Painting and art are great ways to be creative in expression.
Artists often work away day and night to create the best piece of work for themselves and people around the world to enjoy and feel inspired by.
But to do so, an artist first needs their most important of implements.
These include a medium, the type of material they will use to create the colors and imagery.
Oil paint, watercolor, crayons, charcoal, pencil, pens, and acrylic paint are all mediums.
A base can be a canvas, clay, paper, wood, or any material you can get your hands on and often depends on the medium you will use.
When using paints, an artist also needs brushes, unless they use their hands or another applicator, depending on the art.
But in some cases, more important than brushes is the palette. Even if you paint with your fingers or other applicators, you will usually always need a palette to paint.
How can you know what palette to use, which one is the best, and which works best for you and your artistic requirements?
I have compiled a list after extensive research and dedicated testing to find out which palette is the best of the best for acrylic paint.
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Need To Get Going?
If you are in dire need of speedy answers, perhaps if your old palette broke or if you’re a student and you just realized that you haven’t got one days before you start your course, don’t worry.
You don’t need to search any further to find the answers to your questions.
I have all the information you will need on our top pick right here – what I consider the best and most useful palette for acrylic painting.
I consider the best palette for acrylic paint to be the Masterson Sta-Wet Palette, the reasoning is in the name.
This palette is not only made from exquisite materials, but it also gives multiple means of assistance in stopping your paints from drying out when they’re not in use.
It features a patented sponge and permeable palette paper to give you the best quality in your paints and your palette an extended acrylic longevity.
This palette is highly suitable for artists of all levels of expertise as it offers a tray structure in which to add many colors while keeping your paints from drying out to offer you the best possible lifespan so no paints go to waste.
Not only that, but the paper is permeable which is rare in many products as so many makers will try to avoid this, but it helps to ensure the paints say wet.
- Keeps your paint moist.
- Saves on paint – minimal wastage.
- Paper that is included is washable and reusable for maximum efficiency.
- 1. Best Overall – Masterson Sta-Wet Palette
- 2. Best for Versatility – Strathmore 300 Series Palette
- 3. Best Traditional- Jack Richeson Wooden Palette
- 4. Best for Educators – Owevvin Plastic Tray Palette
- 5. Best for Beginners on a Budget – Centstar Round Tray Palette
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
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Looking for something that makes painting less of a stress with no worries of your paints drying out while you paint or while you take a quick coffee break?
Our top pick is the best of best when it comes to retaining paint quality and keeping your paints ready for hours.
Gone are the days when you would return to a color after an hour and have to break that dry skin that formed over the top of a blob of paint or have to recreate your color after it has dried out.
As the name of the palette says, it is made to prevent your paints from drying out and keeps them moist and wet, just as you need them to be.
Paint longevity is a top priority for Masterson.
The palette itself features a sponge and a series of permeable palette paper that work in tandem to keep the paint moist.
It also features a lid that keeps air from getting to the paints during times of inactivity, keeping the air from drying out the paints and maintaining their moistness for longer.
When this quality is paired with the one large sponge and the five palette paper sheets it works wonders.
Simply wet the sponge by running it under tap water and insert it into the box, then place the palette paper on top, and you’re all done and ready to get painting.
Do be mindful that you may incur extra costs if you intend on using the product long term as you may have to invest in additional palette paper on a more regular basis.
It may be worthwhile to buy extra paper in bulk.
One of the best parts of this set is the paper.
The paper is permeable, which is somewhat surprising as many artist supply makers avoid permeable paper and try to create mostly impermeable products.
But this permeability is essential in this case to keeping your paints moist.
You can save money on the papers too, as they are washable and reusable. However, they will not last forever.
Investing in spare sheets is always a wise move; just in case you run out or one doesn’t survive the wash, you’ll always have a spare ready.
However, this reusable quality does cut down on costs and save money.
- Moistens paints for a long time.
- Washable and reusable palette paper.
- Keeps art supply costs down – no buying extra paint because it keeps drying out.
- Unique style and creation.
- You will have to deal with a wet sponge.
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Perhaps you are looking for something a little different. Not all artists like to use the same materials and painting equipment, and that may apply to you.
Sometimes a palette can feel too cumbersome, or maybe you find the idea of holding something as you paint awkward and difficult.
Typical palettes are not for everyone, and for that reason Strathmore has become inventive and innovative in their products and created the 300 Series Palette Paper.
It is by far one of the best options on the market for if you require a mixing surface but just are not a palette person.
This palette type is made from paper and is much like having a normal painting pad but without the absorption, fast drying out, and other issues that would prevent you from using your regular paper as a palette surface.
These sheets are also disposable and recommended to buy for one-time use applications.
They are made of high-quality paper, and for that reason replacing them may be rather costly.
But if this style of the palette is for you, it is worth it.
The paper is 67 gsm (slightly thinner than notebook paper), which makes it sturdy enough for mixing paints.
It also tears easily should you need to tear bits off for certain work, colors, or smaller projects.
One side also features a wax coating which will prevent any seeping or leaking that you may find if you attempted to use a regular painting paper for the same purpose.
It is versatile and can be used on top of a conventional palette should you need to.
This could be useful if you like holding a palette or having a more movable palette surface while also maintaining the no-problem cleanup status of palette paper.
It is a great substitute for traditional palettes, it makes mixing paints easy, and it doesn’t feel cheap to the touch.
You can get it in different sizes too. The smaller size is best used for more casual applications, while the large size best suits professional painting projects.
