Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lesson #23 Stretching Watercolor Paper

Last week I told you to have some masking fluid or masking tape ready. Sorry…I changed my mind! We’re just going to jump right in and start doing our actual sunset painting by getting our watercolor paper ready by stretching it! Actually, it stretches or relaxes first in water, then it shrinks as it dries.

Start by cutting a piece of watercolor paper to the size you want. Mine is a little under 7 inches high or wide and it’s 140lbs. (It’s really not that heavy but that is how they designate its thickness - I think a whole rheem of paper weighs 140 lbs before it is cut at the factory). Fill a clean sink or container with just enough lukewarm water to cover your watercolor paper. Let it soak for 5 -15 minutes.

Grab a piece of plywood (not particle board or composite, because that stuff is too hard!), a little larger than your paper, and about ½ - ¾ inches thick. Choose the smooth side and make sure it’s clean (you know, get the spiders and cobwebs off!).

Lift your paper out of the water and let the excess drip off. Position it on your plywood and staple the edges about 2 inches apart and at least ¼ inch from the edge.

Use staples that are shallow rather than deep (like the ones on the right) because…

…they are easier to remove when your painting is finished and dry. To remove your paper off the board when your painting is done use a screw driver under the staples, aimed toward the outside edge of your painting (just in case it slips and scratches your masterpiece…ugh!). Use a plyers to pull those that don’t come completely out.

Now we will be ready to use masking fluid or masking tape next week!

No comments: