Perfect Painting Palettes

By: Courtney McCreary

Hey there!

This week I thought I’d share some general tips for taking care of your oil painting palette. For an oil painter, a wooden palette is a traditional tool that can last years if treated well, so proper maintenance now will help you in the long run. Check out these tips!

  • DO find a palette that’s comfortable for you. They come in different sizes and shapes! Brand new wooden palettes can be rough, so it’s a good idea to use some sandpaper to smooth the area where your thumb will be resting.
  • DO apply several coats of linseed oil to a new palette. The wood will soak up the oil over time, eventually giving it a shiny quality. Apply a few coats with a soft cloth before using any paint.
  • DO clean your palette with linseed oil after using it.
  • DON’T leave paint on your palette once you’re finished with it. (I’ve done this and trust me, it’s impossible to get oil paint off after letting it sit for even a day. Just take the 5 minutes to clean it properly. You’ll be glad you did.)
  • DON’T use refined linseed oil to clean your palette (the expensive stuff that comes in the little bottles). DO instead use boiled linseed oil that comes in cans. You can find it at any hardware store and it’s pretty cheap!
  • DO be careful not to scrape too hard with your palette knife. You don’t want to dig into the palette so hard you gouge out the wood and damage it. (This is often the case when someone tries to scrape dried paint off. Another reason not to leave paint sit on your palette for days)

If anything, I can’t stress enough how important it is not to be lazy when it comes to cleaning your oil palette after each use. Seriously, just take the couple of minutes to clean it, and you’ll be set. The better you take care of your tools now, the better off you’ll be down the road!

Enjoy your painting adventures!

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