A Brief Interlude – Paint Tabs


“A pause between the acts of a play.”

Or in this case, between posts!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but do all painters do something like this?

I wanted a quick and easy method to enable me to find exactly the colour I was looking for. I also wanted something to help me compare colours, both to each other and to source material.

Here’s what I came up with… Paint Tabs!

I’d just finished making some dividers for Marvel Champions The Card Game and I had some offcuts left over.

Marvel dividers
The dividers I’d just finished.

To make the dividers, I’d printed the images on a sheet of self-adhesive matt photo paper, which was then stuck to an A4 sheet of 2mm greyboard. The offcuts were all unprinted, and these turned out to provide a great foundation for acrylic paint.

Marvel dividers
Here’s the materials along with the offcuts.

I cut these up into small tabs, approximately 2cm x 1cm, painted the end and wrote the make and name on.

I then stuck a small piece of magnetic tape to the rear, and used an old metal sign for a board… simples!

Paint Tabs
I’ve still got a few more paints to do, but I’m getting there.

Being magnetic means they’re easy to move around and re-arrange, useful when deciding on the palette for a miniature.

I can also pick them off to compare to an image, like I did here with Spider-Man.

Paint Tabs
Handy for comparing to source material. (These are actually a closer match than it appears in the image!)

These have proved to be really useful, in fact I’d be lost without them. I can glance at my board and find exactly what I want, no more shuffling through the paints trying to find a specific shade of blue or red, and it makes choosing layers a quick and easy process.

It’s great for comparing the colours of differing manufacturers, like GW and Vallejo, and it’s easy to see how the paint looks under different lighting.

Paint Tabs
Also handy for seeing how colours will work together.

As I said, I don’t know if this is something everyone else does or not, but it’s certainly helped me, so I though I’d share the love!

7 thoughts on “A Brief Interlude – Paint Tabs

  1. Luke, that is way too organised! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For me, it certainly is, thanks.
      I’ve been called many things in my life before but I don’t think organised is one of them… neither is Luke come to think of it, lol 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I only follow two blogs with meeple in their title, so you wouldn’t think that’d be enough to confuse anyone would you? I thought Luke over at Start Your Meeples was organising himself to get ready to paint his boardgame figures/meeples, hence my comment above! Doh! Fortunately, that hat with the big D on it is always to hand, so I’m wearing it now whilst sitting in the corner of the room! Sorry about that, Justin, but if it brought a smile to your face it was worth it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lol, certainly made me smile.
        Maybe it’s a sign of the times, we’re all turning into a Coronadunce!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen a similar process, not with magnets though. Most the ones I’ve seen are paint swatches in a blank book.

    I use what I call ‘test strips’ l, I can share a link where I posted it if you’re curious. Paper doesn’t always give you the same texture/background layer so I took to buying Mini bits, glued them to some card stock, and primed. Then I’ll paint color schemes on them or sometimes just paint. I’ve got several strips that have all of the Contrast Paints for example. One with a cream and another with a grey primer. I have too many paints to do them all right now, but it’s helpful for testing things out when I need it.

    Another handy tip is to prime the top of the bottle and then paint a dab of paint on top. That also gives you a close approximation of your color and I use that to compare colors quite often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think everyone develops their own little methods for this. I started with painting the tops of the bottles, which helps in finding the right pot at a glance, but found it hard to compare them together – I wanted something a little larger that could be grouped to see how colours worked together.
      I’ve painted on to matt photographic paper, I found it gives a ‘truer’ colour representation than normal paper.
      The magnets on the back are just handy, as I have a large metal tool cupboard on my painting desk and I have them stuck to that so they’re easy to see and use.
      I like your idea, having pieces of minis painted up, especially for contrast paints – can’t really represent them on paper!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, I like the magnet idea and see how that could be really useful. One of my first thoughts was instead of writing down colors I used on a model right away, in my ‘painting diary’, I could just stick those colors on a magnet board and then recited them at a later point. Probably really helpful if I had a magnet with dry erase to note which mini I had painted too.

        Right now I tend to leave the bottles out instead, thinking I’ll go back and jot things down before I put the paints away. But that hasn’t happened regularly as of late.


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