Pocket Watercolor Set




About: I'm a hobbyist maker who is trying to pass on something of the excitement and passion for making things in the hopes of inspiring others You can catch me on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw2Og...

I recently started watercolor lessons (watercolour here in the UK ;-) ), and I thought it would be cool to have a pocket watercolour set I could take with me when I'm out and about. So I reached for a mint tin, similar to Altoids and set about turning it into a watercolour set that could travel with me in my pocket.

What you need

  • A mint tin, eat the mints and clean the tin.
  • Something to form the pans, I used Polymorph but there are loads of other options ( see Step 1 for more ideas).
  • Some watercolour paint
  • A brush
  • A pencil
  • Some watercolour paper

So let's get started

Step 1: Forming the Pans

There are loads of ways to form the pans, I've gone for polymorph which is a low temperature thermoset plastic. Other options could include:-

  • a hot glue gun,
  • glue in strips of plastic using resin glue
  • glue in commercial paint pans ( filled or empty)
  • glue in an empty "lozenge" pack
  • form something in a vacuum former

To use my polymorph option:-

  1. Boil some water and fill a bowl
  2. Add some polymorph granules to the water
  3. Wait for the granules to turn clear
  4. Carefully fish out the plastic with a spoon
  5. Allow to drain and squeeze out any excess water ( take care, it will be hot as it's just come out of boiling water).
  6. Using small amounts at a time form the 6 wells to accept the paint. Leave space for your brush and pencil

Step 2: Shortening Your Brush and Pencil

You need to make your pencil and brush fit into the tin.


  • Measure your brush / pencil against the tin
  • Using a sharp knife or JR Hacksaw cut your brush / pencil down to size.

If you have a slightly larger tin that me you may be able to use a water-brush that has a built in water reservoir. This is a big advantage as it means you don't need to obtain a separate water vessel.

Step 3: Cut Your Paper to Size

You will need watercolour paper when out on your travels to I've cut down a sheet from my watercolour paper sketch book to make paper for my set.

You need to measure your tin, but in my case, I used 6 cm x6 cm which is about 2.5 inch square.

You could of course also carry a separate watercolour sketchbook.

I would definitely put your paper in a zip-lock bag to protect it.

Step 4: Put the Paint in and We're Done!!!

The final job is to fill the pans.

I've used Cotman paint from Windsor and Newton.

You can fill your pans with paint from water colour tubes and leave the lid off for a day or two and the paint will dry in the pans. This is a really beauty of watercolour, once you paint drys in the pans, you can re wet as often as you like, the paint will last for years r until you use it all up.

Then you're done!!!

All that's left to do now is pop your set in your pocket and head out to a fantastic view and get painting.

Thanks for looking at my instructable, I hope your found it interesting

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    7 Discussions


    17 days ago

    Hey serhardt!
    For the aquarelle pans, I've always used inverted Lego bricks. The only modification needed is drilling out the interior center post. I then stick them to an inverted flat piece of Lego plate that is roughly the size of the tin I'm using, which keeps the pans from moving around. I also carry a water brush to eliminate the need for a separate water source, although puddles are sort of poetic to use!
    Mr. Ham

    2 replies

    Reply 16 days ago

    Thanks Mr. Ham, great idea to use the Lego, that means you can easily saw out the pans depending on what you plan to paint. Ingenious!


    18 days ago

    I may be tempted to make it.

    You could use a plastic sheet between the paint and the paper to protect it instead of a zip-lock bag.

    1 reply

    Reply 18 days ago

    Yes, you definitely could do that, if you used something with a little stiffness, you could also use as a mixing palate along with the lid of the tin