Can I make a wet palette for Tamiya acrylic paints?

Good day everyone,

I’m considering to make a wet palette for using my Tamiya acrylic paints, because I’m now using a aluminium palette from MIG for my painting.
But I’m finding the paints are dried out after a few hours.
And because I’m wanting to save paint because I’m wanting to teach myself some good financial habits.
I’m thinking to make a wet palette.
However, because Tamiya acrylic paints are on alcohol base.
I’m not sure if just using water for this is such a good idea.
Also, doesn’t alcohol evaporate real fast?
Making a wet palette worthless to use in the first place?

I hope you can help me out with this question as well.

Tamiya make a retarder for their acrylics - works well and improves brush ability as well.


Interesting question. My wet palette is air tight when I’m not using it (I make one by putting a piece of wax paper on a piece of sponge inside a tupperware sandwich container) so it shouldn’t evaporate between sessions. I think I’d try wetting the sponge with MLT rather than alcohol and seeing how that goes. An experiment would be in order for this…


I’ve never heard of one for Tamiya paints but let us know how you do.

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@RDT1953 I’am already using Tamiya acrylic paint retarder with mixing the paints to use on my aluminium palette from MIG.

@phil2015 What is MLT?

Okay, let’s try out if I’m able to make a wet palette for my Tamiya paints. I believe I had some more experimenting and testing in mind for other subjects of the hobby as well. I’m curious to find things out myself and discover new things. But I’am hesitant because of the money that could be lost with this as well.

I would be surprised if it works as tamiya doesn’t play well with water, but it’s worth a try.

Not much money to lose here except maybe the cost of a piece of parchment/wax paper

MLT = mr leveling thinner


I agree, Tamiya is different then other acrylics.

I posted more painting tips for Tamiya paints in the other thread as you decided paint with those. A wet palette is more for the Vallejo type acrylics but would be interested to hear if you get it to work.


I would be surprised, too, as Tamiya is miserable for brush painting! :rage: Although I find it great for airbrushing. :+1:
:grin: :canada:


It brush paints fine thinned with MLT. I don’t know how MLT will behave in the sponge of my palette.

Usually, lacquer based thinners and sponges don’t mix well together.
The sponge typically will swell up and be unusable. Example: sponge brushes fall apart when dipped in lacquer based paints. Would expect the same from a wet palette sponge. However not all sponges are exactly the same. Look forward to hearing about your results.

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If you have a natural sponge (harder to find and not cheap) it may work, I can see it eating a synthetic sponge

My other concern is that lacquer thinner is quite volatile and will likely off gas too rapidly to be of use in a wet pallets

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Totally agree!

Recently, I have tried to make a wet palette for my Tamiya acrylic paints which I’m also using for brush painting.
Till then, I did use a regular aluminium palette from MIG for brush painting Tamiya acrylic paint and added Tamiya acrylic paint retarder to the paint.
1 part paint, 2 parts retarder.
Like with airbrushing their colors.
And this worked fine, until I realized that I’m probably taking to much paint into my brush and that I’m painting to thick layers on my figures.
Which is costing me detail on the figure.

I thought, let’s try to make a wet palette the same way as for other acrylic paints like those of Vallejo.
Instead, using alcohol instead of water because the Tamiya acrylic paint is on alcohol base.
So I bought a 1 liter bottle of Isopropanol alcohol and my mother got me a container and a sponge for this wet palette.
And I cut a sheet of baking paper on the right size for on the sponge.

So I did put the sponge in the container and I poured alcohol on the sponge and let it soak up the alcohol.
And I also left a little pool of alcohol on the bottom of the container, as the video of Quick kits on YouTube told.
So far, it seemed to be working.
However, the alcohol didn’t get through the sheet of baking paper.
Which is what I want from my understanding of the video’s I watched for the wet palette.
And it felt to me like the sponge was getting hard and stiff.

So, I waited some 15 minutes because my mother suggested that to me.
I thought, okay I do that let’s see what happens.
But what needed to be happening wasn’t happening.
The alcohol didn’t come through the baking paper.
It did get till under the baking paper, but it didn’t manage to penetrate the baking paper fully and get to the surface being able to touch the paint and moisten it.

