Palette Knife vs Painting Knife

Painting Knife, as well as Palette Knife, are incredible tools to add to your art arsenal! Use them for mixing paint or for applying thick, textured paint directly on the canvas.

So what is the difference?
Painting knife is a painting tool.
Palette knife is a color mixing tool.

Painting Knife

painting_knivesPainting Knives are used in place of a brush for applying paints and paste directly onto the canvas or another painting surface. You can achieve fantastic color transitions and create a range of marks, strokes, and effects. Painting knives are blunt with a slightly flexible steel blade and no sharpened cutting edge. Between the handle and the blade, there is usually a large crank, to keep the artist’s hand off the paint surface. Painting knives come in a range of shapes, styles, and sizes

How to choose a painting knife
When buying a painting knife, choose the one with a flexible blade, one which has a good spring to it. The handle should be smooth, has a nice grip, and comfortable to hold. Make sure that the handle and the blade are firmly attached to avoid wasting paint or accidents.

How to use a painting knife
Using a painting knife is easy, just like spreading butter on sliced bread. Get some paint from your palette on your knife and spread the paint on the canvas. You can use both sides of the painting knife. Be creative, experiment, and you will definitely get different interesting effects.

How to clean a painting knife
After using a painting knife, use a clean cloth to wipe off the paint. Use another cloth to completely clean the tool. If the paint has already dried, scrape off the paint using a blunt knife and a damp cloth. A painting knife with a stainless steel blade is more forgiving if you forgot to clean it immediately after painting. However, if the blade is made of steel, it is prone to rust if neglected.

Palette Knife

palette_knivesPalette Knives are often been confused with painting knives. But there is a word “palette” in its name for a reason –  this knife is designed for mixing paints and mediums directly on the palette before applying them to a surface. Yet, you should consider that people often say “palette knife” meaning the painting one. They always come with a very flexible steel blade and no sharpened cutting edge. Palette knives are symmetric, but often with a slight crank between the handle and the blade.

How to choose a palette knife
Choose a palette knife with a metal blade and wood handle. Try to avoid a plastic palette knife since it breaks easily. It may be inexpensive than a professional palette knife, but if you are planning to use this tool for a long time, buy once but good quality, go with the metal one which is sturdier and can effectively do the work.

How to use a palette knife
Squeeze paints on your palette. Get a little paint from the colors that you want to blend using the palette knife. Dab, flatten and mix the colors together until the color is uniform. If you are adding another color to the blended paints, clean the palette knife first using a cloth or paper towel before getting the third paint color.

How to clean a palette knife
Cleaning a palette knife is similar to a painting knife. Use a damp cloth to remove the paint from the palette knife.


800px-couteau_a_peindrePainting and palette knives are both super effective tools!
1. Never ever use your paintbrush for mix paints, as this is going to destroy the bristles – always use the palette knife for this purpose.
2. Using painting knife will give you the opportunity to achieve new effects in color blending, painterly and expressiveness, as well as relief and texture of the painting. Over time, you can purchase various decorative shapes painting knives for special effects.


Palette knife Painting knife
My painting knife artwork