Best Paper For Acrylic Paint

Michael Daly
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If you are looking to try paper medium art for the first time, there are a few things you need to know about the type of paper that works with acrylic paints.

Why not take the easy route, and use regular watercolor paper?

The problem with regular watercolor paper is it is too absorbent which means the paint will be soaked up by the paper surface and won’t be able to dry properly. It will be all wrinkly and forever ruined unless you have the necessary skills to handle the paper perfectly.

If you are just getting started with paper medium art, you may want to choose canvas or a high quality watercolor block.

On the other hand, if you have a few years experience under your belt, you may even be able to choose a different type of paper.

If you’re new to paper medium and want to try out a different type of paper, let me guide you here.

NameCategoryProduct
Canson Artist Series Montval Acrylic PadBest OverallCanson Artist Series Montval Acrylic Pad
StrathmoreBudget PickStrathmore
Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic PadUpgrade PickStrathmore 400 Series Acrylic Pad

1. Canson Artist Series Montval Acrylic Pad

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canson Artist Series Montval Acrylic Pad

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Pros:

  • Durable acid-free surface
  • Thick surface paper
  • Suitable for all types of paint
  • Large size
  • One of the most economical alternatives to oil and watercolor paper
  • This paper is not intended for drawing due to its weight and texture

(CS9704)

Canson is a reputable brand of art paper. You might be wondering what makes it so special. The paper made by Canson is considered to be the best in the industry. This paper will allow artists to create acrylic painting because they are made up of bound resin that resists the absorption of water. It is considered to be the best paper for acrylic painting because it can be left without any mount for weeks and still be in great shape. It is good to know that these are not adversely affected by temperatures. Though it can be used with hot, cool, and warm water, it would be best to let the paper cool down first, especially when used on large surfaces.

2. Grumbacher Acrylic Paper Pad

Our rating: 9 / 10

Grumbacher Acrylic Paper Pad

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Pros:

  • High-quality craftsmanship
  • Professional grade
  • Environmentally conscious

The Grumbacher Acrylic Paper Pad is perfect for those artists who want their creations to be completed in their own home. It’s definitely a high-quality paper that’s long lasting and will give you many years of performance. This is one of the best paper for acrylic paints.

The paper is acid free which is important as it’ll ensure that the colors that you create with it won’t fade over time. It’s also made with cotton for the best performance. This is one of the most environmentally friendly papers on the market.

This paper has adhesion on both surfaces. That means that there won’t be any bleed through, even when you paint on the wrong side of the paper. The 15 sheets per pad are eminently suitable because of both the side wired design and the heavy side folds.

3. Canson XL Series Oil and Acrylic Paper Pad

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canson XL Series Oil and Acrylic Paper Pad

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Pros:

  • Quick-drying
  • Vibrant colors
  • Won’t feather or bleed
  • Great for both beginners and professional artists
  • Includes 24 sheets

When it comes to finding great paper for acrylic paints, it’s tough to beat Canson’s XL series. This unique paper is created by combining two strong natural fibers which makes the paper ideal for any and all media. Canson’s XL series is also bright white and acid free which makes it an attractive choice for the artist who prefers to frame his or her artwork.

One of the other great things about this particular pad of paper is it’s five point thick fold over score. This makes it great for anyone who is looking for straight edges during their artistic process. It’s also perfect for beginners with no experience at all.The paper has excellent whiteness and light resistance. It’s also very good with handling the oils of the paint itself.

4. Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Pad

Our rating: 9 / 10

Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Pad

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Pros:

  • Made using 100% cotton fiber
  • Acid-free
  • Rives paper, slightly rough surface for easy lifting
  • Sustainable
  • Linen surface provides a canvas finish perfect for acrylic painting
  • Can be used with wet or dry media
  • Size: 18"x24"

Cons:

  • Not as versatile as other paper types
  • Can soak in paint, causing paint run during drying

If you want a paper that's boldly printed, then this is the paper you'll want. The Strathmore 400 series is a premium, acid-free, well-suited for collage and acrylic painting. It's got a soft and flexible surface that makes it suitable for any medium, from watercolor to oil.

This paper is made of 100% cotton fiber, and is sized at 18"x24". It's available in various versions, such as Glue bind with one or more sheets, or in an unmounted format.

5. Arteza Acrylic Pad A3

Our rating: 8 / 10

Arteza Acrylic Pad A3

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Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Smooth surface without staple holes
  • Very good build quality

Cons:

  • Very thin
  • Can curl
  • Has cutting marks on the edge

The Arteza Acrylic Pad A3 is a great value for money and a well made product. We love the price to value proposition. It is ideal both for professionals and amateurs. It offers a smooth and sturdy surface. 4/5

If you’re looking for a nice alternative to the Canson Marker Pad (which is a very good product as well), then the Arteza might be a better option for you. It’s made from the same sturdy material as the Canson, but it costs much less. It’s a great choice for both professionals and beginners alike.

