5 Best Water Painting Boards you can Buy in 2020

Many people find art and self-expression relaxing, but as any professional artist will tell you, relaxation is not baked into the cake. You might be trying to paint your masterpiece or satisfy the exacting demands of a high-paying client. Every touch of the brush to the canvas could permanently alter the trajectory of, or even ruin, the whole project. That’s anything but relaxing. Some artists may need a meditation break just to achieve enough zen calm to start making brushstrokes.

What is missing from that kind of exercise in high-pressure artistry? Impermanence. Perspective. The art of letting go.

Buddha boards harness the zen of letting go by allowing you to create beauty that won’t last. Better than an Etch-a-Sketch, it’s like the original SnapChat but way more relaxing with no social competitiveness!

On a Buddha board, no brush stroke is permanent. It is designed to fade. Whether you paint images of shattering beauty, juvenile sketches, or outrageous ugliness, within moments the Buddha board will be blank again. As implacable as the turning of the world, the Buddha board moves on. Like the gift of each new day, it is ready for you to paint a new image on a blank canvas.

Buddha boards are made of an ingenious cardboard blend that is white when dry, dark when damp. By painting the board with a brush wet with simple tap water, you can create soft black images in whatever pattern or abstract form suits you. As the Buddha board dries, the image fades.

This makes a Buddha board the perfect tool to center yourself in the middle of a stressful day,  to have a little artistic expression in your day that is yours and no-one else’s, without the consequence of permanence. You can paint doodles, sketches, pictures, words, blessings, curses, whatever strikes you in the moment and lowers your blood pressure. Buddha boards are all about living in the moment and then moving on to the next moment.

The best part—if your Buddha board sketch happens to be a masterpiece, you can always snap a quick cell phone pic of it!

Add a little impermanent beauty to your home or office. Here are our picks for the 12 best Buddha boards you can buy in 2020.

Best Board Overall

NameImageRatingPrice
1- The Original BUDDHA BOARD2
4.6/5
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Zen Life Zen Artist Board3
4.5/5
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Nirvikalpa Samadhi Board4
4.7/5
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Buddha Board Enso5
4.6/5
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AOVOA Repeatable Water Drawing Board6
4.5/5
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1- The Original BUDDHA BOARD

Specification

About this item

  • THE ORIGINAL BUDDHA BOARD: Here’s the original, genuine, superior quality, authentic Buddha Board, made with only the finest high-quality materials. NO BUBBLING, NO PEELING. Count on it. Our Amazon reviews speak for themselves. The one & only Buddha Board.
  • Easy to Use: Simply fill the stand with water. Then dip in the bamboo brush (included) & start drawing, painting & writing. You’ll create soft, beautiful images with a rich, inky Japanese look. Appreciate your creation in the moment, and then as the water evaporates and your masterpiece slowly fades away, practice the art of letting go.
  • To show our commitment to quality, Original Buddha Board include a manufacturer’s warranty that covers defects. This warranty is non-transferrable and only valid to the original buyer for purchases made directly from Buddha Board Inc. when purchased on Amazon. (Zen River Rocks sold seperately)
  • Relaxing Mindfulness: As the water evaporates, your newly created images will disappear. Result: a “blank slate” for starting over fresh. Great way to learn the Zen art of living in the moment. · Ages: Five and up /Your complete kit includes our 12″ x 9.5″ Buddha Board, sturdy stand which also holds water & bamboo brush.
  • Buddha Board is inspired by the Zen idea of living in the moment. You simply ‘paint’ on the surface with water and your creation will come to life in bold design. Then, as the water slowly evaporates, your art will magically disappear leaving you with a clean slate, ready to create a whole new masterpiece. Environmentally friendly as it only uses water – no ink, no paint, no chemicals – and it will last for years with proper care. Master the art of letting go…live in the moment and enjoy!
  •  

This is the Buddha board that started it all, the original article. The 12-inch-by-9-inch cardboard “canvas” mounts at an angle into a slot above the water reservoir, with another slot in the reservoir for the included bamboo brush. Simply pour water into the reservoir and it’s ready to use. If you like, you can add an extra soothing and natural touch by filling the reservoir with smooth river rocks.

