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Essential to any oil or acrylic painter’s practice is a great palette or painting knife. With such tools, artists can combine colors, pastes, and other materials in the process of creating their works. These knives can also be used to apply paint to canvas, with different sizes and shapes producing different effects. Even watercolorists can use them to scratch back into a work. Note that a painting knife—often with a curved neck or handle to keep the artist’s hands free from the painted surface—is technically a different tool and may be best suited for applying pigment to canvas, but painting and palette knives can be and are used interchangeably. The blades’ tips can be blunt or sharp, allowing for a wide range of strokes, textures, and gradations. A good set of palette knives can open up a whole new world of formal experimentation for any painter, regardless of their medium.
Foils and foil paper—which is distinct from foil transfer paper—can add a shiny kick to everything from scrapbooking to origami to etching. More and more crafts are incorporating these versatile materials, but before you rush out and buy yours, there are a few properties to consider. No matter what you use it for, you should be looking for something with luster and gorgeous colors. Beyond that, think about the thickness and dimensions of the sheets and whether you need them to be double-sided. Explore our five recommendations here to find the right product for your project.
1. Hygloss Products Metallic Foil Paper
In the 21st century, we should not be limited to gold, silver, and bronze as our only metallic colors, and with these sheets from Hygloss, we don’t have to be. Each pack contains five sheets each of 10 assorted colors (including, yes, classic gold and silver). The thin, flexible sheets are foiled on just one side, so use them for projects where having a paper backing is useful, like when adhering the shiny material to scrapbook pages.
2. Sizzix Multi Color Foil Adhesive Sheets
If you use adhesive on your foil sheets, you know this can be a tricky process, with bubbling and wrinkling all too easy to accomplish. Sizzix solves this issue by putting an adhesive backing on its foil for a smooth application. Each set comes with eight sheets in four metallic colors.
3. Gigules Imitation Gold Leaf Sheets
Gilders are familiar with these faux gold sheets, which are much more affordable than the real thing and can have a similar, if less long-lasting, effect on frames, furniture, and other projects. They work well for foil crafts like embossing and embellishing paper-based work. The tone is specifically meant to mimic real gold, and therefore has a depth of luster absent from other gold-toned foils.
4. Folia Double-Laminated Foil
This artist-grade foil is both malleable and strong. It features a double-sided design—one side is metallic red, the other a brilliant gold. And because it is heavier than many other foils, it can be tooled, embossed, and folded without tearing.
5. Hygloss Products Metallic Foil Roll
A roll of high-shine foil from Hygloss is a good choice when you need plenty of material in a single hue. Like our top pick, this paper is airy and one-sided with a white paper backing. One roll delivers 54 square feet in total, which is handy for large-scale endeavors.