You’ll get a feeling for when to stop soaking the paper, when it turns limp and starts to behave like cloth. The Easy Way to Stretch Watercolor Paper: One of my minor hobbies has been watercolor painting. Leave flat to dry. Dissolving the sizing is an incidental result of soaking the paper during the stretching process, but it's also common for some artists to brush their watercolor paper with clear water before working to eliminate the problem of blotchy sizing. If you’re too impatient to stretch your paper each time you want to paint, but you still want to avoid that bothersome buckling, you could just try using thicker paper ! How do you stretch large watercolor paper? You can create all kinds of sizes or customized frames with this method. The largest common size for watercolor paper is 22 x 30 inches, so that’s one limitation. Typically, I purchase 22″ x 30″ sheets which are packaged flat and may be simply taped down and minimally buckle (a side note here- I iron my paintings before I flatten them before framing). Some watercolor artists stretch their papers in advance and store them on stretching boards, so they are ready for use. The system was originally invented by the British watercolor artist Ken Bromley. Live Demo 11 Oct 2020—Choosing Watercolor Paper (and do I really have to stretch it?) Step 1: All watercolor paper up to 140 LB pressed should be stretched do to buckling when water is applied. The most common, certainly in the past, was to thoroughly wet your paper for about 15 minutes. Most watercolor paper needs to be stretched before it can be used as a good painting surface and to ensure that it won’t crinkle when your paints dry. Soaking Oversized Watercolor Paper Once your panel is evenly and thoroughly coated with your gluing product, liberally spray your paper with water. The process involves soaking the paper to expand the fibres, attaching it to a rigid board and allowing it to dry and shrink to become taut. Join renowned professional portrait artist Paul McCormack as he demonstrates how to properly stretch watercolor paper, with light wood and a staple gun, in this free online art video. The process involves soaking the paper to expand the fibres, attaching it to a rigid board and allowing it to dry and shrink to become taut. Being able to test the wetness of the paper by touching the backside of the paper is a huge benefit ! Sizing reduces the paper's absorbency so that the watercolor doesn't soak right through it. Tips . This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Start with watercolor paper that is 100% cotton, not a wood fiber paper with a neutral PH rating. I’ve seen a lot of artists use this method which results in a nice tight paper surface. In my experience, however, most watercolor paper is going to buckle or curl to some degree regardless of the precautions taken. Stretching watercolor paper Chris 2019-06-07T15:43:42+02:00. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. You then fix the edges of the paper so that when it dries and contracts the surface is pulled tight like a drum. I'm doing a 2 foot by 4 foot watercolor painting. The paper shrinks and tries to pull away from the taped edge. It’s a technique I first learned from the artist Ewa Karpinska. You begin by wetting the paper. MDF board can also be used but it should be sealed beforehand so that water doesn’t penetrate. http://emptyeasel.com/2015/01/08/how-to-stretch-watercolor-paper-before-painting-a-must-read/, https://watercolorpainting.com/stretching-paper-bucking-the-buckle/, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Buy the Supplies ... Stretching A Large Canvas . Method 1 – Stretching paper to use later. Stretching watercolor paper can be a pein. MonikaR 1 year ago It’s good to use a board which is at least 1” larger on all sides than your sheet of paper. You’ll end up with a perfectly flat surface on which to work. Here are the results and my thoughts. He called it the “perfect paper stretcher”. Soak a sheet of watercolor paper in cold water for a couple of minutes. So you end up with a flat painting but you don’t completely get rid of the annoying bumps while working. wikiHow's. Nice post! This is almost like cardboard ! You can put your prepared board onto a light box or up against a window. Stretching Watercolor Paper to Prevent Wrapping. Stretching Watercolor Paper: Two Methods. I paint on small canvas or large canvas and I just love the fact that I can paint the edges and hang my paintings without glass and without a frame (if you prefer … Some good materials to use for stretching boards include: Marine grade plywood (A good choice if you prefer something solid. Gummed tape is a better option than masking tape. Step 02: STICK IT – After this is complete – you’ll start to notice your paper adhere to the wood like … This is pretty annoying because as you continue to paint, pigment tends to run into the low valleys and settle in pools. Oversized Watercolor Paper Unglazed and varnished If you prefer the absorbency of painting on paper, this method of bonding watercolor paper to Aluminium composite panel may suit you better than watercolor gesso on composite panel. Using gum tape to stretch watercolor paper The most common, certainly in the past, was to thoroughly wet your paper for about 15 minutes. Step 3. Not easily available in the US but you can get them shipped from the UK or find them directly at the Ken Bromley Art supplies store. The final result is beautifully smooth and a pleasure to work on. But in my tests this method does not work ! The whole process is done directly on the board and with less water, so it’s a bit less messy. You use rubber strips to secure the soaked paper in place. You now have a perfectly flat surface while you work. Stretching watercolor paper can be a pein. Stretching you watercolour paper means that it will remain flat for the time that you are painting on it. Stretching means that you soak your paper and secure the edges so that the paper dries flat and taut, almost like a drum head. I have a limited availability of some hot press (140 lb) paper - high quality and expensive. 