What kind of glass, thickness and size, do you use for palettes?

edited December 2012 in Studio & Supplies
What kind of glass, thickness and size, do you use for palettes? Are the edges sanded down?


  • GaryGary -
    edited December 2012
    I use 'shelf glass' that is quarter inch to 5/8th thick and have the edges and corners ground down so they are not sharp. I have two pieces of glass that are 15 x 22 inches and I use them in the same manner as Mark which he shows on his videos. I get them from a local glass company. Personally, I like the clear (crystal ) glass versus any glass with a slight tint. Many glass companies sell a shelf glass that has a slight green tint to it. I also have a smaller piece of the same glass (9 x 20 inches) that I use when I paint on my art table - I don't always like to paint using an easel. This piece of glass is small enough to fit on the table top (which I can tilt to various angles) next to my painting surface. :)
  • GaryGary -
    edited December 2012
    1/8 inch glass is so thin and easily broken! A lot of the 1/8th is not safety glass...it will splinter badly. The safety glass will break into small pieces but not nearly as dangerous in my opinion. 1/4 inch or slightly large is safer, a bit heavier, but the edges can be ground down to a smooth edge which you can place your hand or arm against without fear of being cut. Go look at the difference at a glass shop even if you don't buy the glass from them. My two pieces of glass, cut to size (and edges rounded off) cost me about $28 US.
  • What about Perspex or some sort of thick, solid, clear plastic,
    instead of glass?
  • In one of Mark's newer videos I believe the backing under his glass palette is the same color as the color he tones his canvas with. I've used 3 different ways to back my glass palette. The first setup was to cut brown wrapping paper (the kind used to wrap/mail packages or wrap meat) and simply placed it between the glass and the table top. Second setup was to paint the back of the glass palette with a middle grey spray can of auto primer...this worked very well. My third setup (the one I currently use) is to cut a piece of 1/4" hardwood slightly larger (17 x 24 inches) than my glass palette and spray paint it whatever I color I want....some times its the middle grey and some times it is Mark's toning color. The slightly larger wood base catches any spills from the glass palette when I get a bit sloppy in my paint mixing. When I need to move my palette (to the refrigerator for example), I pick it up by the wood base which reduces the chance of breaking the glass....this setup also works very well. Kassan's setup looked very interesting....like AZPainter, another gadget to try! :)
  • Thanks for all the fantastic info and suggestions. They all were very informative.
  • Gary, that's good information. I have been aware of crystal clear glass for many years as I also do some watercolors and this is the same type of glass used in framing most watercolors. Note I said "almost" all glass has a greenish cast to it. :)

    Mark. What you describe is the same principle. The orangy color cancels out the green cast. In my case I bought a tube of value five acrylic paint and a tube of Terra Rosa acrylic. I used the terra rosa to tint the gray value just a little so one can barely perceive a slight violet cast to the gray. I don't like using the word violet, because it is so slight and untrained eye or a comparison with a pure halftone gray is the only way one can see it. Under the glass, it appears as a pure gray value five.

    David Jon Kassan is doing as you are and I plan on trying it soon and that is using the same color and value as his canvas is toned to as a palette color. I find painting painting on a white canvas and mixing on a white palette, to be making work and creating value mistakes for myself. I believe in making life and painting a little easier on myself. :)
  • What glue do you use to fix the glass (painted) to a sheet of plywood?

  • dencaldencal -
    edited July 10

    I suggest enclosing it in a framed piece of ply. Can then be removed for cleaning etc.

    A silicone caulking product ought to do the trick. This too can be easily wire cut for cleaning.

    If you want permanency then Gorilla glue is your best choice.


  • @Romans611 - Hi.

    I duct-tape the glass to the board on three sides, leaving the 4th side free. I then can slide a sheet between the glass and board if I want. I sometimes do this with color harmonies I work out ahead of time on oil paper.

    Duh - I just realized this won't work if you paint the bottom of your glass. I do not; I put a piece of value 5 neutral gray paper under the glass instead. 
  • @Romans611

    You can glue it to plywood or you could just place it on your table as it is. There's no real need to paint it or glue it to plywood unless you think that it might help prevent it breaking.  I put a sheet of coloured paper under my glass palette - the colour is usually a neutral gray but I can slide in a different colour if I want. Art supply stores have paper in many different neutral colours. 
  • That is a great idea with the neutral paper. I'm using a pyrex pan right now and I noticed that the yellow  has a greenish tint to it on the glass (when.a thin area when mixing, not when a glob from tube) but it does not show that on paper palette.

    I have  pad of various shades of gray charcoal paper that might be just the thing.
  • Thanks for the ideas.
  • QuinnQuinn -
    edited July 13
    Ordering 1/4" thick glass for pallets today - do you use the Geneva foundation stain for the bottom or do you/can you something else so long as the color matches? Geneva stain is currently sold out and I'm hoping to keep what I have for paintings.

    I am also planning to back it with wood. do you think 1/8" thickness would be okay with the wood back or should I stick with 1/4"? Looks like the Gorilla Glue mentioned previously is the way to go? 
  • dencaldencal -
    edited July 13

    If you order toughened or laminated glass there is a considerably less chance of breakage or injury.
    No need for a wooden back. Order ground edges and rounded corners. Ask to see a sample of their clear glass, make sure there is no green tint showing on the edges. The important feature is that it is all accessible for cleaning.

    Stain with a sample pot of acrylic house paint tinted to match the swatch you choose to duplicate Geneva.

  • edited July 13

    Some cheaper DIY glass palette alternatives …

    Glass fridge shelf, its toughened glass with no rough edges.

    Glass chopping board from kitchen supplies store. They also have safe rounded off corners/edges.

    I managed to pick up a small one of the latter that was already painted neutral grey on the underside.and its handy for when im doing small pieces.
Sign In or Register to comment.