wet Palette is the perfect starter palette for anyone who paints miniatures and models. For keeping acrylic hobby paints wet for long periods of time, this is the best value wet palette you should try first. If you enjoy using it, the Sta Wet palette will continue to work great for applying other advanced painting techniques you learn over time, e.g., glazing, wet blending.
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - my photo of a 10 year old palette
This is my 10 year old Masterson palette (and counting). It has seen many years of hard, continuous use. I’ve taken this wet palette to three new homes, countless trips to conventions, and a few neglected months in storage. While the outside may have its battle worn scars, paint stains, and built-up oxidation, the interior is pristine and in great working condition. There is sentimental value in holding onto the same palette for this long. You can read my full review of this trusty wet palette for miniature painting below.

Are Wet Palettes Hard to Use?

First things, first. For those who are new to the miniature painting hobby, is a wet palette hard to use? The answer is no. Using a wet palette is easy! Once a wet palette is setup, you use it just like you would any other dry palette, e.g., a ceramic plate, porcelain watercolor dish, or glass palette.

masterson dry palette used with paint on it - sta -wet palette review
Wet palette
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - dry palette with caked on paint
Dry palette

A wet palette is a great tool for miniature painters who paint a lot of miniatures or for people who want their paints ready at all times. There are a few simple tips you should know when using a wet palette:

  • You have to make sure that you’re using enough water in the foam or sponge insert, so that the palette doesn’t dry out.
  • Don’t add too much paint to your palette. Leave room around each color on your palette, as water may wick into the paint and make it spread into neighboring colors.
  • Make sure you keep the lid on the palette as much as possible to avoid getting dirt on the palette, to prevent evaporation, and to reduce the risk for growing mold on your wet palette.
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - DIY wet palette 3d printed
Here’s a DIY 3D printed wet palette. They work fine, but can also become finicky if you’re not careful with the kind of paper, sponge, or paint you use in it.

Do You Need a Wet Palette to Paint Miniatures and Models?

A wet palette is definitely worth using for painting miniatures and models with acrylic paint. It helps to keep your colors consistent and prevents the paint from drying out while you’re working. I would highly recommend using a wet palette for anyone who wants to improve their miniature painting skills. You can see me using my Sta Wet Palette in a tutorial for speed painting a non-metallic metal (NMM) sword.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - miniature chaos painted with glazing
The subtle color blends around the eyes, e.g., red into flesh tones, were done using glazes. I also used layering and blending techniques with paint loaded from a wet palette.
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - model painted with glazing
I performed most of the glazing on this model with the help of a wet palette and few other techniques.

Need evidence to support the use of a wet palette for painting miniatures? Here are some examples of miniatures painted with the help of the Masterson Sta Wet Palette.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - Sta wet palette bundle product image
You can get a Sta-Wet Handy Palette as a bundle with extra sponges and paper.

You can get more information on the best wet palette brands in the article, “Best Wet Palettes for Painting Miniatures.” Now, let’s get started on the review of the Masterson Sta Wet Palette!


First Impressions: What is the Masterson Sta Wet Palette?

The Masterson Sta-Wet Palette is a low-cost, high value palette system for water-based acrylic paint that combines a sponge and palette paper to keep paint moist. With the lid closed, paint will stay workable for days or even weeks. The palette is ideal for small projects and measures 8.5 x 7 x 1 inches. This is around the size of an A5-size notebook.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - shot from above
Masterson wet palette is about the size of a small notebook.
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - notebook size
This is my favorite everyday carry notebook for all sorts of journaling things.

The plastic cover and tray are made of a durable, white plastic. In my hands, it has a nice texture to it and feels good to hold. It’s not flimsy and from my first impression, I already knew that the Masterson palette was a major upgrade from my DIY wet palettes of yesteryear.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - painted miniature
A model I painted on commission where I used glazes loaded from a wet palette.

In my use case, I found that the Sta-Wet Palette was a great way to make sure my paints were kept wet and ready-to-use. For larger commission projects, when I needed a lot of colors laid out, or had special color mixes, the wet palette let me work at a considered pace.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - red and orange paint mixture
Do you mix paints a lot? Blending subtle colors together is a tad easier when you don’t have to race against the physics of paint evaporation.

With the Sta-wet palette, I was able to pick and choose what colors I wanted to mix, without worrying about the paint drying out before I was able to get it loaded on my brush.

