View Full Version : Repurposing metal palette

03-24-2011, 07:15 PM
I have purchased this two smaller Fome metal palettes for tube for a very reasonable price. I would like to gut it out and replace the inside with metal grids for paint. I have used pill organizers before to do this, but it just does not look good, and a lot of wasted space as they don't fit exactly. Any ideas on how to do this in metal, maybe aluminum that will look semi professional.


03-25-2011, 12:20 AM
i would have thought full and half size pans would go in it. they could be secured with some blue tac or double sided tape.
anyway, i will be interested to hear comments from others.

03-25-2011, 12:22 AM
These boxes are for tubes, not pans.
They are quite difficult to find.
I would keep them as is

Use self sticking strips of velcro, and small pieces on the pans

03-25-2011, 04:21 AM
You could flatten the upstanding metal and make an insert for your paint.

If you are happy with full pan size, it would be easy to cut an insert to fit the inside space and glue empty pans on in a grid. However, for tube paints I would think you would need larger containers, a difficult exercise in metalwork. Maybe it is possible to fabricate a grid out of plastic sheet and seal it to a base.


03-25-2011, 05:38 AM
Hi, Chito.

Many hobby shops sell thin sheets of brass which should suit your needs as they are quite easy to shape and cut - even with a Stanley knife and ruler.

A little judicious use of some solder or metal glue and Roberto's your uncle!

Here's a link (http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-K-S-Brass-Sheet-4x10x-032-Peggable-1-NIB-/290490718495?pt=Radio_Control_Parts_Accessories&hash=item43a298991f#ht_611wt_711) to some .032" sheet on EBay but there are many other suppliers and much thinner (or thicker) sheets to be found in packs or singles, as necessary. Prices seem to vary a lot, too.

Please show us the results,


claude j greengrass
03-25-2011, 08:15 AM
Before you start, figure out how you are going to attach a brass divider to the bottom of a steal palette. If/Once you solve that problem, here is how I would proceed.

I can't tell from the pictures of your palette, but since they are steal, I would expect that the 'clips' are spot-welded in place. To remove them, you need access to a high speed grinder. You can seen where the spot welds are as there will be a slight dimple in the metal/paint that should be visible. Carefully grind through the clip at each of the spot welds. With frequent visual checks, you should be able to see when you have ground through the metal of the clip. The metal of the clip will discolor to a dark blue/black from the heat of grinding when you are almost through the metal of the clip. Remove the clip and use the grinder to smooth the weld flat.

I make the divisors for my boxes out of 0.010 inch thick brass stock. K&S Engineering , Chicago Il., sell sheet brass stock in various thickness. I 'cut' the straight lines with a metal scriber tool. The inside cuts are made with a jeweler's saw. My blades cut a slot that is a very good fit for 0.010 thick cross pieces.

All your measurements and cuts need to be very precise. A few thousands of an inch can make all the difference.

Good luck

03-25-2011, 05:18 PM
As palettes for tubes they really do not serve me. I guess they don't make them anymore for that reason. Neeman, maybe I'll preserve the other one.

I see it will not be easy, but I am persistent and meticulous. Gutting it out will not be a problem, I do have the tools for that. I see the problem with the metal strips and putting them together with precision. Securing them on the sides and bottom will also be difficult. I don't intend to strip the paint off to do soldering. I think that is too much work, so maybe if it is fits good enough the spray enamel in several coats will hold it in palce, and hopefully seal the edges. That is a big maybe??

03-26-2011, 01:27 AM
You can also make a removable paints well section out of brass and enamel it.Take as example the V.Piera palette you have,Chito.


03-26-2011, 07:58 AM
Maybe you can get some ideas here



03-26-2011, 04:22 PM
Wow, I just spent like an hour looking at that first link - Cathy Johnson's Flickr pages. She has lots of great ideas, and she photographs and explains them really well.

03-26-2011, 05:20 PM
Chito, I think Cathy J has the right idea but why not use silicon sealant to "draw" the pattern of the metal strip "grid" on the base and then just push the grid into it. It would have the advantage of being easily replaceable when necessary.

Here's an idea, from left field, for building the "grid".

You can buy pre-cut strips of brass here (http://www.espritmodel.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=12722), or at similar stores (no worries with getting the width/height constant, then). Once you have decided on the size of your paint wells, cut the brass strip into lengths long enough to form them (NB: Each well will have its own four sides - bend the metal around a suitably shaped piece of wood, used as a jig, to ensure the wells are all of the same size), seal the one open edge and then join all the wells together with epoxy, or whatever. (NB: If you put four open edges together, in the middle of a four well square, the gap should automatically seal when you glue them).

This should make for a very strong and, if you measure accurately, snug fitting "grid" for your palette.

You could even make paint wells of different sizes to accommodate some more frequently used colours.


03-27-2011, 09:24 AM
Why not just use pans, which you can swap out more easily? And then you avoid all the hassle of cutting little pieces of metal.
Here are some photos of the palettes I've made and/or collected. I used magnets on the bottom of the pans, which just seemed less messy than glue, plus I can rearrange as it suits me. I even use the magnets to fit the smaller pans into my Schmincke set.

03-27-2011, 12:11 PM
Sorry, this is a better link. I've got a whole set of photos, along with some descriptions. I found Cathy Johnson's images and ideas very helpful too!
What I like about the magnets is that I can swap out colors very easily. For the most part, I use tube paint, but I put it into pans first. I also have a palette that has pre-formed metal slots like those you describe. There's a photo of it too. I love how light it is, but it won't accept magnets because it's aluminum! I've got some neat vintage kits too.
Anyhow, interesting to see what other people figure out with these things. Endless tinkering...

03-27-2011, 05:10 PM
Your Flicker site is great. Lots of palettes to envy. I want to make use of what I have on hand already. I have some left over aluminum siding that I could cut to strips. If all else fail I might just go back to the pill organizers.
BTW, I think that Korean made palette is available here, at least I think it's the same one. The box looks very familiar, and is only $17.99. I'll check it out again.