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You can also use two wet palettes. Just let the other dry out and stay dry while you use the other. 

 

As for thinning, paint will separate on a wet palette, and you can use use the "non-paint" that separated from the paint as your thinner, as well as any stray drops of water that end up on the palette. Dunno if this works for display-level painting, but I do this for advanced tabletop.

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I've been trying to work out why some palettes mold and others don't.

 

For a while my standard wet palette was a small paper plate covered with aluminum foil, with a wet paper towel and parchment paper and another foil-covered plate for a lid.

 

As long as I painted in my warm, dry dining room I got hardly any mildew at all.

 

But when I moved to my cool, damp basement it was a lot more common.  Black blotches mostly, but sometimes that weird red stuff too.

 

I discovered that old copper pennies were not compatible with aluminum foil in a wet environment.  :unsure:

 

Indeed, my copper penny palettes got bright green stains, but still got mold.

 

One palette never molded at all, and I wondered if one or more of the pigments I used on it had a natural disinfectant quality (Don't laugh.  Zinc oxide, by way of example, is a bactericidal white pigment.).  I have hung on to that dried paint in case I can test it again.

 

At the moment I am using a not-wet palette of two clear plastic disposable dessert plates.  While it doesn't have that nice wet surface, a simple UFO-shaped sandwich of them with a few beads of water on the edges to help glue them together (and a slight misting from a spray bottle once or twice) has kept the paint fresh for a week.  And it hasn't molded ... yet.

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On 3/28/2017 at 8:59 AM, TGP said:

I went looking for SCIENCE(tm) on the topic of copper and water.  

 

 

So,

why not just get 6-8 inches of copper wire at a hardware store?

 

I've been using a 4" piece of copper wire on each side of the palette for a couple of years now. IME, it works quite a lot better than pennies.

 

27 minutes ago, Pingo said:

I've been trying to work out why some palettes mold and others don't.

 

...

 

I discovered that old copper pennies were not compatible with aluminum foil in a wet environment.  :unsure:

 

....

 

 

My palettes seem to grow mold after a month or two without cleaning, even though I'm using copper as an antifungal. As a result of that, I changed from sponges to paper towel. Now, when my baker's parchment gets replaced, so does the "sponge". Haven't had a problem since then. The paper towel has the additional advantage that it's not bright yellow, which I found distracting in a palette surface.

 

...

 

When you mix two metals in an conductive fluid, you get a battery. This is the same thing that causes chewing on aluminum when you have amalgam fillings feel so nasty. In a palette, the result will be significantly increased corrosion.

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I spray a little bit of Windex into the bottom of my palette when I clean it and replace the paper. So far no mold, though it has gotten a bit slimy a time or two over the years. 

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2 hours ago, Cranky Dog said:

I'm amazed at the different mold issues people are having or not having.

 

I've yet to get mold issues on mine (paint stains yes, mold no). And mine could stay wet and unused for weeks without any issue. Is it because my apartment is cold; because it's winter (less pollen or other outside organisms); because I used boiling water; because Buglips stole all my mold for himself; something else?

 

Indeed.  Does the fact that I can't grow mold on a wet pallet mean I shouldn't attempt gardening?

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2 hours ago, Dilvish the Deliverer said:

In your example, warm dinning room, cool basement, the difference could have been what mold spores were available to colonize you wet palette.

 

Ye-es, but the one that prominently didn't mold was also in the cool, humid basement, right next to some that did.

 

The only difference was the paints used, so far as I can tell.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

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16 hours ago, Loim said:

I spray a little bit of Windex into the bottom of my palette when I clean it and replace the paper. So far no mold, though it has gotten a bit slimy a time or two over the years. 

I started this as well and haven't had mold issues since, other than up the sides when I forget about the palette for an extended period of time.  

 

Not sure what the active ingredient is, but Warcolours surfactant is also marketed as an option to keep mold away from your wet palette.  Haven't tried this yet as I've already got a touch of windex in there and don't feel like turning my palette into a chemistry experiment.  

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2 hours ago, Pingo said:

 

Ye-es, but the one that prominently didn't mold was also in the cool, humid basement, right next to some that did.

 

The only difference was the paints used, so far as I can tell.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

Well then the only other thing I can think of is that there is something in the paint that the mold finds to be inviting.  The mold version of "oh, look at that view".

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Out of curiosity, here's what Masterson's FAQ says for their Sta-Wet:

Quote

Q: How can I keep mold from forming in my palette?
A:
Add a little ammonia to the water used to wet your sponge. Ammonia will not hurt the sponge or the paper, but will help retard the growth of mold. To keep your palette smelling fresh, sprinkle a little baking soda on the bottom of the palette before placing your sponge down.

Looks like the Windex/ammonia idea is recommended.

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On 3/28/2017 at 9:06 AM, NecroMancer said:

Although I'll probably start with paper towel, parchment paper, and one of those plastic sandwich boxes.

This is exactly what I use. I get mold after a few months, but then I just toss the paper towel and parchment paper and wash the plastic lunch meat box with dish soap and start over. It's worked really well for me. 

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I've had the mold issue happen in a sealed tupperware sandwich box. I had left it sealed in the fridge for over a month. After that, I found a 1 foot section of copper grounding cable at work. I stripped the sheathing off and made a loop of wire from the pieces that fits around the edge of the sponge area. Never had another problem with molding again.

 

Also, I use Sham-wow things for sponges in both the home and travel wet palette. (They make great boat sponges for the kayak, and I had a spare available to chop up.)

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After Aaron Lovejoy's video (Miniature Monthly), I completely changed how I do my Wet Palette.  He said he ran into mold problems and now just cleans up after every session.  Considering he uses lots of blending, it's more of eye training on getting the colors right anyway and is a very fluid process, so storing it to try and keep the same colors isn't as important.  Liz Beckley also blends her Wet Palette in a similar style and after trying how they have been doing it, I find that trying to preserve colors is definitely not as important anymore.  If I'm lazy, I have left the mess sitting in there for too long a couple of times since changing because I though I would be back the next day and still had room on my parchment paper for more (not because I was trying to use the same colors again).  Then when I didn't get back to it the following day, I dumped it all when I got back anyway and should have just cleaned it the first time.  I'm learning.  I may be getting rid of 25-50 cents worth of paint on some days, but most days I'm not.  Overall, this has been a significant improvement for me.

 

Also, I have found that putting the parchment paper down to the nearly-too-soaked sponge and just weighting the edges till they curl back down solves the problem of thinning my paints too much.  They stay as long as I want them to without drying out but they aren't picking up water I'm not intentionally adding.  The masterson's paper was letting too much water in, so I just went back to the Reynold's parchment which is certainly inexpensive enough and works wonderfully well.

 

I do not pull water from my sponge though... I'll leave that to Aaron.  My water jars work just fine for handling that, thank you very much and my sponge doesn't turn nasty enough that you can't tell whether it is mold or paint.

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This was a great reminder.  I had completely forgotten that Aaron had produced that video.  And that's bad because it was one of the prime reasons that I switched to a wet pallet in the first place.

 

That said, I've been trying the suggestions above, and I also started adding Hydrogen Peroxide to my pallet water since it is also marketed as an anti-mold agent.  In the end, I've just started cleaning after each session.  Funny how it comes full circle.

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I've been cleaning after each session as well.  I also have started using smaller pieces parchment paper.  I've noticed that since I've been painting in short bursts, I would only be using a quarter to half of the sheet.  So I cut a piece small big enough to cover a third of the sponge.

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