The bamboo brush creates soft-edged, arresting black images reminiscent of the Japanese calligraphy that inspired the board. It’s suitable for children ages five and up, and durable enough to last years with proper care. Enjoy images crafted for the moment, not for the masses, and feel your cares and troubles start to fade away along with the drying, fading images.

Merits

Easy to Use: Simply fill the stand with water. Then dip in the bamboo brush (included) & start drawing, painting & writing. You’ll create soft, beautiful images with a rich, inky Japanese look. Appreciate your creation in the moment, and then as the water evaporates and your masterpiece slowly fades away, practice the art of letting go.

Instant Stress Relief: As you paint & doodle on Buddha Board, your stress will melt away. You’ll feel tranquil & relaxed, with a clearer, calmer mind. Perfect meditation aid. (Plus, it’s lots of fun.)

Relaxing Mindfulness: As the water evaporates, your newly created images will disappear. Result: a “blank slate” for starting over fresh. Great way to learn the ancient Zen art of living in the moment.

2-Zen Life Zen Artist Board

Specification

About this item

  • PRACTICE the teachings of Buddha with the development of inner peace and happiness.
  • RELAXING, CALMING. Paint with water and watch the image disappear. Fun and creative for any artistic level!
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: No paint, no mess, no fumes. Re-use over and over again with the watercolor paint board. Watch your mistakes disappear!
  • INCLUDES detachable board, bamboo brush, stand, instructions and storage box

This is the Buddha board that started it all, the original article. The 12-inch-by-9-inch cardboard “canvas” mounts at an angle into a slot above the water reservoir, with another slot in the reservoir for the included bamboo brush. Simply pour water into the reservoir and it’s ready to use. If you like, you can add an extra soothing and natural touch by filling the reservoir with smooth river rocks.

The bamboo brush creates soft-edged, arresting black images reminiscent of the Japanese calligraphy that inspired the board. It’s suitable for children ages five and up, and durable enough to last years with proper care. Enjoy images crafted for the moment, not for the masses, and feel your cares and troubles start to fade away along with the drying, fading images.

Merit

It’s relaxing and calming. When you need to unwind after a hard day, get away for a few minutes, put your creativity to work, or just want to try something different then give the Zen Artist Board a whirl.

Helps you to refocus your energy and soothe your anxiety. Feel the stress disappear as you swirl the brush around the board. You never know what you will create! Feel the stress lifting from your shoulders!

It’s eco-friendly and reusable. No messy paint, no fumes and no chemicals. Just use water!

2-Zen Life Zen Artist Board

Specification

About this item

  • PRACTICE the teachings of Buddha with the development of inner peace and happiness.
  • RELAXING, CALMING. Paint with water and watch the image disappear. Fun and creative for any artistic level!
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: No paint, no mess, no fumes. Re-use over and over again with the watercolor paint board. Watch your mistakes disappear!
  • INCLUDES detachable board, bamboo brush, stand, instructions and storage box

Zen Life makes a water art board with a 12-inch-by-8.5-inch canvas that can be oriented in either portrait or landscape position to form a sounding board for your innermost thoughts in visual form. An eco-friendly form of expression, only water is required to create beautiful, soft, high-contrast imagery responsive to your hand and expressive of the moment.

Sitting on a desktop, an image on the Zen artist board provides mental relief, but also the Zen understanding that all moments—the good, the bad, the indifferent—pass and each one is valuable. They make us who we are … and then they are gone. Make a mistake? That also fades.

The Zen Artist Board carries with it a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Merit

It’s relaxing and calming. When you need to unwind after a hard day, get away for a few minutes, put your creativity to work, or just want to try something different then give the Zen Artist Board a whirl.

Helps you to refocus your energy and soothe your anxiety. Feel the stress disappear as you swirl the brush around the board. You never know what you will create! Feel the stress lifting from your shoulders!

