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Homesthetics

8 Best Palettes For Acrylic Paint & How to Choose What You Need




Artists are a talented bunch of people.

Contrary to popular belief, they toil day and night to create those breathtaking masterpieces; masterpieces which break the dull monotony of life, inspire us and stir our imagination.

Of course, for being such skilled crafts-persons, they need to have the right implements. Given their finesse, it is natural for them to get picky about their stationery. Pens, brushes, paper, canvas, models, pencils, you name it.

Wait, did we mention palettes yet? A palette is what an artist pours paint on to dab his brush into, and, as you’ve guessed, it’s indispensable to any artistic endeavor which involves paint and a brush.

Choosing this all-important palette can be a daunting and challenging task, given how competitive the market is. Fortunately, we’re here to help, as we’ve rounded up the ten best palettes for acrylic paint.

So, let’s get started!

Best Palettes For Acrylic Paint 

  1. Darice Acrylic Painting Palette

We’re kicking this list off with the Darice Acrylic Painting Palette. This product comes from Darice, a manufacturer of craft supplies which has been in the business for about 60 years now.

This palette is made of plastic and is aimed squarely at organizing your paints. Read on to know more about it.

Sale
Darice 97789 13-Inch-by-10-Inch, 20-Well Palette
  • 20 WELL PALETTE - The large, 13"x10", plastic, 20 well...
  • GREAT FOR MIXING COLORS - With 20 wells, you can keep your...
  • FOR FINE ARTISTS, CRAFTERS AND KIDS - Fine artists, student...
  • STURDY AND WASHABLE - The palette is made of sturdy white...

The Darice measures 13 x 10 inches in size and is big enough for most applications, casual and professional. It comes with 20 “wells,” 8 of which are small and circular, another 8 are depressed rectangles, and the remaining are large and circular.

Darice claims that the palette is suitable for holding oil, acrylic as well as watercolor paints. It retails for around 5 dollars on Amazon, which is just as well, as it features minimal distinguishing features.

Experience

In our experience, the Darice proved itself to be a proper old-school, no-nonsense palette that’s easy on the wallet.

We found the sorting and organization system to be very well thought-out, especially the depressed rectangular wells, which do a great job of holding watercolors.

The wells also make it easy to mix colors, and given that you can hold 20 paints at once, it’s suitable for applications which need a large number of colors.

The construction is nothing to write home about, as it is made of plastic, which seems neither durable nor premium. However, it’s not supposed to be, as this is one of the cheapest palettes on the market today.

Moreover, the construction of the palette is not prone to soaking the paints, and it makes washing the palette easy.

Pros
  • 20-well organization system is convenient
  • Suitable for casual and professional applications
  • Easily washable
  • Very light on the wallet
  • Round edges do not harm brushes
Cons
  • No real distinguishing features

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

  1. Amaco Paragona Glass Palette

The second item on our list is Amaco’s Paragona Glass Palette. This palette is, as you’ve guessed, made of glass, but it’s no ordinary glass. It’s made of safety glass, which does not crumble away even if it breaks.

Read on to find out more about it.

AMACO Paragona Glass Table Top Palette with White Vinyl...
  • Made of shatter resistant tempered glass
  • The smooth surface of glass causes less brush wear
  • Great for mixing paints or rolling out ink with a brayer
  • White vinyl backing is easy to see colors against

The Paragona is made of safety glass, which is a very upmarket material and puts it in the category of premium palettes. It is meant to be rested on a table instead of being held in hand, so it’s suitable for jobs that don’t require moving around.

It comes with a white safety vinyl back, which helps with grip on flat surfaces as well as in hand. It measures 11 x 14 inches, which makes it larger than the Darice by half an inch on each side. The glass is tempered, which is the same technology used for making screen guards. It is also non-porous, meaning the colors won’t stick or seep through the glass.

Experience

During our time with the Paragona, we found it to be one of the best palettes on the market.

The glass construction makes the Paragona feel incredibly upmarket. However, the construction does not pose a safety threat, as, during our drop test, the glass merely broke, and not a single shard was ejected.

