The Best Wet Palette for Painting Miniatures: Cost vs Function

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The Best Wet Palette for Painting Miniatures: A Miniature Painter’s Guide

As a miniature painter with over 20 years of experience, I have tried countless wet palettes in my quest to find the perfect one. From DIY attempts to premium commercial options, I’ve used them all in my pursuit of creating vivid, smooth blends on my miniatures.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share my journey to discover the best wet palette for painting miniatures and other small scale models. You’ll learn what to look for when choosing a wet palette, see reviews of the top options, and get actionable tips to pick the right one for your needs. Whether you’re new to the hobby or a seasoned veteran, read on to enhance your painting!

Got a Wet Palette already? Check here for the Best Paint Sets for Warhammer Miniatures

Wet Palette

Why Use a Wet Palette?

For the uninitiated, a wet palette is a painting tool that helps keep acrylic paint moist for longer periods, allowing you more working time before the paint dries out. It has two layers – a water reservoir like a sponge on the bottom and a semi-porous paper or membrane on top to hold the paint. As moisture evaporates from the paint, it pulls more water up from below to keep itself usable.

The key benefits of using a wet palette include:

  • Extended paint life. Get hours or even days more usable time from your paint between sessions.
  • Better blendability. Keep paint wet for smooth transitions without annoying drying edges.
  • Consistent mixes. Remake complex custom mixes precisely thanks to saved paints.
  • Less waste. Salvage paints overnight with an airtight seal to use later.

For me and thousands of other miniature painters, the wet palette is an indispensable tool for achieving pro-quality results. The ability to keep paint workable for blending, glazing, layering, and other essential techniques made my models come alive with vibrant colors.

Want to take your miniatures in a different direction? Look here for How To Paint Metallic Colours on Miniatures

Wet Paints

How to Choose the Best Wet Palette

With so many wet palette options on the market, choosing the right one can get overwhelming. Here are the key factors I consider:

  1. Size – The ideal wet palette size is around 6×9 inches. Too small and you’re limited. Too big and it gets cumbersome.
  2. Water seal – An airtight seal prevents drying and extends paint life between sessions.
  3. Sponge quality – Thin foam holds less water but stays smooth. Thick sponge holds more but can get lumpy.
  4. Paper/membrane – Specialty paper is great but parchment paper also works well.
  5. Mold resistance – Look for anti-microbial features to stop gross mold growth.
  6. Portability – Compact, hard shell cases allow safe transport if needed.
  7. Price – You can get a good starter for $10-20 or pay more for premium features.

Top Wet Palette Reviews and Recommendations

After years of hands-on testing, these are my top picks for the best wet palettes for painting miniatures and models:

Wet Palette Army Painter

  1. Army Painter Wet Palette

My #1 choice is The Army Painter Wet Palette. It nails all the fundamentals like a 6×9” workspace, quality seal and papers, smooth thin foam, and anti-mold properties. The hard plastic case makes it easy to transport to game nights and its built-in brush holder is genius. It’s very affordable too. Basically, this option gives you everything you need and nothing you don’t at a fair price point.

Wet Palette

  1. Redgrass Games Everlasting (Painter Lite)

For those seeking more premium features, the Redgrass Games Everlasting Painter Lite palette is a slight upgrade over the Army Painter one. The key advantage is its rubber gasket seal that practically eliminates any air gaps for really extending paint life. It also uses a proprietary mold-resistant foam. The downside is the higher price tag. But if budget isn’t an issue, it’s hard to beat for hardcore hobbyists.

Wet palette

  1. Masterson Sta-Wet Palette

The Masterson Sta-Wet palette is a workhorse that excels at keeping paint wet for days, thanks to its generous water reservoir thick sponge. The tried and true design is beloved by many artists. Just be sure to prep the included paper properly by boiling it first to maximize performance. For beginners, this foolproof wet palette is a reliable way to dip your toes in.

Space marine DIY Palette

  1. DIY Wet Palette

Making your own wet palette is a fantastic way for painters on a budget to benefit without spending much. All you need is an airtight plastic container, a sponge, parchment paper, and some water. Getting the technique right does take some trial and error though. Check out my step-by-step tutorial for creating DIY palettes that work.

Daler Wet Palette

     5. Daler Rowney Stay Wet Palette

This frequently used budget option comes in small and large sizes. The downsides are a flimsier plastic construction and no airtight seal for moisture retention. But it gets the job done on a tight budget.

Wet palette

      6. Creative Mark Acrylic Wet Palette 

An ultra affordable acrylic palette with a snap tight lid seal. The foam and paper quality is just okay based on some reviews. So best for casual hobbyists on a strict budget.

Wet Palette

      7. D’Artisan Shoppe WetNDri Palette 

Offers both wet and dry palettes together which is great for mixing paints. Also includes a brush holder and 50 paper sheets. A versatile modular system but pricier than basic options.

Wet Palette Space Marine

More Wet Palette Options for Painting Miniatures

Here’s a quick look at other decent hobby wet palettes I’ve tested that didn’t quite make my top picks but are still worth considering:

  • Game Envy Exemplar Wet Palette – Loaded with accessories you may or may not need.
  • Scale75 2-in1 Wet Palette – Versatile dry and wet palette combo but hard to keep totally clean.
  • Sta-Wet Premier Palette – Massive studio size for larger projects but overkill for most.
  • Redgrass Games Studio XL – Similar to above but even bigger with some nice bonus features.

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Paints

Wet Palette Tips, Tricks and FAQs

Over the years, I’ve discovered many tips and tricks for getting the most out of my wet palettes. Here is a quick FAQ covering some key questions:

Can you use metallics or washes on a wet palette?

I don’t recommend it. The extra moisture can cause metallics to streak and washes to overthin. Best to use them straight from the bottle.

How do you travel with a wet palette?

It’s risky business. Even with a tight seal, paint can still smear around if tipped too far. Best to leave wet palettes at your painting station.

Space Marine Paints

Should you freeze a wet palette?

Freezing can extend paint life but runs the risk of moisture expanding and cracking components. Fridge temps are safer if storage is needed.

How do you clean a wet palette?

Use mild soap and water to gently wash palette papers and sponges as needed to remove stains and residue. Let components dry fully before reuse.

How often should you change wet palette paper?

I recommend changing your palette paper every few painting sessions or whenever you notice dark staining, paint buildup or mold spots.

Can you reuse wet palette paper?

Some premium papers can be gently washed, dried and reused up to 5 times before replacing. Cheaper parchment papers are fine to swap each session.

Thinning paints can be difficult, read up here on How To Thin Your Paints for Miniatures

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I hope this guide has helped demystify wet palettes for painting miniatures and models. As you can see, there is no universally “best” wet palette for all hobbyists. The right choice depends on your budget, painting style, workspace, and preferences.

My top recommendation for most is The Army Painter wet palette for offering pro performance at a wallet friendly price. But diehard enthusiasts may want to pay extra for the ultimate seal of the Redgrass Games Everlasting. And resourceful painters can even DIY their own quality palette for little cost.

No matter what option you choose, adding a wet palette to your miniature painting arsenal allows for expanded techniques that will blow your mind. Your paints will love you for it too!

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