Overall, for the $10 or so dollars, getting a Masterson Wet Palette was a great investment for my miniature painting. After 10 years of using the same palette, I still use the same tray and lid for projects (along with a few other palettes that I enjoy trying out, too).


How Do the Features of the Masterson Wet Palette Work?

The Masterson Sta-Wet wet palette (also known as the Sta-Wet Handy Palette) is a unique system that comes with everything you need to get started painting with acrylics. Along with the white 1-inch deep watertight tray and snap-tight lid, you get a yellow sponge pad that acts as a water reservoir, and a packet with 30 sheets of nice white palette paper.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - top cover of my wet palette
My Masterson palette has seen better days. But, here it is with me in a hotel room at a local gaming convention.

To use the Masterson Sta Wet Handy Palette, you simply soak the yellow sponge in clean water (preferably distilled water). Make sure there are no bubbles in the sponge–it should be completely saturated with water. Place the sponge on the bottom of the plastic tray.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - stained sponge
The sponge is stained with all those paints I used over the years. But, it doesn’t affect the palette at all!
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - stained sponge close up
After a good soaking, the sponge provides all the moisture required for keeping the overlying acrylic paint wet on the paper palette.

The included palette paper requires that you boil it for a few minutes to open up the paper fibers. This is a necessary step to ensure that the paper properly wicks the water up into your paint and stays moist throughout use.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - boil water first to prepare palette paper
To prepare the palette paper that comes with the Masterson wet palette, you NEED to boil the paper first.

I found that I could boil a few sheets of the palette paper at time; use one, and save the other pre-boiled sheets for later. That way, when I needed to replace an old sheet, I didn’t have to reboil and repeat the process with a new paper sheet.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - laying paper down
Laying the palette paper flat on the sponge is a simple affair. Just remember to avoid bubbles and wrinkles.

When you’re finished boiling your paper, place the sheet gently over the water-soaked sponge in the palette tray. Add more water around the sides of the sponge to make sure there are no bubbles. Use a paper towel to wipe off any pools of water on top of the palette paper. Now the palette is ready for you to add paint!

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - deposit paint on palette
Administer paint on your wet palette as you would any other palette surface.

Does the Included Palette Paper Work Well for Acrylic Hobby Paints?

A cool thing about the palette paper with the Masterson wet palette is that it is reusable. You can take palette paper that has paint on it already and wash it off under a running faucet with tap water.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - NMM power sword painting loaded brush technique with wet palette
You can paint with fancy or simple techniques with a wet palette. This NMM style painted Warhammer 40k power sword was painted with the loaded-brush blending technique. You can see me using the Masterson wet palette for this fast paint job in this video.
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - fresh paper
This is obviously a fresh sheet of palette paper. But, you can reuse it after a few painting sessions by cleaning it off under running water!

If you flip it over and use the other side after cleaning an old sheet, I found that you can probably paint miniature regularly for weeks without using a brand new sheet.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - durable palette paper
The palette paper that comes with the Masterson wet palette is really durable. Not only are you expected to boil the paper before using it. But you can wash off an old sheet (with paint still on it) to reload a fresh new batch of colors on your palette. Cool!

I’ll note that most of the time I prefer using Masterson brand palette paper in the Sta-Wet palette. But I’ve also had great results painting with other brands of palette paper and alternative baking parchment sheets, too. It’s really a matter of personal preference.


What are the Advantages of the Masterson Wet Palette? Is it Good for Hobby Miniature Painters?

Here are 7 reasons why I think the Masterson Sta Wet Palette is great for hobby miniature painters.

1. Good Palette Size

For a hobby miniature painter, the Sta-wet palette is a great size. It keeps paints moist while not taking up too much space on your hobby desk like a larger palette would. With a hobby size palette, you even have room to keep a dry palette nearby, which I recommend using for inks and other thin media. Dry palettes by the way will always have a use in miniature painting and other small projects.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - sta-wet palette on hobby desk
The palette is a good size for my desk. But your results may vary.

A large wet palette, such as the Masterson Premier Palette would be useful if you had more room on your desk or table to work, or wanted to work with a much larger color palette, e.g., big acrylic modeling jobs or fine art projects.

2. Durable Plastic Material

You won’t need an extra palette with the Masterson wet palette. It’ll last forever! Unlike making your own wet palette, acrylic painters can rejoice in that the only thing you’ll need to replace is the paper and the thin layer sponge underneath. After many painting sessions, the process of mixing paint will degrade the paper as it absorbs water and the fibers wear out. The plastic tray and cover on the other hand are impervious.