The vinyl back makes it easy to grip and also helps it stay in place on angled surfaces.

The glass itself is non-porous, meaning colors will neither seep into the glass nor stick to its surface. During our time, we tested this palette with acrylic paint and, with a little bit of peeling, it came off easily.

The surface is, naturally, smooth, as are the edges, so this palette is kind to brushes.

This palette is, of course, washable and reusable.

Pros
  • Tempered glass construction feels upmarket
  • Colors neither seep through nor stick to the glass
  • Vinyl back feels good and sticks to surfaces well
  • Washable and reusable
Cons
  • Slightly pricey
  • No organization system

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

  1. Strathmore 300 Series Palette Paper

Okay, before we get accused of cheating by including palette paper instead of a “real” palette, hear us out. The basic job of a palette is to hold your paints and enable you to mix them, so we don’t see how palette paper fails you as far as doing that is concerned.

We’re reviewing one of the best palette papers on the market today: the Strathmore 300 Series Palette Paper. It comes in two sizes, 9 x 12 inches and 12 x 16 inches. It comes in a tape-bound pad form which includes 40 sheets of palette paper.

Strathmore 365-12 300 Series Paper STR-365-12 40 Sheet...
  • Sold as a Pack of 40
  • Ideal for use as a disposable paint-mixing palette
  • Accepts a variety of wet art mediums
  • Consists of a light plastic coating to prevent mediums from...

The Strathmore pad is one of the best options in the market if you’re looking to buy a surface for mixing your paints but don’t want to invest in a palette.

As the sheets are disposable, it is recommended to buy them for one-time use applications, as they are made of high-quality and replacing them repeatedly may prove to be costly.

The paper features a quality of 67 gsm, which makes mixing easy. The paper also tears easily, should the need arise to tear a bit of it.

One side of the sheet features a slight wax coating to prevent seeping and leaking of the paint to the other side.

The sheets are also very versatile as they can be used on top of conventional palette pads as well.

Experience

In our experience, the Strathmore paper proved to be one of the best surfaces to mix colors on and works great as a substitute for a traditional palette.

Starting with the quality of the paper, the 67 grams per square meter count means that mixing colors is easy and it doesn’t feel cheap in any way. We appreciated the wax coating on one side, and during our usage, it did not let paint seep.

We tried both sizes and felt that the smaller size is suited for casual applications whereas the larger size is best suited for more professional takes.

The disposability of these papers makes them great, and you don’t have to deal with any messy cleanup.

Pros
  • Mixing paints is easy, thanks to the paper’s great quality
  • Two different sizes
  • Easy to tear off
  • Wax coating on one side prevents seepage
Cons
  • Not as convenient as traditional hand-held palettes

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

  1. Blick Clear Acrylic Palette

The fourth item on our list is the Clear Acrylic Palette by Blick Art Materials.

Don’t let the name fool you into thinking that the palette is made of glass, as it is made of clear plastic.

Blick Art Materials is a family-owned business which supplies arts and craft equipment.

The palette has clear plastic construction, as opposed to a glass construction, as some might believe.

This palette features a traditional palette shape, i.e., it looks like an engorged crescent moon and features a thumbhole.

There are no wells or recesses for pouring your paints, so this palette should be held more-or-less upright.

Experience

In our experience, the Blick Clear Acrylic Palette proved to be a very well-rounded option for those looking for a simple, no-frills palette.

Starting with the design, the traditional ‘C-shape’ of the palette brings back memories of old wooden palettes to mind. It features a thumbhole whose position is very well-judged.

The lack of wells and recesses of some sort means you will have to hold the palette more-or-less upright, which can get tiring at times.

The edge(s) of the palette are smoothened out, and this palette is brush-friendly. Cleaning, though, is a tough task, as you will need some alcohol solution to clear the dried acrylic paint from your palette.

