View Full Version : Painting on paper

11-27-2011, 02:12 PM
I've recently started to run out of room for canvasses so i brought some 380 gsm paper to paint on - i secured it to a blank canvas with masking tape to paint on but it soon started to warp and pull away from the canvas. i was hoping using a heavy paper this wouldnt happen - any advice would be welcome :D

11-27-2011, 02:20 PM
Use heavy duty tape, give ample room of spare paper and stick it to hardboard. Paper increases and decreases surface area quite a bit when water / thinned paint is applied - its like taming a beast.

11-27-2011, 03:09 PM
Consider stretching it like it was being prepared for watercolor. Use the gummed paper tape and tape it to a solid surface like an old drawing board. You may also want to consider using gesso on the paper. Sometimes putting a ground on both sides of the paper will equalize the surface tension.

Check this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6OWKyYNKI) out.

11-27-2011, 03:54 PM
Hi Simon I like to adhere my paper to a sturdy board, like masonite, gatorboard or illustration board. I use gloss medium or double tack. It gives you a nice stiff surface and also is much thinner than canvas panels. Good luck.

11-27-2011, 05:04 PM
thanks for the help everyone :D Masking tape really isn't the way to go then :D I'll have a look into it :)

11-27-2011, 08:16 PM
Simon, I often work on watercolor paper with acrylics--usually 140 lb. all-cotton watercolor paper. If you plan to work with lots of fluid, well-diluted washes, you will need to treat the paper the same way watercolorists do. Soak it first--either submerge it in a large container of water or brush on lots of water to soak the paper, then attach it to a rigid support like Gatorboard (my favorite), and allow it to dry. This is called stretching the paper. When it is really wet, it will swell and buckle. But, as it dries, it shrinks back and becomes very tight. This will help to minimize (but not eliminate entirely) the amount of warping and buckling when you apply very wet washes or paints.

The method of attaching the paper to the support varies. Many use tape such as gummed packaging tape. But I prefer to use staples all around the outermost boarder of the paper, then, when the paper has dried, I put 2 layers of masking tape over the edges to just cover the staples. This serves 2 purposes: It protects my hands from being scratched by any of the staples while I'm working; also, it provides a nice, neat boarder around my painting when I remove the tape and staples once the work is done. Some folks don't like to put staple holes in their paper, but, if I'm going to mat it and/or frame it, the staple holes will be completely covered. I've tried various types of tape to fasten down the wet paper, but frankly, they all seem to pull loose at the worst possible moment--long before the painting is completed. The staples don't pull loose. Gatorboard is great for using staples to fasten down your paper.


11-28-2011, 04:52 AM
thanks Beverly thats great :D i'll look into getting a Gatorboard, i have some old canvas boards i've been using but i think i need something stronger and thicker :D

11-28-2011, 07:32 AM
Some good tips on here I once painted a blue funnel cargo liner ("Elpenor" ,see web site) on a large piece of paper stuck to self adhesive card thinking that was the answer for a cheap medium to paint on, alas it ended up being the worst of all worlds .After some time it cockled away from the surface in a few places but I didn't dare try and remove it totally in case it ripped and the bubbles are now a permanent feature of an otherwise reasonable painting .so avoid that solution.!

11-28-2011, 10:33 AM
Simon, you can also use plywood or anything like melamine-coated MDF or chipboard for stretching paper. Presume those'll be easier for you to find than something like Gatorboard.


Charlie's Mum
11-28-2011, 05:02 PM
Simon - 300lb paper would be heavier and less likely to buckle;)
I stretch all w/c paper and then it stays flat - but use the brown gummed tape - masking tape comes of ;)

11-29-2011, 07:08 AM
As you are in the U.K. Look at 'Ken Bromley' art supply site. He sells an acid free 'practice watercolour paper' 300lb in 100 sheet packs. I would not recommend it for watercolour (very spidery creeping paints when used wet in wet). BUT. I give it a couple of coats of gesso and paint acrylics on it. Mind you I do not paint professionally only for my own pleasure! I tape it to a support do not get any buckling.