How to Build an Air Tight Palette

Let’s face it: oil paint is really expensive. There’s just no getting around it. Last week, I spent over $20 on a single small tube of cadmium yellow. Roughly multiply that cost for all the other colors in my palette and over time, that really adds up. Recently, I decided to finally build an airtight palette that can also fit into the mini fridge in my studio, and I’m already seeing the benefits.

I took an old French easel , pulled out the palette drawer, cut about 8 inches off the length, and then reattached the rear wall. I used to use this palette drawer to store my paints in but noticed that they would dry out Iin about 2 days as it wasn’t airtight. I cut off the extra length so it would fit in my studio mini fridge.

Here is the palette when closed. Two clamps on either side keep a plastic lid firmly fastened to the top of the drawer.

Part of the secret to getting the lid to stay on super tight is that I added weather stripping material to the top of the drawer. It’s the brown material in the picture above. When the plastic lid is clamped on, it squishes down on the weather stripping, creating a tight seal that lets in very little air.

The palette fits perfectly into a mini fridge for storage purposes. And there’s even room for a few beers 🙂 The two elements that really dry outoil paint  are heat and air. Eliminate those and you can prevent expensive oil paints from getting dry and tacky for weeks instead of days. Thanks for checking out my latest post on how to macgyver art equipment to your own ends 😉

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