Can You Put Oil Paint On A Paper Plate?

Everything that does not absorb the paint and its quality would be good for use as a palette. Therefore, a paper plate is a convenient choice since it does not mess up the oil paint in any manner, and it is very easy to use because you just have to throw it away without spending time cleaning it.

If you have recently started working with oil paint, you might wonder whether it would be appropriate to use a paper plate as a palette. In this article, I have discussed the features of oil paint when put on a paper plate, and why paper can handle the oil paint well. Also, I have included some other options for palettes, as well as tips for using oil paint more efficiently.

What Makes A Good Oil Painting Palette? 

When it comes to choosing the perfect palette, you need to know the features of the paint you are using. Therefore, you should know that when you use oil paint, you need a palette that will not absorb the paint. In other words, you should choose a palette that is made of materials that are non-absorbentOpens in a new tab. and can tolerate different solvents.

However, you should also think about the cleaning features, i.e. what it would take to clean the palette thoroughly. You would not want to spend more time cleaning than painting, therefore, choose something that would make the removal of paint easy and simple. This being said, you should know that some palettes make it impossible to remove oil paint from them, and you should avoid them at any cost. 

If you choose a palette that is difficult for cleaning, you might end up wasting your money on things you cannot use. Some palettes come at quite high prices, so you would not like to spend a fortune on something that would make your work rather difficult. Therefore, make sure that you get familiarized with the features, so you will choose something that will suit your needs. 

What Are Good Materials For Palettes For Oil Paint? 

There are palettes made of different materials suitable for oil paint. Depending on the way you work, you might find one better than another, meaning that you will have to try what works the best for you. However, you will need to know what materials do not absorb oil paint, so you would not harm your paint while you work. 


Glass is known to be one of the best materials that work well with oil paint. Glass palettes are non-absorbent and they tolerate different kinds of solvents, meaning you can easily use oil paint on them without fear that you might damage your paint. What is more, the glass would keep the oil paint from drying up if you paint in cold conditions, so you can take your time while you paint and not worry about wasting your resources. 

In addition, if you want to save your oil paint overnight, you can just put the palette in your fridge. This way, you can continue your work the next day without throwing any paints along the way. Therefore, the glass palettes would be the most convenient choice when it comes to painting with oil paints. 

Furthermore, the surface of the glass palettes is smooth, meaning that you can easily mix and blend colors and tones without using additional tools. Also, you do not have to worry about breaking or cracking the palette since the glass of which is made is generally really solid and strong. We are talking about tempered glass, which is a type of glass that is not prone to breakages and works well even when you apply pressure on it. 

On top of everything, glass palettes are quite easy to clean. If you have wet paint on it, you will just have to wipe it out and scratch the surface with a razor. If the paint has dried up, you will need a little bit of warm water and a little bit of vinegar, and you will have it all cleaned up and ready for the next use.

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Wood palettes are also a good option when using oil paint. These types of palettes are usually lightweight and very convenient for those who want to hold their paints while painting. What is more, they will not hurt your budget since they are the ones among the least expensive palettes on the market. 

However, you need to pay attention to the quality of wood when you buy a wooden palette. Wood is absorbent by nature, but if it is treated it will lose this feature. Therefore, you need to opt for a wooden palette whose wood has been treated properly in order not to absorb your paint while you work. 

In addition, when it comes to cleaning, wood might be a little tricky in comparison to glass. Therefore, if you opt for a wood palette, you should not allow the paint to dry upon it since you will not be able to clean it off. This means that you will have to clean a wood palette immediately after you finish painting, and you will probably be forced to waste a lot of paint if you do not use it while working at once. 

Disposable Paper 

For those who do not want to be bothered with cleaning the palette, there is the disposable paper palette that will make the painting process easier. These types of palettes do not absorb the paints, meaning you can easily use them while painting. They are also resistant to solvents, so you will be able to mix and blend colors in whichever way you want. 

However, you will not be able to use the paints afterward because once they dry up you will be required to throw away the paper palette since it will be of no use. While you do not have to do any cleaning, you will also not be able to use the dried paint anymore. This means that you will have to work quickly in order not to waste paints. 

