I’ve been on the hunt for a new palette. The dotting technique I’m using for all these mandala stones only uses a tiny bit of paint but it does need some depth to it. My usual ‘palettes’ (an old petit four tin, a battered tin lid, the top of my paintbrush box, the back of my hand, anything lying around my work room… ) are too big, or too flat. Palettes I’ve found for sale are smaller, but still a bit bigger than I need. I’m loathe to waste paint!
I did pick up a couple of cheap palettes and an ice cube tray to have a play with but they still weren’t quite right. So I had a go at making something closer to what was in my mind.
I started with this stuff. I usually use Sculpy polymer clay, but this was what they had in stock at my local Hobycraft. It’s a lot softer than Sculpy. They did have a ‘proffesional’ range of Fimo which is presumably firmer, but that cost more and I was feeling cheap.
After marking out what size I wanted the palette and where I wanted the paint wells I rolled out the Fimo (with a thick pencil, not my rolling pin, lesson learnt from experience…) Feeling rather clever that this was all going well and looking good I used a small ball pein hammer to make the wells.
Oh yeah, I’m so smart…
The Fimo was too thin, it looked fine from the top but when I pulled it away from the paper this happened.
Oh well, I gave it another go. This time I rolled the Fimo to roughly the right size then moulded it down rather than cutting. I used the whole packet to get it nice and thick. I was much more careful with the hammer, going slow and careful to form the wells.
This did hold up off the paper and went into the oven to firm up.
It may not look pretty, but it does the job. The tiny wells are plenty deep enough for dipping while not requiring huge amounts of paint to fill them. The real test was going to be how the polymer clay would stand up to scrubbing though.
It coped really well. I was quite surprised, as I hadn’t given it any kind of coating. It was a beast to clean the tiny wells out, mind. I hadn’t noticed on the white surface of the clay but those tiny dots I made to place the ball of the hammer lasted after I’d pushed it in and held on to the paint. There’s no way I’m getting those clean. If I do make another one, no dots.
The ink from the paper I’d pressed down onto transferred onto the back of the clay palette. I had noticed it before baking but thought it would come off in the wash. It didn’t. I’m sure I could use this for something, not sure what, but worth remembering.
Fairly happy with how this turned out. It’s something I will definitely use. Not sure if I’ll make any more of them though, using a whole pack of Fimo for one tiny palette could get expensive. It’s not easy to cover either, I have to wrap it in clingfilm, which could get tedious if I have a dozen of them. My ideal palette solution would include a lid. And some kind of magical cat barrier to stop it getting sat on…