My 5 Favorite Painting Surfaces

Let’s talk about painting surfaces. Canvas, of course, is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of acrylic painting. It is an excellent surface for painting on (we will talk about them later), but you aren’t limited to just canvases. There are so many other surfaces that we could take our brushes to and bring a new life! Today I am going to share my 5 favorites surfaces to paint on and why I like them so much.

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Canvas Panels

A canvas panel is cotton canvas mounted to a board. This makes them a more solid surface than a stretch canvas. They are inexpensive, and space savers which make them perfect for teaching. They can even fit into a standard frame!

I have so many paintings on canvas panels, like my Mixed Media Chapel.

Mixed Media Chapel on Painting Surface Canvas Panel

One thing I love canvas panels for is mixed media painting. In mixed media, you apply a lot of different mediums than just paint like, ink, stenciling, layered papers, and it is easier for these types of things to adhere to the canvas panel.

Favorite Painting Surfaces The Social Easel Online Paint Studio

Mixed Media Pad

If you know me, you know I love this thing!! I love the 11×14 mixed media pad, but it’s also available in other sizes like a 5×8 that could be fun for those on the go inspiring moments.

Mixed Media Pads are great for just playing around and learning. I recommend everyone have one! Use it as a sketchpad to practice your strokes, brush pressure, and color mixing, without feeling like it needs to be perfect. We all have to practice things over and over to get better!

Paining Surface Painting with a Round Paint Brush

Many of my Tribe members practice their painting and follow along with my tutorials first while using a mixed media pad. Then when they feel confident, they paint again on canvas.

I keep all of mine because they are like a scrapbook of all your work. If you love your painting, tear it out and frame it! You can also look back and see your progress.

Practice, find things you like and get more confident. If you only get one thing to paint on, get a mixed media pad!

Favorite Painting Surfaces The Social Easel Online Paint Studio

Stretch Canvas Value Packs

You don’t need to buy expensive canvases when you are just beginning to paint. When you get confident as an artist and want to make a statement piece, you can get a thicker canvas.

I love the standard, 16×20, 11×14, and all squares! If you want one canvas, you will want more. Grab a value pack and get more bang for your buck.


With summer here, you may want to add some color to your porch decor, or to spruce up a metal ice bucket for all your drinks. You can paint it!

I have a bucket I painted flowers on a few years ago, and it is still in excellent condition. You can’t use the standard acrylic craft paint that we do for paintings, though.

The Best Outdoor Craft Paint

You will need to use a paint made for the outdoors. My favorite outdoor craft paint is Americana Outdoor Living Indoor Outdoor paint. This is the same paint I used on my Birdhouses you can read about HERE. With this paint, there is no sealing required, and it can be used on so many other painting surfaces!

I think painting a cute metal bucket could be a fun painting project for summer! You can find a metal bucket almost anywhere, or I found this one online.


Painting on wood is so fun! We have scrap wood from our deck build just lying around right now, and you know I am making plans to paint on those!

Corey builds me pallet boards for painting, and I have painted some of my favorite pieces on them. They are pretty simple to build, you can grab a tutorial here.

Painting Surfaces How to Build a Pallet Board for Painting

You don’t need special paint for painting on wood, just the same craft paint I use in all my tutorials will do.

You can buy wood panels for painting if you don’t want to build a pallet board or have any scraps lying around. They come in a similar size to stretch canvas but are just wood. A lot of people find that they prefer to paint on wood so you should try it out if you haven’t!

You can also find premade wood pallet hanger like THESE if you like the slatted look of a pallet board. They would make a cute door hander!

How to Build a Pallet Board for Painting

You can paint on so many things! Are you going to try any new painting surfaces this summer?