Writing these reviews is a bit like a public consumer confessional.  But I look for help all the time from folks who kindly share what they know, and what they use.  I hope this information is useful to you.  It is a wonderfully connected time that we live in. This is a nice one product post, with a little something fun at the end. Here we go!

One palette to rule them all- the Robax Palette!  Made by Robax Engineering in Florida, USA.

This might be the most insane thing that I’ve purchased.  Not only because of its price, but the size and how much it holds.  But the thing is brilliant!  Here it is just after arrival, via FedEx Ground shipping.

robaxunbox

It’s a magnificent thing, with 85 wells in the main palette with a large removable mixing area, the area under that can also be used for mixing. You can mix your butt off in this thing- seriously. A 41 well removable center insert is available, it’s like a flying saucer that can leave the mother ship on its own painting mission.  That is 126 wells, it spins and is 15 inches in diameter. Well, well, well, surely the need for another palette should never come again!

I paint out of 8 or so different palettes, I keep them by brand, and sometimes have 3 open at a time, with not enough room for them all on my small work area. It’s true, I have a ridiculous amount of watercolor. Even though I usually use only use three or four colors per painting, I don’t like to stop and mix for the colors I want.  It’s a hobby, I have a limited amount of time, and I don’t want to spend it mixing.  I should also never buy another tube of paint ever again😉 . Many people gain a lot of knowledge from mixing for colors, and enjoy it- I have absolute respect for this. I love seeing other people’s mixes when they are experimenting and swatching them.

Both the large main palette and the the removable 41 well palette come with their own lids, and those can also be used as mixing areas.  So if the 41 well insert was inside of the main palette, the large palette lid would cover them both.   Tons of mixing areas- the giant main lid, under the 41 well insert, and in that inserts lid, plus it came with a middle mixing insert. If you are into lots of mixing space and large mixing space- this thing’s got it.

With shipping, I paid $145 for the 85 well palette, the carousel that makes it spin, mixing insert, the 41 well insert and 100 pans.  I let it sit around a while deciding if I was going to keep it. I let it sit around even longer to review it.  It felt, and still feels extravagant, but also like a brilliant item.

On their site, there are downloadable swatch templates for the palette.  I have some 90lb Arches full sheet watercolor paper to trim to size and print them out onto.  I plan to cut this to fit into the underside of the lid, so that I can prop it up against the wall and use it as a guide. Even with this, I think things will still get confusing. In one of their example photos, someone used tiny labels to stick on the palette, I like that a lot.  If I can find small labels like that, I would like to go that route. The removable pan liners can be purchased for it, or the well spots can be filled directly. It also fits standard half pans.

robaxsaucer

These pictures show how large the pan liners are in comparison to half and full pans.  They hold more than a regular full pan.  The black paint cake came from a prefilled half pan of Sennelier, it gets lost in the Robax pans.  Takes a little bit of pushing to secure the pans into the spots, they are very snug in there. I will label the Robax pans with a Sharpie pen, once I fill them.

Now the question is, set it up by brand or by color?  My anal retentive side wants to do it by brand, but attempt to somehow line up the colors. Like ring one- Daniel Smith, ring two Holbein, ring three M. Graham, or something like that. Honestly, this thing has intimidated the heck out of me, so it’s taking me a while to wrap my mind around filling it.  Commitment issues- another reason why I got the pan liners, that way I can move them around if one sequencing idea doesn’t work out. I can also leave some blank spots for future changes/additions. I like that the middle 41 well part can be lifted out.  I’m thinking of putting my most used colors in that, since it has its own lid and is portable.

robax 85 well palette with 41 palette insert with pan liners

This photo is from their site.  The 85 well is the lower right palette. Look how huge the pan wells are on the other three palettes.  Here is a link to Google images of some different examples of the various palettes and how people filled them.

round_palettes_450

The 85 well palette with mixing insert and lid is $48.  Package with palette, set of four mixing inserts and carousel- $88. Package with palette, mixing insert, carousel and 100 well liners- $108. As far the carousel options go, there are 85, 64, 42, and 12 well options. Then there are non-carousel palettes, smaller options, and other inserts that can be used with the larger palettes or stand alone. You get the idea- lots of stuff, lots of options. Click here to check it all out.  If you are into colored pencils, they also have pencil trays- scroll all the way down to the bottom for these.

