Rearranging a permanent pan palette?

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  • I have a permanent pan palette. Say that 3 times fast. Specifically the Mijello airtight palette (this one here: ). I love everything about it: the total size, size of wells, mixing area, etc. Everything except the fact that once the colors are in, I can’t move them around. Or can I?

    Has anyone attempted to rearrange a permanent pan palette?  I’m sure I can fiddle and try and pop out the globs of paint and rewet the bottom of those I want to reuse, but I didn’t know if anyone else has already trod down this road and had some tips and tricks? I want to avoid wasting any significant amounts of paint so any advice is welcome!

    Thanks in advance!


    I’ve some limited success and did the fiddle and pop method, lol.  I found it depended on the paint in question.  Paints that dry harder are easier to move.  I added a little water to the well with the paint I was going to move.  Then I a wet a large palette knife (more a metal spatula, really) and started loosening the glob.  I kept re-wetting the palette knife until I got the paint loose enough to move.  This doesn’t work so well for paints like M Graham that never truly harden.

    Oh, good to know, thanks Sandra! I only have one M Graham so that shouldn’t be too much of a problem (I could just scrape that one out and remold it, lol). Did you reuse all of the colors you popped out? Or, if you were replacing some of them, did you do anything with the globs you removed?

    It’s too much work to move the globs just to rearrange (at least for lazy ol’ me, it is!), so I was always removing.  Unless the glob was truly small or something I really hated, I put it into a different pan – all those DIY tins come in handy.  If the globs do harden enough and are too irregular to put into an empty pan, I put them on wax paper in a tin without pans.  You can use them this way to brush color off them – you just can’t add too much water to them.

    If a glob is small enough, or a color hated enough, that you think it worth the waste, you can fill the pan with water and let it sit and liquify so you can drain it off.  Sometimes, you have to wet and drain 2 or 3 times.  I don’t do this very often though.

    Do you do any art journaling? If I have a little of the paint I want to use up, I make backgrounds for my art journals or do some negative painting on pages I want to ‘save’ – like this.  I used the purple watercolor over a hot mess of pen, colored pencil, and markers I’d tested on a practice page.  Sometimes, I add further detail with a white pen, other times I don’t.

    I had the opposite issue – all of my paints kept falling out of my palette. Grr! I had a metal permanent palette (enamel coated) with wells on the top and bottom. It was filled with mostly Daniel Smith paints. I took it to work with me a few times. When the paint was totally dry after a couple of days of not being used, the paint blobs fell out every time I opened it! I think it’s because the wells are so smooth. Trying to put them back in the right wells was difficult, especially the dark shades that all look the same when they’re dry. It was quite maddening! I switched to a different travel palette as a result. I will save this permanent well one for use in the studio, so it doesn’t require opening/closing.

    I would think jiggling or using a paint knife on the blobs would work if they don’t slide out. You may have to wait a couple of days until they are totally dry for them to slide out more easily. I did what Sandra mentioned and reused the blobs in a new palette (I had to break some of them up a bit to fit in their new pan). I hate the idea of wasting paint too! Too valuable for that!

    The background idea is interesting Sandra, I don’t journal, but I may be able to ‘salvage’ any no longer desirable clumps into some palette mud clumps, lol. Like how they sell blush or foundation in cakes that are just bits of variated color smushed together. Never know the exact color you’ll get when you run your brush through it! Like Dum Dums ‘mystery’ flavor. hehe

    Beverly, I have that problem with some of my half pans, the thinner walled ones flex too much and the whole chunk of color pops out. I’ve only had that problem with one color in the mijello palette though (Indian Red, I didn’t know if it was because it’s an opaque?). The whole of the palette is quite sturdy, so I think the minimal flexing has kept everything stable. Climate may also have something to do with it too. Is it dry where you live? I’m in the Northeast US, so variable seasons, but my palette doesn’t experience too much shift, plus it has a gasket, so it’s not losing moisture at a fast rate.

    And yes, I agree, still plenty of value in the material! I plan on reusing my removed paint pieces, even if it’s to make a mystery color like I was just explaining in the post above back to Sandra.

    Beverly, one of the reasons that I don’t have too many DS paints (even before the new issue with air) is because they shrink and dry so hard. I only use them at home because they always fall out of the pans, and they don’t re-wet all that easily.

    Frankly I gave up on them altogether.  Even after scuffing the inside with steel wool, I had paints slip out.  Now I commit to tins and full pan plastics, which I can pop out in two seconds when I want to take a different paint.  I gave the one you are speaking of to the kids I support in paint supplies (7 and 8 years…)

    I have a couple of the Mijello “airtight palettes”, filled with mostly Daniel Smith and a few Sennelier samples. The DS paints dry up and fall out, so no problem changing colors! To stick them back in, I wet the bottoms. I live in the dry climate of Los Angeles.

    The Sennelier paints are yucky sticky blobs, and I don’t like them. Recently I’ve acquired the Da Vinci full pan set of 12 in a metal tin, and a terrible set of Schmincke tiny half pans in a defective tin. I think I’m going to like the DA Vinci full pans in a metal box the best.

    Sharon, do you have trouble with M Graham as well? Sennelier uses honey like M Graham does.

    Sandra, I’ve never tried M Graham because I don’t like the honey consistency in Sennelier. Also, I’m afraid of the paint attracting ants, which can be a problem where I live.

    You are probably wise.  I like M Graham better, but chances are it would run the same.  You can get Sennelier in pans.  I wonder if they would run too.

    Hmm, all this is so interesting. I’ve only ever had one pop out of my palette (the Indian red I was mentioning earlier). I guess I’m grateful it hasn’t happened more. Also gives me hope that maybe if I leave my palette open it may dry out a bit past what it does normally (I mist it when I paint, so I wonder if my paints never get to the rock hard state) and I’ll be able to pop everything out with ease.

    Jennifer, I used to LOVE the swapping pans option and used half/full pans exclusively but I got to the point were I just couldn’t deal with the ergonomics and layout of the larger tri-fold palettes. It might be a feug shui thing, or I’m just picky, lol. The mijello palette has my favorite layout, well size, and available mixing area so far, so I’m more than willing to fidget with the wells, and wait until I reeeeeally want to switch colors to keep that configuration. I keep telling myself once I have a “favorite” selection of colors it will sort itself out, but there’s always one new paint I need to try, one alternate shade that may be nice, lol.

    Sharon and Sandra, I find the 2 Sennelier colors I have are about as tacky as the M. Graham color I have. I don’t have many (one and two respectively hardly counts for experience by any means, hehe) but just my opinion on the two. I don’t have any Da Vinci yet, it’s one company on my list to try. I just picked up some American Journey and Holbein, but are still evaluating with dots on my palette and haven’t filled any wells until I’m more familiar with them and if they’ll be permanently in my lineup. Another reason I’m willing to fiddle with the wells to rearrange in my palette, I can add dots of color around the edges of the mixing space for trade-swapped (that’s all I own of the paint to “try out”), lesser used, or specialty colors. Bonus space. lol. I attached a picture below if that doesn’t make sense.

    Gustavis Palette

    Thanks everyone for chiming in, I feel like I’m learning above and beyond what I asked about. But there’s always so much more to learn beyond the horizon that you’re familiar with, right? Lol.

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