How to Make a Watercolor Travel Tin
Repurpose a metal mint tin into a portable art palette when out and about.
Watercolors are the perfect medium for a budding artist. They are inexpensive, have a minimal learning curve and dry quickly. However, lugging large watercolor paint palettes while on vacation or when you are out and about is a pain. You can find cute little repurposed watercolor tins on handmade sites made for portability. Or, you can make one yourself with a few supplies available at your local craft store.
- small tin used for mints
- 8 ounces white polymer clay
- 1/2 inch wood dowel
- rolling pin
- clay spatula
- liquid watercolors (not shown)
- oven (not shown)
Roll It Out
Polymer clay is a plastic-based clay composed of polymers, resins, coloring agents and fillers. In order to set it and make it water soluble, it needs to be baked at a low temperature. To get started, cut a chunk of polymer clay that is long and thick enough to fill your tin. It can be hard to manipulate it right out of the package. Knead it in your hands for a few minutes to make it pliable. Use the rolling pin to get it smooth and into the relative shape you need for the tin.
Press It In
When you get the clay to the right thickness and shape your tin, press it into the tin. Use the clay spatula or spare piece of wood to help press the clay into the tin. The clay needs to come up to just right below the lip of the tin. Use your fingers to level and smooth out the clay.
Make the Wells
Preheat your oven to 275 F . Determine how many watercolors you want the tin to hold. Use the 1/2 inch wood dowel to press in the wells that will hold the watercolors. Press firmly until the dowel goes to just near the bottom of the tin without going through. Wiggle the dowel around to make the hole wider.
Place the tin on a baking sheet. Bake the clay at 275 F for 25 minutes. Consult the instructions of your polymer clay for further baking recommendations. Each brand will vary on the length of time needed to bake in order to harden correctly. Once the clay has hardened, remove the tin from the oven and let it cool.
Fill the wells with liquid watercolors. Once filled, allow the watercolors to dry for 24 hours.
Pack a notebook, some brushes and your watercolor travel tin to take on your next adventure. Instead of brushes, consider using a water brush pen. Water brush pens are perfect for watercoloring on the go. They have the added benefit of holding water and the brush is perfect for portability. Watercolor travel tins make great handmade gifts for the artists in your life.