It’s eco-friendly and reusable. No messy paint, no fumes and no chemicals. Just use water!

If after trying the Zen Artist Board you don’t reach a new level of zen we offer a full 30 day money back guarantee! Simply return the Zen Artist Board in its original packaging and receive a full refund of your purchase price. No questions asked!

3-Nirvikalpa Samadhi Board

Specification

About this item

  • Samadhi Board: made with only the finest high-quality materials. A beautiful peace for every home and office.
  • Simple Setup: Just fill the stand with water. Then dip in the bamboo brush (included) & start drawing, painting & writing. You’ll create stunning images with a thick, professional look. Admire your creation in the present and practice the art of letting go as your work of art slowly fades away.
  • Meditative Relaxation: Your newly created images will fade away as the water evaporates providing a “fresh canvas” for starting over anew. Effortless way to learn the ancient Yogic art of presence.
  • Ages: 5+ Your complete kit includes our Samadhi Board, solid stand & bamboo brush.

Nirvikalpa brands its version of the Buddha board after samadhi, a powerful state of focus and enlightenment and the highest state of consciousness recognized in Hindu yoga. Interestingly, samadhi is strongly associated with the state of peace achieved at, or just before, death.

Celebrating a state of consciousness before death seems thoroughly appropriate for an artist’s canvas created specifically for images designed to disappear. Not only is the moment fleeting, not only are feelings fleeting, but life itself is fleeting. The Nirvikalpa Samadhi Board invites users not to fear endings, but to make peace with them and even welcome them as doorways into something new and perhaps higher.

Merit

The Samadhi Board: Here’s the superior, genuine, authentic Samadhi Board, made with only the finest high-quality materials.

Easy to Use: Simply fill the stand with water. Then dip in the bamboo brush (included) & start drawing, painting & writing. You’ll create rich, stunning images with a solid, professional look. Enjoy your creation in the present and practice the art of letting go and your work of art slowly evaporates.

Immediate Relaxation: As you draw & write on the Samadhi Board, you’ll let go of your worries. You’ll feel centered and calm as the joy of flowing brings you back into the present

Meditative Relaxation: Your newly created images will fade away as the water evaporates providing a “fresh canvas” for starting over anew. Effortless way to learn the ancient Yogic art of presence.

4-Buddha Board Enso

Specification

About this item

  • Using your Enso Buddha Board couldn’t be easier. Simply fill the brush with water (refillable handle). (Ordinary tap water is fine.) Let your imagination roam free. Draw. Paint. Write. Practice calligraphy. The possibilities are endless.
  • No special skill or training required. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, you’ll create rich, magical images, reminiscent of watercolor painting. Prefer writing? That’s fine, too. Just relax and do what you like.
  • Your new Enso Buddha Board is ideal for meditation and mindfulness and having fun too! Doodle. Scribble. Draw cartoons. Play with different effects. Just let go and enjoy.

For people who want to take their Buddha board relaxation on the go, Buddha Board presents the Enso. You can’t exactly tuck a Buddha board reservoir full of water into a backpack or satchel, unless you don’t mind a soaking-wet backpack or satchel.

The Enso solves this problem by introducing a reservoir to the brush. Water is stored in a container in the brush’s handle to continually dampen the bristles. The Enso pairs this brush with a 10-inch-by-10-inch cardboard canvas that can be dampened many times without bubbling or peeling. The canvas folds into a steel enclosure that fits into any carrying case. Take care of it, and it will provide expressive relaxation for years.

Fun fact—“Enso” comes from the word “ensō,” Japanese for “circular form” and often used to refer to the “Zen circle,” a circle drawn with one continuous brush stroke. The Zen circle is one of the most popular images to draw on a Buddha board. It represents the state of being alive to the moment, free to let creativity flow.

Merit

With normal use and care, it should give you many years of enjoyment. Suitable for ages 5 and up.

Enso: Here’s the superior, genuine, authentic Enso Buddha Board, made with only the finest high-quality materials.

