Does Watercolor Paper Weight Matter?

posted by Misfit
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Not gonna lie – when walking into a store to purchase watercolor paper – the options can be overwhelming (not to mention the prices).  In this series so far – we’ve talked about what watercolor paper is made of and how the texture of the paper can effect your art work – but what about weight?  

DOES PAINTING ON 400LB WATERCOLOR PAPER ACTUALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Especially if you are going to stretch your paper anyway?  I was really curious.

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.  

MY THOUGHTS FROM THE STUDY

SO WHAT IS THE MOST WORTH IT PAPER FROM TODAY?

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!  

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOT & COLD PRESS PAPER?

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2 Comments

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.

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Misfit April 4, 2019 at 4:33 pm

I think that’s a good idea! 🙂 I’l look into it 😀

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