Palette knife - 15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting

15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting For Beginners

Palette knife painting for beginners is probably one of the first techniques you will learn when it comes to oil paints or acrylics. Creating a unique textured surface with a palette knife is a skill that most artists wanted to learn. And once you know how to use your palette knife painting skill properly, you will surely come a long way and enjoy the process of controlling the paint consistency with your style.

What different factors to remember for a successful palette knife painting even if you are starting? What painting medium do you usually use your palette knife painting technique? What are the things you need to consider when choosing a good quality palette knife for oils or acrylics?



The Palette Knife Painting for Beginners

If you happen to be thinking about the palette knife as a tool for blending colors from your tubes to the palette, you miss many things. The quality and texture you can create with a palette knife painting have a fantastic result—making the palette knife painting a skill that someone must know with perseverance and patience. The best thing about palette knife painting is how flexible the artist can be with the right materials, painting medium, and painting technique. There are a few painting techniques that work perfectly and done with palette knife painting. But before that, let’s break down the benefits you can get when using your palette knife for painting and blending all together.

Different sizes of palette knife - 15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting
Different sizes of palette knife – 15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting

Benefits Of Using Palette Knife For Painting

Before you jump over to get that palette knife at the closest art store near you, let’s breakdown first all the benefits that you can get with this painting material. It can be the reason why you will shift from paintbrush to palette knife painting real soon.


When it comes to cleaning the palette knife, it is a less maintenance painting material. You can easily clean it off with an old rag that you won’t use, a paper towel, tissue, or even rinse the paint off on running water. A few wiping on the head of your palette knife and you are all clear from stains coming from the painting medium you are using right now.

This is one of the best benefits you can get with a palette knife that you cannot achieve with paintbrushes. Paintbrushes need proper maintenance and cleaning, or you will ruin their bristles. They will be good for nothing on your next painting sessions, especially if you are working with acrylics!


If you are trying to work on your thick paints for consistency, then palette knife painting for beginners would be the best skill you should improve. Creating the right texture for your painting surface with a palette knife allows you to easily control the paint surface. On the other hand, it can also be an excellent material for broken color effects or techniques.

Price Tag

Believe it or not, almost any type or price range for a palette knife works best for you. You can start with using an inexpensive palette knife for training purposes and later on, buy a better quality one as you gain more skills. This palette knife painting for beginners article provides top-rated palette knife selections to help you begin with your painting journey. 


The convenience that you can get by only using a palette knife is immeasurable. You can use palette knives for:

  • Blending colors from the tube
  • Mix your colors on the palette
  • Mixing straight from your painting canvas or surface

You can also use the edge of the palette knife for other things, including a sharp line for your painting surface when needed. Palette knives can create unique, bold strokes that you cannot achieve with paintbrushes or brush marks. If you are applying another layer of paint on a still-wet surface, you can still use a palette knife without blending the two layers.

On the other hand, if you are working on a more controlled and versatile stroke and style, palette knife painting is not the right choice. You can achieve brushstrokes and fine detailing with smaller brushes. Plus the accuracy that you can get when using a paintbrush is different from a palette knife.

Building texture - 15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting
Building texture – 15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting

How To Choose The Right Palette Knife For You: Buying Guide

There is no right or wrong type of palette knife, but how you will use them. The common factor for choosing the right palette knife that will work best for you is the size, even a standard-size kind of palette knife will work on almost any painting technique you are working with.

Checking for a variety of sizes for your palette knife can be an option to consider. As long as you are comfortable working on your palette knife painting, you do not need to worry too much about the size. Anything that fits perfectly for your needs is a great choice.

Ways To Use Your Palette Knife For Painting

There are different ways to use a palette knife for the artwork we are doing. Since it allows the artist to create a unique texture, you can experiment on different areas as to how you can use your palette knife properly.

Whether you are working on a particular area that you wanted to highlight for your painting, a palette knife can create that unique texture to create an excellent rhythm needed for your artwork.

