Review: Masterson Sta-Wet Super Pro Palette

Sta-Wet Super Pro PaletteFor Father’s day, two of my girls got me a Masterson Sta-Wet Super Pro Palette.  I have had a few chances to use it, at home and at class, and so far I like it a lot.

Description: The Sta-Wet palettes are all pretty similar.  “Super Pro” refers to the size.  12″x16x”1.75″.  It’s easily large enough to hold your favorite pad of palette paper or a rectangular palette for oil painting.

The Sta-Wet palettes come with a sponge-and-film system for keeping acrylic paints wet.  The idea is that the thin sponge stays wet, and the paints can leech that water out of the sponge through a specially prepared palette film.  I have tried this in a smaller model, and can confirm that it greatly improves the wet time of acrylics – even low-viscosity and craft paint.

The palette comes with “feet” on both sides so you can turn it upside down for watercolor.  The lid (from an oil-painter’s perspective) is formed with wells and divided mixing areas for watercolor.

Performance: The Sta-Wet palette has performed like a champ for me.  I go to class once a week, so my oil paints are always dry in between.  When I came back to class this week, the source piles of paint on my palette were completely wet.  There wasn’t even a skin on them.  My mixed paint did not fair as well, but there was still a fair amount of usable paint left over.

The two halves of the palette come together with a seal you can hear and feel.  Taking the pieces apart requires a small amount of effort to overcome the vacuum, but shouldn’t be a problem for anyone healthy enough to stand up and paint for any length of time.  Painters with particularly weak hands might want to look into the more Tupperware-like “Palette Seal“.

The unit comes with a sticky-backed sheet of eight transparent rubber feet, four for each half.  They do an excellent job of holding the smooth-bottomed palette still on slippery tables.  I have only used half of them, since I never paint in watercolor.  I was considering using the extras on my 11″x14” glass palette to hold it still in the center of the Sta-Wet palette.

Value: The Sta-Wet palette has an MSRP of $25, and costs only $20 at DickBlick.com.  I have paints that cost up to $50 for a 37mL tube.  Anything that reduces the amount of paint that I have to scrape off my palette because it’s dried up is a great value and will pay for itself fairly quickly.  When you add in the additional features of portability, multi-functionality, and stability, it’s a great buy.

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