Palette knives, also known as painting knives, seem to be an aspect of painting that few people utilize. Not only do palette knives make the color-mixing process easier, but they can also be used to actually paint as well.
There’s a plethora of tutorials and classes online dedicated to teaching the art of knife painting. The tool itself isn’t so different from the brush or pen. Learning how to use a palette knife for painting could be surprisingly adventurous and fun.
Palette knife painting isn’t so niche, either. Famous painters include Bob Ross, Rembrandt, Fragonard, Courbet, and Riopelle all used painting knives in their work.
Palette knives are pretty easy to find and use, but many brands produce flimsy or ill-shaped knives. It’s important to find a set from a reputable brand that will last for a long time.
Are you interested in learning how to paint with knives or in need of replacing your worn-out set? Read on to learn about our top five palette knife sets for painting and color-mixing!
5-Piece Stainless Steel Spatula Palette Knife from Marrywindix
5-Piece Plastic Palette Knife Set from Multicraft Imports
4-Piece Professional Freestyle Large Scale Knives from Liquitex
12-Piece Palette Painting Knife Set with Case from Sculpt Pro
What to Look for In Your Palette Knives
- Knife shape and size variety: There are different types of palette knives. Whether you like to use palette knives as a painting tool or for mixing paint, purchasing a set with varied shapes and sizes is important. Varied shapes can create unique strokes when used for painting, and varied sizes are helpful for mixing small or large amounts of paint. Palette knives usually come in round, pointed, angled, and flat shapes.
- Material: Palette knives are primarily made of metal with wooden handles, but can also be made of plastic as well. A metal knife has the flexibility needed to paint easily and mix the paint well but also runs the risk of rusting. Rust could seep into your paint and change the color of the pigment. Plastic palette knives aren’t nearly as flexible, but they also won’t rust. Ultimately metal knives are the better choice. However, if you paint with very watery mediums like watercolor or gouache, using a plastic palette knife would be less risky.
- Price: Palette knives are pretty cut-and-dry. If you find a set of palette knives that are flexible, varied in shape and size, and don’t immediately fall apart, you should probably buy that set of palette knives. Overpaying for such a simple tool is unnecessary.
Top 4 Best Palette Knives To Have In Every Artist’s Arsenal
Now you know what to look for, it’ll be easier for you to decide on what the different brands have to offer. Whether or not you’re a beginner, it’d be best to pick one that suits your needs. That said, take a look at what we have on our list.
Here are the best palette knife sets for mixing paint or for painting your masterpiece!
1. Marrywindix 5-Piece Stainless Steel Spatula Palette Knife – Best Overall Palette Knives
At the top of our list, the 5-Piece Stainless Steel Spatula Palette Knife from Marrywindix is the palette knife set that has it all. All five pieces are made from stainless steel, are fairly inexpensive, and feature a nice range of shapes and sizes.
This specific set of palette knives is used for mixing pigments, but you can definitely use them for knife painting as well.
The knife sizes included are 3.8 cm, 4.9 cm, 6.2 cm, 7.5 cm, and 9 cm. The handles of each palette knife are made of a fine lacquered wood and are labeled for your convenience.
This set of palette knives from Marrywindix is made from quality material, has great flexibility, and features a great selection of sizes.
- Extremely comfortable while in hand, easy to maneuver
- Just the perfect amount of flex and rigidness
- Good assortment of sizes and shapes
- The ideal price point for basic needs
- Easy to clean
- Good quality, won’t break under pressure
2. Multicraft Imports 5-Piece Plastic Palette Knife Set – Best Plastic Palette Knives
If you’re looking for a plastic set of palette knives, look no further. The 5-Piece Plastic Palette Knife Set from Multicraft Imports is inexpensive, has a nice variety of shapes, and gets the job done.
Most palette knife sets include a round knife and a few variations of angled knives. This set includes angled, flat, diamond-shaped, and round knives. The variety makes this set ideal for painting.
Just keep in mind that plastic may not hold up as long as metal knives after scraping paint against a canvas repeatedly. At this price, you’re not making a huge investment in this set either. If you’re a beginner, this set will work great for you.
The plastic material of this set also allows for easy cleaning.
- Great budget knives when money is tight
- Excellent price for what you get
- Does the trick with nothing fancy
- Easy to get used to using
3. Liquitex 4-Piece Professional Freestyle Large Scale Knives – Best Palette Knives for Large-Scale Painting
If you enjoy creating large-scale paintings or murals, these 4-Piece Professional Freestyle Large Scale Knives from Liquitex would be great for your larger-than-life paintings.
Liquitex makes fantastic tools for artists and students of all mediums. Because of their quality and durability, Liquitex’s products are often a little on the pricey side. However, you won’t have to deal with wasting time and money on products that fall apart easily if you buy from them.
This knife set definitely takes the cake when it comes to quality. The ergonomically designed handles add extra comfort and grip while painting.
This set of four painting knives comes on a ring and features sizes #2, #6, #11, and #13. The shapes included are round, angled, diamond-shaped, and flat.
This set works especially well with acrylic paint and mediums but can be used with whatever type of paint or pigment you’d prefer.
- Great for applying textures to work
- Wonderful size and application shapes
- Well worth the price
- Easy to work fast while using these knives
- Durable points without being too sharp
- Not as flexible as some of the cheaper ones
4. Sculpt Pro 12-Piece Palette Painting Knife Set with Case – Best Palette Knives for Traveling
The traveling artist can’t settle for just any painting product. The 12-Piece Palette Painting Knife Set with Case from Sculpt Pro is the best palette knife set for the artist on the go.
This 12-piece set of diverse painting knives comes with a zipper carrying case with fitted sleeves for each knife to keep them together and not all over your bag. Each knife is made of fine stainless steel, brass, and oak wood. These Italian style palette knives have a deep bend at the ferrule and are very flexible, making them ideal to paint with.
The size variety in this set is really fantastic. Included are flat, pointed, angled, diamond-shaped, and rake-shaped palette knives. The sizes are quite varied as well. This particular set is designed for painting, but it’s also great for color-mixing as well.
- Easy to use quickly or while on the go
- Knives are flexible but not still give you the structure to work with
- Better quality than cheap plastic ones
- Love the variety of knife tips and styles
- Gives great tension and utility while painting
You might be interested in the best palettes for oil and acrylic painting, check our list here.