$15.66 inc. GST
Here is how to stretch watercolour paper. It’s a simple process.
1.Cut four strips of gummed brown tape, one for each side (edge) of the piece of watercolour paper. Cut these slightly longer than the sides. Put them aside for the moment.
2.Soak a sheet of watercolour paper in water. This is to allow the fibres in the paper to expand. The easiest way is using your bathtub. Make sure it’s clean and fill it about 100mm deep with lukewarm water. Gently submerge your paper in the water in a sliding motion.
3. After soaking about 5-10 minutes (depending on the weight of the paper) grasp a corner and pull the paper out of the water, supporting it while the water drips off. Place it on a drawing board (minimum 5ply, varnished), which must be lying flat.
4.Smooth the watercolour paper out with a clean sponge (preferably) or your fingers (but wash them first to get any grease off). If the sheet of watercolour paper is not perfectly smooth at this stage, it won’t dry smooth.
5.Moisten a strip of gummed tape and stick it down firmly along one side so that one-third of the tape is on the paper and two-thirds on the board. This will stop the watercolour paper pulling off the board when it dries.
6.Tape down the other sides of the sheet of watercolour paper in the same way.
7.Leave to dry for several hours, away from direct heat. As the water evaporates, the fibres in the paper contract, leaving the sheet of watercolour paper flat. 8.Keep the board flat while the watercolour paper dries, otherwise the water will drain to one edge and the paper will dry unevenly.
9.When you paint on the watercolour paper, it’ll stay flat because you won’t ever soak the whole piece as much as you did in step one.
1.Don’t use hot water to soak your watercolour paper as this could remove the sizing from the paper, and don’t soak it for too long for the same reason. Sizing is added to watercolour paper to reduce its absorbency.
2.Is it wet enough? The usual rule is “Test the corners.” If you bend a corner and it doesn’t readily spring back, it’s probably about right. If you meet resistance or it has too much “snap” it is not wet enough. If it’s flopping around like a cooked lasagna noodle, it’s way too wet to work with and you’ll have to blot the heck out of it before stretching. Paper soaked too long can lose much of its sizing and will affect the way it takes your paint.
3.Use different colour sponges for smoothing a piece of paper and moistening gummed tape so you never run the risk of getting gum on your sheet of watercolour paper.
4. It’s generally recommended that watercolour paper less than 356 gsm (260 lb) is stretched before use, otherwise it’ll warp.
5. You can also dampen the paper with a sponge and spray bottle on a clean board. You’ll have to flip the paper a few times to adequately saturate the paper enough to stretch it.