Watercolour Palette DIY + Green Landscape Painting

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Today I’ve decided to create my own watercolour palette toolkit and I want to share it with you.

If you’re not accessible to any watercolour palette right now or just curious about creating your own, this blog post is for you!

So I have this 8-year-old watercolour medium – which actually is a poster colour set that has been mostly abandoned since busying with school stuff.

But I know this is not an eligible reason to not make arts or painting.

And in today’s post is all about creating the watercolour palette, (// or you may called – poster colour palette)

As I think these palette addresses to the same functionality.

It’s for us to add in pigments and mix them beautifully in a space where we think they’re safe to be at.

The difference between watercolour and poster colour

You did not read the sentence wrong, and there is an amount of difference between watercolour and poster colour.

So do acrylic, Kansai and gouache, these painting media are in different categories and can create unique texture when you paint with them.

And allow me to tell you that with an example,

When you paint with the real watercolour, it puts on the paper – a transparent loose style painting that looks light and easy to wash away. So and you can easily put on a few layers of watercolour to create depth on the paintings without killing the paper.

In general, when painting with watercolour, work from the light to the dark colour blend in better.

When poster colour is used, it puts on paper – a bright and vibrant pigment that’s thicker and more opaque. Usually, poster colour dries faster than compared to watercolours.

In general, when painting with poster colour, work from the dark to the light colour to blend in better.

Actually I did use two different scenarios to express the usage of them, but I counted it as a whole, thinking that this will help you to absorb/ understand better. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I transformed my watercolour palette with a mooncake container

~ whatever box/ container you have with a lid/ cover does its job. just make sure it’s airtight.

At the point of creating this, I need a watercolour palette that’s going to be easy for me to reach out painting with each colour.

As you know they come in bottles, so every time I use the “watercolour stick” provided to transfer a tiny scoop of paint onto my circular palette.

(you can refer to that white stick in the first picture of this post if you want to see)

Therefore I think it’s difficult to transfer each colour without staining them in the bottles.

Or not I’ll have to wash the stick once I add a colour to my circular palette.

But maybe it’s due to the fact that I don’t know how to properly use the “watercolour stick” given.

So I want to show you how to create your own watercolour palette if you don’t already have one and needed one.

It also doesn’t matter if you own a poster colour, watercolour, acrylic or gouache if that makes sense.

You can either have the watercolours in:

  • Tubes
  • Pans/ cakes
  • Bottles

They all can be fit into your fresh made watercolour palette.

Because all you need is to fill the colours into the airtight palette and keep them safe. 

This is going to be a leisure post about how I prepare for my art supplies. So it’s not a proper art post, but something I currently want to write about.

If you’re still interested in creating a watercolour palette, let’s get into the making process.

How To Make A Watercolour Palette

Making your new watercolour palette should be fun and here are the main ingredients you’ll need.

Let us promise that we’re using the basic one to get started.

The materials that you need:

  • Watercolour paints
  • Paper rolls
  • Box container
  • Old CDs (or hardcover paper)
  • Cellophane tape
  • Scissors

I tried to find them all in the storeroom, warehouse, drawers with all collectables at home that I can ever find to make things work. And surprisingly found some of them really helpful to create this watercolour palette. So hooray!

That means you can also have a big opportunity to hunt them from home.

Here’s the overall steps to DIY this watercolour palette

  1. Preparing and measure the size of the boxes you need.
  2. Cut out the materials.
  3. Create boxes as watercolour pans.
  4. Make the paper boxes waterproof by taping them up.
  5. Stick the boxes on the container.
  6. Fill the paints into the pans.

With a simple six-steps outline, it’s easy to start creating!

The watercolour theory

What colours should you have in your watercolour palette?

With a plain red, blue and yellow, you are ready to flow with watercolour paintings.

Why is that? Because these are the primary colours that make up all kinds of colour in a palette.

That means the primary colour is more powerful than we can imagine them to do when preparing colours.

If you need to get a bamboo green or an ultramarine blue, (i have no particular with the names…)

You can derive it from the red, blue and yellow. Yes. It’s these three colours that are so amazing and you can’t take your eyes away from them if you’re practising watercolours.

That’s why you can hear artists keep encouraging watercolour beginners to use primary colour to paint from the start.

Because it helps them to get familiar with how colours are mixed and learn how to obtain different colours in the colour wheel with a limited palette.

In other words, if you’re interested to paint on a canvas, getting these three colours are a good start!

Making the watercolour palette pans

watercolour palette pans

Get ready to start creating your palette?

I know I was excited to create it even though it took a few hours to complete. Because I want to make the mixing part easier when I’m ready to paint.

I hope you get the reason why to make your own palette.

And the funny thing is, you don’t actually need to.

I know online stores have some really good yet affordable palette kits like this that you can just purchase one from them if making one is not at your option.

But let’s start making the palette to let you see how it works…

I measured how big/the number of wells that I want to fit into the box. Decided to fit in at least 12 colours for this set.

Then, I cut out small rectangles with the paper rolls I have for each pan. Together, I make a base with the CDs squares cut out. // (recommend using hardcover paper)

Cover up the paper box with tape

I used cellophane tape to cover around the boxes so that it’s waterproof a bit. You don’t want the box to get wet and stained your watercolour.

