Friday Quick Tip: Wet Palette Improvement

From the Yup, Still Friday Department...

Many moons ago, I shared the cheap wet palette that Mathieu Fontaine used in his classes.  I have been using this wet palette since we hosted Mathieu for a Masterclass in Austin (mostly because I had plenty of plates left over).  Some of the comments asked about the long-term cost effectiveness of this palette because some of the elements are disposable.  It turns out that the plastic plates are quite durable, but I am often replacing the paper towel base as the paper stiffens and reduces its ability to hold water.  I'm always on the lookout to make it better, while still keeping it cheap.

Last week at the grocery store while picking up latex gloves for airbrushing (although I supposed I could have used the bag-method), I noticed this product:

I am sure this is widely available and has been around for a while, but I've never seen it before and never considered it for the wet palette.  I know that many of the professional wet palettes contain some sort of sponge material to hold water, but this item from the cleaning supplies aisle looks like an acceptable and reusable substitute.

This version contained two sheets, one slightly thicker than the other.  The sheets were mostly flat on one side and embossed with a diamond pattern on the other.  You can see that one was about the thickness of a GM base and the other a little thinner.  The thinner sheet is still quite a bit thicker than the folded paper towel I was using in the original cheap wet palette.

Thicker and quite a bit larger as well.  You can see there is a lot more surface area compared to the folded towel version.

Best of all is the price.  The two sheets of "sponge cloth" cost only $1.50.  The material seems quite durable and will probably last much longer than $1.50 roll of paper towels; not to mention the reduced waste.  It holds water quite well.  When covered with another plate, I had no trouble using paints that were left overnight on the wet palette.

So there you have it: cheap wet palette 2.0.

EDIT: A few more things: the sponge is damp when it arrives, to prevent it from getting brittle in transport.  It smells like something is added to the water, so be sure to rinse it thoroughly.  Speaking of drying out, don't forget that it is a sponge, and a thin one at that.  When it dries out completely it is easy to tear.

How about it: have you been using a wet palette?  Anything new tinkering you've done with it in the last year?