Cold Press Watercolor Paper

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Cold Press Watercolor Paper

Our wide assortment of cold press watercolor paper includes high-quality options for artists of every skill level. Shop cold press artist grade watercolor paper as well as cold press student grade watercolor paper in every size and format, including pads, blocks, rolls, journals, and more.

What is cold press watercolor paper?

With its textured, dimpled surface, cold press watercolor paper is a classic choice for watercolor painting. In addition to giving watercolor artwork its signature look and character, cold press watercolor paper’s absorbent surface can hold up to multiple washes of water and media. Cold press watercolor paper takes its name from a manufacturing process in which sheets are pressed through cold metal rollers to produce an irregular surface texture. Watercolor paper can be made of cellulose (wood pulp), cotton, or a mixture of materials. Cold press artist grade watercolor papers are typically made with 100% cotton, which is very strong and naturally acid-free.

Trying to determine which type of watercolor paper is right for you? Watercolor paper comes in a wide variety of finishes, weights, and formats, but is generally classified by texture. Cold press and hot press watercolor paper are two of the most common types. The main difference between cold and hot press watercolor paper has to do with the paper’s finish. While cold press paper has a “toothy”, slightly irregular surface texture, hot press paper is smooth and even. Importantly, a watercolor paper’s surface texture has no relationship to its quality—the type of paper you choose will depend on your needs and goals.

Heavier weight papers are typically more absorbent and less resistant to warping, while lighter weight papers are less resistant but offer a good value for students, hobbyists, and professionals who don't mind stretching before painting. Cold press watercolor paper is often treated with sizing, a glue-like binder that manufacturers add to the paper to make it even more water-resistant. External sizing is applied to the surface of the paper after the sheet is formed and dried, while internal sizing is added while the paper pulp is still in a liquid state. Some papers are both internally and externally sized. Shop our full selection of watercolor paper on our watercolor paper and pads page.