Art JournalTips & Techniques

Tuesday Tip: Using Palette Paint Skins

“What are you doing?!?!?” a girl frantically asked me as I washed my paint palette after an art class. I blinked blankly, “Um…cleaning up?” I could tell she almost pitied me. “You can totally use that after it dries! Just peel it out and glue it down.”

It was too late for me that day, but I did tuck her tip into my brain rolodex. Not long after, I was working on this new journal cover. I had a bunch of palettes that I had let the paint dry in. I’d like to say it’s because I was planning ahead, but it was truly the result of laziness. I have lots of little plastic palettes after hosting an art birthday party for one of my kids, so I was in the habit of just grabbing a new one instead of cleaning the old one. About the time I ran out and decided I should clean them, I heard that frantic voice ringing in my head.

Her tip makes sense. As it says in Wikipedia, “acrylic paint is very elastic, which prevents cracking from occurring. Acrylic paint’s binder is acrylic polymer emulsion – as this binder dries, the paint remains flexible.” So, I carefully peeled the dried paint out of each of the tiny wells. Some of them didn’t peel well, but most of them did. It depended on what paint I’d used and how much dried. The more paint left in the well, the easier it was to peel out.

Once I peeled it out, it was very moldable. In this process pic, you can see I was trying it out a scarf on the Dyan Reavely silhouette stencil mask figure I used.

I love the texture this created. People who see this page in person can’t believe that it’s just peeled paint glued down. It’s tough to photograph, but check out some of these detail pics:

Super bumpy, cool texture makes me happy. And it goes right along with my waste not art philosophy! Here’s the finished front/back cover when the book is closed.

If you missed my post last week, I also shared a tip about what to do with the paint on your palette while it’s still wet.

Tags: acrylic, Art Journal, mixed media, stencil

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • That’s what a paint skin is? I had some that I saved for a long time because I thought they looked pretty cool, but then threw out. Win’t Make that mistake again. Thanks!!

  • I have never tried this, but sounds (and looks) like a great idea. Love the idea of the brain rolodex!

  • fascinating tip. Thank you! I love peeling the paint skin…like molding warm wax…but never knew what else to do with it.


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