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View Full Version : Keeping wc paper flat. Can I do this?


debbiec
07-26-2005, 12:49 PM
Hi, this is my first post. Thanks for all of the great info you have all been sharing. I like painting on a large surface but have found watercolor paper impossible to stretch and keep flat once wet. I am working with papers that are larger than any blocks on the market. I have read some explanations on stretching and have not had any success.

On theother hand, I have glued my paper to thin boards with gesso or acid free spray glue and I intend to keep painting this way unless I hear it is destructive. What do you all think? I do not need to remove the paper from the board. If I want to frame a piece I will put the entire thing inside the frame.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice. Debbie

artmom
07-26-2005, 01:53 PM
Depends on the wood you are using. There are several threads on mounting on wood. Suggest you do a SEARCH using the Search link on the blue bar above; using the Advanced Search feature; and choosing only the Watercolor Forum on the right to search for your keyword.

Good luck. :D BTW, welcome to the forum!

Lyn

dpcoffin
07-26-2005, 04:40 PM
Assuming that you mean CARDboard when you say board, thereís nothing very complex about it, and itís not hard to find and use acid-free glues and mounting, mat, or foam-core boards. Hereís a few links:

An easy-to-use, acid-free adhesive (http://www.graphic-design.com/Waldron/rollatag/rollatag.html)

One way to mount paper, adaptable to boards (http://danielsmith.com/learn/inksmith/200402/)

Joe Garciaís Book Mastering the Watercolor Wash has good simple directions for mounting dry paper; in short, he uses Seal VacuGlue 300 and Crescent 3XAF or Alpharag Artcare boards, a brayer for smoothing the paper onto the board, and he leaves several stacked boards under weights (bricks and a plexiglass sheet) overnight to keep them flat while drying. The bigger the sheet, the thicker the board, so for full-sheets, Iíd suggest a very heavy acid-free board; quickly gets expensive!

As youíve no doubt learned, ďstretchingĒ papers by simply soaking them and tacking them out while wet will NOT prevent them from buckling when rewetted. You need to actually STRETCH the wet papers slightly before tacking them down, a difficult task!

I use and really like this (http://www.watercolorboard.com/index.html) watercolor stretching rig. Youíll see that they are currently sold out, but if you email the maker, heíll let you know when he has more available; a one-time investment, and a very good product that should be better known by folks who need a FLAT sheet of wet watercolor paper!

dc

debbiec
07-26-2005, 05:19 PM
thanks for the replies. There is so much info on this it's hard to sort through.

I'm going to give a little more info and add some of what I have learned here.

I do not need to remove the size from my watercolor paper. As far as I can tell that is one reason people soak the paper. Perhaps as I paint more I may notice things like this but for now I can leave it as is.

My main goal is to keep the paper from buckling and I haven't had success with blue painters tape because even with small paapers it doesn't adhere well. I see from several posts that I should use tape that needs to be wetted to be sticky or I should use staples. But I moved to glue and or gesso because stretching seems like such a difficult and time consuming process. I think adhering the paper to the board has the same effect as stretching, but I was worried about the wood board (not cardboard) eventually warping or the gesso or glue having a damaging effect on the paper.

Here is what I have learned: gesso is no problem for the paper, but plywood, mdf, or masonite should be sealed with polyurethane or shelac to avoid leaching of acids or I should use metal sheets or hardwood. btw what do you all think of plexiglass? or sheetrock? or those laminated boards they use for siding or the backs of cabinets?

basically if I end up with something I really like I want to make sure I haven't destroyed its chances of surviving.

thanks again for looking, Debbie

Yorky
07-26-2005, 05:59 PM
Welcome to the forum Debbie.

Marvin Chew, one of our members stretches full sheets on an open frame akin to a picture frame. He soaks the paper then folds it over the frame and staples it around the edges. It dries as tight as a drum and resists buckling.

Doug

Rod
07-26-2005, 06:04 PM
If its thin board then it propably would warp in time. Thicker board would be expensive, so the frame idea would be best.

What type of paper are you using , ?

Rod.

dpcoffin
07-26-2005, 07:17 PM
I do not need to remove the size from my watercolor paper. As far as I can tell that is one reason people soak the paper. Perhaps as I paint more I may notice things like this but for now I can leave it as is.

Soaking before stretching is primarily for making the paper thoroughly wet so it expands as much as possible, more so than it will when painted on; stapling or taping it down when soaked thus ought to work, but often it doesnít. The impact of soaking on the sizing when done for less than 20-30 minutes, is minimal with most of the standard papers, at least in my experience.

I moved to glue and or gesso because stretching seems like such a difficult and time consuming process.

