View Full Version : what paper under handmade pumice surface?

01-11-2008, 12:29 PM

I'm going to try making my own surface with, to begin with, Golden pumice medium (because it's available locally) and then experiment from there with different mediums, additive, color, etc. I'm going to begin by using a foam roller to apply it. What support would you suggest I start with? It would defeat the purpose if I used very, very expensive paper, I think. Do you think I have to put a coat on the other side to prevent warping? I could tape the paper to a surface until it dries.



Donna T
01-11-2008, 02:30 PM
Hi Richard, I've used the Golden Pumice Medium on cold-pressed watercolor paper but lately I've been happier with the 300lb hot-pressed paper. It doesn't warp as much and there aren't those little pits to fight with like you get with cold-pressed. I've used my own pumice/gesso mixture on Rives BFK. I tape it down all around and try not to use too much water in the mix. It still warps so I just let it dry and press it flat with stacks of books etc. I don't think you need to apply anything to the back of the paper, unless you are planning to use that side. If you apply the pumice medium to mat board it still warps a little but putting some gesso on the back side helps. I've heard Stonehenge paper is good for pastels but haven't tried it yet. I hope you can experiment on a couple different kinds of paper and see which one you like best.


01-11-2008, 08:10 PM
Hi Richard - I've wondered the same thing and have some great Fabriano 140 lb. watercolor paper that I wanted to try some day (it has a sort of linen texture to it and I can't remember what it was called - but feels like the back of Wallis paper - it's probably rag) - otherwise I've used panels with no problem.

P.S. with watercolor paper you might be able to just wet the reverse side before taping to a board - the same as stretching watercolor paper - then apply the pumice mix.

01-11-2008, 08:18 PM
Hi Richard
I buy mat board (flaw board about $4 a board 36 x 40")
then coat the back with gesso,
then the front with various pumice mixes
very economical and acid free once coated

01-11-2008, 09:19 PM
I coated some paper for acrylics, and watercolour paper. Foamroller gave plenty of tooth (called it 'jaws' as it ate sticks). Brushing it on with an ordinary brush for painting furniture and such gave a much more satisfactory result, not so far from Wallis. (I used Schmincke's pastel primer.) I brushed on two layers (let it dry before applying second layer). Only thing I wasn't totally happy with was that it was harder to make corrections on it -- once I brushed off the offending pastel dust, I'd obviously brushed off a bit of tooth too. Anyway, I recommend brushing it on, not foam-rolling.

01-11-2008, 10:43 PM
i use both a roller and brush, just depends on my mood. and i use the middles of my rag mat board, leftover pieces. acid free foam board is another option, but cheaper yet is AFX board--white acid free board used for backing in framing.

01-12-2008, 08:24 PM
thank you all very much. I'm off to experiment.


01-12-2008, 08:45 PM
Have fun, Richard. I make almost all my surfaces this way now, and use a variety of papers, from Fabriano Tiziano to matboard. Lighter paper I tape down, but I've not had any problem with the heavier stuff, even in large pieces. I use foam brushes to apply two coats, let dry thoroughly between. I'll thin the gel with a little water to make it spread more easily if it shows signs of clumping.

I discovered that anything that warps will straighten out just fine by laying it on a flat surface and weighting it once it dries. (I usually just stick it in the bottom of my paper box for a few days, or if it's a small piece, tucked in the back of one of my sketch books.)

Dayle Ann

Donna A
01-12-2008, 09:23 PM
I've used 100% rag etching papers most often---but just because it's archival AND I have a lot left from my days of making etchings. Rives BFK and Arches Cover plus many other rag papers.

Depends a lot on whether you care about the quality of your support. Chewie has a good idea about using the centers of her 100% rag mat boards.

And do experiment with both brushing on and rolling on with a sponge roller. They both have great qualities---and nice to know what expresses your creative spirit the most---which sometimes calls for both versions being on hand!

It's been a good while since I experimented with the Golden, but seems like I was able to apply it without warping, but that could have been because of somewhat heavier papers. My preference is the Colourfix Primer, which will not warp the paper at all. It does not carry so much water, I suppose, and dries immediately---and extremely toothy, but not as coarse as the Golden seemed to me and is why I did not want to use it beyond my tests. But if it works for you---hooray! That is what is important! And it works for many.

And you can tint it if you like---even with pure pigment, which carries part of the water and decreases the likelihood of warping a bit more. Very best wishes! Donna ;-}

01-12-2008, 10:41 PM
oh geesh donna, i just pm'ed you to see if you'd used rives for colorfix primer!! how funny! i have this stash of rives from years ago, and in light of my moving in a few months, trying to use up what i have on hand. i have my beloved terra cotta primer, but thought to try and use it on the rives just to use it up. guess now i know!

did you have to use gesso on the backs or anything? did you have to put a light wash of water first so it wouldn't soak all the moisture out of the primer?

01-13-2008, 01:12 PM
as an update, i did use my primer on my rives paper--it isn't the real heavy type either. it looks super! used 2 coats of primer, with a bit of water to make it spread a bit easier. used strokes going every which way, very erratic brush work so its not even anywhere. used a one inch mid level paint brush from hardware store, the kind with light colored tips for staining etc. i think. i have tried using those chip brushes only to wind up picking little bristles out of my primer, leaving fingernail gauges. i took a full sheet, cut in 4s evenly, primed each once, used a hair dryer, primed again, hairdryer again and let sit a short time (half hour or so) then, to be sure my sheet were flat as i can get, i put them on newsprint, with hardboard on top, then weighted down with my tool box. now this morning, i found perfectly flat dry, gritty paper just aching to be painted on. plus, now i won't waste or ruin those nice sheets of paper!