Easy to Use: Simply fill the water brush with water (refillable handle) & start drawing, painting & writing. You’ll create soft, beautiful images with a rich, inky Japanese look. Appreciate your creation in the moment, and then as the water evaporates and your masterpiece slowly fades away, practice the art of letting go.

Instant Stress Relief: As you paint & doodle on Enso, your stress will melt away. You’ll feel tranquil & relaxed, with a clearer, calmer mind. Perfect meditation aid. (Plus, it’s lots of fun.)

Relaxing Mindfulness: As the water evaporates, your newly created images will disappear. Result: a “blank slate” for starting over fresh. Great way to learn the ancient Zen art of living in the moment.

Specification

About this item

  • This Buddha meditation board uses water as paint: just fill the stand with water, then dip in the brush to start your creation. You can also using the refillable brush by adding water in it. As the water evaporates, your newly created images will slowly fade away, it can be used over and over again.
  • Comes with 3 different sizes of brushes, one bamboo brush and two refillable brushes, capable of creating different lines and effects.
  • Each watery brushstroke will create an inky black image, much like watercolor art, You’ll be delighted by the beautiful results.
  • As you draw or write on your water artist board and watch the images disappear, you’ll feel stress slipping away, you’ll feel calm and peaceful all over. Try it and enjoy the good energy and calmness it brings to your life!
  • No special skill or training required, fun and creative for any artistic level. It’s a perfect gift for your loved ones: anyone who need to relieve stress, love painting or calligraphy; also a great tool to inspire children’s creativity.

The extra-large water artistic board by AOVOA comes with both a bamboo brush and two refillable reservoir brushes. The board itself mounts on a reservoir stand perfect for a desk or counter top, which you can fill with stones or plants and dip the brush into. Or you can keep your water-paint in one of the refillable brushes. The refillable brushes are perfect if you want to take your water-drawing board canvas on the road. Images drawn on the repeatable water drawing board fade as the water evaporates, a zen representation of the impermanence of existence

Merit

Simply fill a small dish with clean water. Dip the brush in the water and away you go. No paint, no fumes, no mess.

Simple and easy, yet relaxing and fun. The magic painting board dries within a few minutes and erases on its own so you can start all over again with a new creation!

It’s time to breathe deep and let go. Practice the teachings of Buddha with the development of inner peace and happiness.

Buying Guide

Tips on Selecting the Right Buddha Board

There aren’t that many Buddah boards to choose from, and they all work in a pretty similar way. It might seem like any board will do if the price is right. None of them require toxic paint or produce fumes—tap water is the only medium you need to create beautiful, soothing, or silly images on your Buddha board. Almost all of the boards come with brushes, some of them with carrying cases or attractive containers.

The different Buddha boards on the market do vary in a few important ways. Understanding them and considering how you intend to use your board will help you select the best Buddha board to express yourself, relieve stress, and meditate on the ephemeral.

Size of the Canvas

The original Buddha board was roughly the size of a standard sheet of paper, 8.5-by-11 inches give or take a centimeter or two. This is usually the perfect size to express a unified thought in pictorial form—limiting enough to resist the temptation to be busy, but expansive enough to get into some detail. Some of the best Buddha boards that sit in the notches above water reservoirs can even be oriented in landscape orientation or portrait orientation.

Some artists and meditative souls, however, may prefer a smaller canvas. The 5-inch-by-5-inch Buddha board mini beats the traditional Buddha board in terms of portability. It definitely facilitates the creation of a unified, single image to ponder and watch fade. However, such a small canvas makes it hard to render an image in much detail, especially with the soft calligraphy that is the Buddha board’s strengths.

Buddha boards also come in sizes a little larger than standard paper, up to about 10×13 inches. Artists who want to sketch multiple images or delve into further artistic detail may want to choose these bigger canvases—especially if desk space is in generous supply. Smaller may be better if you have little desk space to spare.

Desktop vs. Portable

The Buddha board was designed as a desk accessory in two pieces—the art board and the base. The base served double-duty as a water reservoir, which the artist could use to wet the ubiquitous bamboo brush and make lovely brush strokes on the beard, which tucked conveniently into a notch in the base. The reservoir of a desktop Buddha board could be decorated further with river rocks, fake plants, real plants, statues … even goldfish if you wanted to get extra crazy and create a temporary, mini koi pond.

