How to Stretch a Sheet of Watercolour Paper.

As all we watercolour artists know when paper gets wet it cockles  and does not dry flat , and the thinner the paper the more crinkly it gets.
So here for those who need a reminder is a standard method for keeping your paper flat.

  • Paper
  • Flat, waterproof board.
  • Gum strip.
  • Clean water.
  • Spray or brush 

  • Method:
    • Cut 4 strips of gum strip, slightly bigger than the paper dimensions. 
    • Place horizontal strips on one side, vertical on the other.
    • Wet the watercolour paper so it is thoroughly damp. but not soggy. There is a finish that you don't want to wash off.
    • Lay the paper on the board right side up ( the right side usually has more texture), and let it settle, but not dry, for  short time.
    • Wet your first strip of longer paper - a wide brush is usually best for this, and lay it along the bigger side, half on the board, half on the paper. Repeat this with the next piece of gum strip, and then the shorter pieces.
      Your paper will look crinkly,
      even more crinkly than this sometimes.

    • Now go away and leave it, paint something else and wait for it to dry. How long it takes depends on  humidity and temperature. You can use a hairdryer but sometimes the tape lifts.
    Then a miracle happens. It dries gloriously flat, like a taught bed sheet. When you wet it, it cockles again but it always dries flat in the end while it's taped down.
    Flat as a pancake !

    When you've finished your picture wait for it to thoroughly dry and then cut it from the tape.


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