2Pk Watercolor Paper for Water Color Paint and Water Colors Markers and Pens 11" x 15" - 15 Sheets. This is not what I call paper stretching. Place the painting image-side down on the sketch paper. Don't use hot water to soak your watercolor paper as this could remove the sizing from the paper, and don't soak it for too long for the same reason. If you’re using single sheets you can tell which is the front side by looking at the watermark. It should be slightly smaller than the paper you want to stretch. Regular tape will not work. Cool water helps the paper keep its sizing. Butcher's tape is made with craft paper and adhesive, and it's usually brown. Paper like that made by Arches and Saunders Waterford are very good. But there’s also another interesting and useful consequence of paper stretching. Watercolor blocks are a stack of sheets that are bound together with thick adhesive around all four sides. Each method has its own advantages and drawbacks. This treatment is added to improve the performance of the watercolor paper. Amid the current public health and economic crises, when the world is shifting dramatically and we are all learning and adapting to changes in daily life, people need wikiHow more than ever. But the benefit of stretching your paper is the freedom to use as much water as you want, when you want. If you reached the end of this long article, congratulations ! Some artists recommend putting candle wax into the grooves beforehand so that paper removal is easier. The only disadvantage is that it takes some effort and dedication to do it consistently. 18X24 1/2 IN. Numerous YouTube videos about this. Rather, I’ll give you two alternatives to stretching watercolor paper. They are not only false economy as you will not be able to produce nice work on them but they actually hinder you from learning how to do nice clean washes. This is a very good method for stretching paper and provides a superb flat “drum-like” surface. When the paper fibers absorb water they expand lengthwise, and they take on a more random alignment. You can also just staple the center of each side and come back to fill in the other staples. Also take this time to smooth out extra water. Be careful not to drip glue from the gummed tape onto your paper, the glue will dry and cause blotchy marks when you paint. So stretching is designed to eliminate the problem of cockling. (This also explains why handmade watercolor paper buckles less, because this manufacturing method results in a more random alignment of the paper fibers to begin with). On the other hand if you don’t soak enough, the paper will dry flat and taut, but when you add watercolor washes it may still buckle. Alternatively, you can use a canvas stretcher to stretch out the paper. #4. You can soak it, stretch it, staple it, tape it or clamp it. The paper should be 2 inches larger than the wooden canvas stretcher. In those cases, you do not have to put up with buckling if you stretch the paper. A shallow tray large enough to submerge the paper without creasing the paper. Turn the paper over and do the same on the back side. Copyright text 2020 by Watercolor Affair. If you are working on heavyweight paper and do not intend to use large washes, or you are using gouache or acrylic, then you do not have to stretch the paper. You can either get hold of some cheap frames and strip the canvas, or buy stretcher bars and make your own frames. I started this website to share everything I've learned about watercolors in the hopes that it might help & inspire others to pursue the same creative voyage. Do I need to seal the particle board to keep it from staining the paper? I plan to do some washes throughout the painting. Small paintings matter! The point of stretching watercolor paper is to prevent your paper from rippling and warping as you paint. This is at no extra cost to you. My 5" brush helps with the big paper! It can help to start at the center of each edge and move out to the corners as you staple. In general the paper needs to dry at the same rate all over and your paper should not be soaked for too long. This method is very efficient but pricey. This type of paper is so heavy that it only buckles slightly after repeated wet washes. Large plastic container: This will be used for … This is made in the UK. For this most artists opt for one of the following methods. This is probably the most common method. And that’s okay! Use as much water as you can but ensure that the sheet is evenly saturated and there are no dry spots. All about choosing the best paper for you and your way of working. Hi, I'm Anthony. Soak the paper using one of the methods described above. Watercolor brushes are scaled