The Robax is the palette pictured in Guest Doodlewasher Jane Davenport’s feature post.

To offer up a super cheap alternative idea- I submit these 90 cube mini ice trays for $6 on Amazon for consideration. Probably even less expensive at the dollar store.  That’s 180 spots to put paint. No mixing area, no lid, and a tiny area to get a brush into.  For a moment I thought about this option, but in the end I thought it would be tough to get a brush into, and that it would get confusing and frustrating- plus no lid.  I have a Mission Gold palette that has small and close wells, and I don’t like that very much.  Sometimes I have to count spaces to figure out what paint I’m using and using a larger brush is a problem.

Welcome to my living room.  Here are before and after shots of my desk to try and give you an example of how much space the palette takes up. I had to rearrange some things and I’m right handed, so I put it on the right.

lots of watercolor brushes on container and jars on a deskRobax palette, art space, studio, desk, Jessica seacrest's art space, art supplies, stillman and birn, finetec

Now we come to the fun part. Let’s play a little game.  The winner gets the prize package below- an ArtBin Sketch Pouch, ArtBin Slim Line watercolor travel palette with 18 pans to fill with your own paints, two full size tubes of Mission Gold watercolor in Green Gold and Permanent Red, a Cheap Joe’s Golden Fleece Synthetic Travel Round– Size 10, a Blackwing pencil, and an awesome sketchbook from Christine Bennett Design (@christinebennettdesign). Christine gifted me a few sketchbooks, they are too sweet not to share.  Disclaimer- this is not a giveaway sponsored by, or associated with any of the product companies mentioned.

I spy with my little eye…in the second desk photo, on the desk there is a small non-distinct glass jar with a black lid, no label on it or anything.  What liquid is in that jar?  The first person to guess correctly in the comments, wins the prize.  To get a better look, the picture should enlarge if you click on it. A clue- I mentioned this liquid in my last post, look to the left on the desk.  I will make a comment when there is a winner, so you know once someone won.  There is a winner- the liquid in the jar is household bleach.  See comments below, if you are curious.

giveaway1

Supply posts are every other Saturday.  Thank you very much for following my supply adventures.  You and your artistic expression are an important gift to all of us.  Thank you for enriching my world with what you share. I wish you joy, growth, enthusiasm, and fulfillment in your artistic journey.

I can be found on Instagram- @jessicaseacrest, where all my creative outlets are entertained, and sometimes telling signs of what will be reviewed next can be found.

paint cube mandala with painting by Elspeth McLean

All previous review posts can be found under “Reviews” on the menu or click here.   Doodlewash has a Facebook group called World Watercolor Group.  Huge variety of folks from all over, and a wide variety of painting styles and skill levels. The group is large and growing every day! We have a lot of fun over there, and there are many kind and helpful people in the group. There are also monthly themed daily painting prompts for those interested.  If you haven’t already, please join in and share your watercolor creations!

Posted by:Jessica Seacrest

Hi I'm the Doodlewash Supply Blogger and offer biweekly reviews of various types of art supplies, watercolors, and helpful tips. I approach artistic expression with a light-hearted point of view. I love to see, and support others opening up to, and embracing their creative process with any medium or creative expression.

38 replies on “DOODLEWASH REVIEW: Robax Palette

  1. I’m going to guess sumi ink simply because that’s how I kept my sumi ink when I owned some. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    Thanks also for reviewing this magnificent palette. It’s one I’ve pondered but it’s such a massive investment of money that I’ve been intimidated by it. Having read your review, I think if I come into some unexpected funds, this is how I might spend them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laura, thanks for guessing, it is not sumi. But it was a good guess!

