The terms painting knife and palette knife are often used interchangeably when describing the technique of applying paint to a surface with the blade of an artist’s knife. Both tools are made of either plastic or of wood and metal.
A palette knife handle is generally straight, having at most a slight bend. The purpose of the palette knife is to mix colors or clean the surface of the palette. On the other hand, a painting knife has a deep bend in the handle that keeps the artist’s knuckles out of the paint. As it’s name indicates, a painting knife is used for actual painting.