Some of the things that can build highlights and emphasis through a palette knife are mountains with snow, green grass for your landscape painting, and a unique rock texture for your garden painting. That does not limit you from using a palette knife with other designs and areas for your artwork.

Detailed sharp edges are some of the things you can work on with your palette knife too. From leaves to tree branches and barks, to waves, water flow, fences, and indeed a lot more than you can create with.

  • It enables you to create a unique texture.
  • It allows you to experiment on various areas on the canvas and color blending.
  • It allows you to highlight particular areas on your canvas.
  • It’s ideal for emphasizing snowy mountains, and various landscape paintings.
  • It helps you create detailed sharp edges like tree branches, waves, fences, etc.

Another effective way to use your palette knife is by spreading or covering your painting surface with the paint you wanted to apply smoothly. Palette knives are also best if you try to blend colors from each other or create a new color by mixing two colors available without totally blending them. You can produce a unique crisp and color that changes whenever you try to mix them up or blend more.

Aside from mixing, the palette knife is also a great way of scraping unwanted colors on your painting palette if you do not like the mixed pigments’ results there.

The palette knife may be an easy yet essential painting material that each artist must try working with. From its low maintenance environment and supply, you can get. It’s easy to clean and remove all excess paint to retain their smooth surface that helps you create dynamic blends of color and unique textured surfaces.

Palette knives are not for intricate and fine details in the painting. The standard size of a palette knife is more than enough for you to start working with. Since they can easily let you apply paint on the painting surface or canvas, you can also use them to remove the paint on your canvas.

We hope that this palette knife painting for beginners will help you decide whether you’ll try working with them on your next project. While not everyone is comfortable using a palette knife, some guides are created to help newcomers learn new techniques to become pro moving forward. 

Palette knife - 15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting
Palette knife – 15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting

Best Palette Knife PaintingTips And Techniques For Beginners

Once you get comfortable with palette knives, your painting sessions will never be the same. Some artists paint, mix and create artworks using just palette knives. At the same time, others use this painting to create stunning painterly effects that cannot be achieved when you use a paintbrush. 

Once you get to hold of the beauty of working with palette knives, you’ll feel foreign working with brushes and other materials. If acrylic or oil paints are your painting medium, then working with a palette knife is a must-try. Several artists ignore using paintbrushes in favor of palette knives. 

If you want to get familiar with palette knife painting and everything you need to know to master various techniques, this article is specially dedicated to you. Whether you are a newcomer to the world of painting with palette knives or an advanced artist looking for additional knowledge and skills to improve your current level, read along as I’ll introduce you to a variety of ways. 

To achieve a painterly effect and texture on your painting surface, whether, with acrylics or oil paints, a palette knife provides variety for painting mediums. Before we proceed, you’d want to understand the benefits and setbacks of using a palette knife. 


  • Palette knives are low-maintenance, easy to use, and easy to clean. After every painting session, you can wipe the palette knife’s blade with a paper towel or cloth, and you can store them back on their box. 
  • They are better to use compared to brushes as they require delicate and intensive cleaning.
  • A Palette knife allows you to build thick texture or create broken color effects.
  • Palette knives are affordable, durable, and reliable, varying on the made and manufactured.
  • Palette knives are multipurpose and allow you to create various sharp lines.
  • It allows you to layer your paint even when the initial color is still wet.
  • Palette knives create complimentary bold strokes from the paintbrush’s delicate strokes.


  • A Palette knife is not versatile compared to a paintbrush
  • It does not offer enough accuracy when using palette knives

Before shopping over to the nearest art store near you, there are several essential factors that you need to check to ensure you are buying the right materials, especially with palette knives. 

  • Their blade must be sturdy yet flexible
  • They must be comfortable working with
  • They have straight and long edge

You may find various shapes of palette knives which allows you to modify strokes and painting style. However, you don’t particularly need unusual shapes to start painting using a palette knife. The truth is, as long as you have a standard palette knife, you can improve your skills and create various styles and techniques.

