Difference Between Cold Pressed & Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper

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Watercolor on Hot Pressed Paper
Watercolor on Hot Pressed Paper (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Faith Goble)

To get the best results in your watercolor paintings, you must use the right paper for the job. Two common watercolor paper types are hot pressed paper and cold pressed paper. The names refer to how the paper was made. This process is what creates the differences in texture and performance.

How Hot Pressed Paper is Made

Think of hot pressed paper as ironed paper. After it is made, hot pressed paper is pressed flat with hot rollers.

How Cold Pressed Paper Is Made

Cold pressed paper is basically the opposite of hot pressed paper. It is pressed without any heat at all.

Hot Pressed Paper Texture

Since hot pressed paper was ironed flat, it is very smooth in texture.

Cold Pressed Paper Texture

Cold pressed paper has a slight nubby texture to it. This is because it wasn't heated, so it has a rough texture.

Uses of Hot and Cold Pressed Papers

Artists who use hot pressed papers like to use a lot of detail in their paintings. The smooth surface of the paper makes this easy. Artists who use cold pressed paper are more relaxed in their strokes and enjoy how the rough texture makes the paint settle in unpredictable ways.

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