How to Set Up a Gouache Palette

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Learn how to set up a gouache palette to make painting with gouache even faster. Get tips on which gouache to avoid and how to rewet the gouache when once it’s dry.

You might like these other gouache tutorials.

close up of palette with gouache

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Did you know that you can set up a gouache palette?

Gouache reactivates with water, so this is a great way to make it more convenient. You don’t have to reach for tubes every time you need a new color.

Ready-made gouache palettes are created with student-grade paint, allowing you to create a palette with artist-quality paint instead.

It also allows you to create custom palettes for your personal painting needs.

Edited to add: I paint with gouache a lot more since I made this palette. It’s just so convenient now! I’ve added a few notes below about some of the paint not rewetting correctly, so be sure to read that part.

How to Set up a Gouache Palette

Supplies needed:

Notes about Supplies:

art supplies


For this tutorial, I’m using Holbein Artist’s gouache and Winsor and Newton Designer Gouache.

Some paint colors are from sets; others are tubes I bought open stock. I prefer buying open stock to avoid owning paint that I don’t use.

Make sure that you are not using Acrylic gouache. Acrylic gouache dries permanently and cannot be reactivated.


I’m using a palette with a lid and a mixing area. This keeps dust and dog hair out of the paint when not used.

This particular palette holds 18 colors and has slanted wells.

You can also use a studio palette, but it will get dusty between use.

Paper for the paint swatches

I used watercolor paper, but you can also use mixed-media paper or Bristol board. (Read more about paper for gouache here.)

Edited To Add (July 2024)

Please note: not all gouache works well for this process. After months of use, I have a few colors that cannot be rewet no matter how long I let them sit with water.

The Holbein violet and rose are the worst ones. Pink is normally my go-to color, so I find myself using primary red a lot instead since it rewets beautifully.

I plan on removing the colors and adding different paint with a few drops of gum Arabic mixed in. This is supposed to help prevent the paint from cracking and falling out, and I’m hoping it helps the paint rewet as well.

Mold can also be a problem sometimes. If you live in a humid environment, you may want to try adding a drop or two of clove bud oil to the paint.

You might be interested in learning what I thought about Arteza gouache.


  1. Choose your colors. I usually swatch the colors on scrap paper to see which colors I like. tubes of gouache
  2. Cut a piece of paper to the size of the palette.
  3. Draw out the wells.paint swatch card for palette
  4. Use a waterproof pen to add the paint names to each spot.
  5. Lay out the paint in your preferred order. Typically, whites and yellows are at the beginning, and the colors move to the darker hues.
  6. You might want to add a white at each end since you use so much white when painting with gouache.
  7. Squeeze out a small amount of the first color into the first well. hand squeezing paint into palette
  8. Use a toothpick to spread the paint into the corners of the wells. hand spreading white paint with toothpick
  9. Paint a swatch of the color onto the swatch card.paintbrush and swatch card
  10. Continue filling the palette with gouache and adding the swatches to the swatch card.
  11. When you’re finished, you can paint with it or let it dry for a few days.gouache palette and tubes of gouache
  12. To reconstitute the paint, add water to each color before painting. Use a spray bottle or an eye dropper to rewet individual colors.
  13. When you run out of a color, add more paint. If you don’t like a color, remove it while it’s dry and add a new color.
palette swatch card and tubes of gouache

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paint palette with gouache in rainbow colors

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