Before 2017 ended, I maaayy have ordered a bunch of new paint, which means I'm back to searching for an appropriate palette for them. As usual, I prefer the smaller "travel type" palettes which can be hard to come by empty. Local stores typically don't carry that sort of thing. But then I noticed that people have been making little travel palettes by cutting holes in polymer clay sheets and putting them in little altoids tins.
And THEN, I fell in love with this ceramic palette, which was not only unavailable, but was also a large and open type of palette that I didn't want. Since polymer clay can be used by anyone to make anything, it didn't take long to come up with a plan.
I already had the perfect tin for it. I bought this $11 set of crayons many years ago but never really enjoyed using them. But the tin they came in was the perfect compact size, a very interesting (almost square) shape, and had a very solid fitting lid. Plus, it's metal, which means I can build my clay creation directly inside of it and throw the whole thing into the oven when ready.
While the nautilus shape I fell in love with is pretty common, it felt weird to take an idea so directly... so I decided to sit down and fill a page with ideas anyway, just in case something better came along. In the end, I still went with nautilus as it felt the right level of "challenging, yet realistic" and was what I really wanted.
It took a long time to build up this shape using clay strips (on a bottom flat layer of clay). Polymer clay sticks to itself so nicely. It's much easier than working with real clay - it doesn't dry out while you're working with it, it doesn't become "overworked" and mushy, it doesn't need to be kneaded forever, you don't need to fire it in a kiln, and you don't have to worry about it exploding in the oven. Kids can use this stuff.
Here is my first attempted palette, after it's been baked. I glued on a tiny piece of broken pottery in the "center" of the spiral. If this was a plastic palette, I probably would have built it outside the box, but just the right size to glue it into the box after it's baked. Next challenge! Heh. Each ridge is much more solid than I was expecting, so I am pretty optimistic about how well this will work after I get the paints!
I glued on a laser print of my artwork to the lid of the tin, and coated that with acrylic gel medium to protect it. Now it's a pretty, and extremely personalized paint tin. It's pretty heavy, actually. Polymer clay is not very lightweight! I am very excited, not just to use it, but to make more palettes to try out more design options! You know, for fun.
I filmed the entire process itself. You can watch me make this palette on youtube!
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?