View Full Version : curled paper

11-07-2013, 11:32 PM
Hi all, I would appreciate some help, usually I watercolour paint on either a stretched sheet or a block, however, on my latest painting I used an "arches" pad. I'm 1/3 of the way complete and the paper has started to curl. I'm affraid if I was to tape it down now, it would become wavy as I complete the painting and I would get unwanted puddling. Should I just tape 2 sides? is there a way to flatten it and then tape all 4 sides? comments or solutions ? thanks

11-08-2013, 03:04 AM
I would remove it from the pad and allow it to move. Wet the back of the paper and place face down under a board with a heavy weight on it.


11-08-2013, 03:56 AM
Doug's given you good advice. You're probably using a cheaper paper. Most paper that comes in pads are not as high quality as in it's sheet or block form, even if it's a well-known brand. I have the same problem with Cheap Joe's paper. It looks and paints like Arches except that it does curl even in quarter-sized. I hold the blow dryer up high (so paint will not move) and dry on front first then on the back.

12-08-2013, 03:52 AM
I agree with Jan's comments and also what Doug recommends, myself I always paint on at least 300gram hot press archers, never pad stock, to avoid the type of problem you have.

12-08-2013, 06:50 AM
thanks for your reply, should I put some sort of barrier between the wet back and weight, I was thinking parchment / wax paper. I am worried about the dried paper being stuck to the weight, thanks again,

12-08-2013, 07:28 AM
When I use this method to flatten a piece of paper, I place it on one of my boards I use to tape my paper to, then I place another painting board on top of it before putting some heavy books on it to let it dry completely, preferably overnight. ;)

You can use this method to flatten a finished painting too, just lay it face down and wet the back with a large brush or spray bottle before putting weights on it. This makes a nice, flat paper for matting and framing.


12-08-2013, 09:04 PM
thank you very much

12-09-2013, 05:27 PM
I do something similar but instead of putting under a heavy weight, I place the damp painting face down on a piece of gesso board the same size of the painting (or slightly larger). I have 4 pieces of molding that I place around the edges and then use binder clips to clamp down the strips, catching the edge of the paper.

It works better than weights because the air can get to it and dry it out. I had a problem with weights. The painting looked flat so I removed it from between the weights but it wasn't quite dry and as it dried the rest of the way, it curled again.