The Magic that is Yupo Paper

” Yupo is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers. It’s a synthetic paper, machine-made in the USA of 100% polypropylene. […] This extraordinary, non-absorbent surface resists tearing and buckling and remains perfectly flat, eliminating the need for soaking, stretching, or taping. […] Yupo is pH-neutral, flawlessly smooth, and recyclable.”dickblick

I allowed Husband to spoil me one day, and bought a small 5″ x 7″ pack of Yupo paper. As we were wandering Curry’s, I got hung up at the Winsor & Newton Marker display, and he wandered off to look at other things. Suddenly he peeled me away from the display and pulled me to the paper section, pointing at the slogan on the Yupo pad, “A different way to watercolor”. Excitement in his eyes, he said he already looked it up on his smartphone, and apparently there’s no buckling on this paper – a complaint I had vented about numerous times before.

Pad of Yupo with my test painting
Be VERY careful to not touch the paper. Fingerprints WILL affect the painting.

First Impressions

  • Wooow, this is really smooth. *keeps touching the paper, leaving a zillion fingerprints*
  • This can’t possibly stay straight once enough water sits on it.
  • The slogan says it’s a different way to watercolour, but it’s not on the “Suitable for” list printed on the top right corner(?)
  • This must feel like mixing watercolour paint on a clean palette – lots of beading, difficult to get the paint+water off the brush and onto the surface
  • Will the dried painting crack if I bend the paper?


As promised, this paper did NOT buckle. I put a lot of water on it and it never curled one bit. The paper takes some getting used to, as I feel it forces you to accept losing some control. It’s a bit hard to encourage the blending of colours, or adding water without it leaving little circles where your brush lifted off. However, it does give unique control in the sense of “post-masking” (0:50 in the video above). After the paint dries, it is so easy to add some water and lift [98% of] the paint off. Together, this means it is easy to correct mistakes of the erasing type, but difficult to correct mistakes where you have to add colour.

Super carefully, I held my breath and mildly curled the paper (as curled as a “U”) in both directions. The paint did not crack. I suspect it has more to do with the paint than the paper. One big disadvantage is that watercolour paintings on Yupo paper are VERY water sensitive. If you’re not careful, it could all wash off. Taylor Ikin suggests sealing finished paintings with a coat of Blair 201 matte finish or Krylon matte finish. I’ve tried sealing an acrylic painting in the past and had a very bad experience. Likely it’s because I used the wrong spray paint. Nevertheless, as I plan to mail this painting off to a friend (the subject matter is an inside joke), I didn’t want to risk it. I will try it out on some other test painting.

Wet watercolour paint on Yupo Paper
It’s fun watching the paint do it’s own thang.

In Conclusion

It’s an interesting material offering an interesting experience. If just thinking about watercolour blooms and wet-in-wet techniques makes you want to scurry to your paintbrushes, then this paper is perfect for you.

Me, I think I just want bigger sheets. : )

Have you tried Yupo paper yet? What were your thoughts?




First time painting on Yupo paper. My thoughts.



10 thoughts on “The Magic that is Yupo Paper

  1. Watercolour looks kind of scary! but ever since I saw a guy in a Starbucks in japan produce a beautiful watercolour of the coffee shop in about 20 minutes I wanted to try it, but it seems so challenging – I guess you need a good eye for colour, good imagination of how to abstract a scene into colour and then the technical skills with the paint and water etc.

    I hope to try someday, but I haven’t picked up the courage to buy a set yet and I was a bit shocked at how expensive the paper is!

    I will keep in mind that there are different types of papers with different properties!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      I can’t lie, watercolours ARE scary! But I believe it’s one of those things that quickly get easier as you practice. Acrylics are less scary if you just wanted a feel for what it’s like to use a brush to put colours down on a surface. At least you can get canvases at the dollar store. : )

      I agree with your point about the expensive watercolour paper – I think that’s a big part of what makes it scary! The thought of messing up on expensive paper is a nightmare.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so good to see a post from you!!! I have never heard of yupo paper, but that stuff looks seriously heavy-duty! And your picture turned out so cute. I took my boards yesterday so now I will have time to let me creative side let loose and maybe do something crafty for once! Every time I visit your blog it gives me that itch! Hope you are doing so well :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow you sure are fast! : )

      Yeah! I’ve missed the blogging world so much! Within the past 4 weeks, I got a job, quit the job, got sick, rented a cottage for a long weekend, stopped being sick but now have an annoying lingering cough, threw a three-birthdays birthday party, and am now just super tired every day because my lingering cough keeps me up at night. : ( No matter how much honey I eat ( heehee <3 ).

      Your comment put SUCH a smile on my face!! I am so looking forward to catching up on all your blog posts! I think I saw an avocado costume?? : ) Looks like you found a moment to be crafty!

      Hope you and DJ are doing well too!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awww! Girl, you have been busyyyyyyy! I hope that things settle down a touch for you soon. I feel like the beginning of fall is always so so busy for some reason. Also those kinds of coughs are the absolute worst. Can’t stinking stand them!! Hopefully it will leave soon :( That just reminded me…when we were in Bora Bora DJ had a sore throat and we kept trying to get lemon and honey, but they kept bringing limes because in their language lemon is lime. We never did end up getting a lemon, lol. And yes- DJ and I had a Halloween party with our family! He may have done most of the work for the costumes though ;) I can’t take much credit! FEEL BETTER and rest up <3

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not as busy as you though!! I just caught up on all your posts. Your life is so full of precious little moments. : )

          Aw, what a cute anecdote about the lime! They must’ve been so confused about these foreigners and their weird obsession with limes :p

          Thanks for the kind words! : )

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Of course!!!! You are truly the sweetest. Thankful to have “met” you here. Your comments always are so sincere and thoughtful ! Seriously have the best weekend, and I cannot wait to see what creation you make next :)

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s