Tirra Lyra

Pittstown, New Jersey

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Announcement    Tirra Lyra is the sound a throstle-bird makes and also what Sir Lancelot sang by the river. With that noted...

Welcome to Tirra Lyra! Thank you for visiting! I sell watercolour palettes and other small designs. If you are interested in a particular combination of colours and/or brands of paint, you can message me to request a quote for a custom filled set. Visit https://www.tirralyra.com/available-watercolour-paints/ to see the available paints.


Last updated on Oct 3, 2021

Tirra Lyra is the sound a throstle-bird makes and also what Sir Lancelot sang by the river. With that noted...

Welcome to Tirra Lyra! Thank you for visiting! I sell watercolour palettes and other small designs. If you are interested in a particular combination of colours and/or brands of paint, you can message me to request a quote for a custom filled set. Visit https://www.tirralyra.com/available-watercolour-paints/ to see the available paints.


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Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
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Quality 23 Shipping 50 Customer service 28

About TirraLyra

Sales 697
On Etsy since 2015

Can it be made small but also not completely unattractive?

One upon a time, I wanted to make things. One of the things I thought would be doable was figuring out a small watercolour palette size. I had seen a few plain plastic palettes, but I wanted the stately feel of something prettier. And so began the adventure of the Tirra Lyra watercolour palettes.

Tirra Lyra gradually expanded to include most of my physical creations, but the watercolour palette is still the best-selling item of all of all of those.

Original Story: One day, as I was trying to figure out a palette for my own watercolour travels, I measured lots of random containers around the house--- Altoid tins, Lancome eyeshadow palettes, business card holders--- and some of the wide, short tin make-up pans I had found seemed just right to fit into the latter two. I went online to look for what might fit inside and happened to find a pan measuring 13 mm on one side. Well, the business card holder had measured 91 mm, and everyone knows that 91 is a multiple of 13! That seemed perfect, and so this idea started. I had to make a few tweaks to the basic designs and get the outers custom-made so that I could assemble it as it ought to be, and now here they are for all of you, too!

Shop members

  • Sophie


    Sophie enjoys creating useful things and pretty things. Ideally, she creates things that are both useful and pretty.

Shop policies

Last updated on July 13, 2020

Accepted payment methods

Paypal Mastercard Visa American Express Discover Apple Pay Klarna Giftcard
Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
I gladly accept returns and exchanges
Contact me within: 14 days of delivery
Ship items back within: 21 days of delivery
I don't accept cancellations
But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
The following items can't be returned or exchanged
Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:
  • Custom or personalized orders
  • Perishable products (like food or flowers)
  • Digital downloads
  • Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)
Returns and exchange details
If an item arrives damaged, please notify me with a photograph of the damage so that I can deal with it accordingly.

I do expect any questions and concerns to be asked or mentioned before purchase. However, if you feel that an item is not as represented, please contact me so that we can try to solve the problem.

Regarding return shipping: I will pay return shipping if the error is mine, such as that I sent you the wrong item. In all other cases, return shipping is your responsibility.
Etsy charges sales tax for items shipped to New Jersey, Washington, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and about 20 other states.

Etsy charges sales tax for items shipped to Australia and possibly other countries as well.

Your country may charge some sort of tax for import. I am not familiar with each country's rules; you are responsible for this.
Domestic shipping is typically done via USPS First Class Mail. It may be boxed or in a poly mailer depending on how heavy or delicate the item is. A single palette is typically mailed in a poly mailer.

An international package is sometimes in a box put into a poly mailer but may be in a poly mailer alone. You are responsible for any customs fees.
Additional policies and FAQs
SPECIAL NOTE: I no longer offer Holbein paint because Holbein's US distributor, HK Holbein, believes it is trademark infringement to sell anything containing Holbein paint in the US if the Holbein paint is not bought directly or indirectly from US distributor.

Regarding art, their lawyer explained that one can only sell paintings that 'utilize' Holbein paint and only pointed me to that statement when I wanted clarification of their stance on paintings which 'contain' Holbein paint, so my read is that they only permit sale in the US of physical and digital copies of paintings, which would be the way to have a "painting" that utilizes but does not contain Holbein paint. I will no longer use Holbein paint myself, because I live in the United States and find their stance very limiting... which now means that I must find a good alternative for watercolour painting on untreated wood.

