I do not like palettes. I’ve tried! I have! But there are big chunks of the color wheel that I simply cannot/will not wear around my eyes (mostly strong and deep warm tones), and when you eliminate those AND hues I’ve already got close dupes of — plus the fact that I don’t like working with giant cases — that means most of them would be a waste of money and storage space for me.

However! Despite my adoration for cream shadows, I’ve started making friends with pressed powder formulas again. They’re messier (ugh, fallout), but they can also be easier to layer, and of course I don’t have to worry about them drying out. I’ve purchased a bunch of ColourPop singles and have my eye on some from MUG and Nabla, which means I needed something to put them in. Which means I’ve got a couple of ColourPop’s inexpensive-yet-pretty-nice magnetic cardboard palettes…

THE PROS : A very manageable non-enormous 4 x 5″ and holds 12 of CP’s shadows or any of a similar size; just seven bucks.

THE CONS : It’s kinda boring, and since my makeup is on the bathroom sink, I’m nervous about accidentally putting it down in a puddle. Yeah it’s got a glossy coated surface, but it’s still just paper.


There’re plenty of things you could do to ~protect and enhance~ the surface of your palette — stickers, enamel spray paint, patterned duct tape. I went with fabric because FANCY and also it was fun to do.


An empty palette, with a flat surface that wraps smoothly all the way around the top to bottom, like a book cover.

Steam-A-Seam or similar double-sided fusible interfacing. You can use sheets and cut them into narrow strips, or be cool lazy like me and use the kind that’s a quarter-inch or half-inch wide roll (here’s quarter-inch for $5.86 on Amazon).

A ruler and tape measure.

An iron or other hot flat thing.

A hardcore glue that sets in a reasonable amount of time. I’m using E-6000 ($10.15 / 3.7oz on Amazon) because it’s FREAKING AMAZING and will glue damn near anything to anything, and it sets pretty fast.

Mod Podge or similar. I’m using Glitter Mod Podge because GLITTER. You’ll want something that won’t tint or discolor your fabric, and will absorb into it well. (I wouldn’t recommend polyurethane for this.)

Small binder clips or similar (not 100% necessary, but recommended).

Enough fabric to cover your palette in one big piece! Recommendations : You want something that’s quite thin and flat (not highly textured or knobbly), woven (rather than knit) or otherwise not very stretchy, and it should be able to survive a little heat. Size-wise, you’ll need the dimensions of your cover plus about a half inch on each side. My palette’s lid dimensions are about 5 3/8″ wide, and about 4 1/8″ tall, plus about 1/2″ for the spine. So, I cut a piece of fabric 6 3/8″ wide, and 9 3/4″ long (to wrap from top front edge to back, over the spine, and down around to the bottom front edge). Cut a little extra because you can always trim it while in progress!


First, test your fabric with your Mod Podge. Some fabrics will look significantly darker after ModPodging, even after it’s fully dried. I tried out a silver-grey silk shantung, and it darkened to charcoal, so nah, let’s go with this hilariously gaudy blue shit with fake sequins on it.

Cut your fabric to the correct size. Cut a piece of your Steam-A-Seam to fit along the edge that goes on the top front edge of your palette. Press it onto the very edge of the back side of your fabric, and peel off its backing tape (this stuff is lightly sticky on both sides for easy use, woo).

Fold down that edge and press the seam flat, then go over it quickly with an iron or similar to activate the permanent adhesive. (I used a little electric heat tool for applying foils and such to paper, because I didn’t feel like dealing with the iron.) If your fabric is very delicate, cover it with a sheet of clean paper or a pillow case before pressing. You don’t need a ton of heat to set this stuff, and besides, we’re going to be glueing the shit out of it anyway. Also you can trim off the very corner of your fabric (see upper right corner below) to kinda minimize the bulk of the finished corner there.

Now do the same thing with one of the side edges — stick on seam tape, remove backing, fold and press, iron. THEN take your fabric panel with two “hemmed” edges, and position it on your palette. Hold an edge down and see how much the fabric wants to stretch/give, and use that info to decide whether you’ll need to trim down your other side edge more. Don’t pull hard to stretch it across — we do want a nice snug fit with no creases, but we don’t want a lot of strain on the fabric when it’s glued down, which could encourage it to come loose. Mark where your other side edge should be, trim if necessary, and then do the same seam tape / fold n press / iron routine to finish that second side edge. Now you’ve got the front edge and both sides done!

THEN, we’re going to attach ONLY the top front edge. Glue both surfaces : put a very thin dotted-on line of glue very close to the bottom edge of your front seam, and another very thin line close to the front edge of your palette’s top lid. Press down firmly, and clamp the edges with binder clips to hold in place while it dries. If you don’t have binder clips, or your palette’s surface doesn’t have a little overhanging lip like this, you can simply stick a piece of waxed paper or clear plastic over it and stick a heavy book on top for as long as it takes your chosen glue to set.

Once the front edge is totally dry and firmly secured to the palette, do the same thing along the other three sides of the top surface — thin tiny dotted glue line on both fabric edge and palette edge, tug ‘n’ arrange as necessary, press, secure with clips or heavy flat thing while it sets.

NOW, pull the fabric panel around the back side of your palette, and do the glue-dots-on-both-surfaces, position, press, clamp on the left and right sides of the palette’s bottom. NOTE : your final fabric edge is still unhemmed here so you can ensure a good fit. That means you should STOP the glue lines about half an inch or so before the palette’s bottom front edge. Three things here : 1) you DO want to put glue dots along the bottom edge of the palette next to its spine/hinge. 2) You do NOT want to glue the fabric to the spine surface itself — leave that little 1/2 thick area bare, much like the spine of a hardcover book. Gluing the fabric down on the spine can make it crease and crack, and it’s not necessary anyway. 3) Do NOT glue down the bottom front edge, obvs, as we still need to “hem” it.

For the bottom front edge, figure out how your fit is. If you’ve got a ton of excess fabric length, trim as needed. I didn’t bother with the hem tape on this edge — I just trimmed my fabric, folded it under for a clean edge, and applied the thin glue-dot line as before, then clamped it.

Since my fabric has little printed dots of plastic mimicking sequins, it’s kinda hard to fold/crease unless you’re on a non-dotted part, so I had to stretch it a little to get a good fit — thus the profusion of binder clips holding it down so I’d have a straight level edge with no warped or saggy areas.

Once your glue is totally dry, MOD PODGE THAT SHIZ. I find it’s helpful if I let a little bead of Mod Podge gather between the fabric-panel edges and the edges of the palette’s lid, to make a solid seal and a clean edge (not so much that it drips, obvs). Do the top surface, let dry completely (this takes an hour or so, depending on your fabric and how thickly you apply the Mod Podge), then do the back and a light coat on the spine (I tried not to put mine on so heavily that it adhered to the cardboard). You can double-coat it if you like, but be sure to really work the Mod Podge into the fabric — it seals it, protects it, and completely adheres it to the surface of your palette!

OMG IT’S DONE, and it’s FABULOUS. Let’s have a video :

That is some serious disco shit going on there. WOO.

Ever reupholstered a compact? Glad I didn’t call this post “Pimp My Palette”? DISCUSS. And also it’s Friday so consider this your craft-themed open thread! <3