I’m happy to share with you this diagram I made that shows you how to build your own tripod shelf to hold your watercolor palette. If you are handy with cutting tools and machines, it shouldn’t take long. However, you do need access to certain tools but you should have them if you are the DIY-type of person. Hopefully you know someone who does, if you don’t. Anyways, this is the list of materials and tools you will need:


  • 1/4″ Plywood (enough to make 3 12×15″ pieces + scraps, 1 24×48″-piece you can buy at a hardware store for about $17 is more than enough)
  • 2 1/4″ Tee Nuts
  • 2 1/4″-diameter 1/2″-long machine screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Finishing Stain for wood.


  • Table Saw
  • Band saw/jigsaw
  • Electric Drill

Fully decked out palette set-up.

One more thing before starting: I made this shelf specifically to hold my palette and have it sit at the desired length. Feel free to modify the measurements to suit you better. Be forewarned; anything that sticks out more than 12″ runs the risk of separating you too far from your canvas/paper. If you want to change the height that your shelf sits on your tripod, change the width of the slot you cut in Step 4(more narrow = higher, and vice versa).

Watercolor Palette Shelf Plan

As a finalizer, brush a couple of coats of Minwax finishing stain to make your new palette shelf water-resistant.

Thanks for checking it out! Please let me know if you have any modifications that would improve this base set-up.

Also, credit goes to James Gurney for his Lightweight Sketch Easel tutorial. The part that holds my paper is a version of his build, so if you want to build something like that, just build his, and glue some velcro to the face of it, and to the bottom of your board that you would tape your paper to.

Liked it? Take a second to support mainloop on Patreon!
Add opt-in box here