Once youíre familiar with the process, and getting the results you want, I canít see that stretching would ever be significantly more difficult or time-consuming than mounting. The main argument for it is that itís low-impact and you donít need to buy more materials for every painting; no issues at all about the weight, thickness or archival consequences of permanently attaching the paper to anything.

I was worried about the wood board (not cardboard) eventually warping or the gesso or glue having a damaging effect on the paper.

Here is what I have learned: gesso is no problem for the paper, but plywood, mdf, or masonite should be sealed with polyurethane or shelac to avoid leaching of acids or I should use metal sheets or hardwood. btw what do you all think of plexiglass? or sheetrock? or those laminated boards they use for siding or the backs of cabinets?


Iíd prefer acid-free cardboard or perhaps coated masonite to any other supports simply because their ingredients are well known, consistent, and theyíre relatively well tested for this exact application. My understanding is that contemporary Masonites do not have the same problems as supports that they had when they first appeared. But thereís good info on all this stuff here (http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicaldata/prepsupp.php) and elsewhere.

Sounds like youíre interested in really large surfaces, and I sympathize. Thereís very little info available on how to manage really large sheets of watercolor paper. But using ordinary building materials as supports just increases the archival dangers youíre already worrying about. The clay-covered boards referred to in the Daniel Smith link above are available up to 4x8 feet, and the clay coating makes an apparently very effective barrier against any possibly harmful substances in the Masonite. And they can easily be cradled for further rigidity. The only other way I know of to ensure that glued paper doesnít eventually warp whatever itís glued to, is to glue the same paper to both sides of the support.

Itís hard to believe that messing around with untested metal or plastic sheets and glue could ever be less hassle and/or less harmful than simply learning to stretch, or buying heavier sheets/rolls of paper to start with (and learning to put up with or work around a little temporary buckling), but every painter has their own requirements and has to deal with these issues in their own way. I hope youíll share whatever you come up with!

dc

GOwenStudios
07-26-2005, 11:28 PM
My advice would be to forget the stretching and use 140lb paper and heavier to paint on. I use a artist grade masking tape called Artist's tape which is white that I tape my dry paper down on the gatorboard. I tape it down using the 1" wide tape and put half on the edge of the paper and the other half on the board. Paint as wet as you want and it will stay on the board. You will have a brighter watercolor by painting on unstretched paper as well. Sometimes I paint on 200 and 300 lb and I tape them down in the same manner for stability. 200 and 300 will bow a bit when painting on it but won't buckle.

debbiec
07-27-2005, 08:04 AM
thanks again for all the advice. I will attempt stretching now that I know a little more about it. I think I will start with stretcher bars and staples. David, the stretching machine you mentioned looks interesting too. I am a big fan of new tools so I'll keep an eye on that page. BTW, I am also a Coffin.

Rod, I don't have a consistent paper preference. When I took up watercolor I purchased many different varieties and I only have a few requirements. When I paint "loose" I do use 300 lb papers so I don't have to deal with any buckling. But, I am very experimental with my painting now and the 300 lb papers are quite expensive for that. I also have lots and lots of 140 lb papers that I plan to make use of.

Also, I am going to look for some better tape to see if I can keep my papers flat without stretching.

thanks again, Debbie

Neeman
07-29-2005, 12:03 AM
Stapling is the most efficient system for me.
Fast and easy.
Tried tapes, did not work.

I have used thin Masonite board.
A sheet cost me $8.
I cut it to 1/4 , 1/2 , and full sheets sizes.
Get it cut if you cant.

I then soak #140 in a clean bath tub for 5 to 10 minutes.
I then staple the paper to the masonite, one staple ever 4".
As close to the paper edge as possible.
Let it dry.
Tight as a drum.
I tend to do 8 1/4 sheets at a time, so they are ready to go.

Lift out the staples with a plier.
The holes will be covered by the framing matting.

Neeman.

paintchristina
08-05-2005, 05:51 PM
I've tried just about everything. Actually 100% Rag WC papers can be stretched after a painting is completed has dried. My teacher had a pile of paintings on Arches 140 lb that she carried around to work on, sometimes for years. Only after it was done did she completely bath it in cold water for about an hour and then stretch and tape or staple it onto plywood. because the paint has settled in it will not bleed unless you start scrubbing it again. her finished works were literally "flat as a board".

juneto
08-22-2005, 01:03 AM
Because Watercolor Paper is generally 100% Rag ( Other than Yupo , Strathmore and some others that are plasticized). when soaked ,the Paper acts like a Sponge and expands with the water . To counteract that ,you soak it on both sides and clip it down with clips , tape or staples . When it dries it can't Buckle ,so it stays nice and tight while you paint.
If you glue it down , your Watercolor Effects will be very different. It will be more difficult to soak every fiber of the Paper. That is very important to me , so I would never Glue my paper down. You will find what you like best by Trial and Error.
June