Pros
  • Simple, functional palette
  • Traditional design looks great
  • Thumbhole is convenient
  • Rounded edges are brush-friendly
Cons
  • No wells or recesses
  • Cleaning is tough

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

  1. Masterson Stay-Wet Premier Palette

The fifth item on our list is the Masterson Stay-Wet Premier Palette. As the name indicates, this palette is designed to stay wet and prevent your paints from drying up.

Paint life is the main priority for the Masterson. It features a patented sponge alongwith permeable palette paper, which work together to keep paint moist. It also features a lid which keeps the paint wet for use, even between painting sessions.

Sale
Masterson Sta-Wet Premier Palette airtight box
  • The Sta-Wet Premier Palette is a unique system for...
  • Unique sponge and palette paper combine to keep paint moist
  • Even with the lid closed paint will stay workable for days...
  • Large size with a 12 x 16 inch surface area

The palette ships with one sponge insert and five palette paper sheets, so you might incur recurring costs if you plan on using this product for a long time.

The palette measures 16 x 12 inches, one of the largest palettes we’ve come across so far, so space shouldn’t be a problem.

Experience

In our experience, the Masterson proved to be a wonderful palette which truly does keep paints moist.

Starting with the set-up, it is fairly straightforward. Just run the sponge through tap water, place it in the box, place the paper on top and you’re set!

We were surprised to find that the paper is permeable when most of the industry is trying to make their sheets as impermeable as possible. However, permeability is essential if the paints are to remain moist.

We found that the sheets are washable and reusable, which is novel and rather surprising!

This palette not only saves money on paints, then, but also saves money on sheets.

Pros
  • Keeps paint moist for long periods
  • Washable and reusable
  • Novel idea
  • Great for saving money
Cons
  • No walls or recesses
  • Dealing with a wet sponge may prove to be cumbersome

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

  1. Richeson Wooden Palette

Yep, here it is! This is the traditional wooden palette that the Picassos of yore used to create their masterpieces. This palette by Richeson is as simple as it gets.

This product is, basically, the same old wooden palette that has continued for centuries. It features a traditional design, which, when viewed from a certain angle, looks a man talking!

It comes in six size options, ranging from 9 x 12 inches to 18 x 26 ½ inches. The palette comes in four shapes: rectangle, oval, and two for left-handed or right-handed people.

Jack Richeson 696040 Wooden Armed Palette with Left Hand...
  • Left Hand grip ( for Right handed painter )
  • Palette measures 26-1/2x 18
  • Designed for comfort
  • Reduces fatigue

On all of these palettes, the thumbhole is reinforced with extra wood to boost stability.

Experience

In our experience, the Richeson palette is the best example of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) rule.

The wood on our test unit was well-polished, smooth and devoid of protrusions and jagged edges.

The wood also helps keep paint from falling off, should you feel the need to tilt the palette, which is why it was the preferred material for a long while.

We found that the extra wood under the thumbhole, while great for stability, also prevents the palette from sitting flat on surfaces, which is appreciated, as reaching a flat palette is cumbersome.

The edges need a little work, though, as they might damage your brushes if you aren’t careful.

Pros
  • Simple, functional and proven design
  • Paint does not fall off easily
  • Comes in a multitude of shapes and sizes
Cons
  • No real distinguishing features
  • Edges could’ve been smoother

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

  1. Artilicious Paint Tray Palette

The seventh item on our list is the Paint Tray Palette by Artilicious.

It has a plastic construction and comes in either a 3-pack oval shape or a 6-pack round shape.

It features white plastic construction.

Artlicious - Paint Tray Palettes with Thumb Hole - Best for...
  • 10 wells, including 6 round wells and 4 irregular wells
  • Has the contours of a traditional palette with thumb-hole
  • Made of molded white plastic, it is durable and easy to...
  • Suitable for all water-based media

This palette comes in two shapes. The oval shape features a thumbhole and mostly round wells, with a few exceptions. The circular shape features ten uniform round wells and resembles the chamber of a revolver.

The palette is made of white molded plastic for durability and ease of cleaning. It is suitable for containing oils, watercolors, and acrylic paints.

