Paintbrushes, easels, and palette knives are all tools vital to the artist’s creative process. The palette is also a tool that is vital to color-mixing paint and organizing pigment for easy access. Using up a million paper plates for mixing your paint gets old after a while, right? Once you finally buy a palette you’ll wonder why you waited so long to finally get it.

The ideal palette should be large, sturdy, easy to clean, and won’t absorb too much of your medium in the color-mixing process.

Palettes come in many shapes and sizes. Palettes also come in many prices as well. Ultimately, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a palette from a fancy brand name. We’ve put together the four best palettes for your particular painting needs to help narrow down your search. Read on to see what we found!

What to Look for In A Painting Palette

  • Size: The bigger the palette, the better. A lot of space is needed for color mixing for both oil and acrylic paint. It can get really frustrating to run out of space to mix exactly what you want. A tiny palette just won’t cut it, unless you work on very small-scale canvases or need a palette small enough for traveling. A decently sized palette should be at least a square foot, give or take.
  • Easy to clean: There is nothing more gratifying than being able to peel a layer of dried acrylic paint off of your palette in a single sheet. No washing or scrubbing required. Peel-off palettes are a great product for acrylic and oil painting. Simply wait until all the paint remnants on your palette are dry, then peel them off. This may not be a huge game changer for travelling artist who may need to clean their palette immediately for storage. However, if you like to paint at home or a studio, a peel-off palette will work wonders for you.
  • Material: Traditional wooden palettes are very aesthetically pleasing, but plastic is often easier to clean than wood. Wood can also absorb excess oil from oil paints and mediums. Many artists enjoy using disposable palette paper pads as well. The choice is ultimately up to you, but if this is your first palette purchase, this writer suggests using a plastic palette.

Best Overall Palette

Extra Large Peel-Off Palette from Martin Universal

The 4 Best Palettes for Oil and Acrylic Painting

This Extra Large Peel-Off Palette from Martin Universal makes it to the top of the list because it has literally everything you could wanting in a palette. This peel-off palette is easy to clean, large enough to hold a lot of paint, and comfortable to hold.

This 12×17″ palette is designed for both acrylic paint and oil paint. The outer edge of this palette is a deep tray that can hold many different dollops of paint. The center area of the palette is flat and ideal for color-mixing with paintbrushes or palette knives.

The thumb hole makes this lightweight palette great for standing while painting. The flatness of this palettes makes it great for sitting and painting as well.

Sitting at just under $20, this is the most expensive palette on our list. The investment is surely worth it.

Customer Reviews

  • Works great for beginners
  • Work space is wide enough for many colors at once
  • Paints don’t run into each other
  • Really easy to clean and reuse often
  • Paint peels off easily

 


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Best Paper Palette

40-Sheet 9×12 Paper Palette from Darice

The 4 Best Palettes for Oil and Acrylic Painting

Paper palettes are a great choice if you like to travel without a bulky plastic palette and need something more disposable. The 40-Sheet 9×12 Paper Palette from Darice is the product to look into if you’re looking for convenience but want something that won’t pill or fall apart like paper plates.

This tablet features forty tear-away sheets of palette paper designed for use with acrylic, oil, gouache, and their respective mix-in mediums. Each sheet is 9×12″ and is spacious enough for multiple color-mixing spots and paint dollops.

This paper pad has a somewhat low weight at 35lbs, meaning this paper isn’t pressed to be super thick. It really isn’t designed to be cardstock by any means – it is designed to literally be thrown away. There may be some slight bleeding but large amounts of paint will not soak through the sheets.

Customer Reviews

  • Sturdy, thick paper that keeps well
  • Perfect size for different types of painting and drawing
  • Oil does not permeate through paper sheets
  • Nice to not have to wash palettes after use

 


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Best Budget Palette

Wood Palette with Brushes and Knives from Art Advantage

The 4 Best Palettes for Oil and Acrylic Painting

If you want to move on to using a palette for color-mixing but don’t want to invest as little as possible, this Wood Palette with Brushes and Knives from Art Advantage is a good choice.

This palette is made of wood and is in a traditional oval shape with two different thumb holes. Use this palette comfortable standing or sitting. Keep in mind that wood can absorb a lot of oils, so this palette might work better for acrylic painting than oil painting.

This palette is about 11×13″ and is a decent size that can fits several dollops of paint a color-mixing spots. The wood is sturdy and flat.

You also get a three bonus brushes and two plastic palette knives with this palette. Their quality may not be the best, but at $8 it’s worth buying this product for the palette alone.

Customer Reviews

  • Better quality and size than cheaper palettes on the market
  • Makes it easy to mix paints up
  • Great for appearing to work like Bob Ross
  • Allows you to really spread out paints as you work

 


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Best Palette for Travel

Large Watercolor Folding Palette from Rigger Arts

The 4 Best Palettes for Oil and Acrylic Painting

The Large Watercolor Folding Palette from Rigger Arts is designed for the traveling watercolor artist but can be used with acrylic and oil paint as well. This palette is great for the travelling artist or art student.

This handy foldable palette features a thumb hole with a flip cover thumb rest, so you can use it comfortably standing or sitting. There are five large mixing areas for blending pigments together and 24 small rectangular compartments for placing dollops of paint.

The plastic material and rounded corners of each compartment make this palette very easy to clean, but is not peelable. At approximately 10×5″ per side, this palette is on the smaller size but is definitely usable for acrylic paint and oil paint use. It is completely flat when opened, so you don’t have to worry about paint sliding around where you don’t want it to.

The palette itself weighs only 6 ounces, so it is comfortable to hold and light enough for easy travel.

Customer Reviews

  • Palette performs well and keeps paint organized
  • Lightweight but solid construction and feel
  • Great mixing surface for getting just what you need
  • Love the number of paint wells and surface area
  • Ideal for artists who work out in the field or on the go

 


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