Portable Painting Palette I Made at TechShop Chandler




A wood painting palette with a glass surface I use for oil painting. Made at TechShop Chandler, www.techshop.ws

Step 1: Supplies

For this project I bought 2x 1x2's (pine or poplar), some 1/8 birch plywood, and a sheet of replacement glass (16x20)

Step 2: Miter Joints

Take your 1x2's and measure the length you need, for this project I needed 4x of each length, 2 for each side. I measure my length from the inside edge of the miter because I needed the sheet of glass to fit inside.

The easiest way to do this is to set the miter/chop saw to a 45 degree angle, set up a stop, cut your wood and then flip it over. and do the other side

Step 3: Gluing the Joints

Next grab your corner clamps/90 degree clamps, apply glue to the ends of your wood and clamp them. Double check that they are clamped square. I chose to nail mine also, you don't have to.

Step 4: Optional Nailing

Step 5: Sanding

Once all corners are clamped use a palm sander to make it pretty. Hopefully under the glue blobs you will have some nice pretty joints

Step 6: Cutting and Gluing

Next cut your birch plywood to a little bigger than your 1x2 rectangle, slather some glue on and clamp them together

Step 7: More Cutting and Routing

After the glue is dry cut your sides a little closer on the table saw if there was a lot leftover like mine. Then grab a 1/4 flush trim/bearing bit and stick it in a router. You want the bearing to follow along the 1x2's underneath the birch plywood. When you route it will trim your birch plywood perfect to the edge of the 1x'2s

Step 8: Optional Rounding of Edges

If you want your edges to be a littler nice and not as sharp put a rounder bearing bit in the router next and take another lap around those edges. I didn't do the full radius of the big, just enough to take the edge off.

Step 9: Screw Hinges In

I bought small hinges at home depot, pick the ugliest side and make it the back.

Step 10: Finishing Up!

Once the 2 sides are screwed together via hinges all you have to do is stick your glass in! I chose to put a layer of cardboard with a piece of white paper on top of that and then my glass. This just gives the glass a little forgiveness, and since I usually start a painting on a white surface I wanted to mix my colors against a white. Some people put 50% gray paper instead, or brown paper if they do a lot of under paintings.



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    9 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 10

    And to clean it you scrape it off with a blade? Thanks for your answers. I've always struggled with too-small-of-a-palette, and this is the best solution I've seen!

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yup just a razor blade, buy a nice one and a crappy one. Crappy one for globbing up with wet paint and nice one to get the hard bits off.

    Also don't buy any of the plastic alternatives to glass (like a plastic) because the blade will cut into them and it will be really frustrating to clean. Plain old glass is the best, you can buy it in all different sizes and make the palette to fit it.


    Reply 5 years ago on Step 10

    My palette is made of tempered glass because I don't trust myself to not drop it and get glass all over everything. But always glass, I agree. Plastic and metal get scratched really easily and then it's a sad time for everybody.

    I've also used plain-ish porcelain plates from thrift stores.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Neat idea. You can also cut a channel in your 1 x 2's with the table saw. Your plywood and glass can then be captured, rather than attaching to the outsides.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You are right! I also made some panels to paint on this day which are made almost the same way, which probably gave me some tunnel vision. I love to hear about other ways to do things, thanks.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I keep this in my apartment with paints in it and can't smell anything unless I open it up inside. You could also put foam tape around the edges for extra security. Which is what I was planning on doing if it did end up being smelly.

    For keeping my paints wet I steal a cotton make-up removing pad from my girlfriend and put a bunch of drops of clove oil on it and leave it in there. You can also mix 1-2 drops of clove oil into a pile of paint and it will stay wet for weeks, even if they are just out in the open. Some people think this will yellow colors over years and years (like 100 years) so I just stick with the cotton pad. I have not had paints in there without a clove oil pad so I can't tell you about the seal unfortunately. I've had paint in there for 2 weeks so far still wet.