Last week, I picked up a Sta-Wet Palette – also known as a Sta-Wet Painter’s Pal – on clearance at a local art store, and holy CRAP am I in love! The Sta-Wet is designed to keep acrylic paints from drying out while you’re trying to create (or in between painting sessions), and bless my stars! It works! And it has saved me so much swearing!
The Sta-Wet is basically a tray equipped with a special sponge and special paper. This is a spare sponge I grabbed, since it was also on clearance.
To get started, you saturate the sponge with cold water and set it in the tray. Then, you soak the special paper that comes with the palette in hot water, find something exciting to do for 15 minutes, and lay the paper on top of the sponge.
I mixed that paint three days ago. I have worked with it for eight and nine hours at a stretch with the tray uncovered. In between sessions, I use the cover:
I feel like this thing is going to save me mad money on paint! Sta-Wet Painter’s Pal, you have a silly name, but you kind of are my friend!
Okay, so let me try to anticipate questions:
- Yes, the paint can stain the sponge, as you see in the picture. That’s cool, or at minimum, perfectly okay. The stain doesn’t affect the functionality.
- No, it’s not just regular paper – or even regular palette paper. I don’t know quite how to describe it except to say that it’s super thick. I think it’s also pretty durable. A friend commented on Facebook that in three years of owning a Sta-Wet, she had used only three of the five pieces that come inside the tray.
- I’m told some people have trouble with mold and odors after 8 or 9 days with the lid on the tray, but honestly, I don’t anticipate needing to keep it closed for that long. I have also heard that the sponge can be bleached if mold does occur, but this is all hearsay. (Objection! Your Honor!)
- If you use tiny delicate dabs of paint (which I do with some of my Golden paints), they may get a little water added to them as they sit. Personally, I haven’t found that problematic at all. I would far rather have a little extra water than waste paint!
Any other questions? My Pal and I will cheerfully answer whatever we can!