Artist Paint Palette: Types and Differences

Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences explanation from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.

Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences explanation from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.Paint Palette, also known as Artist's Palette, in the original sense of the word is a rigid, flat, easy-to-clean surface on which a painter arranges and mixes paints.

Paint Palette is a  necessary tool for painting unless you splash or pour your paint directly onto the canvas. Seems like everything is clear here, but you'll be surprised, how many different types of the palette are there! 

And in this article, I want to explain you all those differences and recommend the best palette for Acrylic Paint.

To classify paint palette, we can use two criterions:

1. The position of the palette during the painting: tabletop palette or the one that you hold in your hand;
2. Materials palette is made from: Plastic, Glass, Paper, Wooden Palette.

 

1. The Position of Paint Palette


Holding palette.Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.
This palette is designed to be held in the artist's hand and rest on the arm, with the curved shape and hole for your thumb.  The holding palette comes in right- or left-handed shape.

Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.Tabletop Palette.
This palette is resting on the table or secured on the easel or any other working surface.

There is no right or wrong way, which one to use depends on goals and personal preferences. I like tabletop palettes better because I like both of my hand to be free. also, my hand gets tired of holding. So I only use holding palette when I paint standing.

2. Types of Artist Paint Palette by Material:


Plastic Paint Palette  

Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences explanation from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.Plastic Paint Palette is a great option for many different mediums, including watercolor, oils, and acrylics. The good quality plastic palette is made from high-impact, durable thick, plastic. It's safe to use and easy to clean. Highly recommended, but please, don't buy very cheap plastic palettes, as they will stain after the first use, and you will just waste your money.

This type of Palette comes in the variety of shapes and sizes, with or without lid, so I wrote a separate article dedicated just to this palette and different types of it - Plastic Palette for Acrylic Painting.

Safety Glass Paint Palette  

Regular Glass Palette is a handy and cheap option, however, it is also the most dangerous one. Which is why I do not recommend using regular glass as a palette. On the other hand, Safety Glass Artist's Palette is one of the best options for both oils and acrylics. It's made of tempered glass with additional safety features that make it less likely to break and pose a threat if ever broken.

Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences explanation from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.Safety glass palette is my personal choice when I paint with acrylics. It is nice and smooth, which is great for color mixing and easy on the brush, and after I'm done painting, the paint washes off super easy. This palette is intended to rest on a table surface rather than be held, and I like that it's pretty heavy, so it doesn't shift or move on the table. It's the best if you like to work with large amounts of paint or with painting knife since it has no wells and partitions. I highly recommend this palette - New Wave POSH Glass Artist Palette, although it's expensive, it's a wise investment.

Tip: Retarding medium will help you keep the paint fresh and workable, or you can use a water plant mister to spray water on the paint to keep it wet.

Disposable Paper Palette  

The disposable paper palette is sheet of smooth, heavy white (or gray) paper, that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, with or without thumb hole.  It's meant for quick and easy clean-up, as you use one sheet at the time and throw it away when you are finished.
 
Probably, this option is not the best one out of all the palettes, since it's a continuous purchase of palette pads. I find it to be not very environmentally friendly.  However, there are definitely some situations when you might benefit from this type of palette. Which is why it definitely worth mentioning and considering. If you are interested in this palette, check out Strathmore Series Palette Paper Pad.

Wooden Paint Palette  

Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences explanation from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.Oval Wooden Board Palette is the most commonly known and traditional type of artist palettes. This one is good for oils, however, I do not recommend it for acrylics. The reason is that wood is very hard to clean off the acrylic paint. That is why I'm not going to talk too much about it. You can still give it a try if you find one covered with the durable protective layer, which cleans easily and lasts a while.

In total...


Artist Paint Palette: complete types and differences from Smart Art Materials. Find out what is the best palette for acrylic painting.There are many options to choose from... However, I hope this artist's palette guide has helped you to get the idea of all the diversity. IMHO, safety glass and plastic palettes (peel-off or sta-wet) are the best for acrylic painting.

Tip: if you have no artist's palette around, but you really need something to mix paints on, make it up with whatever you might have on hand - plastic plates, magazines, even mirror.

Tell me, what is your favorite kind?

Cheers,

Olga

4 thoughts on “Artist Paint Palette: Types and Differences

  1. Daniella says:

    Hi Olga,

    My husband is finally learning to paint with colors and now he needs a paint palette so he can paint at home too. His birthday is coming soon, and I think it would be a nice present. I really like the wooden paint palette, it looks professional:) JUst a question, please. What would be best for a beginner, the plastic or the wooden palette? Also, is the wooden washable?

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    • Olga says:

      Hi Daniella. this choice will depend on his medium – if he paints with oils, then wooden palette will work, but if he prefers acrylics, go with plastic or safety glass. 

      I personally use safety glass one and just love it, but plastic palettes are also very convenient and come in a variety of types/shapes – you can read more about it here.

  2. Darla says:

    I really enjoyed your post. I never knew there were that many different types of pallets. I am a big crafter. I am also a huge fan of painting. I don’t paint pictures as such, but I have done some amateur painting and I would have to say my favorite would be glass. I have used plastic and I find them difficult to clean. I feel that the paint cleans up easier on glass. Even my crafting table at home is glass because I can clean pretty much anything off of it. Wood does not clean up as nice either. Great post.

    • Olga says:

      Hi Darla, I agree with you that the glass is one of the best palettes and is super easy to clean, and this is what I’m personally using for painting. Plastic is tricky that way, but if you get a high quality plastic palette, especially the peel-off one, it is also pretty easy to clean. 

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