Yupo Watercolor Paper Pads

YUPO Watercolor Paper Pads are basically sets of ten or fifteen sheets of the famous non-porous, synthetic paper made by YUPO. They come in various sizes ranging from 5″ x 7″ to up to 11″ x 14″, bright white or translucent style, and in the standard or its heavyweight form. This special paper is completely tree-free, 100% recyclable, waterproof, and made out of polypropylene in YUPO’s manufacturing facility in Virginia. This paper was initially developed for the ink print industry, but artists thought it would be fun to use it, and they were right!

Since YUPO boasts a super smooth surface, and since it is waterproof, it allows the wiping of the paint, seamless blending, and use of tissues, sponges or wet brushes to create interesting results that can’t be attained through traditional mediums. Whatever you do to it, YUPO paper won’t tear, won’t shrink, and won’t stain. Moreover, it accepts die cutting, perforations, embossing, and metallizing processes. Finally, and as this paper is fully synthetic, its shelf life is practically unlimited, so it can be used to create packaging and labeling commercial¬†elements, or simply keep your creations intact forever.


Medium Tips

  • The completely non-porous and smooth surface of YUPO paper generates very high surface tension, so you can take your color for an endless “trip” around the paper, creating mesmerizing effects.
  • You can use a hair dryer to speed up the drying of watercolors, but do so at the low setting as this may cause the paper to buckle.
  • Wash the paper before starting working on it as fingertips that are invisible at first will become apparent later on.
  • Masking and laminating is possible if done with great care.
  • Use a limited palette of colors instead of many different hues.
  • A cheaper brand of colors may work better on YUPO than a more expensive one. Experiment and see for yourself.
  • Keep non-framed pieces away from moist environments.
  • Perform framing following the same procedure as with pastels.
  • Let YUPO paper acclimate to the room temperature conditions for approximately 24 hours.

Product Pros & Cons

Artist Likes

  • Suitable for a wide range of media, including watercolors, alcohol inks, crayons, sprays, pens, acrylics, and oils.
  • Holds ink with razor-sharp precision
  • Unlimited experimentation capacity
  • Allows complete wiping of mistakes
  • Amazing color blending abilities
  • It never buckles, tears, shrinks, or chips

Artist Dislikes

  • Paints take a while to dry on it
  • Challenging to work with at first
  • Some pigments will stain

YUPO paper offers an unmatched level of control over the painting process. Artists can seamlessly erase whole parts, “magically” replace portions, and experiment with whatever their imagination allows them to contrive. However, some find the feat of drawing on a plastic sheet that offers zero absorbency impossible to carry out. As YUPO paper is completely smooth, it needs some practice in order to get used to it and figure out the best working techniques. The mediums that are generally easier to work with on a YUPO paper are thicker paints like rich acrylics and gels.

Final Considerations

The YUPO paper is a very special paper for special applications, or simply for extensive experimentation. The effects that can be achieved using this paper are simply unique in nature as no pulp-paper can come even remotely close to the properties of this plastic sheet. That said, every artist should give this product a try just to see all the things that can’t be done with normal paper. However, that doesn’t mean that YUPO paper is good, or even usable by everyone. Depending on your point of view and style of creation work, this paper can be either liberating or frustrating. If you are afraid to try something that completely lacks any absorbency whatsoever, there’s a similar product called “Stone Skin” that is a plastic sheet again, but with a layer of finely crushed stone dusted on the top, giving it the ability to hold some paint in place.