The palette is an unsung hero of painting. It’s where you’ll harmonize your color choices and mix all those great hues to create wondrous works of art. Although the variations of this tool might seem the same, not all palettes are created equal. Our guide introduces you to some of the highest-rated palettes that you’ll use time and again.
If you like to craft your own colors, you’ll want to opt for a palette that has ample mixing areas. How you mix your hues is important, too. Look for deep wells if you’re thinning acrylic paint or using watercolors. But for more viscous use of paints, like mixing with them a palette knife, you’ll want to look for larger flat surfaces that will give you enough space to move the utensil back and forth with ease.
A majority of palettes are made of plastic, which is not a surprise considering that the material is easy to clean and affordable to produce. Many of these palettes feature similar characteristics including multiple wells for placing pigment straight from the tube as well as space to mix colors. But plastic palettes aren’t your only choice. Ceramic paint palettes are easy to use (and clean) in addition to being more sustainable and fashionable, too. Tramai Ceramics creates a variety of palettes shaped like animals that you’ll want to display in your home even when they’re not in use.
Scroll down to learn more about the best color palettes.
Paint Tray Palettes with Thumb Hole (Pack of 3)
This design, with its thumb hole, mimics the traditional wooden palette but reimagined in plastic. It comes in a pack of three to give you flexibility in how you'll divide your hues.
10.5” by 6.5”, 16-Well Palette
Boasting a 16-well palette, this has areas that are especially great for mixing colors. There are smaller spaces for separate out-of-the tube colors and then larger spaces where you can perfect your paint mixing.
Saver Palette With 24 Airtight Deep Wells
Want your paint to stay wetter for longer? The Transon Saver Palette has 24 wells with a soft lid that creates an airtight seal around the pigment. This will slow the paint from drying, and the high well walls will also ensure that pigments won’t mix into other wells.
18-Well Paint Palette
Equipped for 18 different colors, this is another paint palette with a cover to slow the time it takes for your paint to dry. Unlike the Transon palette, however, it has large trays that are ideal for paint mixing—something to take into consideration if you enjoy crafting colors.
Palette Paper Pad (40 Sheets)
Paper palettes, like this 40-sheet pad from Strathmore, makes it easy to clean up your paint once you’ve finished your art session. The 9″ by 12” pad features waxy paper with a smooth finish for effortless paint mixing. When you’re done, simply tear the sheet and throw it away. It should be noted: with the waste it creates, this isn’t the most eco-friendly option.
Paint Palette with Cover and Four Large Mixing Area
If you love to mix paint, then you’ll want to invest in this paint palette that has extra-large mixing areas. Along the edge of this Creative Mark palette are 40 wells for paint along with four large mixing areas. Its lid even has a dual purpose; not only is it great for traveling but it has additional space for color blending.
Large Paint Palette Box with 33 Wells
Enjoy the ergonomic quality of this Transon paint palette. Featuring 33 wells suitable for watercolor, gouache, oil, or acrylic paint, the five large color mixing areas are punctuated by a space for your thumb to comfortably rest. The thumb hole makes it ideal for painting on an easel without a table nearby.
Speckled Paint Palette
Paint palettes can be heirloom pieces thanks to Sugarhouse Ceramic Co. This speckled paint palette is made from caramel clay coated with a matte white speckled glaze. It’s meant for gouache and watercolor paints and includes individual trays as well as areas for mixing.
Ceramic Palette and Brush Rest
You’d be hard-pressed to find a palette as cute as this Dachshund Palette and Brush Rest by Tramai Ceramics. The handmade ceramic features a palette that can be hidden by the top half of the pup, which can then be turned over and used mix colors. Its little companion, a smaller pup, acts as a brush rest for your wet utensil.
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