WATERCOLOR

What’s The Difference Between Cold Press and Hot Press Watercolor Paper?

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Have you ever looked closely – and I mean really close at the surface of your watercolor paper?   And noticed that some papers have this bumpy texture – whereas others don’t?   Is there a purpose?  Which one should you use?

More importantly…What is the difference between cold press and hot press paper?

WHY DOES WATERCOLOR PAPER HAVE BUMPS?

Well, what you are looking at is the texture of the paper – often referred to as the “tooth” of the paper.   But why is this texture important to artist?   Well, what we have stumbled upon is the difference between two types of watercolor paper – Hot Press Paper and Cold Press Paper.  

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOT PRESS & COLD PRESS WATERCOLOR PAPER?

Hot Press Paper

  • Feels smooth to the touch – similar to Mixed Media paper but as we learned in the previous post – it is usually made with some form of cotton fibers and/or wood pulp.  Personally – I like to think of this paper being HOT ironed flat. Thus having no bumps at all.

Cold Press Paper

  • On the other hand, feels bumpy to the touch.   It is sometimes referred to as “Not Paper” basically meaning Not Hot Press. I like to think of this Paper as having “GOOSEBUMPS” due to the COLD.   

BUT WHY DOES TEXTURE MATTER?

Hot Press Paper – The Good & Bad

hot press watercolor paper, difference between cold press and hot press

BUT WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HAVING BUMPS ON YOUR PAPER?

Cold Press – The Good & Bad

cold press watercolor paper

SO WHICH PAPER DO YOU PREFER?

Let me know in the comments below as well as why you prefer it!  I personally swing back and forth between hot and cold press – depending on what project I am tackling that particular week.  

But I will say – the coldpress paper is a lot easier to work on for me – when compared to hot press.   However, that being said – there is some cold press paper where the tooth of the paper is very fine compared to others.   I’ve actually been on the search for a months now for a cold press paper that has the texture similar to hot press.   This is why the watercolor paper is such a personal preference.   Because personally I like the smoother texture but also the absorbency and durability of cold press.   At the moment, Hahnemühle cold press paper actually does a pretty good job of giving me the feel of cold press but the look of hot press.   I’ll be exploring this a little later in this series – when I compare other watercolor paper brands against each other.   But hopefully for now – that helps you with a bit more of an understanding between the two types of paper. ? 

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WHAT IS WATERCOLOR PAPER MADE OF?

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WHY DOES WATERCOLOR PAPER WEIGHT MATTER?

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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?

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