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Best Palettes & How to Clean Them

When shopping for painting palettes, there are numerous options available. Here are some of my tried-and-true favourites:

Tear Off Palette

I use these palettes primarily for my classes due to their convenience. They can be disposed of after use, eliminating the need for cleaning. However, they are not the most cost-effective or environmentally friendly, so I reserve them for teaching rather than personal use. The price of these palettes has also increased over time.

Plastic Palette (Personal Favourite)

For those using fluid acrylics, I highly recommend plastic palettes. I use two large ones—the wells are perfect for keeping colours separate and prevent them from merging.

Stay Wet Palette

Although I don’t frequently use these, they are ideal for long-term projects like portraits that span several days or weeks. You can purchase them at art shops, online, or even make your own.

Tempered Glass (Personal Favourite)

For heavier acrylics, tempered glass palettes are excellent. I opt for the largest size available, which is incredibly easy to clean. The initial cost is reasonable, and it’s a worthwhile investment.

Wooden Palettes

Traditionally favoured by oil painters, I find that even when I paint with oils, I prefer using tempered glass though.

Selecting a palette is ultimately a matter of personal preference, and it’s about finding what works best for you.

How to Clean Your Palette

Tear Off Palettes

No cleaning necessary here, but try to purchase larger sizes to allow ample space for mixing colours.

Tempered Glass

Invest in a glass scraper for these palettes. You can scrape off the paint right after your session or wait until it dries. I find this cleaning process quite therapeutic. After scraping, I dispose of the paint directly into the bin.

Stay Wet Palettes

These require minimal cleaning—simply remove the layers and start fresh. Be mindful that leaving paints too long can trap moisture and cause mould.

Plastic Palettes

I admit to procrastinating when it comes to cleaning my plastic palettes, often waiting to clean several at once. I let the paint dry; if it’s thick enough, it can sometimes be peeled off. Then, I soak the palettes in warm water to loosen the remaining paint. Using the hard edge of a sponge, I scrub off the residue.

To avoid environmental harm, I don’t rinse the paint down the drain. Instead, I cover the drain with foil pierced with a small hole—this captures the paint when I remove the plug, allowing me to dispose of it in the bin.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Feel free to share your own methods or preferred palette choices in the comments below.

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