For good news for those who want to use Holbein paint anyway, HK Holbein's lawyer did confirm (after ignoring the question multiple times) that the formulation of Holbein paint is the same worldwide. This means Holbein paint is reliable! If you liked a tube of Holbein in Japan, you can be assured you are getting the same formulation when you purchase the tube from a US store!

Approximate Sizes of the Pans:

Small Rectangular Pans: 27 mm x 13 mm x 3.5 mm
Medium Square Pans: 26 mm x 26 mm x 3.5 mm
Large Rectangular Pans: 54 mm x 26 mm x 3.5 mm
Extra Large Square Pans: 54 mm x 54 mm x 5 mm

Regarding "as-is" listings: "As-is" items are sold as they are. Pre-filled palettes sold as-is may have the paint shrink further as it continues to dry. This means the paint may end up looking like less than it was, though the pigment is still the same amount.

Notes on the Brass Palettes with Tin-Plated Pans:
---General remark: Do NOT let your palette or the pans stay damp for very long periods. For now, I am going to assume that overly humid climates are not good for these tin-plated pans.
---When filling pans: If your tube paint has separated slightly, it is best to get the liquid part that has no colour out before filling the pans. In my experience, at least with Holbein paints, this clear liquid (the gum arabic) can stay damp for a few months sometimes... and then the pan begins to rust or oxidize.
---When filling pans: I have found that putting the pans to dry with a moisture absorbing bag, like the sort added to food and handbags, seems to help reduce the probability of rust.
---Regarding alternate pans: I have not yet found a very good alternative that is pretty, magnetic, and does not stain, so that is still in progress. Right now, the only alternative to 'tin-plated pan' is 'enameled pan', which has the benefit of a white surface. The 'enameled pan' is a 'tin-plated pan' with an enameled interior. I offer enameled pans as well. Unfortunately, in my tests, they do stain. On the other hand, my plastic palettes stain, too.
---Any slow-drying paint must go in enameled pans for custom fills. As far as I can tell, some Daniel Smith and Sennelier and ALL M. Graham paint dry VERY slowly. In fact, M. Graham does not fully dry even after half a year. The longer period of exposure to higher water content leads to a higher likelihood of oxidation on the pans's edges/rims that I can wipe off but which looks unattractive and I risk wiping it into the still drying paint.

Regarding paint information:

Different brands formulate the same name colour differently. In my listings:

SN = Sennelier
DS = Daniel Smith
MG = M. Graham

Paint numbers allow you to identify the particular paint formulation in the brand.

Paint names serve the same purpose as paint numbers, but they are easier to remember.

Paint series is about the cost of the ingredients in the paint. Higher series have more expensive ingredients, so the paint is more expensive. As far as painting, the series number or letter is irrelevant. However, I include them to help customers understand why I might price the same number of filled pans differently.

Lightfastness is essentially whether you can see the colours today as they will look 100 years from today. Different brands have different lightfastness rating systems. It is ethically responsible to use paints with high lightfastness for your watercolours if you sell them. Imagine the disappointment when someone's new foyer watercolour fades in four months! Use paints with low lightfastness for things you plan to convert to digital formats or for fun.

Pigments tell us what pigments are in the paint. Single pigment paints are easier to mix because there is less to consider; they tend to mix more as you would think they should when you glance only at the paint colours. Multi-pigment paints are still excellent, but you may need to think beyond just the colour you see in the pan to be able to get your desired result when mixing.

I make or assemble things, spray the pans, and hand-pour the paint in my home. For those interested, the following components are from the following places: M Graham and Daniel Smith paints and the magnets are made in the United States. Sennelier paints are made in France. I had the Tirra Lyra brass palette shells manufactured in Taiwan (US manufacturers wanted a much higher minimum quantity to take my order.). The tin-plated pans are purchased in the US, but I have been unable to confirm where they are manufactured.