Pamela Swainson

Paintings & Drawings NS

Stretching Watercolour Paper

December 12, 2018

Anyone who is not familiar with watercolour painting may not know some of the steps used in preparing paper. I have not been painting with watercolour much over the last few years as I have been using oil paint more. So, I have been dipping my feet in again. Now I decided to stretch some paper. I thought I would show you the steps. This leaves our some detail, but gives you an idea of what goes into it.

The first thing to know is that if you buy 300lb paper (most expensive) you don't need to stretch it. But 140lb can ripple and buckle when you use wet washes. I also think it just has a different feel--so it depends on what you want to paint. Sometimes I want the way the 140lb paper opens up to the wash...

I have soaked the paper for about 30 minutes. Lifting it gently to let water run off.

Now I have laid it carefully on the board and use a damp sponge to push out air bubbles and flatten the paper, being careful not to put pressure on it.

I use brown paper tape that is activated by water. Dry strips to fit the paper are dipped in water one at a time and laid along the edge of the paper and the board.

Here you can see I have three strips of paper tape down, half on the paper and half on the board.

Then I leave it to dry, set level so it will be evenly dried. If it tips, the water will move to one end and warp the paper, even pull it off the tape.

Voila! Ready to paint!