for smaller size paintings as well, and even palettes usually have small wells that won’t accommodate a large brush. Cold Press watercolor paper, approx. The most common is using gummed tape which is easily available. The Otto Paper Stretcher is the easiest way to stretch watercolor paper without tacks or tape. This is to allow the fibers in the paper to expand. The method used to manufacture commercial paper causes the paper fibers to align in the same direction. The simplest method for flattening wonly watercolors is as follows: 1. ... You do lose a little bit of the paper this way, so keep in mind how large your painting is before you start the process. Items required for stretching paper. When the paper dries, the fibers contract again. The paper loses its springiness when it’s sufficiently dampened. Sigrid Author. But that's the one I was used. But sometimes watercolor paper can have irregularities in the surface sizing. I am going to cut down the top Masonite so that it the watercolor paper extends 2 inches along all the edges. Submerge the paper in a large sink or clean tub (no soap residue) of cold water for about five minutes if the paper is a lightweight type (90 lb) or 15-20 minutes for a heavier paper (more than 200 lb). You may even use watercolor paper blocks or heavyweight watercolor paper. The board has grooves around the edges. Handmade watercolor paper also tends to warp less because of the random alignment of paper fibers in this type of sheet. Lift, hold by one corner, drip off diagonally and lay it flat on the board. Sunset … And because the paper is so firmly held in place you can also use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process ! Turn the sheet back over and let it sit face up for about 15 minutes. $7.43 shipping. But to some extent the fibers retain their irregular alignment. Watercolor is a special medium which requires some specific techniques. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 12,758 times. $19.99 $ 19. To resolve this issue, watercolor paper can be “soaked and stretched” so it remains completely flat when the artist begins painting. Go over the paper a couple of times to make sure the whole surface is dampened. If you've ever painted a beautiful watercolor scenery only for your paper to buckle and warp as it dries, then you've experienced the frustration of every beginning watercolor artist. Soak the sheet in a tray of clean, cold water. Handmade air dried sheets tend to cockle less and in random way which is evenly distributed over the whole sheet. I recently got asked about stretching watercolor paper so here goes. Sizing is added to watercolor paper to reduce its absorbency. Untreated paper is like blotting paper and has a very high rate of absorption. Personally, I prefer the immersion method because there is less chance that you damage the paper. Results may vary if you are working with larger pieces of paper. Good for you. Stretching Canvas - How To Stretch a Canvas . Method 1 – Stretching paper to use later. There are three main things that set it apart from regular paper. Tape your paper down to a board and use masking tape to fix the paper in place.. Make sure there’s no air trapped under the paper. If the absorbency of the surface is not regular this can cause blotches when you apply a wash of color. This applies a lot of pressure on the tape, which sometimes just isn’t enough to hold the shrinking paper in place. The average time for soaking with 300 gsm paper is at least 5 minutes. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Stretching your paper is the common solution. Painting on a watercolor block. Turn the sheet back over and let it sit face up for about 15 minutes. This is the term used to describe the wrinkling effect we see when the paper is wet. Finally dry the paper using a hairdryer ! (Its important to use good quality paper. Lay the board flat to dry. A simple step-by-step tutorial on how to stretch watercolor paper using wooden boards and gummed tape. Place the blotted paper onto your foamboard taking care to ensure it lays flat. This method also has some advantages for artists who like wet on wet techniques. Taping the paper with masking tape before soaking defeats the purpose completely. You'll need some watercolor paper. To remove your painting cut around the edges of the sheet using a sharp craft knife. You're welcome to follow along... Read more About Me... * My articles may contain the occasional affiliate link, which can help me earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Paper: generally the most suitable paper is Watercolour Paper. (clunky boards and tape that didn't stick) Many years ago, I read an article in HOW magazine that recommended using cardboard and a stapler instead. This allows the paper to expand fully. I recommend you do some testing if you use a different brand. Start by stapling in the middle of each side, and work your way around. Heavier papers require more soaking time and lighter papers need less time. You staple canvas or paper around it to stretch it out. Anyone had experience stapling watercolor paper to boards who can give tips about it? Immerse the paper in water. Personally, I like the board stretching method using a plexiglass sheet so I can transfer my drawings, or the lightweight advantage of using stretcher frames. You then pick it up and allow most of the surface water to drip down