Experience

During our time with the Artilicious, we found it to be very similar to the Darice paint palette, albeit with a different shape and with a few other differences.

We tried the oval palette first and are glad to report that it preserves the classic palette shape properly. It has six round wells and four irregular wells, which do an excellent job of holding the paints in their places.

The round palette drops the thumbhole but gains a large center area in addition to the ten small round wells.

The palettes are made of durable plastic which neither looks nor feels very premium, but it enables the Artilicious to be light on the wallet and easy to clean. We had a great time painting with these palettes and found that the colors come right off with simple tap water, even if you leave them overnight.

Pros
  • Available in two shapes
  • Features lots of wells for organization
  • Plastic construction is cheap, durable and easy to clean
Cons
  • Plastic construction might put some people off
  • Wells’ edges aren’t very smooth

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

  1. Large Plastic Palette

Well, we’re yet to see a more meta name! The Large Plastic Palette is, well, just a large plastic palette! Measuring 11 ¾ x 16 ½ inches, this palette will not leave you wanting for size.

This palette is like most of the other palettes we’ve featured on the list so far. It has a plastic construction and features the typical oval shape with a thumbhole, so it’s suitable for artists who prefer to work standing up.

Instead of wells, the palette features three thin dividers, which aren’t very useful for organizing but are useful for preventing watercolors from spilling and mixing.

Easyou High Grade Large Palettes with Thumb Hole Plastic...
  • Good for students and artist to mix colors.
  • Durable plastic palette with smooth surface. Easy for use...
  • Size:12"x16.7" (30.5cmx42.5cm) 1pcs/pack; Material: Pure...
  • Oval shape with thumb hole.

Experience

During our time with the Large Plastic Palette, we found that it works just fine as a, well, large plastic palette!

The palette is, obviously, made of plastic. It is high-quality plastic, though, and feels reasonably premium in hand. It is resistant to stains, and if they do occur, they’re very easy to wash off.

This palette is huge and does feel slightly unwieldy at times, but, if you’re looking for a lot of real estate from your palette, you will not be disappointed.

We are, however, disappointed with the thumbhole. If you’re right-handed, you won’t face any problems, but if you’re left-handed, the ridges and irregularities will not let you work properly.

The same goes for the edges of the dividers, which are very rough and can potentially harm your brush.

Pros
  • Very large; you won’t be left wanting for space
  • Dividers are a nice little extra
  • Comes in the classic oval shape
Cons
  • Thumbhole could’ve been better designed
  • Dividers and edges might harm your brush

Read Other Artist Feedback>>

Best Palettes Buyer’s Guide

If you’re in the market for a new palette, keep these factors in mind before deciding on one.

  1. Wells

Some dividers come with wells for organizing your paints whereas some features a smooth, flat surface. Decide which kind you want beforehand.

If you are methodical in your approach, get a palette with wells, and if you’re a free spirit, we recommend a spartan palette.

  1. Shape and size

We have reviewed several palettes in this list, and they come in many different shapes and sizes. Get a palette which perfectly suits your needs.

For example, get a large rectangular palette if you plan to work sitting down on a table, otherwise, get an oval palette with a thumbhole.

  1. Thumbhole

The aforementioned thumbhole should be your number one priority if you like working standing up. Look for a palette (preferably oval) which has a thumbhole and make sure that it’s not too rough and fits both your hands.

  1. Construction material

Palettes come in several different constructions, the most popular being plastic.

If you’re looking for a premium palette, consider a safety glass or wooden palette, otherwise, if you’re on a budget, consider a plastic palette.

  1. Disposability

We’ve also featured disposable sheets on this list, which are essentially sheets of hard paper which can be disposed of once you’re done with them. These usually cannot be washed. So, if you’re fine with the recurring costs, go for it, otherwise, buy a traditional palette.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market for a brand-new palette, you can’t go wrong with any of the items mentioned on this list. The market is fiercely competitive, so before spending your money on the first palette you see, take a look at this list.

Happy painting!

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