3. Excellent Water Capacity in the Sponge

All wet palettes use an absorbent material padding, such as a foam pad or sponge, that serves as a water reservoir. After placing palette paper on top, parchment paper, or baking paper (whatever you prefer as your palette surface), water will diffuse upward into your paint colors to keep them wet.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - pouring water on palette
I just pour water into the palette to soak the sponge and prepare the palette for paint.

The Masterson Sta-wet palette includes sponge that fits well inside the palette tray (with some limitations, see below). The good news is that you won’t need to trim the sponge, as it’ll fit within the walls of the palette container without needing you to trim it. For those that DIY wet palettes, it is quite cumbersome to have a sponge fit just right.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - sponge material under palette paper
After draining off the extra water, I make sure the paper palette lays flat.

I would also say that the palette sponge and the water helps keep the right consistency in my paints. Mixing colors has never been easier when I know my paint stays wet and keeps the same consistency over time. I’m sure this is because of the wet sponge and paper combination working well together.

4. Smooth Paper Palette Material

As mentioned above, I really like the palette paper included with the Masterson Sta-wet palette. Of course, there are alternatives like baking paper, or other hobby brands such as those from The Army Painter (e.g., Hydro paper). But, if you’re looking for palette paper that fits the size of your palette without the hassle of trimming, I would recommend just sticking with the brand palette paper that comes with the Masterson palette. It works well.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - smooth palette surface
A smooth surface for acrylic paint helps with mixing and thinning.

Miniature paints stay wet on the paper, which wicks the right amount of moisture into the paint as it dries. It doesn’t overly thin the paint color, which can be a problem with other wet palette papers. As noted earlier, you can also re use the palette paper by washing it off under running water.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - two spots of red and orange paint on palette
Two small drops of paint are usually all I need for a small miniature paint job.

The white color of the paper also helps me see my acrylic paint colors accurately which is nice when I mix colors for a particular miniature painting project. The texture of the palette paper is also notable. It isn’t glossy smooth or matte. The palette paper surface has a “tooth”, which gives paint a nice feeling to it when you’re loading your brush or mixing paint colors. The palette paper combine well with the sponge to do the job of making your acrylic miniature painting more enjoyable.

5. Air Tight Cover and Seal

Not every wet palette comes with an airtight seal. The Masterson palette has a cover that snaps on top of the bottom tray to keep your paints fresh for the next painting session.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - airtight lid and cover
The lid snaps tight…
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - lid snaps shut with a single finger push
With an audible click.

Acrylic paints have no chance to dry out quickly when the palette is able to hold its humidity. Although I haven’t tried, you could probably keep paints fresh for days, even weeks, in this wet palette.

To prevent mold, you could even try storing your wet palette in the refrigerator if you have to stop painting for a long time but want to preserve your paint colors.

6. Affordable for Every Painter

I think there’s a really good reason the Masterson Sta-Wet palette is so popular. The starter pack for the palette comes with everything you need to have a reliable wet palette for miniature painting, e.g., good paper and sponge, and a durable container with airtight lid. For under $15, you have a wet palette that doesn’t require much upkeep or replacement components for a long time. Everything fits together perfectly to keep your paints wet and ready for the next painting session.


Are There Limitations to the Masterson Sta Wet Palette?

Even with all the good features of the Masterson Sta-wet palette, there are a few limitations.

For one, the sponge does not fit perfectly in the well so it can be a little tricky to get it back in its place. I also noticed that when too much water is added to the palette (i.e., too much that seeps up to the paint colors), the paints can start to slide off the paper surface. This is easily remedied by dabbing at the paint with a brush or your finger to re-dissolve it into the water and then placing the paper back on top of the palette.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - sponge fitment
Sometimes the sponge doesn’t fit properly. But, it works well enough!

What Are the Masterson Wet Palette’s Competitors?

Here are 3 clear competitors for the Masterson Sta Wet Handy Wet Palette:

Redgrass Games Everlasting Wet Palette Painter Lite or the XL size are popular, more feature-rich wet palettes designed for miniature hobby painting. They cost more money, but have cool things like rubber gaskets around the container and lid to keep air and water in the palette. The larger XL size Everlasting Wet Palette can hold extra water as compared to the Sta Wet Handy Palette or other regular-sized wet palettes.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - The Army Painter Wet Palette
The Army Painter Wet Palette
Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - Redgrassgames wet palette painter lite
Redgrassgames Wet Palette Painter Lite

I would also note that the Redgrassgames Everlasting wet palette line are amazing for their thoughtful design. They build upon existing wet palette function and make certain things more friendly for the hobby painter. You have the foam, membrane palette sheets, and even magnets in some of the models to hold the pieces of the palette together.

