How To Use Tube Watercolors?

The ease of watercolor tubes can make setting up a project much easier, whether you’re a seasoned artist or working with pre-schoolers. A wet brush will allow you to remove as much color as needed from the watercolor once squeezed onto a plastic paint tray or palette. In addition, it is possible to mix your paints in different proportions to create an almost infinite range of colors as you work.

You can use it right out of the tube by squeezing some of the paint onto a blending surface. You can mix paint on a mixing palette if you want some to dry between sessions. You can also create a customized palette for watercolor out of your watercolor pans. 

It is up to each individual to decide whether to use tubes. To determine which method works best for you, you must experiment and find out which works best. There are, however, a few basic strategies to follow when thinking about how to use tube watercolors: 

#1 Using Paint Straight from The Tube and Mixing It

There are a few people who paint directly from the tube using damp paint. However, the paint is already wet, so this is an easy and quick method for blending hues and easier to blend many colors if you are painting on an extensive surface with this arrangement. 

There is no color in the tubes. You need to pigment and soak all colors. There is no improvement in the brightness of your paint. Therefore, the paint will be solidly converged. The advantage of starting with fresh paint from a tube every time you paint is that you begin with clean and new hues. 

Most craftsmen like to begin another artistic creation with new colors that are undiluted. Hence, this technique for working suits them well since their colors do not need to be recolored. 

Furthermore, you should start along these lines to ensure that your blending surface is no longer dirty or covered in residue so you don’t get foreign bodies gliding around in your watercolor washes.

  • Clean surfaces are necessary for mixing. For example, mixing palettes and dinner plates can serve this purpose. (When choosing a mixing surface, you should choose something impermeable such as plastic, ceramic, or enamel so that you can see the color of the mixture clearly).
  • In your mixing tray, place a dot of the color you want to use. 
  • Mix surfaces should be kept as separate as possible to prevent color contamination. There is a general tendency for artists to put their dots around the perimeter of a mixing area. By doing this, you can mix puddles of paint in the middle. (You can mix your ingredients in a separate area of your tray to prevent color contamination).
  • A brush loaded with clean water should create a puddle of water in the mixing area.
  • Pick up some of the pigment from the dot of paint using your moist brush.
  • Once the paint is smooth, gently stir it into the water.
  • After rinsing your brush, create another few puddles for mixing, then rinse it again.
  • When you finish the paint, clean off the mixing palette.

#2 The Mixing Palette: Squeezing the Paint into It

It involves leaving the paints on a mixing palette to dry out when not in use. Then, to use them again, you must add a small amount of water to the paint. Among blending surfaces, a basic plate or earthenware dish is the most simple mixing palette. 

There are two parts to a mixing palette: One holds your unadulterated paint and presses it out. For blending puddles of paint, there is a blending zone. After experimenting with some mixing palette arrangements, you’ll find your favorite one.

  • Into the wells of the palette, squeeze raw tube paint dots. If you wish to paint the wells, you can add a few drops of water just before doing so. Then, during your painting session, you won’t have to worry about the paint developing skin, and you’ll be able to see the color difference. In addition, the dots of concentrated paint can be left behind when you want to mix a darker saturated color, no need to mix the paint in the wells.
  • Organizing your palette into color family groups is a good idea. When you are painting, it is easier to locate hues this way. It is best to follow the color spectrum in order.
  • The steps for creating mixed-color puddles are the same as before. Most palettes have several paint wells close to each other, so to avoid smearing color into adjacent ones, keep your brush clean when picking up the pigment.

#3 Watercolor Pans: How to Make Them

You can make your watercolor dish using tubes of watercolor. Many painters prefer to fill empty pans with their favorite paint hues, given that paint is typically sold in pans (or cakes in some cases). The size of an oven pan is full-size, while the smaller size is half-size. Both full and half pans will fit in most palette boxes.

  • Your palette should contain colors that you like.
  • ​Use waterproof ink to introduce the pigment number, color name, and brand. Later, you can refill your pan from it.
  • The paint tube should be shaken or massaged before opening, especially if it is old. It is sometimes possible for the binder (usually gum arabic) to separate from the paint when stored for an extended period.
  • ​Fill in the corners of the pan with paint by squeezing a little into them. Next, use either an unfolded paperclip or a toothpick to stir the paint in the pan. As a result of this stirring, the paint seems to consolidate, removing any trapped air, which keeps cracks from occurring as the paint dries.
  • ​Let it dry. The pans should be left to dry in the open air without covering.
  • Continue stirring after adding the remaining ingredients. Filling the pans to the top is not necessary. Adding water to the paint pan will reactivate them, so you can start painting again right away. The lid of the palette box also stays clean since the paint does not stick to the lid when closed.
  • Two stages of filling appear to prevent paint cracking or spilling out. Several brands are best for drying, but evaporation and cracking vary according to brand. To make paint stick again after it comes out of the pan, mix glycerin in the bottom.
  • If you are using an open palette, arrange your pans according to color families. As a result, your workflow becomes smoother, and it is easier for you to find hues.
  • With a brush or spray bottle, add some clear water drops to the paint to reactivate it.

How To Perfectly Set Up the Palette? 

Your palette should contain colors that you like. Label the palettes with a waterproof pen to make the name, brand, and pigment number immediately visible. You can use this water to refill your bottles. Make sure the paint tube is shaken or massaged before opening. 

In some cases, long-term storage may cause the binder (usually gum Arabic) to separate from the paint. Paint the corners of the pan by squeezing some paint into them. Use either an unfolded paperclip or a toothpick to stir the paint in the pan. 

When you stir up the paint, you consolidate the paint and allow the trapped air to escape, which prevents cracks from forming. To dry the pan:

  • Leave it for a few hours.
  • Keep pans in an open, well-ventilated area rather than covering them to dry.
  • As the petri dish dries a second time, fill the pan with more petri and stir.

How To Get Dried Watercolor Paint Tubes Out of Their Containers?

What if you had some dry old watercolor tubes lying around? What is their purpose? A watercolor paint does not seem to have a specific expiration date. Tubes are often left for quite a long time, yet you can use them even after an extended period. 

Push out the paint from the tube and add gum arabic or water to rehydrate dried paint tubes. Next, break up the contents of the cylinder by cutting it open and cleaving it. Place the dried paint on a paper holder with some gum arabic and let it rest for a few hours. The paint should blend smoothly again after adding more gum arabic. Even though the entire process requires substantial tolerance, it is typically completed in some time.


A watercolor tube can make your task a whole lot easier whether you’re a professional artist or a parent who wants to teach their pre-schooler to paint with a tube. 

Use a wet brush and some watercolor to draw as much color as you need on a plastic paint plate or palette. Then, you can mix your paints in different amounts as you work to create a seemingly endless spectrum of stunning, original colors.

In this article, we have discussed using different techniques to make the best use of tube watercolors. You might be able to increase the output by using two or more of them together. Note which paints, primers, mediums, and methods you use. Once you learn the colors that look best on your canvas, work on combining them. 

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