Watercolor Paints & Paper: What Works Best

Watercolor paper vs sulphite paper

Here’s a question I get asked a lot:

Can I use regular paper with my watercolor paints? Or do I need to use watercolor paper?

The answer is yes! I like using liquid watercolor paints (affiliate link) on regular sulphite drawing paper but it only works well for a specific result.

Here’s a video to explain what the differences are:


  • Sulphite paper is about 76 lbs and will soak up the watercolor paint quickly. This doesn’t make it an effective surface to promote color blending or using the salting technique.
  • Watercolor is best for blending watercolors and adding salt for that lovely starburst effect because it has texture. This allows the watercolor paint to sit on the paper surface for a longer period of time to allow for the mingling.
  • The biggest difference is using glitter watercolor paints on sulphite paper. The viscosity in the glitter watercolor seems to help the liquid stay on the paper’s surface long enough for an effective salting technique.

Here are some projects that use liquid watercolor paints on regular sulphite paper:

1. Watercolor Castle for Kinders-Second Grade


2. Watercolor Sunflowers


3. Underwater Hippos for second and third grade


Interested in experimenting with more watercolor techniques?


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  • Jennifer Birch

    Underwater hippos are seriously adorable. Do you know that little kids, especially boys, are highly interested in deep water animals/lifeforms ? A lot of my nephews were fascinated by movies about them and even enjoyed watching pictures online Often, they just start drawing them spontaneously. Alternatively, I could offer them some kind of a starting point in a form of a coloring page – and they will continue coloring them. This is also a great moment to introduce some educational books to a child.

  • Lisa Krones-Whalen

    Hi Patty, I have a quick question for you. When talking about the 76# sulphite paper is that different than the Tru Ray white construction paper often found in the school supplies?

    • patty.palmer@deepspacesparkle.com

      Nope. The same thing. Different companies call it different things but it’s the smooth white paper that is good for all mediums. 🙂

  • Ashley

    Trying to find the same paper in Australia. It isn’t called Sulphite here but wondering what the name is? Any ideas?

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