What is the Best Painting Palette for Artists?

What is the Best Painting Palette for Artists? We asked our Realism Today friends to share their painting palettes with us so you can see the amazing variety of choices available, and they did not disappoint! Keep reading to see what your peers are using in the art studio and even in the field while plein air painting.

Which is the best? Share your comments with us below!

Painting Palette Options for Artists

oil painting palette
“This is my oil painting palette (I’m so embarrassed – it’s in need of a good scraping). I like glass, so I use an 11×14 glass with a piece of neutral grey mat board taped to the back of it. It’s a standard size of glass that can be found in any thrift store (with the old frames) and it’s the perfect fit for a French easel. The grey matboard taped to the back provides a neutral surface for mixing, and it also provides a cushioned barrier between the glass and the stuff rattling around in the drawer below it.” ~Annie Strack
watercolor painting palette
“This is my favorite for watercolors – a standard metal travel case for pans. I can easily swap out the individual pans with different colors depending on whatever I want at the time, and whenever needed. It’s a great size for traveling, and I have several of them so I always have one ready to go.” ~Annie Strack
tempered glass
“I use a tempered glass cutting board, painted grey on the back. It’s nice because each bottom corner has skid-resistant silicone. Easy to clean with a single-edge razor blade.” ~Carolyn Sands
DIY painting palette
“A tiny one I put together myself 😊” ~Angela McQuade

“Masonite board cut to desired dimensions positioned upright beside or immediately beneath my canvas is my preferred painting palette and strategy for interpreting/comparison of values/temperature/hue/chroma … painting palette of colors varies depending on genre such as still life, landscape or portraits…” ~Diana K. Gibson

