(1) Before I use a palette I give it a light scrubbing with a mild abrasive such as soft scrub. This takes the slick surface off the mixing area and removes any residues from the manufacturing. Be sure to thoroughly rinse off the palette…you don’t want this in your paint.(2) I fill the 18 wells with my favorite selection of paint. Don’t put tiny dabs of paint in the wells…fill the wells! Tiny dabs of paint will eventually just fall out. Hold the tube over the deep end of the well then come back towards the shallow end while squeezing the tube.
(3) Let the palette sit open for a day or two. When the paint had set up and is no longer sticky I wet my thumb and push down in the center of each well. What this does is create an indentation for the water. When I get ready to paint I lightly mist the paint wells and I am ready to go.
I've received questions about traveling with paint on an airplane. I put my palette in my carry on luggage.I don't bring paint in tubes but instead fill my palette with fresh paint a few days before and let air dry so the paint becomes more solid. When I arrive at my destination I mist the paint with fresh water, put a small sponge inside and close overnight. The next day the paint are fresh and juicy again. I haven't had a problem with security, yet.
My selection of paint colors by Daniel Smith Fine Watercolors