How To Keep Your Oil Paints From Drying Out

I have been reading a lot of posts, comments, and questions on social media about how to save your paints from one session to the next.  This is especially important for those of us who don't paint everyday. Putting unused paint in the freezer works very well for me, but how to do it easily and conveniently is another matter entirely.  I have tried scraping my paints off my palette and placing them on palette paper and then folding the paper in half and putting it in a ziploc bag.  It worked, but I always lost a lot of paint in the process and it took time to take it off my palette and then put it back on before the next session.  I have tried numerous palette keepers on the market, all with the same issue.

Palette Garage
Then I bought a palette garage.  You can get them at I would clip the plastic paint tray to my glass palette in the studio and stacked them on my strada easel for plein air painting, (go to their FAQs & Hints). When I was done I would place them in their housing and store them in the freezer.  That worked for a while but eventually the plastic tube that houses the paint tray cracked and became unusable.  My husband tried making me more durable housings but they were all too bulky and heavy.

Finally we came up with a wonderful solution.  I found a plastic container called a bacon keeper on amazon. My husband cut a thin piece of wood so that it just fit into the bacon keeper and then glued little blocks of wood onto it for the paint trays to sit on, (as detailed in the palette garage FAQS and Hints).  He then cut the palette garage paint trays to the same length.  We glued the trays to the wood.  He cut another piece of wood and notched a groove into it so it works as a stand for the palette when I work in my studio.  When painting plein air I clip it to my strada with towel clips.
Palette on Strada easel

Bacon Keeper under 12$ on amazon

Palette on stand

Palette in Bacon Keeper

The palette fits perfectly into the bacon keeper that I put into the freezer between sessions.  There is no paint or time wasted and the bacon keeper can sit upright in my backpack or paint bag so paint doesn't slide around.  There is room for 20 colors.  That is enough for my whole palette with room leftover for mixed colors I may need to finish a painting.

So far this has worked out great!  There really is no need to buy a palette garage.  All you need to do is glue a thin piece of wood, (maybe cut from an old wooden palette), onto the little wood block shelves. You do need to have the tools to cut the wood, but other than that it is a very simple DIY project that should cost under 20$.