However, the Buddha board desktop base doesn’t pack easily into a suitcase, satchel, or backpack. You certainly can’t pack it away filled with water. If you like the idea of taking your Buddha board on the road, you might want to consider a folding-easel Buddha board like the Enso or the Mini. Just remember to select the right brush. A folding-easel Buddha board will go into any carrying case large enough, taking up little space, without soaking the rest of the contents of the case.

Materials

The best Buddha boards are made of natural materials like wood, bamboo, stone, paper, etc. Some Buddha boards, however, could be made of synthetic materials like plastics or other polymers. Look for a Buddha board made from non-toxic plastics, especially if it is rated as safe for children five or older.

The materials from which the board is constructed could also impact the longevity of the Buddha board, discussed below.

Durability

The best Buddha boards are built to last … sort of. The bases may be made of heavy plastic, wood, or stone, but the boards themselves are cardboard and/or polymer, which can easily break if you abuse them. This is especially true of desktop Buddha boards.

Portable Buddha boards like the Enso or Mini tend to be built into metal carrying cases that fold into an easel and also preserve the image even while the board is tucked away in its case. Metal housings tend to make for longer-lasting Buddha boards.

If the art board is made of cheap materials the board could start to peel or bubble. Check reviews to make sure this isn’t an issue with the board you choose.

Brush Selection

Buddha boards tend to come with one, or both, of two different brush styles. The traditional bamboo brush is usually made of natural materials and feels soft and soothing in the hand, with good weight and grip. However, a bamboo brush is only useful if you have a water reservoir to dip it in. This could be the reservoir in the base of a desktop Buddha board, a separate reservoir, a glass of water, the tap, a pond or stream … whatever water source is within reach.

If you don’t want to have to rely on outside water sources, however, many portable and folding Buddha boards come with a reservoir brush, a brush that resembles a cross between a syringe and a stain-removal marker. The syringe-like reservoir can be refilled from the water source of your choice. By squeezing the plunger, the bristles of the brush become saturated and you’re ready to draw! Of course, a plastic reservoir pen might not have that natural, energetic hand feel that comes with bamboo.

Some Buddha boards come with both styles of brush.

Accessories

While the parts of a Buddha board are relatively simple, it’s always nice to get extras. Some accessories that might attract you to one Buddha board over the other might include:

  • Extra brushes.
  • A decorative case.
  • A carrying case.
  • River rocks.
  • A ceramic brush stand.
  • Chinese inkstones.

Guarantee or Warranty

A Buddha board does not have a lot of moving parts. As such, you really can’t expect a manufacturer’s warranty to protect it long-term. A warranty entitles you to return the product to the manufacturer for repairs or replacements within a set period of time. When shopping for the best Buddha board, it’s probably not useful to hold out for a warranty.

A satisfaction guarantee is a different story. Some companies offer a money-back guarantee if your product is faulty or if you are unsatisfied in any way. You usually have to return the product, and time limits like 30 days might apply. If you are nervous about ordering online and a stickler for product quality, look for a Buddha board that comes backed by a money-back guarantee.

 

Frequently Asked Question

What is the difference between enso and the original buddha board?

The enso is portable, and folds open onto it’s own easle/stand. It also comes with a portable water brush. The original buddha board ‘sits’ in the notches of a water tray, and is not portable. It comes with a traditional bamboo brush.

Is the Enso the same quality board/paper and brush as the original Buddha Board?

I bought the original Buddha Board for myself and Enso boards for my granddaughters because the Enso version is more easily portable. The paper is the same in the two types, but the brushes are different. The original comes with a typical Sumi-e style brush, while the Enso comes with a “water brush,” meaning

How do these compare to the origial buddha board? Does the surface hold up after lots of wear?


Hi, this water board is Identical to the Original Buddha Board, same manufacturer, different brands.

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