      I looked at the palette, going back and forth so many times! I let it sit in the box past the point of return. If you end up with one let me know! Thank you for you comment🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Could the liquid be silicone grease? Personally, I am more intimidated by the palette itself than by the price! Too much! I feel I would get totally confused. I could never decide how to set it up! I also work with a few small palettes. I think they are more manageable.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I realized after I saw Beverly’s post it had to be bleach. I even checked your prior post again but missed it. I know you can use gum Arabic to mix with gouache to make it so it does not crack in a palette (learned from Mary Ann Moss) so my mind went there. We are all up pretty early here west coast time!. Thanks again Jessica, Nancy K.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmm.. I’m guessing bleach.. You mentioned in your last post and thought how that may look…

    The palette definitely would intimidate me.. but how beautiful would it be all filled up! Thanks, Jessica!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whoa, now that’s a palette! I love the flexibility with the different components, not to mention the carousel. Love it! Thanks for your thorough reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah and here I thought you were in Seattle for some reason. I am in CA. My company’s headquarters are in Phoenix. I am in communication with people there all the time. It is always hard for me to remember the time change and the difference between us the first couple of weeks or so. Have a great weekend everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I know you have already picked a winner for the prize, but I just wanted to say thank you for your posts. I’m sure they take quite a bit of time (and money). It’s very gracious of you to share!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Jessica. My experience with the Robax palette was much like yours. I thought the palette looked like just what I needed….because I wanted to see all my beautiful paints laid out, so I could pick and choose from ALL my paints for every painting. I had an internal debate about spending the money; sold some works and splurged. I got the 48 well that came with cover and inner removal palette, and the well inserts, but no spinner. I communicated with Robert at Robax. When it came I, too, played the ‘where to put each color’ game. I labeled with marker each insert and well edge. I had fun with all the planning.

    For awhile I liked the palette and the ability to see all the paints, but within months I became more and more unhappy with it. It took up a ridiculous amount of space on my table and I had no where else to store it. It’s one big momma! But the biggest disappointment was some of the paints got moldy as they dried out! NOT GOOD! I again communicated with Robert, who promptly answered, but said if the paints were left to dry before covering (and I never covered my paints), then there were probably mold spores in my house.

    I’ve moved to a Martin Mijello Airtight Leak Proof Fusian Watercolor 24-Well Palette(Amazon $14) recommended by The Frugal Crafter. It’s a more traditional palette, 24 wells, 2 mixing areas plus the entire lid. Fits my work area much better, stores much easier…and you know what? I have all the paints I use most and room to squirt a bit of any others I might want to use.

    I’d love to find someone to gift a slightly used Robax to.

    Love all the reviews! They are quite helpful.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep! Had two fellow artists express interest. Sent pics and mailed it to the first one. Received last night….she’s happy, I’m happy. Everyone wins. Thank you, again, for the product reviews. I really enjoy them…and use them to guide some purchases.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sheila!!!! I, too, wanted to get it for the same reason, to ogle my ongoing collection!! Also, that was a major concern i considered… Both where to PUT it and where to KEEP it.

      I feel your pain, both of you, on how to organize the palette… I struggle with that no matter what size it is. Warm/cool; brand; all colors; single pigments; ugh! I’m too OCD to commit to ANYTHING!!!!

      Thanks to both of you for your words of wisdom.
      Lauri

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jessica, while I love the idea of the Robax mother ship of palettes, it’s not for me. I use plastic standard ice cube trays as a palette for my acrylic paints when painting murals, which I used to do more often than now. They hold a lot of acrylic paint and I organize trays as: yellows, reds, blues, neutrals. Between painting sessions, I eye drop in a few drops of water to keep them moist and cover the trays with plastic wrap. A set mixed this way usually lasts me through a fairly large mural.

    So when I was at the Daiso store a few months ago, I spotted mini ice cube trays with covers. For $3, I bought two. My broken arm is keeping me from trying them with my new QoR water color paints that I bought after reading your enthusiastic review. Just wanted to tell you thank you for all your excellent reviews, and what better way than to let you know I’ve purchased a product based on your research and experimentation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to visit a Daiso store! I hope your arm’s healing time and recovery is speedy! As always, I appreciate your comments and thoughtful insights!

      Liked by 1 person

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