Does Watercolor Paper Weight Matter?

Not gonna lie – when walking into a store to purchase watercolor paper – the options can be overwhelming (not to mention the prices).  But does painting on a heavier paper weight actually make a difference?  

You’ve probably noticed the numbers 140 lb/300 gsm – this isn’t talking about the quality of the paper – but rather the weight of a paper from a specified ream or stack of papers.   The lighter the weight the more buckling and warping you will encounter – the higher the weight the thicker the papers and less as a result less warping.  

The 4 basic weights of watercolor paper is 90lb, 140lb, 300lb, and 400lb.   Which is what we will be comparing in today’s study.   In the study I will purposefully be using a ton of water and also using masking fluid to see how it paper fares with both of these obstacles.  



Does painting on 400lb watercolor paper actually make a difference?

Well first off – heck yeah it does!  Painting on 400lb paper was so cool!  If you have the opportunity to paint on it at least once – do it!  That being said – my two most worth it papers personally for my style of painting would be the 140lb and 300lb weight papers.  Especially considering that I can get these pre-stretched in blocks – which would eliminate the warping issues. 

That being said – if you want to paint anything with a ton of water and push your watercolors to a new level – painting on 400lb paper is the way to go.  And to save money – I would recommend buying it in a sheet – and then cutting it into small portions.   This sheet cost me around $22 and I could easily get 3 more paintings out of it.  Which I’m totally going to be doing in the upcoming weeks – so make sure to follow me on instagram if you’d like to see those explorations.   

Anyway – that’s it for this post – hopefully you got to see the differences between the 4 common weights of watercolor paper and could make a decision for yourself of what you would like to paint on in the future!  

About Author

Hi there! My name is Carrie and I'm a Watercolor Misfit! What's a Watercolor Misfit? Well, anyone who is willing to try new things and not afraid to get their hands covered in paint! So what do you say, are you a Misfit-ian?


  • George Ventayen
    March 31, 2019 at 12:43 am

    Hi Carrie, I so love this post and hope that someday this will be included in the courses page.

    • Misfit
      April 4, 2019 at 4:33 pm

      I think that’s a good idea! :) I’l look into it :D


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