You’ll also like how disposable it is, cutting out the trips to the sink to wash out your paint palettes and the scrubbing at dried up paint blotches on your palette.
- Easy mixing.
- Different sizes are available.
- Wax coating to prevent seeping and leakages.
- Easily tearable if required.
- It is not easy to hold like a traditional palette.
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Maybe you are seeking a blast from the past that will make you feel like Pablo Picasso or Leonardo Da Vinci while you paint away.
Seeking an affordable palette that will help motivate you to keep on when you get artist’s block can be seen as a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be – not with the Jack Richeson wooden palette.
This traditional painting palette, with a simplistic yet stylish feel, will take you back in time to the painters of the past who inspire and motivate us.
It is the same as the palettes used through centuries of artistic creativity and reminds us that sometimes less is more.
It’s available in six different style options that range from 9 x 12 inches to 18 x 26 ½ inches with four available shape options that include rectangular, oval, and two options for left-handed and right-handed individuals.
You’ll enjoy this easy style with extra thumbhole reinforcement for stability.
The wooden material helps to keep your paint in place, as the wood is well polished and has no protrusions or shape edges.
The wood holds the paint nicely in place so your paint won’t slide out easily should you tip the palette slightly while working.
This is exactly why wood has been a favored choice for palette material for centuries.
Though the extra wood for the thumbhole helps your stability when holding the palette, this does mean that it doesn’t sit too well on flat surfaces.
However, it does make it easier to pick up than totally flat palettes, which can be awkward and difficult.
- The paint stays where you put it even when tilted.
- Many options are available for all.
- Edges need smoothing.
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Perhaps you are an educator of young and new artists who are just starting out in the world of art and you need palettes that can be bought in bulk, stored easily, and will match their creative skills as they develop from amateurs to professionals.
The Owevvin Tray Palettes are ideal for this, as they are widely used and applicable for many types of paint including, watercolor, acrylic, oil, gouache, propylene, and more.
This type of palette is widely used in educational art classes and schools as not only are they ideal for beginners but they’re also easy to clean regardless of whether the palette is wet or dry.
They provide a great user experience with 10 wells, which is great for mixing and separating color pigments as students learn how to do so.
They are also small and lightweight for painters of every age and skill set, making them easy to hold for long periods.
Their size and stackability make them convenient for storage and space saving as well as adding a portability factor.
These are especially great for schools and art classes with 20 plastic paint trays with thumbholes and the bonus of durability.
- Great investment for educational facilities.
- Easy to clean.
- Many palettes – not suitable for individuals.
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If you are a beginner looking for a starter palette or if you often find that you use such an array of colors at once that one regular palette is not enough, these round palettes may be the answer.
Because it comes in a large pack for a very small price, this is the optimum option for beginners.
It includes 15 rounded, plastic tray palettes for artists of every level of skill set, from pro to student to hobbyist.
Including 10 wells and one central reservoir for mixing, this rounded palette is a great choice for holding and mixing colors.
This palette selection is also used very often in educational settings.
The material of this palette is made from nontoxic and environmentally friendly plastic, is firm and durable in structure, and is designed not to break so you’re prepared for possible accidents.
They are also comfortable to hold and use even for young children. They’re also stackable, which can make storing and transporting them easy.
They offer easy mixing and have a slick glaze, so they are simple to clean, and they prevent any paint from absorbing into the surface and staining the palette.
- Very affordable.
- Easy washing.
- 10 wells.
- Best for beginners and students only.
Not all palettes will come with wells. As we have seen, some are perfectly flat, and some, like our overall favorite, have a shallow box shape.
Whether you need wells or not is totally up to you and your artistic tastes. If you are methodized in your painting, you may benefit from having a palette with wells.
However, if you are more free spirited in your painting, you may lean toward a spartan-styled palette.
Shape and Size
Palettes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Experiment and find one that suits you best.
Some artists may work at a table, and so for them, a rectangular palette would be most useful.
Some artists may prefer to stand before an easel, and therefore an oval palette with a thumbhole would be more apt.
While plastic is the most common material, there are many other options available for palettes.
There are premium options, which are usually either safety glass or wood.
However, if you are on a budget and do not seek a specific traditional or high-end style, plastic is probably the best.
Thumbholes are only really a requirement for standing-based work. If you are sitting, you will not require a palette with a thumbhole.
Palettes with thumbholes are for the most part oval.
Be sure that it is not too rough as you want your thumb to sit comfortably when you are painting, especially for extended periods.
Reoccurring costs are a major factor in paper palettes, which are essentially just hard paper.
They will incur more costs as they are usually disposable and you will need to frequently buy more.
If you do not want to endure the extra costs, then it is best to buy a traditional palette.
However, if you do not mind these extra costs, paper palettes can be a fantastic purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use a Wooden Palette for Acrylic Paint?
While you can use a wooden palette for acrylic paint, it may not always be advisable unless you are happy with the extended cleanup time.
Acrylics are rather lenient as they are water based and clean up fairly well when wet or dry.
However, wooden palettes are porous, so they may make clean up tougher. For an easier clean up with acrylics look for glass or plastic palettes.
Will a Wet Palette Thin Paint?
The short answer is yes, it can thin paint. It dilutes the paint and also keeps it wetter for longer, which helps to avoid fast and unwanted drying.
If your paint needs extensive thinning, using a wet palette can do this for you as it will automatically thin your paints.
If you have a lid for your wet palette, it can also help keep your paints moist for days or even weeks.