DIY Briefcase Watercolor Palette & Mixing Colors

I thought it would be fun to turn this little briefcase into a watercolor palette for this small mixing set of Daniel Smith watercolors. Since they provided a photo of the colors mixed into swatches, I thought I’d mix mine to see if I could come up with the same colors as they did.

Briefcase business card holder: or

10 Full pan watercolors:

Daniel Smith Mixing Watercolors: or

Watercolor tube wringer:

Arteza watercolor paper:

UHU Glue :

To make the briefcase palette, I tore the lining out and only left the small strip of black “velvet” in the center to make sure the palette wouldn’t fall apart. I removed as much of the glue and residue left inside the briefcase as I could. I took the plastic empty full pans and laid them in plastic packaging so if I made a mess, it would be easy to clean. I opened one tube of paint at a time and used the watercolor wringer to get all of the paint out, and into the pan. I had to use Rich for this, as getting the paint out from the top of the tube, wasn’t a simple task. Once all of the paint was in the pan, I would gently tap it down so the paint settled in the pan.

I wanted to put the pans into the briefcase with magnets, but the briefcase (that appeared to be metal) did not attach to magnets, so I had to use glue instead. I used UHU glue I had on hand, but you can use hot glue or Beacon 3 in 1 to adhere the pans to the briefcase. I accidentally deleted the video where I showed how to glue the pans into the briefcase…you just need to make sure that you leave enough room on the ends where there is a hinge inside the case, so when you close the case, the hinges don’t run into the plastic pans. I was able to glue five full pans across the front and four on the back row, even though I didn’t have paint for more than six pans.

I took the plastic packaging of the Daniel Smith paints and the “velvet” from the top section of the briefcase that I had removed, and laid the velvet on the clear part of the packaging and traced it with a black Sharpie. I cut out the plastic, then added tear tape to the back of white cardstock and attached the cardstock to the plastic making sure to cut the paper so it would fit inside the briefcase attached to the plastic packaging to make a mixing palette.

I let the paint sit open in the briefcase until the paint had dried. Then to mix the paints, I got my chicken (used for deviled eggs, but works great for mixing paints) and put some of each of the six colors into separate wells. I started with the Hansa Yellow Light (my first category on the top and on the left side)…I mixed it with the Gamboge with using more of the Hansa then put this mix into the second box from the top (in the first row at the top) and then added more of the New Gamboge to make the mix that goes in the second row on the top the first box down. If you use the names of the paints that go across the top of the page and use those as the primary color in the row beneath the name, and the colors that run down the left side of the page are the secondary colors in the mix.


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