6. Strathmore

Our rating: 8 / 10

Strathmore

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Pros:

  • Ideal for travel
  • Removeable protective plastic sheets
  • Expandable to 9.5 inches
  • Comes in a wide variety of colors
  • Glue Bound
  • Acid-Free and won’t yellow over time
  • Glues easily to boards
  • Great for beginning artists
  • Awesome for mixed media art
  • Unique sheets to use instead of normal cardstock

Cons:

  • Smells like strong chemicals
  • Can rip slightly

The name Strathmore is synonymous with paper. In actual fact, Wegner says, the name comes from one of the original partners in the business. “Strathmore is a cotton fiber that is white and smooth with a long, lustrous finish,” Wegner says. “It’s a high-quality paper.”

This product is great to use with tempera or watercolor paint. The finish is light enough to allow the paint to show through and the paper is dense enough to provide support. You can also paint on a varnish finish.

7. U.S. Art Supply 9" x 12" Premium Extra Heavy-Weight Acrylic Painting Paper Pad

Our rating: 8 / 10

U.S. Art Supply 9" x 12" Premium Extra Heavy-Weight Acrylic Painting Paper Pad

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Pros:

  • Designed for too different mediums
  • Tightly-woven construction
  • Acid free
  • Can be used with wet and dry mediums
  • Good for use with both acrylic and watercolor
  • Lightweight for easy transportation
  • Waterproof

The U.S. Art Supply 9” x 12” Premium Extra Heavy-Weight Acrylic Painting Paper Pad is suitable for any medium whether it is water or oil-based paintings. It’s also possible to use these sheets with charcoal, colored pencils, crayons, markers, pen, and pencil. The sheets are acid-free, and that’s what makes them perfect for acrylic paintings.

The sheets are also made with a tight weave construction so they are ideal for wet or dry use. Since they are extra heavy-weight, they are ideal for watercolors, calligraphy, and mixed media.

As a bonus, when painting on this paper, it is waterproof. That means these sheets are suitable for use outdoors. The sheets can be used with heavy toners without smudging. You can use them with both solvent-based and water-based inks. They can handle any medium you wish to use with them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What type of paper is good for acrylic paints?

Acrylic paint is a type of paint that is basically water-based. Because of this, the most suitable paper is paper made of water-based paper. This water-based paper will be more absorbent and dries very quickly. Normally, these types of paper are made with cotton or rag fibers. Another good paper for acrylic paint is a paper made of a combination of cotton and synthetic fibers. The synthetic fibers give water resistance to the surface of the paper. Although more expensive, this type of paper is usually used to print photo album pages or photo album covers. When handled a lot, the surface of the paper can be somewhat scratchy, but it is water-resistant.

A paper with a combination of cotton and synthetic fibers is a little bit more expensive than the paper made of rag fibers, but it is stronger. However, if not handled with care, the paper might tear, especially when it comes into contact with water after it has dried up.

Can I use acrylic paint on watercolor paper?

Acrylic paint is not designed to be used on watercolor paper, as the paint will react with the paper and cause the paint to lose its quality.

However, there are ways to add acrylic paint to a watercolor painting without using watercolor paper. You can use canvas paper, which is similar to watercolor paper but is flexible. Therefore, when many layers of paint are added, the paint will not attack the canvas.

Another method is to level off acrylic paint using matte medium before it dries. Matte medium is a liquid used to blend two layers of acrylic paint to create the look of a watercolor painting.

Another technique is to use a watercolor paper to make an acrylic underpainting, and then use regular paper to add details and texture to the painting.

Before adding acrylic paint to a watercolor painting, consider using these alternatives, as they will give a similar result.

Can you use acrylic paint on sketchbook paper?

Yes! Sketchbooks are designed with paper that can bend and hold its shape. In order to use this paper, you will need to sand the cover down a bit to rough it up first. Then you can brush off the dust from the cover. The paper is very thin and strong. It even has a slight texture, which is perfect for laying down paint.

Go over to your local craft store and look for sketchbooks designed especially for acrylic paint instead of just regular notebooks. The paper will be thicker and stronger than regular spiral notebooks. They come in a variety of sizes, and you might even be able to find one printed with a waterproof design.

Whether you are a watercolor or an oil painter, this cheap paper is going to work great for you. Everyone has to start somewhere and art is so much more enjoyable when you have a dedicated surface to do it on!

Conclusion

No surprise here, we went with the same brand we use every time we need to paint. Do note this is best used with powdered pigments, such as for shading and highlighting a figure. It’s good for fine detail, but not the best with washes. You can still use water-based paints, but the pigments don't bind to the surface as firmly.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Canson Artist Series Montval Acrylic PadBest OverallCanson Artist Series Montval Acrylic Pad
StrathmoreBudget PickStrathmore
Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic PadUpgrade PickStrathmore 400 Series Acrylic Pad