These types of palettes are good for those who work quickly and on smaller projects. If you are doing a big painting, a disposable paper palette will not be a good option. Therefore, you will have to think about your project first before you opt for a paper palette. 

Can You Put Oil Paint On A Paper Plate? 

Using a paper plate instead of a regular palette might be a great option when you work quickly on a small project or painting. A paper plate might replace a regular palette since you can put and mix oil paints on it and paint just as you do with a regular palette. However, you also need to try the paper plate first to see what kind of paper the plate is made ofOpens in a new tab.

If the paper plate is of some slim type of paper that easily absorbs liquid, then this might not work for you. On the other hand, if the paper plate is quite solid, you will be able to work without any issues. This will be a good pick since you do not have to do any cleaning afterward, and you just have to throw away the plate. 

Nonetheless, you will have to consider that once the oil paint dries up, you will not be able to use it anymore. This is of course talking about the colors in the paper plate. There are some situations in which you can potentially reuse dried oil paintOpens in a new tab.; however, you cannot restore paint that has been put on a paper plate because adding thinners or water will just damage the paint and it will be good for nothing. 

That is why you should opt for a paper plate as a palette when you work on some small piece. You will not want to waste high-quality oil paints because they can dry quickly, meaning you will have to throw them away. Therefore, make sure that you have a good plan before you start working, or else you will end up with a lot of paints down in the thrash. 

What Materials Should You Avoid When Choosing A Palette For Oil Paint? 

If you do not want to make a mistake when choosing a palette for your oil paints, you need to familiarize yourself with the properties of materials that work with oil paints in general. You can also make a good selection if you know which materials do not work well with oil paints since this can help you in the process of making a decision. There are several materials that are known to absorb and damage oil paint making it useless on the surface on which you intend to work. 


Plastic palettes are of no use when it comes to oil paint. They might work well with watercolors, acrylics, and gouache, but that is not the case with oil paint. If oil paints dry on a plastic surface, there is no way in which you can get them out of it. You can try to scrape them off, but you will see that that would be an impossible task. 

You will just waste a lot of time, and the process will probably get really messy. In order to avoid that, do not try to do this at all. In other words, just avoid using plastic palettes for oil paint and you will be good to go. 


Ceramic palettes are known to be good for watercolors since they are not really smooth, meaning they are good for some lighter types of paints. When it comes to oil paint, you should expect that the heavy chemicals and thinners would probably damage the ceramic for life. Oil paint has the tendency to stick on ceramic without the possibility of cleaning it afterward. 

Therefore, make sure that you use a glass or wood palette, or even paper when you intend to work with oil paint. You should remember that not all palettes work well with all types of paints, and ceramic palettes are a “no-go” for oil paint. 

Tips And Tricks For Using Oil Paint 

Oil paint can be tricky since it has quite unique features in comparison to other types of paint. This means that you will have to learn how to use them properly in order to avoid damages on surfaces or other painting tools. Above, I have already discussed the palettes you might use with oil paint, but you still have to learn about the other tools that can be used with this type of paint. 

Since oil paint is a quite dense type of paint, you probably think that canvas would be the only appropriate surface for oil paints. However, you can use different kinds of surfaces if you know how to prepare them beforehand. For instance, you can paint on a paper surface as long as you use a primerOpens in a new tab. on the surface and make it solid enough so the oil paint would stick on it. 

In addition, oil paint is a good type of paint for creating layersOpens in a new tab. while painting. Adding layers is a creative technique that is possible with oil paints, and it is very convenient if you want to achieve a spectacular effect on your art projects. This technique is not only appropriate for canvas, but also for surfaces like wood and glass. 

Lastly, you have to know how to select brushes. The rectangular-shaped brushes are the most convenient tools when it comes to applying oil paint on a particular surface. Also, you should opt for long handles on brushes in order to make the painting process easier. 

Final Words

As you could see, you can use different types of palettes with oil paint, including paper plates. However, you should bear in mind that once you apply paint to it, it should be used immediately since once it dries it will no longer be useful for you. 


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Caraca's self-taught artist based in the UK, Ines explores unconventional materials and sustainability.

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