15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting For Beginners
15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting For Beginners

Best Palette Knife Painting Techniques To Try

Once you have learned the pros and cons and what to look for when buying palette knives, you are ready to take on the next level—painting techniques using palette knives. 

Dragging colors

Your palette knife is an excellent tool that allows you to drag one color into the next one. It helps you blend edges with a painterly effect. 

This technique allows you to create scattered and rough edges. Dragging your colors to another one using a paintbrush will create a soft edge, while with a palette knife, it will be rough. 

Thin lines

Creating natural thin broken lines on your painting surface using a palette knife is a must-try technique. It requires you to loaf a small amount of paint on the edge of your palette knife. 

Then you can dab this edge into your support or painting surface. Ensure that you’ll be spreading an even amount of paint into the canvas from the edge of the palette knife. 

This technique will allow you to create a single line for every stroke. That means you’ll be reloading the palette knife with paint in between every stroke. 

Scraping paint away to add details or fix errors

One of the best benefits of using a palette knife is adding details or fixing errors on your painting surface. This part is your palette knife’s forte. Using your palette knife, you can easily scrape off paint from the Surface of your support to clear this area that needs fixing. 

In case you need to remove paint or details on your painting surface, you can scrape them off too with a palette knife. For instance, you can scrape thin lines away to imitate tree branches. It is worth noting that once you scratch the paint out, the underpainting will then be exposed. 

Scraping paint off your painting surface is another way to stain your canvas to expose your canvas’s earthly colors. 

Scumbling over your underpainting

The scumbling technique is executed better when working with a paintbrush, but you can also do this with a palette knife. The results that you can get when working with scumbling techniques are stunning too. 

To make the most of your scumbling technique with a palette knife, you will need to drag your paint loosely over the underpainting as your color breaks off the support’s Surface—scumbling technique using palette knife wants to add variance to grass or water.

Multiple colored strokes

A Palette knife allows you to create multiple colors in one stroke. You can work with various colors and initially mix them but not so well. Take the palette knife and build thick strokes of broken colors on your canvas.

Broken color

Your palette knife will allow you to create broken colors over your painting surface. You can paint layers of colors over a still wet color without thoroughly blending them. The process is more comfortable with a palette knife but can be challenging if you’ll use a paintbrush. 

Dabbing technique

This technique requires you to load the palette knife’s tip with a thick paint of rich and vibrant colors and dab it into your painting. This technique is ideal if you want to add several small dabs or color bursts to your almost finished painting. 

If you want to create a unique movement or activity on your painting surface, less the details, then this technique is a must-try. Use vivid colors over dull colors or foundations on your painting surface.

Aside from the aforementioned techniques, you can also use your palette knives to: 

  • Paint snow on mountains
  • Create highlights on the rocks
  • Build some texture in the foreground to copy rocks, grasses, or any nature scenery
  • Quickly cover your support with canvas
  • Paint tree barks or leaves
  • Paint fence lines, sharp edges, or tree branches
  • Mix colors on your palette
  • Clean space on the palette

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use With A Palette Knife?

As palette knives offer tons of benefits when working on the right painting medium, every artist needs to try working with this material at least once in their artistic journey. 

However, the best painting medium to use a palette knife with are acrylics and oil paints. These painting mediums are known to have thick pigment properties. With a palette knife, you can paint and work with various techniques using oil and acrylic paints. 

Several artists also work with palette knives on watercolors. This comfort level can be achieved when you get familiar with your palette knife and serves as your other arm when painting.

15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting For Beginners 1

How To Mix Acrylic Paints With A Palette Knife

For most artists who are more comfortable working with acrylics, using a palette knife is highly recommended. If it’s your first time working with a palette knife, I’ve included this palette knife tutorial to help you mix colors effectively. 

Whether you work with acrylic or oil paints, the process is almost the same, and the effects your palette knife offers are stunning. Here’s how to make the most of your painting session with palette knives. 

