View Full Version : Thanks for the baking soda tip ...

10-03-2013, 12:08 AM
it works great! Because I was so timid about Cuddle's background I decided to heck with it and got very bold with colors, thinking to blend them afterward. Then decided the background was too warm and tried the baking soda trick (sprinkling soda on, light scrubbing and brushing it off). What I particularly loved was a ghosting of colours left behind. Am filing the idea for future use with strong staining colours. A waste of pastels perhaps (putting on and taking off on purpose) but leaves a lovely softness.

Charlie and others who offered the tip ... thank you! Is there any paper one should be careful of doing this on??

10-03-2013, 04:17 AM
Nell, I'm happy it worked so well for you! I read about it somewhere and because some doubted the method (well, I did too), I decided to test it and found it to be very convenient and wrote that article. I'm sorry I no longer remember who's idea I read, as I read it about a decade ago. I'd love to give proper credit.

I have not tested the baking soda trick on velour. It seemed to me like the soda would stick to the fibers. So that is the paper that really needs testing over some time before I could recommend using soda on it.

That decade ago I also read that someone living in a very humid climate sprinkled soda on top of the painting, when it was finished, to check for spots of humidity before framing the work. If there were bubbles (=chemical reaction with H2O), he brushed off that spot and re-painted.

Yes, I think it was a "he", but which he? I have a sense that the text I read was older, like 30 years or so. But I can't swear to that.

10-03-2013, 08:47 PM
That sounds interesting and I'll want to try it sometime. Could one of you please link to the article?

10-03-2013, 09:04 PM
Would love to hear more about this

10-03-2013, 09:34 PM
Now I want to read the article as well :) Charlie offered this tip in a previous post of mine also to do with backgrounds and struggles with same http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1124652 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1124652&highlight=baking+soda) I went back to read that thread to try and get my head wrapped around loose, lovely, light and transparent. Unfortunately, my hands are not complying during application.

10-03-2013, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the link, Nell. It sounds interesting.

10-04-2013, 10:48 AM
Here's the article I wrote http://charlotteherczfeld.com/blog/66133/baking-soda-as-eraser

Also includes some testing over time.

And I'd love to hear about other people's experiences with baking soda.

10-04-2013, 10:39 PM
Thank you! It's great that this can be done to just clean off an area of a painting, like I love the subject but hate the background and want to redo the background. Or just the sky. That rocks! I'll have to try it.

10-04-2013, 10:57 PM
Great article and certainly something I will use (again and again and again.....) :)

10-05-2013, 01:29 AM
Sounds very interesting... But I'm pretty positive baking soda may and will react with some of pigments, because it is a "base" (opposite to acid). Soda is used as bleach alternative and can do just about as much damage, as acid with fading of colors... So I would worry how it is going to affect painting over extended time period. My concern is - if we paint over-top "bleached" area and base wasn't neutralized, it will affect till come extend whatever new pigment we put there. Isn't it better at some extend to use some sort of sand or greed as eraser what is chemically neutral and will not affect colors?

10-05-2013, 04:07 AM
I wrote about this tip some time ago on my blog I think. perhaps I got it from you, Charlie, tho it does not ring any bells in my head.......!

10-05-2013, 05:28 AM
Jackie, I think the idea has been out there for at least 30 to 35 years (and it wouldn suprise me if it was much older), it just isn't widespread, but a few do know about it, and have written about it.

Tatiana, that was my concern too, which is why I've tested it over some time, I think it is 3 years now and so far I've seen no harm done, which is why I wrote the article only this year as I wanted to be reasonably sure it wouldn't do any harm. And I take care to brush the cleaned area before painting over it. I the soda mainly reacts with water, and stays inert otherwise.

I think this is the reason why the baking soda idea is not more widespread, we do suspect it could be harmful.

10-05-2013, 05:31 AM
Robert, isn't it nice that it easy to find, plentiful, and doesn't cost as artsupplies. :-) I just luv it when something is that easy.

getdusty, thanks!

10-05-2013, 03:19 PM
If the baking soda reacts chemically with pigments, things would happen:

There might be bubbles (most likely by contact with water)
There might be a radical change of colour (like copper can turn blue or green)
There might be heat

I've not encountered any of these.

10-06-2013, 09:43 AM
Thanks for a great tip. Thanks for sharing.

10-07-2013, 02:55 AM

Thank you so much for this great thread. I logged on tonight to see if I could find info on salvaging an overworked and basically ruined portion of a painting I'm working on. (Canson mi-tienes touch), and bang! There was your article. I'm going to try it tomorrow. Do you think what I described can be helped with this technique?

Thank you

10-07-2013, 04:47 AM
Matt, yes, it works even if the portion is in the middle of the painting. Work with the painting flat on a table. When you want to pour the baking soda/pastel mixture off, try to turn the painting quickly so the baking soda doesn't slide over areas you want to preserve, as it will take off a few grains of pigment. Very little, not really visible to the eye, so no big deal.

One application of baking soda might be enough, as you only want to regain enough tooth to be able to paint the area.

10-07-2013, 11:34 AM
Great, thanks again.