Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Simple Tip for Saving Money on Pastel Paper

'Take me There'            8x10          pastel           ©Karen Margulis
purchase here $125
You know you want it.  Sanded papers. Pastels and sanded pastel papers make a wonderful combination but paper can be expensive.  You might think that you aren't good enough yet to spend the  money on sanded paper. You might not be able to find it easily in your local art store or of you do it is only sold in the pricey pads.

I haven't bought a pad of sanded paper in years.  Instead I purchase my paper by the sheet and cut it down to smaller sizes. It is a huge money saver and I can mix and match paper brands.  It is even a better value when I use the VIP coupons that the big online art stores offer by email.

Cutting down sanded paper is easy.  All you need is a ruler, pencil and some scissors!

You don't need a paper cutter or cut it with an exacto knife.  A pair of sharp scissors does the job very nicely.  The paper will eventually dull the scissors and when mine get dull I buy another pair at the dollar store....for $1.  I thought I would buy a nice pair and sharpen them but the dollar scissors work great!

I like to buy full sheets 18x24 of Uart paper. (my favorite) I leave them as a full sheet until I need paper. Sometimes I will paint large and use the full sheet. Sometimes I like 16x20 or 11x14. Most of the time I cut a sheet into smaller pieces. I can get four 8x10's from one sheet.  I use the remaining scraps to cut some minis (2.5x3.5)

Buying sanded paper by the full sheet can cost anywhere from $6 to $15 a sheet depending on the sales. I always wait for a coupon. Consider getting together with friends to split a paper order. (splitting pastels is also another great way to add to your collection)

My favorite online store is They have always been quick to deliver and correct any issues. I also like as they always have everything a pastel artist needs!

Today's painting:  8x10 on Uart with a value alcohol wash. This was a demo showing how to create a path into a painting. 


linda b said...

Hi Karen,
I have followed your painting site here for some time now. I truly do love the changes you have made in your painting style and use of color in particular along with the more abstract representations.
I would like to know how you framed this painting, please.

Karen said...

Thank you so much for your kind words! I am using a gold plein air frame that I got at I don't use mats or spacers and I use Museum glass.

Tim Moore said...

i always look for the colors nobody wants..sheets can sometimes be had for $.10 a sheet...true, not always the colors you want, but then...

ida mae poopsnatch said...

Hey Karen, Jerry's Artarama sells a 'sample pak' of 21x27 inch UArt with 3 sheets of each grade for $60.47 + shipping/tax. If you can stand the rougher grits, it's an amazing deal. I don't think I'll ever use mine up.
The finer grits are always usable, & the rougher ones are always good for experiments. I really like the encouraging message you always put out! Thanks--MaryB

robertsloan2art said...

Oh absolutely! The price difference is enormous and you have freedom to decide the shape and size of the pieces you're using.

I have another price-saving tip for sanded paper, especially for those who like Colourfix. Get a sanded primer like Art Spectrum Colourfix Mixed Media Primer or Golden Pumice Gel, and prime watercolor paper yourself. Cheap watercolor pads will give practice paper with the same surface as good archival paper, while any serious art I do I can get all-rag archival watercolor paper at a discount in sheets or rolls and prime it.

If I worked large I'd get the primer by the liter and Arches hot press (the smooth texture) watercolor paper by the roll, which is the cheapest way to get it. I don't have the space to store a roll and cut off pieces as needed but if I lived in a house I'd set up something for it, including a dust cover for the roll made from an old sheet and just put over it when not in use. Run a broomstick handle through the roll and put chains on the end, then hook the chains into O-rings on the wall right over the end of a big table.

If I were doing a class regularly I'd be able to use this bulk approach, but I don't have the space. Hopefully someone who likes painting large can use the tip. That and watch for the sales at the big online distributors like Blick or Jerry's to get the roll on sale, drop the price even farther. If you think and plan ahead you can always get artist grade supplies on sale.