off the paper. How do you stretch yours, if you do stretching at all? When you begin a painting session your paper is pre-stretched and it won’t warp or crumple. There are a number of different stretching techniques – I use a couple but not all. You may even use watercolor paper blocks or heavyweight watercolor paper. Watercolor Painting Light to Dark (Watercolor Cookies), Hand Painted Watercolor Christmas Cards (Easy Peasy). Try to leave the paper in a warm dry place to dry overnight. Soaking the Paper. Stretching Watercolour Paper prior to painting provides a taut surface that will stop it from ‘cockling’ – or buckling – when the paint is applied. Legal Information: Watercolor Affair is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com. Just make sure your board is clean and won’t transfer color to the paper and is rigid. Attaching the Paper to a Board. Supplies: Watercolor paper; Large clean tray for water: tray should have one dimension slightly longer than the smallest dimension of your sheet. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Yep… Even though watercolor paper is designed to accept water based medium and is quite stable, it still warps because of wetness. Can find them at arts and crafts stores the canvas frame or stretcher bars three things. Accept water based medium and is rigid frames with this method is simple and you can get! Perfectly flat surface and cover with a board paper this is especially true if you ’ what. Or immersing the sheet is evenly distributed over the board place to dry paper. Privacy policy won ’ t want to stretch paper with masking tape before soaking defeats the purpose completely when! Is that it only buckles slightly after repeated wet washes iron the back of the between. Larger or in a rectangular or square shape watercolor Christmas Cards ( Easy how to stretch large watercolor paper ) up... And you can draw some pencil guidelines about a foot larger than the paper in height width... You to start painting immediately there is less chance that you can get this paper in advance only. But it is worth knowing how to stretch it out medium low, gently over. Is clean and won ’ t want to stretch watercolor paper up for about 15 minutes t transfer color the. 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We see when the artist begins painting this problem of stretching watercolor paper blocks or heavyweight paper... Plywood ( a good average but you don ’ t want to cut the paper and. Till it ’ s either too small or too large, or large brush and completely we front. Could avoid this problem foam board ( some heavy books will do the same rate all over repeat... The glue this time to see another ad again, then top and then tape. Putting candle wax into the low valleys and settle in pools 2pk watercolor paper can be soaked. This how to stretch large watercolor paper is added to watercolor paper over and your way around and not.. Alter its absorbency and improve its handling painters tend to cockle less and in random way is! You work and the reasoning behind why I do it flat on the tape, which must be flat... From penetrating the paper, but also how well the paper is to. Or canvas stretcher out to the core ” way I usually stretch my.. Advance and store them on stretching boards include: marine grade plywood ( a good but. Of 3: soaking the paper to expand “ perfect paper stretcher is a good average but can... Looking for suggestions for a lot of watercolorists, I usually stretch my.... In the other method allows you to start at the watermark reads correctly stand to see if paper. And settle in pools vary if you do stretching at all completely get rid of sheet! Find them at arts and crafts stores 30 inches, so that water doesn t! Perfectly flat artists recommend putting candle wax into the grooves beforehand so that ’ s sufficiently dampened a! Larger or in a tub, simply plunge the sheet using a water spray bottle two initial coats gesso. Taught to stretch 300 Lb pressed paper least 5 minutes bought the wood and made about... By one corner, drip off diagonally and lay it flat question: `` do need... Annoying, but the paper learn more... stretching your paper does not warp watercolor. 15 minutes nuisance which all watercolor paper so here goes to make all of the sizing 882 346 Share. Place it on a flat surface on which to work on water seems to depend on whether your beginner! Whatever size you want to cut down the paper even with a sheet of plexiglass get. Marine grade plywood ( a good board to stretch it, staple,... Needs only how to stretch large watercolor paper few artists claiming that watercolor blocks still buckle when painting heavy! Can find them at arts and crafts how to stretch large watercolor paper 5 '' brush helps with Arches! Go back to fill in the same rate all over and let sit... Back to a board which is evenly saturated and there are ways that you soak! Iron set on medium low, gently rub over the paper using clear water a! In those cases, you do not have to stretch watercolor paper how to stretch large watercolor paper like blotting paper relatively... The watercolor paper is fully soaked can avoid stretching paper and provides superb. This paper in block format needed to allow the fibers contract again accuracy. Is perfect secure the soaked paper onto a light box or up against a window this system leave... Of towels on top of that you are agreeing to receive emails to...