Fold up the sides to make up a box. (as watercolour pans)

And I repeat making these for around 12-15 times depending on your needs. I figured out the pans I made was too big and decided to trim them off to fit in.

Then, stick them onto the box cover with cellophane tape or double tape if you want to. If you’re using glue, make sure it’s sticky enough to let the watercolour pans stick on the palette.

I’m going to fill these pans with toothpicks and other tools I have. You can use any tools that’ll help you fill the paints into watercolour pans without wasting them.

Thus the container will be staying upside down. You can add a ribbon onto the box so that people know it’s a box they should not flip it over.

How big do you need to prepare for watercolour pans?

The sizes vary depending on the container’s cover you’re having. The ratio above is what I’ve trimmed the boxes into smaller and fitting them into the container.

I’m using this ratio to create them:

5.5cm x 2.6cm (CD size, one rectangle)  ▅ 

5.0cm x 3.0cm (another rectangle) ▮ 

You can also not use CD but a hardcover paper for the base. I find that it can be difficult to cut out the CD squares repeatedly.

Initially to make this palette I want to keep it as simple as possible because I’d like to paint more, than to create the palette.

However, it was worth it because the palette has made me start to paint more after that.

Remember I say it’s easy to mix colours in a palette than in bottles?

It is also true that now I don’t need to waste watercolours once I finish painting. Just close them with the container lid and everything is basically done.

And I have left some places for mixing and playing around with the paint’s colour combination.


  1. Preparing the materials. Main materials like watercolour paints, an airtight container, paper rolls and cellophane tape to prep up this watercolour palette. Don’t forget to measure the size of watercolour pans you need. (stated above)
  2. Cut the materials. Use paper rolls and CDs/ hardcover paper to make the watercolour pans with the ratio of rectangles present above.
  3. Create the boxes as the watercolour pans. Fold up each side of the rectangles using the CD squares as a base to form the box.
  4. Make the paper boxes waterproof. Use cellophane tape to cover the watercolour pans. This is to make sure it is waterproof and the paper boxes can stay put in a good condition when paints are added.
  5. Finish making by sticking the boxes on the container. Stick the CD squares as a base inside of the watercolour pans. Glue them on the container’s cover by making the whole box turning upside down.
  6. Complete the watercolour toolkit. Fill in paints into the watercolour pans to start painting with your brand new watercolour palette. The fun is there! Make sure to close it properly when not in use.


Having a spray to reactivate the paint can be helpful before you started painting. You can also use a ribbon to tie up your watercolour palette avoid flipping it over next time.

Painting green landscape with my new watercolour palette

Painting landscape and blue skies using watercolour palette

Yay! It’s time to finally paint something with the poster colour set I currently have.

These paints have thicker pigment and I have recently just learned that they are different from the real watercolour.

Watercolours are more transparent and last longer while you paint with them, which means they’re not easy to dry too!

I found an image from Pinterest and didn’t hesitate to paint some greens with blue skies.

As you can see, the watercolour palette works fine and in general it makes my artflow goes smoother.

Other artwork with this watercolour palette

Painting plant doodles using poster colour

This is also created with this simple 15 watercolour palette pans set. (made it so far, so good)

Wow, that’s a new official name for this watercolour set. Anyways as you can tell I didn’t use all the colours to paint these houseplant doodles.

This should give you a sense on how watercolour medias work… It’s mustn’t have to be perfect to present these art, but painting them just fuels a little creative imaginary in your headspace.

Or maybe as in mine, because I made this and I was so excited to try painting with’em.

Watch the video on painting this random plant doodles here.

More tips to paint with poster colour

I am still trying out these poster colour and found out that they do dry out quicker on paper.

So if you’re using them to paint, make sure to blend the poster colour before they dry as from my experience they do not easily blend in with watercolour after getting dry. (tho it reacts with water)

I assume that many of you are new to poster colour than watercolour and as from that I would say, me too I’m still experimenting with the colour theory with poster colour.

Found a short article that covers all tips and tricks to paint with poster colour. Have a good read if you’re interested about the ins and outs.

How to get more colours from your palette?

Combining different colours can easily create a new theme for your paintings. Example, use dark green to add some brown, you get a new forest green. So explore more as you paint with your palette!

Many skilled watercolourists also insist that they would only mix their desired colour with primary colours to get the dream tone for painting.

That’s why I guess they experiment with the colours, whilst working alongside for the drawing and painting as a whole?

A good example will be you mix blue+yellow to obtain natural green instead of using the pure green to represent the art of nature.

Don’t overload brush with too much water

Always be patient when you paint and don’t overuse water while painting. They smear a lot if you’re not using watercolour paper or a basic art block to paint. (if that makes sense) 


Watch the full video process for watercolour palette diy here.

There you have it! I hope you can create the lovely palette you need to start mixing the paints more comfortably, and of course get to create your art as soon as possible!

Behind the scenes 🎬

I didn’t use a watercolour paper to paint the houseplant doodles because I I was in a rush to paint… just found a piece of card and straight to painting!

You found a rainbow!


Comment down below on how you have once create your watercolour palette. Would love to hear from you. 🙂

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