Altoids Tin Palette




Introduction: Altoids Tin Palette

Since i started trying watercolors i wanted my own palette, but on my country they are too expensive and i couldn't find any empty full pans or half pans to buy either so i decided to make my own with whatever i could find.
I searched online about pans and alternatives for them and i could only find someone who used legos and took the insides with pliers, which would have been a perfect alternative, if i had any legos...
but then i went around my house and found and old computer keyboard, saw that the size of the keys was just perfect as half pans, and started with my new craft.
i apologize if my english is not really good or if my instructable is not well done but english isn't my main languaje and this is just my first instructable.

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Step 1: Gather Materials and Suplies

For this instructable you will need:
•Altoids tin (any size you want should be fine).
•Old keyboard. You will need around 12 small keys if you use the same tin as me (could not take a picture before taking out the keys but everyone knows what a computer keyboard looks like).
•Pliers. i used small cutting pliers as i couldn't find small pliers, you can use whatever you find comfortable on this.
•Small Magnets or Magnetic Sheet (if you want your pans to be magnetic)
•Scissors to cut the magnetic sheet (if you use one)
•Watercolor paint tubes (not pictured yet)
•Double sided tape or glue, to glue the magnets to the bottom of the keys/pans.

Step 2: Taking Your Key/pans

The first thing you should do is to choose which keys you are going to use on your palette. I chose the keys on the numbers at the right of the keyboard because they measure around the same as half pans and you can fit 12 of them perfectly on the tin, one more if you want to fill it completely.
After you choose which keys you want, you have to take them out, you can do this by just grabbing them with your fingers and pulling out.

Step 3: Taking the Insides of the Keys

Ok so first, if your keyboard is as old and dirty as mine, i suggest to wash it with water and soap and then starting this step. If it is too dirty you can use a brush or towel to scrub the dirt away.
Now, to take the insides of the key out, you only need some thin pliers, or as me, cutting plieryous you can ssee the keys already have some small cuts , so you only need to either grab it from them and cut, or if you are using pliers, move it around until they are loose and come out.
After you take them all away you will end up with something like the second picture.

Step 4: Make Them Magnetic (optional)

Now that your keys are ready, you have to either glue them to the tin, or glue some magnets so you can take them out as desired.
To glue them you can just use the double sided tape, or if you want a stronger bond you can use hot glue.
If you make it magnetic, you first need to either cut your magnetic sheet into small squares that fit your keys, or just
After your magnets are ready, you have tu cut a small piece of your tape and tape it onto the magnet and then onto the key.
if you are using real magnets instead of the sheet, you can either glue them at the bottom of the keys, or just put them on top of the key, upside down, and let the paint from the tubes put them in place.

Step 5: You're Ready to Fill With Paint!

Now that your key/pans are ready with the magnets you can fill them with paint from your tubes. For doing this you can either just pour it on the pans, which will make your tin look a bit messier, or you can pour it and with the help of a small knife or brush move it around the pan so it is a bit more flat. If your paint isn't liquid enough for this or if it is already dry you can pour a little bit of water on the pan and mix it with the paint so it is easier to work with it.
After you're finished with this, you should wait around 24 hours, maybe a little more, for paint to dry completely on the tin.
i didn't, and was a big mistake... it fell to the floor, upside down, and all the little pans were on top of each other with paint on all the tin... so just, be patient and wait for the paint to dry *at least* 24 hours.

Step 6: You're Almost Ready!!!

It is time to choose your travel painting tools to take on your tin, like a small brush or waterbrush, a small pencil, a sponge, tissue, etc, whatever you use for painting.
First you should take a small piece of cardboard or similar material to use as a separator and cover the paint, i was lazy and just used a Magic the gathering promo card.
Now take the piece of cardboard (or card) and cut it to the size of your tin so it covers your paints completely but it is easy to remove.
Then take a piece of ribbon and some double sided tape a tape it to one side of the card you just cut so it is easier to take it from the tin.
After you are done with this, you may start adding your tools (brush and stuff) to the tin. I chose to put my waterbrush, a watercolor pencil cut to size, and a couple of sponges. you can put insidw whatever you think may be useful for you.

Step 7: You're Done!!!

You now have a full travel watercolor palette with magnetic pans!!! the best thing about this is that if you made it like me, the most expensive thing here was the paint and you didn't have to spend all of your money.
i hope this was useful for you, and sorry again if i had any mistakes on my english.
You can also choose different sized keys, either bigger or smaller for your palette, or maybe a smaller tin so you can fit it in your pocket ! do it however you want/can, with the materials you can find around your house!!!

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Very clever idea. I may make some with my grandchildren. Thanks for your post


    3 years ago

    Wow! thanks for this instructable. I've never thought of doing something like this with computer keyboard keys. I suppose you could also use the top of the tin for mixing the colours. Well done! (By the way, no need to apologize for your English skills, they are almost flawless.)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you!!! i was just thinking of the less expensive way to make my own palette