  • A Palette knife is used to mix paint on your palette on canvas
  • It is used to apply paint faster on your support
  • A small palette knife is ideal for mixing little amount of paint
  • Bigger blade palette knives are suitable for mixing a large amount of paint

While you can use a paintbrush to mix large amounts of colors, this will eventually degrade the lifespan of your paintbrushes. That is where a palette knife saves the day and allows you to integrate your paint efficiently. 

Here’s an easy to follow tutorial on how to mix colors using a palette knife: 

Step 1. Prepare paint blobs on your palette.

The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare a set of paint colors you’ll use for your artwork. Create blobs of paint around the palette’s edge. This will be an initial preparation as you’ll use these blobs to make new colors moving forward. 

Step 2. Get a small amount of paint and place it in the center of the palette.

With the blobs of paint on your palette, you can scoop a small amount and spread it on the center of your palette, away from the edge. 

Step 3. Clean your palette knife. 

Once you are done with step 2, wipe clean your palette blade to prevent colors from mixing. Then work on the next color as you move the palette around. Prevent color contamination by cleaning paint residue off your palette knife. 

Step 4. Get another color and mix it with the first paint (step 2). 

Step 5. Mix your colors.

Move your palette knife using a circular movement and increase pressure when pressing the colors down from the knife’s blade. 

Step 6. Scoop your mixed paint in one pile.

Either you start painting with the premix colors on your canvas or place it somewhere you want it to stay until you have achieved your desired hues. 

Who Uses Palette Knife?

Plenty of artists use palette knives to mix their colors perfectly, which you cannot achieve when using a paintbrush. Since a palette knife is a tool for applying or mixing paints, it offers optimum flexibility. 

The primary purpose of using a palette knife is to:

  • Mix colors
  • Apply colors
  • Add texture
  • Paste painting medium
  • Fix or add details

You may need to use a palette knife to apply clean color patches from a blank canvas or add a new paint layer from an existing surface. What’s great about a palette knife is that you won’t have to dilute the paint with your medium when you use a paintbrush. This gives a more vibrant end-result.

How To Effectively Use A Palette Knife?

Once you master palette knives, you can effectively create stunning artworks and improve your painting skills. For instance, you can use the palette knife with acrylics and oil paints. 

To scoop the paints into your palette knife, sweep it from your palette using the long blade or knife edge. If you are working with a pointy tip, you can dab or dip the paint’s pointed tip and work as you want.

Hold the palette knife’s handle firmly and adequately using your thumb and wrist to modify the angles ideal for your support needs. 

  • Use the palette knife’s long blade to sweep paint into the canvas, like spreading a jam or peanut butter on bread. 
  • Add pressure on your blade to paint thickly on the canvas when building texture.
  • Add pressure to the edge of your blade to create thin, delicate lines.
  • If you want to make small dots, then dip your palette knife’s tip on your paint.
  • Scratch or scrape paints using the palette knife’s pointed tip to reveal underpainting layers. 

Final Words

Palette knife painting is an excellent technique to help you improve your skills in painting. Whether you are a newcomer or an advanced painter, you’ll have a wonderful experience working with details, texture, and patterns when you get comfortable with palette knives. Share your experiences with us today! Leave a comment, and let’s talk!


3 responses to “15 Easy Tips To Palette Knife Painting For Beginners”

  1. Raguel Kummer Avatar

    I just want to say I am newbie to blogging and site-building and really liked this web blog. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your website . You actually have incredible well written articles. With thanks for sharing with us your web page.

    1. Tropic Drawing Avatar
      Tropic Drawing

      Amazing! Thank you too for sharing that inspiring insights. We hope to walk with you in this amazing journey. Let us know if you have any topic you want us to cover anytime. Cheers!

  2. Namita Avatar

    Hi! he palette knife is not just a tool for mixing paint on your palette. You can actually use the palette knife to create some pretty stunning effects in your paintings which are nearly impossible with a brush. To know more about it : , you can check the website of for details

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