How to Paint with a Palette Knife

Sometimes painting with a brush can be a pain in the neck. Try painting with your palette knife instead.

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Bring out your inner artist with these painting tips and techniques.

You Will Need

  • A palette knife
  • Oil paints
  • Acrylic paints with medium mixed in

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Hold knife like a brush

    Hold the painting knife pretty much the same way you should a paintbrush.

  2. More specifically, hold the knife so it rests atop the inside of all four fingers—not gripped like a baseball bat or a pencil.

  3. Step 2

    Glob the paint on the canvas

    Glob the paint on to the pre-treated canvas or board and start pushing it around.

  4. Step 3

    Feel out the surfaces

    Get a feel for what the different surfaces—including the edges—of the paint knife can do.

  5. It helps, though isn’t necessary, to work from light to dark.

  6. Step 4

    Watch the paint dry

    Watch how the paint dries. It might sound boring, but it’s crucial if you care about your work.

  7. The toughest time to work over a layer of paint is when it’s wet with a dry skin on top. You can work wet-on-dry, but working wet-on-wet is the most common way to go about it.

  8. Step 5

    Wipe your knives clean

    Simply wipe your knives clean with a good, lint-free rag.

  9. Don’t be afraid to put a little cleaning solution on the rag to get all of the paint off the knife before dipping it back down.

  10. Step 6

    Wait for the paint to dry

    Allow a long time for the paint to dry completely. If you’re wondering if it’s been long enough, it hasn’t.

  11. You can save a few bucks by buying some of your tools at the hardware store.

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