Basic Painting Supplies

Margaret Riley inspiration studio

You want to learn to paint? But supplies are too expensive? Maybe I can help you out there. With each item, I’ll give you some suggestions both to purchase on the higher end of the scale and to purchase very inexpensive supplies.

  1. Sandpaper if you are painting on wood. Buy a 220-grit.

  2. Tracing paper is a semi-transparent paper that will allow you to see the pattern and retrace it. But you can put your pattern onto a window, lay copy paper over it, and the light will shine enough for you to trace the pattern. You will need a pencil, too, if you are tracing a pattern.

  3. Tack cloth is nice to have if you are sanding wood. This will assist in getting all the dust off your wood project. It has a waxy feeling and is reusable. Store it in a glass jar to preserve it. But you can use a soft cloth just slightly damp to lightly wipe over your wood.

  4. Palette paper is what you will put your paint onto. It is a waxed paper. Some people instantly think that waxed paper will work. It will NOT as it will absorb the moisture out of your paint. There are specific palette papers for specific paints (oil, acrylic, etc.). Remember that the waxy property of the paper allows the brush to glide easily when you load your brush with paint. You can use Styrofoam plates or paper plates that are waxed, even Styrofoam meat trays will work. One friend of mine uses a piece of glass. And Bob Ross used a transparent acrylic surface/palette for his paint.

  5. Graphite Paper (also called transfer paper) is what you will place between your surface and your traced pattern. It is kind of like carbon paper, but office supply carbon paper will not work. Why you ask? It will bleed through your painted design plus it can smear when you touch paint to it. You can take a No. 1 lead pencil and solidly cover the back of your pattern. Then place pattern onto your surface and retrace over your lines. This, too, can smear if you are not careful. Graphite paper is one thing I don’t substitute for. I bite the bullet and purchase it. It can be used multiple times before you throw it away. Graphite paper comes in black, grey, and white, as well as specialty transfer papers like Chacopaper®, which comes in blue and wipes off with water when you're done! 
  6. Water basin/container is used to rinse your brushes in. Any type of plastic disposable container will work. But if you want to invest in one, there are commercially made ones out there with divided sections in them. These help you keep clean, clear water for various painting techniques and strokes. When using water for decorative painting, always use cold water or room temperature water.
  7. Stylus is a narrow dowel with a metal point on one end or both. At the end of this metal point is a small metal ball that can come in various sizes and each end will be in a different size ball. This tool is used for tracing a pattern, dipping into paint and dotting on your project, and various other tasks. I don’t know of a substitute for this tool. ☹

  8. Kneaded eraser is a nice item to have. But I like the white eraser that comes in a barrel that you click to give you more eraser usage. This is great to use in erasing graphite and/or pencil lines.

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  • Kirby Elizabeth Manning on

    Great advice. I already receive the email…..

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