It’s those small quality of life improvements that make the modern wet palettes more accessible to the serious hobbyists. Of course, Redgrass games products are expensive, so you have to free up some budget for them.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - masterson vs army painter wet palette
My Army Painter wet palette on top of the Masterson Handy Sta Wet Palette… I kind of bounce between the two whenever I feel the urge to switch things up. The Masterson Sta Wet Palette is a tad easier to travel with because it’s got less parts and the cover has a better seal.

My favorite wet palette that I use alongside the Masterson Sta Wet palette is the Army Painter Wet Palette (see my full review of the AP wet palette). Along with the Masterson Sta-wet, the Army Painter is a really well-designed product that holds up well as you paint. The biggest difference with the Army Painter Wet Palette is that it is constructed of a hard durable plastic shell and has a much higher quality feel to it.

The Army Painter Wet Palette is about 30% smaller than the Masterson Sta Wet Palette (as you can see in the photo). I’m not sure this makes a difference in terms of how you use these palettes. But, again, if you’re limited on space, then a smaller palette may be an important factor for choosing the right wet palette for your needs.

The Army Painter wet palette also has a shallower tray which makes accessing your paint while using it a tad bit easier. There is also a brush storage and organizer tray inside which I love for when I’m traveling or want to keep my tools/brushes organized while I’m painting.


Masterson Wet Palette vs Army Painter Wet Palette: Which is Better?

In my opinion, the Masterson wet palette is a good all around option for people who want to buy a wet palette that will give them a lot of value for money. It is definitely more affordable than the Army Painter Wet Palette, but it’s also less portable and convenient to move around if you’re looking for something designed for miniature hobby painting on the go.

RELATED: LOOKING FOR A HOBBY PALETTE UPGRADE? THE “WETNDRI ARTIST PALETTE” MAY BE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR

Pros and Cons of the Masterson Sta Wet Palette:

Pros

  • The Masterson wet palettes come with every component you need to set up a good wet palette for miniature painting on the go.
  • It has a good capacity for holding water and keeping it in the palette.
  • The Masterson wet palettes are made of durable plastic that won’t break easily over time or get scratched up while you paint.
  • You get two membrane palette sheets with Masterson wet palettes so you can keep painting for a longer period of time.
  • The lid snaps tightly onto the bottom tray and forms a good airtight seal.
  • Easy to find replacement sponges and palette sheets, or use your own palette paper.
  • Very affordable for any budget minded miniature painter.

Cons

  • The Masterson wet palettes are a bit bulky if you want to carry it around with you for on-the-go painting sessions.
  • It can be difficult to get the sponge back into its well after use as the sponge will expand quite a bit.
  • The included palette paper requires boiling to prepare it for paint, which may or may not be something you want to deal with.
  • The Masterson wet palettes take a little bit of time to set up before you can start painting with them.

The Army Painter palette also has a few other features, noted above, that make it a just bit more friendly to the hobbyist painting miniatures and models. Either palette would be a great choice and will last a very long time.

Masterson Sta-Wet Palette for Miniature Painting (Review) - my hobby desk
After so many years of painting miniatures, I still use the Masterson wet palette for the extra space and simplicity. Excuse the clutter!

Conclusion and Recommendation

If you’re looking for a wet palette that will give you plenty of value, then the Masterson Wet Palette is worth considering. It has all the components to set up your own miniature painting on-the-go experience and it’s easy to find replacement sponges and palette sheets if needed.

The Masterson Sta Wet Palette may be bulky (compared with its closest competitors), but it can hold quite a bit of water which comes in handy when you don’t want to worry about refilling it often. You’ll have more time to blend paints or work with your mixed colors before they dry out.

Though, if I had to choose between this product and another similar one, I would go with the Army Painter Wet Palette because it also offers some additional features geared towards those who paint miniatures. But, if I was pressed and had to pick one to recommend to new painters, or budget-minded hobbyists, who are unsure about whether they want to use a wet palette regularly, then it would be the Masterson Wet Palette.

It may not be as fancy or convenient as some of the other brands on the market, but it’s a great painting tool that you can rely on to help you become a better painter over time.

I hope you found this article helpful and informative! Thank you for reading!

Do you use a wet palette? If so, how you like it? Let me know in the comments below!

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