Lasercut Mini Mint Tin Watercolor Palette

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Make a tiny watercolor palette from a mint tin for on the go sketching!

Watercolors in mint tins were not my idea, though I can't remember where I saw them first! My addition is to lasercut the holes for the paints, because I could never make the holes-poked-in-polymer-clay version look nice.

If you're the sort who doesn't like instructions, the files for the lasercut bit are here. :)

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Step 1: Empty and Clean a Mint Tin

Empty and clean out an Altoids mini mint tin (the lasercutter files for this tutorial are designed to fit that size, but you can also use them as a starting point for your own size tin!)

Step 2: Lasercut Pieces and Glue

Lasercut or CNC-mill a full palette or a palette with sponge/brush area (link to files on Thingiverse) out of 1/4" acrylic. Use E-6000 glue or equivalent to glue it into the tin. I actually used two pieces of 1/8" and glued them together before gluing them into the tin.

Step 3: Paint Inside of Lid With Enamel

Add white enamel paint to inside of lid to create a place to mix colors! The trick I discovered to avoid air bubbles (though I imagine there are many more tips to be found in the tiny-model-painting community) is to start with a very thin coat.

Step 4: Fill With Paint

Use watercolor tubes to fill with paint. If I'm making a lot of these, I put the paint in a little squeeze bottle, along with a little water. Makes it easier to fill them neatly!

Step 5: Add Sponge

Cut approximately 1/2" off a rectangular makeup sponge with a pair of sharp scissors, then tuck the sponge into the tin.

Step 6: Make Tiny Paintbrush

I prefer to carry one of these with a waterbrush for very functional on the go sketching, but tiny brushes are a pretty cute addition. Take a regular paintbrush, cut to fit, taper with pencil sharpener, smooth end with sandpaper.

Step 7: Add Water Bottle

Tiny soy sauce bottles from Daiso make perfect tiny water containers.

Step 8: Decorate

Trace the top of the lid onto decorative paper. Cut a 1/4" strip for around the edge. Attach and smooth down with Mod Podge (decoupage glue). If desired, protect with spray acrylic when dry.

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