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Fidgeting With Paint

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DeRuyter writes:

Just found one on Amazon – shaped like a hex and comes in multiple colors. Grey works great as a paint tray.

So much better than the hard plastic trays!

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19 November 2023page first published

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

I've never had any use for them personally, but kids seem to be crazy about various types of so-called fidgets that let them burn off excess energy by poking, spinning or manipulating these objects.


I noticed a lot of these new (well, new to me) fidgets last back-to-school season, they were everywhere in the big stores and dollar stores.


This fidget is made from silicone, and the idea is that the kid can pop the 'bubbles' in and out, endlessly.


Then word spread that these particular fidgets worked well as paint palettes. The idea is that you drop your paint in one of the bubbles, do your painting using the fidget as a palette…


…then the next day when the paint has dried, you 'pop' the bubble and the dried paint magically comes off.


Or maybe not so magically. It's true that most of the paint comes out easily, if you left enough paint in the pot. But there's usually bits left behind, not exactly stuck to the silicone, but still knocking around (electrostatic attraction?).

To get the fidget cleaner, you can wash it in the sink. The water washes some bits away, and other bits come off if you rub your finger in the bubbles. But I could not get it 100% clean.

Gamers use palettes both as a place to hold paint while you're painting, and also as a surface to mix colors or dilute paint. Dispensing paint into a fidget works best with paint that comes in squeeze bottles (assuming you can hit the bubble). Using the fidget as a mixing surface works, if you can get used to doing so on a curved rather than a flat surface.

Also note that the fidget doesn't work well for brushes larger than the bubble size – that is, that big brush you use for painting terrain.

When you 'pop' the bubble, the piece of dried paint may end up anywhere in your painting area!

The heavy ribs in the design mean that the fidget is best used from opposite ends, or the ribs block your sight of the paint. So use the fidget for a while, turn it around and use the other bubbles, then the next day, flip it over and use the other side.

The fidget doesn't work well with thicker paint, because it is hard to put the paint correctly in the bubble. But I found it worked equally well with several brands of paint, brush-on gloss, washes, and white glue.

If you don't leave enough paint, there won't be enough to form a dried crust, so it won't 'pop out' when you pop the bubble.

These fidgets were already gone from local stores by the time I decided to give one a try, so I bought mine off a Chinese online website. They come in a variety of colors. I bought a white one, which works well for most colors… except white and clear paints, which are hard to see.

I'm not sure this is much improvement over the plastic lids I normally use as paint palettes, but I'll keep using it for a while longer before I make a final decision.