Wood or Glass Palette for Oil Painting?

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wood or glass palette for oil painting
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The benefits of a glass palette

  • One huge advantage of a glass palette is that the can be easily cleaned. If you accidentally forget to clean your palette you can just take a razor and scrape your palette clean.
  • If you are more of a heavy handed painter you will not have to worry about digging your palette knife into your palette because it is glass not wood.
  • You can place whatever color you would like by placing colored paper (or just white if you prefer) underneath it. A neutral grey is a recommended color as it acts as a middle ground for light and dark colors.
  • It is quite cheap to make a glass palette. Go to your local glass supplier and they will cut a piece of glass to your desired size, just be sure to ask them to sand the edges as well. Also be sure to ask for tempered glass, not window or frame glass as this type of glass is more likely to break

Downside to Glass

  • The glass palette can potentially be a little dangerous if there is ever an accident and it falls as it could easily shatter.

Advantages of a Wooden Palette

  • They are much lighter than glass palettes and therefore you can hold them in your hand if you need to.
  • Over time the surface of a wood palette develops a certain kind of patina from left over paint and linseed oil getting rubbed into it after every session. On an aesthetic note – it turns into an incredibly beautiful smooth surface. And on a more practical note the neutral colored surface of the patina is an excellent surface for you to mix paint on.
  • Because they are much lighter weight they are easy to take out when you go plein air painting or travel with your painting supplies. The last thing you want when traveling is to be laden down with a heavier palette.

Disadvantages of Wood

  • When paint dries on a wood palette it is much more difficult to clean off than a glass palette. You cannot scrape the palette with a razor as this would ruin the wood. You have to do a lot of rubbing with turpentine and get a good arm workout. The upside to this is that it helps you develop good habits in cleaning your palette right away 😉
  • You must really make sure that the palette is clean and rub it with linseed oil before you start a new painting session as any slight layer of paint left will mix into your colors.

Available Palettes

Wooden Palette
Glass Palette

Elisabeth Larson Koehler creator of art studio life

Hi! I am Elisabeth

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