Mint Tin Watercolor Palette

I love my little mint tin watercolor palette.  It’s usually in my car, my back pack or on my art table.  I wanted to make another one and thought I would show the process that I found on-line a long time ago.  I apologize for not remembering where I saw it, or who’s idea this was.  But thank you to whoever dreamed it up.

I obviously used an old Altoid tin prior to the newer embossed lids (I wonder why they did that?).  But any tin you find fun and unique would work.  I’m still always looking for a new unique container for my paints.

Rinse out the remaining mint dust.

A full 2 oz. package of polymer clay works for this size.  I found a cheap off brand for $1.29.  Follow the package directions by kneading the clay and preheating the oven to the recommended temperature.

Push the clay to the edges and get it as even in thickness as possible.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth.

Use any water soluable pill that gives you the number and size of your intended paint wells.  I used old expired potasium pills.   Set them on top of the clay for placement and then push methodically and evenly as deep as you can.  I pushed each one a little at a time to prevent the clay from over bulging.  Bake as directed.  I baked for 25 minutes.

Let the tin cool completely.  Then flood with water.  This will melt out the pills and leave uniform paint wells.  This takes awhile.  I let it set over night.

Rinse out the wells to remove the pill remnants.  I scrubbed with a brush to get to the bottom.

Paint wells are complete and the tin is ready for the enamel paint to give the other side a place to mix colors.

I used Testors enamel paint for modeling.  Pour the enamel into the lid and let it find its own level.  I moved it around being careful not to get it on the sides.  My first tin, I painted with a brush and also did the sides.  It was just enough thickness to make the lid hard to open and close.  So pouring and letting it find its own level is the best, I think.  Raise the lid to level and use a support to keep it that way until dry.  Let this dry a really long time.  I let it dry all week (I know it’s hard to wait).


There you go!!  Ready to be filled with paint of your choice.  I got 18 wells and filled with a gouache paint I’ve been wanting to try.  But to be honest, the gouache flakes out where watercolor stays put when dry just waiting to be reconstituted.  And because I can’t leave well enough alone……Altoids “Smalls” tin.


I used half a package of a 2 oz. polymer clay, but should have used a bit less as it bulges and touches the lid when closed and marred up the lid.  I used aspirins and got the 10 wells that is my preferred watercolor palette.  The perfect unassuming pocket palette.  Now I have four sizes of watercolor palettes.

You may be wondering why I’m not painting?  I’m wondering the same thing.


6 thoughts on “Mint Tin Watercolor Palette

  1. What a fun way to repurpose something we all have kicking around, hate to throw away, and are wondering what to do with….makes a fun present for your Artsy friends who appreciate the made-by-hand, too. You are so clever!

  2. I’ve seen on-line instructions for making tiny palettes out of Altoid tins but never seen your ingenious way of making the paint wells, with pills and/or vitamins. This is a super tutorial, thank you for the exact details. I gotta do this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s