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So, I’ve been frustrated with a mixing tray that looks like this:

Notice how the paints puddle and don’t spread evenly across the tray. It’s not only difficult to mix paints when this happens, but it just looks kind of sloppy, and that grates at my OCD tendencies. Instructions that came with a palette that I recently bought said to treat the surface of the mixing tray with sandpaper. SANDPAPER?? I don’t think so.

At a recent workshop I learned the secret to solving this conundrum.


Or any abrasive cleanser.

Yes, it’s that simple. You put some Ajax (I used Comet) on your finger or on a toothbrush and lightly rub the surface of the mixing tray. I had to do it a few times to get the desired effect, and this is the (very gratifying) end result:

Notice how the paints spread oh-so-smoothly throughout the mixing tray — none of those paint puddles. Just looking at the before and after sets me at ease.

And it’s a good thing I didn’t go with the sandpaper recommendation. At the aforementioned workshop, the workshop leader said she had a student who followed the sandpaper advice and ended up with visible scratches all over the surface of her mixing tray.

And there you have it.