This entry was originally posted on Friday, January 6, 2012.

Watercolor paper comes in several different weights and you may wonder, what is that all about? That paper doesn’t weigh that much!

Actually, it does. When it is first made, it is rolled onto a ream and weighed. So the 140lb paper was on a ream that weighed 140lbs. And so on and so forth. The ream is about 500 sheets of paper (22×30″).

The most common weights are 90lb, 140lb, and 300lb.

When choosing which weight to use it is sometimes helpful to know what you want to paint.

90lb paper doesn’t absorb as much water and paint so the color is more vibrant. It best to do quick work that is a one time go with this paper. It doesn’t hold up well with multiple washes. I don’t usually use this paper because I do like to build up my color.

I use 140lb when I am traveling and for smaller paintings and studies (1/2 sheet or smaller).

300lb is used for my larger, more serious work (portraits) and for my poured watercolors. This is because it is more forgiving. I can wet and rewet many times and scrub away much easier. I am less likely to make a hole in it! And finally, I like the way it sits behind a mat. It just feels more substantial especially when it is a big piece.

Leslie Lambert

Author Leslie Lambert

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