Whether you’re a budding watercolor artist or an experienced painter, a durable and lightweight paint palette is a must. There are a variety of sizes, materials, and styles to choose from, but the
best watercolor palettes contain watery paints well, make it easy to mix the perfect shade, and are easy to clean when you’re done.
To make things easy, each of the picks below features deep paint wells to keep any watery paint colors from running together. However, you'll need to decide how many wells you’d like to have on the palette — if you plan on doing a fair bit of mixing, you can get away with fewer.
From there, you’ll have three main materials to choose from: ceramic, plastic, and tin. Ceramic is the heaviest option and the most prone to breaking, but it resists scratches and is very easy to clean. Lightweight plastic is easier to hold while painting, but paints tend to bead on the surface, which can make mixing more challenging, and the palette can stain over time. For portability, a plastic or tin palette case with a lid is a great choice, with tin being a classic material that plays well with watercolors.. And if you want a palette that comes with paints, I’ve included a few options below.
Creative activities can
relieve stress and anxiety and even improve memory, so pick up one of the best watercolor palettes, channel some Bob Ross vibes, and start painting. We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
A Durable Ceramic Palette
Boasting high ratings, this
ceramic watercolor palette is durable and easy to clean. It features seven wells for individual and mixed watercolors, including four larger wells. Measuring 9.5 by 6 inches, the palette features high edges to prevent watery paints from running together. It's heavier to hold than plastic, reviewers note that it's less likely to fall off a table if accidentally bumped. According an artist: “You know how when you've found just the right brush you're slightly in heaven for a while? Well, finding this palette was the same for me. [...] The wells are deep enough and also wide enough for most brushes. The palette is heavy enough to be very sturdy but not so heavy it's a burden to lug up and down stairs for cleaning."
A Lightweight Plastic Palette That's Easy To Hold
For a lightweight, easy-to-hold option, many artists are fans of this
plastic watercolor palette that features a cutout for your thumb and 10 wells. The palette measures 6.5 by 9 inches. However, while lighter and more affordable than ceramic, plastic palettes can become stained over time, and watercolors have a tendency to bead on the surface, which can make it harder to mix. The palette is also available in larger option with 20 wells of various sizes and shapes. According to an artist: “I used with both acrylic and watercolor paints. Good product, small and easy to clean.”
A Sturdy Tin Palette Case With 12 Paint Pans
watercolor palette case features 12 separate half-size paint pans, six larger wells, and a white enamel tin interior that’s great for mixing paint colors. The sturdy paint palette measures 4.6 inches by 2.6 inches, and features a ring on the back to make it easier to hold while painting. Plus, there’s space between the rows of pans where you can keep a paintbrush or additional paint pans. This compact palette is easy to clean and closes for easy storage, so it’s great for stashing in your bag throughout the day. This pick is also available in 24- and 48-pan options. According to an artist: “Perfect compact size for travel and for practicing with watercolor at home [… ]The multiple wells are perfect for mixing paints.”
A Watercolor Paint Set That’s Great For Beginners
watercolor paint set is a best seller, and it’s easy to see why. With 36 vivid paint colors and a watercolor paintbrush inside a sturdy tin palette, this is a great set for beginner painters. The pigmented paints are made with gum arabic, which increases the intensity, gloss, and transparency of the colors, and the portable tin has four paint wells inside the lid, which makes for a great easy-to-clean palette. There’s also a metal ring on the back of the tin to make it easier to hold while painting. It measures 9.2 by 3.8 inches. But one thing to note: The paint pans aren’t removable, so you can’t clean and refill separate pans once a color runs out. According to an artist: “Being my first set of watercolors I was afraid I would not enjoy them or that it would be too difficult to use, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well colors layer with this set. The range of colors is diverse and blends very well. It is easy to clean up and packs away very easily. The brush it comes with is very useful, as you can control the amount of water you are painting with and it paints very smoothly."
An Artist-Quality Set With 24 Paint Tubes
watercolor paint set comes with 24 tubes of vibrant paint inside a lightweight plastic palette box. The artist-quality paints are made with premium gum arabic and no synthetic fillers for better color intensity, gloss, and transparency. The palette itself is removable for easy cleaning and has 24 paint wells. The palette box measures 14.4 by 11.5 inches, making it the largest option on the list, and it’s available in blue or pink. According to an artist: “I was very impressed with the beautiful box! The palette is now my favorite. It has unique wells that I find very useful. And the paints are wonderful quality and a lovely collection of colors.”
Also Great: An Affordable Paintbrush Set
From detailed lines to broad strokes, this
affordable paintbrush set has you covered when working with watercolor, oil, and acrylic paints. The set includes 10 brushes with sturdy wooden handles and soft, flexible, and easy-to-clean nylon brush heads. Each brush has a double-crimped nickel ferrule that’s durable and rust-resistant. According to an artist: “Very nice quality for the price. Good variety of sizes of tips, great for precision jobs.”
And One More Thing: A Watercolor Pad
best-selling watercolor pad is perfect for creating art with watercolors, acrylics, charcoal, pencil, pen and ink, and more. The pad includes 30 white sheets of heavy cold-press paper, and the pad is acid-free to help preserve your artwork. Choose from multiple sizes and either a fold-over or side-wire style. According to an artist: “This is my go-to paper for my watercolor art. It handles multiple washes pretty well and comes off the glue binding without ripping the page. It has a nice thickness and light texture. I recommend this paper to anyone - [especially] beginner to intermediate painters.”