I concluded fairly quickly that it wasn’t going to work like you and Modelbouw Krikke said.
And did put the alcohol which I could get back back in the bottle.
And I’m now going to use it instead of X-20A 250 ml thinner of Tamiya self.
And to clean my brushes with it as well, because I got more of this stuff.
And it is cheaper than Tamiya’s own thinner from which I only get a small amount for a high price.

This leaves me in a troublesome situation, because I’m now having most of my paints being Tamiya acrylic paints. And I even bought two sets of Tamiya figures to practice my figure painting skills on and to test new things out. But as I said earlier, I’m probably getting to a point I’m discovering more and I’m developing my brush painting skills more. And the Tamiya paint starts to feel like it is holding me back from advancing more in this area.
I even bought some new bottles of Tamiya paint for these figures specifically, before I realized this.
So, what am I going to do?
I was thinking to practice more with the airbrush and once the skills with this are sufficiently developed I could try and airbrush only whole figures.
Not using brushes at all to paint my figures.
Which would safe me money, but I don’t know if it is possible to do this and if it isn’t to hard for my current skill level.
The other option would be to buy new paint specifically for brush painting use.
But this would cost me more money and space.
I’m interested in AK Interactive for this and maybe even use it eventually instead of Tamiya paint and Mr. Hobby paint to airbrush with as well.

It is my longest topic yet I’ve posted here. But it was also a lot to share, hope you have read it all through to the end. And I hope you want to comment and help me out if you can.

I don’t hand brush Tamiya: only airbrush.

For figures I use Vallejo as I already had them although I will likely replace them with AK’s acrylics.

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My suggestion is stop wasting time and money trying to create a wet palette for Tamiya paints.
Using straight alcohol will probaably be a waste as it will evaporate to fast to give a consistant palette.

Since you’re heavily invested in Tamiya acrylics and have had some success using them with a retarder added, I would do the following:
1- Get a small metal palette with 8 or so small wells.

2- Place 4-5 drops of the colors you are using each in a well and add a drop or retarder mixed in each.
A single drop of retarder should be plenty in each.

3- Thin the paint with a drop of alcohol to a brushable consistantcy if needed.

4- When finished painting, clean the palette in the sink with a nylon scubbie and soap using slightly hot
water to soften the dried paint if necessary.

A wet palette really only works well for Acrylic paints like AK, Vallejo, Army Painter, Reaper, etc.
Tamiya paints are great paints especially for airbrushing but not easily adapted to brush painting.
If you want to keep trying the wet palette get several bottles of one of the above brands and test it before you invest too heavily. A lot of modelers keep a supply of Tamiya paints for airbrushing vehicles, planes, etc. and a supply of Vallejo type acrylics for figure painting using a wet palette.
Good luck, don’t give up. It just takes practice.


I second using Vallejo for Brush painting. I use them exclusively for figures and detail painting. They brush like a dream, almost impossible to mess up and thin nice with tap water!

They cost a lot up front but last forever. My colors I use for larger areas like a German camo base last for dozens of figures. For a few German figures you’ll neee maybe 5-6 colors to start, then every once in a while when you need to buy a couple more.

Also get good at knowing how to mix a color, I only have about 20 Vallejo colors but can mix almost any variant of these from the base colors I do have which saves money


I would have to second that advise. I too use Tamiya (however I recently bought some AK Real Colors to test) for airbrushing and Vallejo’s for figure painting. Vallejo’s are excellent for brushing.

I love AK real colors. They spray super nice and they have a dense pigment concentration so a lot goes a long way. Plus sometimes it is nice to not have to mix colors! I have about 10 reps colors for British RAF and luftwaffe camo and they spray beautifully

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Good to know! I’ve heard great things about them and they do have much more variety of accurate colors. Can’t wait to try them.

Thank you for providing all the information. It seems like I’m aiming at the right brand of paint. I’ve been on AK Interactives website and my first impressions of them are good. And I love it they have a direct customer support via e-mail. This could be making everything a lot easier.

What are your experiences with Vallejo colors? I must say they are easy to get everywhere. But, I’m not sure. Because everyone is using them. And I would like to do things differently.

I will do my own research as well.