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How to Hold a Palette

how to hold a palette

Before painting, we have to set up our palette, then hold it while working with the brush on the other hand. It is important to position the palette right to avoid accidentally dropping it or getting a cramp after a short while.

Indeed, there are many different ways to hold a palette. When choosing what way is best for you, consider the type of painting you will be doing with the palette. If you’re new to painting or drawing with acrylics, here are some tips on how to hold the palette correctly.

How to Hold a paint Palette?

There are a few different ways to hold a palette while you’re painting. Different ways work better for different people, so find the most comfortable way for you.

1. One way to Hold a Palette is by Gripping it Between your Thumb and the First Two Fingers

Insert your thumb into the palette and hold it with two fingers. The whole palette will sit on your forearm.

In this position, the thumb goes over the top of the pallet while the remaining three fingers go underneath, gripping it firmly to prevent any slipping during a painting session.

Benefits of this Method:

  • This method grip gives you good control over the palette and allows you to move it around easily. Such a method also allows constant flow for wrist movement rather than the whole arm to prevent fatigue and losing some details
  • Holding like this gives you a stronghold without causing too much pressure on joints. As a result, there will be little to no paint spills at either end


  • Be conscious about how much pressure is applied when gripping the palate between the index finger and middle finger
  • Also, pay attention to where placing thumbs for balance along with wrist movement instead of arm motion allows constant flow throughout the process without hand cramps or pain after
  • Suppose you like to use many brushes while painting. In that case, these can be held in your fingers as you go along. But be careful – if the palette slips, then paint could end up on your surface or palette. With that, you can ruin all previous mixes rendering them useless due to running out before finishing creating a piece of art

2. Another Way to Hold a Palette is by Using your Whole hand to Support it

Place your hand under the palette. But, this method only works if the palette is small and lightweight.

Try adjusting how you grip each end until you find a balance that works best if that’s more comfortable. This will increase stability and reduce messes caused by paint spills or palette leakage at either end of your palette.

This grip is more secure and stable than the previous one but allows less mobility.


  • Be sure you’re not supporting the palette with just one hand – this can lead to an unbalanced palette
  • Be sure the palette is balanced before starting the session to hold it with ease and prevent hand fatigue during long periods of holding the palette still

When selecting a palette, make sure it doesn’t have any cracks or leaks between two halves. This could lead to mixing up paints together when using them separately since oils dry quickly. A poor choice like that makes previous mixes useless due to running out before finishing the painting.

Experiment with both grips and see which one works best for you! Whichever way you choose, make sure to keep your palette clean so that your paint doesn’t get mixed up.

Other Helpful Tips

how to hold a paint palette

How do I Organize my Acrylic Paint Palette?

There are a few different ways to organize your acrylic paint palette. You can organize by color, type of paint, or brand.

Some artists prefer to organize their palettes by color. This method makes it easy to find the colors you need and prevents mixing too many colors.

Others prefer to organize their palette by type of paint. This way allows them to find the right paint for the job quickly. Still, others like to organize their palette by brand. With that, they can stay consistent with their painting style.

The best way to organize your palette is the way that works best for you!

How do you Arrange Colors on a Palette?

A palette is a tray or board on which artists arrange and mix colors. There are several ways to go about arranging the colors you want on your palette:

  • Arrange by similarity – If I know that I will be painting primarily greens, then my palette might contain just the various shades of green paint that I have mixed up over time
  • Arrange according to lightness/darkness – If there is very little variation in value (light vs. dark), it probably makes sense for them all to share a similar space. With that, I can avoid confusing one with another when picking up more paint from your brush
  • Mix palette sizes – This method depends upon how many paints need mixing at once larger pal. For instance, if you’re doing large areas with a few colors, use a smaller palette for more detailed work
  • Create an analogous color palette – This is when you select three or four colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel. This palette type is excellent for beginners because it allows smooth practices and quicker judgment
  • Use a complementary palette – A complementary palette uses two colors opposite one another on the color wheel. When mixed, they create a high contrast effect. Portrait painters often use this type of palette because it helps to bring out the details in someone’s face
  • Experiment – The best way to find what works well for you is to experiment with different arrangements until you find something that feels comfortable and natural


Depending on preference and comfort level, you can hold your palette in various ways. But, make sure to use the hole designed in the palette and grip the whole thing in a way that ensures balance.

This will help ensure that you can lift from any angle without worrying about spilling or creating smears.

If your hands feel numb, change how you hold the palette gently and maybe take a short break.

Following these three simple rules guarantees a clean, neat process every time!

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