If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, ARTnews may receive an affiliate commission.
Watercolor is a favorite medium of professional and budding painters alike, not least because of its flexibility and portability. Palette tins that you fill with your own pan paints offer an easy way to carry watercolor paints along with you for whenever inspiration strikes. They also allow you to customize your palette, and many feature thumb rings so you can comfortably balance them in one hand as you paint. Below, browse our selection of the sturdiest and most secure watercolor paint holders we could find.
1. Arteza Watercolor Palette Tin
Keep your paints clean and dry with Arteza’s rectangular watercolor tin, which features dozens of empty half pans in a sturdy case with a secure lid that snaps shut. There’s also an interior lid to covers the pans completely to prevent leakage. The pans are made of durable plastic. The lids open flat to reveal palette-like indentations that you can use for mixing colors. Each half-pan well locks into the tin to keep your paints from moving around or rattling, but you can also remove them if you’d like to make room for other supplies.
2. Everenty Micro Portable Painter
This mini paint holder is perfect for artists who travel often or like to paint wherever they are. When collapsed, it is smaller than a credit card, and made entirely of plastic, it is incredibly lightweight. It comes with six empty half pans that fit snugly; you can also take these out and replace them with your own full pans or a combination of both sizes. The container opens up to reveal three mixing surfaces.
3. FClub Empty Paint Palette
Many paint pans snap into place in a metal frame, but some people find this setup finicky. A simpler solution? Magnets. This case comes with 40 half pans and precut magnetic strips with sticky backing for you to apply to the base of each pan. The pans then attach directly to the metal tray, and the magnets are strong enough to keep each one firmly in place. While this case does not have a designated mixing well, you can easily use the underside of its lid as a palette.
4. Schmincke Empty Pan Set
This pan holder is designed to withstand the routine knocks of a traveling painter. Made of thick, hard-wearing, rustproof metal with an enamel interior, it is the most durable of our picks (and hence the most expensive). Available in a variety of sizes and configurations, Schmincke’s design features foldout palette wells that rest above the pans when closed. The interior features high-quality metal clips to keep pans in place, and all parts clean up easily while resisting stains. The lid snaps shut and stays shut.
5. PH PandaHall Empty Watercolor Tins
If you tend to use certain colors a lot and other hues just a little, consider getting a paint case with space for pans of different sizes. This tin is roomy enough to fit 48 half pans and 24 full pans, each with its own metal clip to prevent it from sliding around. Like many other options, the case features fold-out mixing wells. With pans in place, there is still space in the center to keep a water brush.