How I use a Masterson's Sta-Wet Palette:
This is what has always worked for me and I have used the Sta-Wet Palettes for 19 years! I use this palette for all my techniques that require moist paint and floated color techniques. I feel it is the key to creating my soft, translucent shading, especially in my Shaded Wash Technique.
If you have time, separate the paper included with the palette or at least five sheets if you are using a refill package and soak in very hot water for about 15 minutes. Place them all in the bottom of your palette, place the wet, yellow sponge on top and replace the lid until you are ready to use the palette. Flip the sponge and one sheet of wet paper over and wipe off the excess water on top of the paper. You are now ready to paint and have other sheets ready for when you need them. I use this method when teaching a seminar or attending one as a student. I am wasteful at these times and throw the sheets away instead of cleaning and reusing them! Since the sheets are reusable on both side and can be reused over and over (I use them until they finally develop a hole), at home I usually let those extra sheets I prepared dry out. When I need a new sheet all I have to do is run hot water over the dried sheet and I am ready to paint. I generally do five sheets at a time when I condition them but I have a friend, Bill DeLoach, who prepares a whole refill package of fifty at one time!
If I am in a hurry and need an new one NOW, I let very hot water run over the sheet until it turns translucent, then place it on top of my wet sponge and wipe off the excess water on the surface.
Always use hot water to condition as the paper contains cotton fibers and hot water will penetrate the fibers easily.
If the sponge begins to be a bit stinky, run it through the pots and pans cycle on your dishwasher. I usually do this as a matter of course, after completing a project. Just stick it down in the silverware tray. I keep extra sponges on hand so I am never without a clean sponge. Do not use any type of chlorine bleach on the sponge, as it will begin to dissolve the sponge!