I keep my eyes open for any money saving ideas for artists and this is a pretty cool one that I actually use. Plus, it’s quick and easy.

TRAVEL PALETTES COST $$$$. The one that you see here is anywhere from $55.00 at Dick Blick to $153.00 (gulp) at Ultrecht. They are nice, no doubt, except for the paint that comes inside. They always use the cheapest student grade paint they can find. It often cracks and falls out after using it a bit.

Take a look at this. I’ve seen students use these in the past and during my recent trip to Japan, I decided to make one myself and give it a try.



  • Empty Altoid can
  • Hot glue gun
  • Several empty “half pan” watercolor wells – I found these on Ebay, also several other online stores: Dick Blick, Jerry’s, etc.
  • A couple of paintbrushes with the handles cut off so they fit inside the can.
  • White spray paint or white acrylic paint is optional.
  • A second empty tin (and small clip to attach it) or other small container for water



  • Paint the lid with white paint, if you wish. It’s nice to have a white surface on which to mix your paint.
  • Hot glue the empty pans into the can.
  • Fill the pans with some of your own favorite watercolors.
  • That’s it!

You can see in the photo that I’ve clipped another small tin to the side of my palette. I put water in it when I paint. I carry a tiny squeeze bottle filled with water. And don’t forget a pack of Kleenex and a small sketchbook or some watercolor postcards. All of this will fit very nicely into a plastic sandwich bag and you can tuck it into your glove compartment, or your purse, or your carry-on bag to the airport.

When you’re sitting in line to pick up your kids (or grandkids) from school or waiting at the doctor’s office, get out your cute little travel palette and do some playing. It’s fun! And any bit of time we can get with our art practice develops our skills and makes us happy.

Thank you for reading!

Kathie  xo

error: Content is protected !!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This