Best Paper for Wet Palettes (Recommendation)

Best paper for wet palettes - parchment paper banner

A wet palette is a key tool in any miniature painters arsenal. There are number in the market, including the Masterson Sta-Wet palette. If you wanted to make your own wet palette, there are many sites that show you how to make a wet palette. However, for simplicity and ease-of-setup, the Sta-Wet palette is utilitarian. It is one of the most popular wet palettes you can buy. But, there are times when you want to use your own palette paper, instead of the store-bought sheets, or if you are making a DIY wet palette; what palette paper should you use for your acrylic miniature painting needs?

In this article, I show you the best paper to use in your wet palette. Are you looking for a cheaper alternative palette paper for your wet palette? Check out the alternative palette paper that works well and why you should try it in your wet palette.

RELATED: BEST WET PALETTES FOR PAINTING MINIATURES AND MODELS (REVIEW)


I’ve tried all types of wet palettes: the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) disaster and even the fancier “Everlasting Wet Palette” (Red Grass Games). These are either mold-farms or over-hyped and expensive palettes.

Best Paper for Wet Palette (Recommendation) - parchment paper DIY
The DIY route might work for some! But, not for me.

How you make a wet palette requires a few items: a water-tight container, a sponge of some sort to hold the water, and a water-permeable membrane (e.g., usually a paper material).

RELATED: DRY PALETTES VERSUS WET PALETTES: PROS AND CONS

What I discovered, that although DIY options work well, and “how to make a wet palette” instructions and tutorials are everywhere, the simplicity of a commercial system is unbeatable.

Yes, they do cost a little money, but not much.

The best wet palette in my professional opinion is the Sta-Wet Palette. Tried and true, it’s been around for many, many years! Why fix it?

Okay, the paper that comes with the Sta-Wet palette kit sucks (see problems below).The solution? Reynolds Parchment Paper. .

The Masterson Sta-Wet palette fills my happy middle ground for painting miniatures. Masterson even makes a bigger sized palette if you’re looking for more paint mixing space. If I had more table space for painting miniatures, I’d get the larger size.

I tend to use wet palettes to mix colors for layering and glazing on miniatures.

Best Paper for Wet Palette (Recommendation) - sta wet palette from masterson used with paint on it
The Sta-Wet Palette with their proprietary wet palette paper (white). Notice the bleed-through. Not pleasant. Use parchment paper instead.

Problems with Commercial Wet Palette Papers

  • Expensive
  • May not work with thin paint mediums, such as those used by miniature painters, e.g., Citadel, Vallejo brand paints

Given that wet palette paper is disposable, the use of commercially available wet palette paper can get pricey. This is true if you replace your palette paper after every session.

No matter what you do, the paper will get tossed.

The other issue with general wet palette paper, is that miniature paints are much thinner than other paint mediums.

That is, acrylics we use for painting minis are thinner and absorb into the palette paper. The Everlasting Wet Palette I mentioned has overcome this with a different kind of paper. However, the paper is pricey (relative to just as function alternatives), cut to size only for their version of the wet palette, and doesn’t do a better job.


What Do I Recommend for Paper?

I’ve discovered that you don’t actually need to buy commercially marketed wet palette paper.

Okay, okay.

Best Paper for Wet Palette (Recommendation) - parchment paper

I know a ton of you guys already know this, especially those who fall into the DIY palette camp. To make a DIY wet palette, you need good palette paper. What is the best substitute wet palette paper?

Here’s what I think is the best non-indicated paper you can buy for any wet palette: Reynolds Kitchen Parchment Paper. It’s cheap, endless, and functional for all your miniature painting needs.

Reynolds Parchment Paper

Reynold parchment paper comes in huge rolls. Simply, pull a sheet, cut to size and apply to a pre-wetted sponge.

Best Paper for Wet Palette (Recommendation) - parchment paper - used with paint
Acrylic paints sit nicely on the parchment paper surface, while the moisture underneath keeps it fluid.
Army painter wet palette keeps paint wet and workable longer - WIP painting
An Army Painter Wet Palette is wonderful for painting wargaming figures (and whatever acrylic art you’re working on).

Quick Warning About Choosing Wet Palette Papers for Miniature Paints

Remember to avoid parchment papers that have a hydrophobic coating, such as wax. This will make the paper useless for our miniature painting needs.

You want the water from the sponge to seep through the paper into the paint sitting above. Baking parchment or sheets usually use wax coatings to make them non-stick to cookies and stuff.

Instead, go for parchment paper. Parchment paper, baking paper, or bakery release paper are cellulose-based papers that have been treated or coated to make them non-stick. They are used in baking as a disposable non-stick surface.

They should not be confused with wax paper or waxed paper, which is paper that has been impregnated with wax.


Other Thoughts on Choosing the Best Tools for Miniature Painting

At the end of the day, we just want to paint miniatures efficiently and effectively. I’ve painted hundreds of miniatures using wet and dry palettes. Everything in this article is an opinion formed through experience. Your mile may vary (YMMV).

What are you looking for in a wet palette?

That means acrylic paint that doesn’t dry right away. It means a palette that allows us to mix and thin paints for our particular application.

Every tool we use for painting miniatures is a personal choice. There is no perfect instrument.

I prefer a wet palette that doesn’t break the bank over time (with constant upkeep). Disposing of old paper and sponges is required to prevent mold.

Summary: The Best Wet Palette and Paper Combination

These two products combined are a powerhouse.

See my gallery or Instagram for miniatures I’ve painted.

Best Paper for Wet Palette (Recommendation) - parchment paper for painting boardgame miniatures
Cthulhu Wars miniatures painted with my wet palette combo. The green and dark gray blends smoothly transition into each other through careful mixing and layering of color.
Best Paper for Wet Palette (Recommendation) - parchment paper and baking paper for palettes with acrylic paint for layering and glazing techniques
A wet palette helps you glaze and blend thin layers of acrylic color when painting miniatures.

Final Thoughts

A wet palette can improve your miniature painting if you know how to use them properly. You can either DIY or buy a wet palette.

If you’re making your own palettes, how do you set yours up?

Let me know with a comment below.

Thank you for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Best Paper for Wet Palettes (Recommendation)”

  1. I tried using parchment paper and found that the paper dries up, even when on a wet sponge, which in turn causes the paint to dry out. Do you have to soak the paper in water first?

  2. I have a Sta Wet Palette that I used for oil painting and never had a sponge. I am now using acrylics. Is it best to buy the Mastersons sponge to fit the Palette or is there a work around. Thanks

    1. The masterson sponge is like any other normal sponge, but it is the right size for the palette. No cutting necessary. It’s not much more expensive than other sponges. The nice thing is the masterson is thin and flat (no texture) so it won’t make bubbles under your acrylic paints :). I hope this helps!

  3. I found if I soaked the Reynolds parchment paper in boiling water, in the same way that is recommended for the Masterson’s paper that it worked even better. It also meant that the paper size was better stabilised, ie it did not stretch randomly or go as crinkley compared to not being pre-soaked. It also seems to make the parchment paper les likely to dry out. The paint does not seem to go through the Reynolds parchment the same way it does with the Mastersons paper and so the sponge stays clean.

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