Soltek easel for artists
“I own many different plein air set ups and my go-to remains the Soltek easel. I often use the gray palette that came with it and/or the Masterson Stay-Wet palette (that I outfitted with a glass palette from New Wave). Almost any type of palette can just rest on the open Soltek. Here is the Masterson Stay Wet palette (it has a lid for transport). I simply set it on top of my opened Soltek easel.” ~ Celeste Bergin
Holbein art supplies
“I love my steel Holbein palette and an extended split complementary palette of watercolors. Unfortunately, the gentleman who used to make these either retired or died, so this palette is no longer available.” ~Cheryl Ploegstra
Camille Przwodek's Paint Saver Palette
“I use Camille Przwodek’s Paint Saver Palette (for oil paint) both indoor and plein air. Stores in the freezer when not in use and saves on paint!” ~Susan Hunter Guise
New Wave Posh Glass Palette
“New Wave Posh Glass Palette in grey, 🤩 compatible with the U.go box! The smooth surface of the glass combined with the grey tone underneath is ideal for color mixing and true read of colors, clean up is a breeze too!” ~Emily Hammell Capestro
The Georgia Mansur Mansur Palette
“The Georgia Mansur Mansur Palette of course! 🏆🎨🥰” ~ Georgia Mansur
glass palette for artists
“I use a glass palette. Easy to clean … I’ve used it for years only for acrylic paint. The back of it is coated with soft plastic film. The lines you see are areas where the film has lifted, I’m guessing due to water because I keep my palette damp by spraying water on it with a mister.” ~Jessie Keller
Greene wooden palette
“I love my old school Greene wooden palette.” ~The Art Box Studio
DIY painting palettes
“I have always used a lightweight plastic dinner plate covered with tin foil. I hold it in my left hand while painting. The tinfoil is a neutral color and I can see my values well. I stick it in the freezer after a painting session to preserve the paint 🎨. When a painting is done, I throw the tin foil in the trash. Less time cleaning!” ~ Kristy McNelly
ceramic ‘amuse-bouche’ spoons
“I use ceramic ‘amuse-bouche’ spoons to hold tiny amounts of soft body acrylics for multiple transparent layers. When the paint on the palette dries, I switch to the next spoon (I have a large stack of them). Easy to clean, easy to count the number of layers in a day’s work, and they don’t take up much space.” ~Lorena Klooserboer
plein air palettes
“En Plein Air Pro watercolor palette is perfect for my needs. It has large mixing areas, a lid that flips over to extend your working space, and you can choose where it’s positioned on the easel – I prefer it on the right, instead of directly in front of me.” ~Lisabeth Beiler Curnow
DIY artist palette
“I made my own with kitchen stools I no longer needed, a shelf from Lowe’s and a custom-made glass with good wheels added and a bungee cord to hold my paper towels. This is an old photo; since then, I have added shelves from leftover cardboard. I’m a huge fan of recycling 😊” ~Marta Crawford
DIY art studio
“This is a piece of furniture from a school auction with plywood on the top painted white and then the whole surface covered with clear glass and taped down on the edges all the way around. The furniture is on rollers. I can move it all over the place and it’s really a breeze to clean up and it holds up forever. I’ve been using it probably for 20 years now. It’s got a crack on one corner which I may replace, but talk about carefree, and no hassle.” ~Mary Lapos
Art studio advice
“Got this idea from Natalie Featherston; I can move it to right where I need it!” ~Michele Norman
Masterson Palette for artists
“Masterson Palette. I have used it for years and I can put it right in the fridge or freezer and the paint will keep for weeks! No mess!” ~ Nancy Clayburn
The ParallelPalette for artists plein air
“The ParallelPalette is amazing because it puts your palette parallel with your painting. With it, you can see your mixing colors in the same light as your canvas, and you never have to look down. The ergonomics cause less strain on your spine and joints. It also reinforces mixing vertically. I tend to mix more directly on the canvas while using the parallel palette. Also, it’s hands-free! The palette even comes with a lid, so it stores in the freezer easily. The tempered glass palette surface is removable, so it is easy to clean with Denatured Alcohol. It has a ledge to store brushes or medium cups, and also has elastic cord threaded into loops to hold disposable soda caps as medium cups. [When plein air painting] I utilize a 60” white umbrella on a C-Stand (which I tie down with rope and tent stakes), and occasionally attach the black umbrella at eye level if my canvas is backlit to keep blinding sunlight out of my eyes.” ~Neil Patrick McMillan
DIY painting palettes for artists
“A little unconventional but I use the back of a large palette knife. Hardly any paint gets wasted and I can stay very close to my painting. I was in an outdoor painting contest last summer. While I was painting, another artist who was just observing said, ‘Wow! That’s a great idea”’.” ~ Netta Schleden
glass painting palette
“It’s just a round piece of round glass I found, about ¼” thick, so it’s not too thin. Obviously, it’s used a lot so it’s not perfectly clean. I use gray paper under it to get a neutral color when mixing. Easy to clean with a flat razor.” ~Paul Anzaldi
Painting outdoors - palettes for artists
“My favourite painting palette is the 24-well watercolour palette from Paul Rubens. I like it because I can fill it with my favourite tube paints and it has double-wide wells so I can use larger 2” brushes. It has two paint trays for mixing and it all folds up nicely in my pack.” ~ Samantha Reimer
advice for artists
“Normally, I craft my own palettes, but I’ve found this one to be the top choice for large paintings, in my experience. I align it along my body contour, around my waist, ensuring optimal comfort and stability without needing much effort to keep it in place. This palette is incredibly comfortable and practical, making it effortless to wear for extended periods without any problems.” ~Samuel Baltes (see second photo below)

“I am always striving to improve my palettes since it’s a crucial tool in an artist’s life,” said Samuel Baltes. This particular one (above and below) was crafted by me with the intention of having a large palette that could be used effortlessly and efficiently during long painting sessions. By attaching the straps at the right places to balance the weight and align with the torso, you won’t need to hold the palette up with any hand—it stays in place by itself. While painting and mixing colors, the left hand may only provide minimal support for the palette, requiring very little effort. The ideal height or position of the palette depends on the individual’s body, which is crucial. There is also no interference with the right hand (if you paint with the right hand).”

Another view of Samuel Baltes's painting palette
Another view of Samuel Baltes’s painting palette
"I like to make my own out of glass, foam board, and gorilla tape."
“I like to make my own out of glass, foam board, and gorilla tape.” ~S.M. Galli
Masterson Sta-Wet palette
“I know it’s cheap, but I really love my Masterson Sta-Wet palette. I paint mostly in gouache and this keeps my paint wet through the process.” ~Studio Parker
Edge Pro for artists
“Edge Pro. Light weight. Easy setup and clean up. Cool magnetic shelves and turp container.” ~ Sue Bieber Scherzinger