Since i buy my paper in a consistent size and dimensions, I found a method to forgo stapling and taping. I had boards cut in dimensions 1,5 cm smaller on each side then the paper I buy. After I soak the paper , I place it on a another, bigger board, then dab the back with a towel to take off the excess moisture. Then I put the stretching board over the paper, and since the paper is bigger then the board, I can bend the 1,5 cm of paper over the board edge. I use tacks on each side of the board. The board is a chipboard ( google particle board) and tacks go easily into the side. Plywood is too hard. Tacks are easy to remove and all i need to do after the painting is finished is cut off the edges.
I thought that if you use 300-400 lb. paper you might not need to stretch it. True or false? (Assuming this is good quality paper just for watercolor ^^ ) I used some Academe "watercolor" paper that cockled like heck. I kept painting anyway. (stuffs it under a heavy book) Something tells me to either get GOOD WC paper next time or stretch it. Which I've never done before. WTH keeps the wet paper taped to the board anyway? (I have books on this and still don't know)
If I don't use 300 lb paper, I have to stretch it or the painting suffers. I hate fighting with the bubbles and the rolling edges - I'd rather stretch it. I LOVE the stretching process - the soaking, the taping, etc. It's fun. But I hate waiting for it to dry. LOL
I notice in a lot of the comments that people don't know what stretching is, or don't know how to go about doing it.
For some people that don't use a lot of heavy washes with their watercolour they don't really need to stretch, and to that I say lucky them, they have a style that saves a lot of work. But for those of us that use enough water to buckle even 300lb paper, stretching is the only answer.
I use 140lb paper and stretch it. It's cheaper than 300lb, and I found that even 300lb warps when I paint. this is the process I use.
1. As a backing board I use 5 ply (marine ply) that you can pick up at any decent hardware store. make it about 2 inches wider on each side than the paper your stretching
2. I soak my paper in a bathtub for at least 20 minutes. Some people say this will take of the coating they put on watercolour paper, but that has never bothered me.
3. I mix up a mix of 3 parts water to 1 part PVA glue in a bowl while the papers soaking.
4. I take the paper out and let it drip dry. be careful with it as it is soaked enough to tear easily. then I smooth it out on the board and make sure there are no bubbles.
5. I wet the back of the framers tape with the water/PVA mixture. I do this because I was finding that the gum alone on the back of the frames tape wasn't strong enough to hold when the paper began to shrink again. then I gum down each edge of the paper making sure I have at least half an inch of framers tape on the paper.
6. Then I staple through the paper leaving about 2 inches between staples. I used to staple directly onto the paper without using the framers tape but the paper would tear off the staples when it shrunk and defeat the whole purpose of stretching the paper in the first place.
7. Then I lie it flat for 24 hours to make sure its thoroughly dry
I have found that I can use heaps of water in my washes and get no buckling. I hope this helps at least one of you guys.... it works for me. all the best Pete
Wow, I always had the same problem using 300 gsm paper with the tape pulling off, and with the staples pulling out. I never thought to use the PVA and water mix, or stapling through the tape. Great tips, thank you.
That's almost exactly how I do it but I really don't like the tape. I just staple. After I smooth it out well, and go over it with a soft towel, I add the staples uniformly (center, corners, then inside them)and I use many.
For example, on a 22x30 I may have up to 8 - 10 staples at the top. I don't get any tearing if I staple it enough. I also put them in the bath to soak for a total of 15 minutes (on a timer) and I don't find that the coat is affected.
As always, it depends... if I'm painting wet on dry, I rarely ever stretch, and I also don't do it for anything less than A3 (just not worth shrinking the painting area even more). But for large formats, and especially if I go wild with the watercolor on the background, it makes sense.
I don't bother if I'm using a 300lbs paper, but I've been using Cansons 140lbs for a few years now and I find that if I tape it down beforehand and wait till it's dry before removing the tape it'll often dry flat again. Depends on what I'm doing.
I've recently begun stretching over stretcher bars and using a spray on finisher for watercolour works to seal it. A simple shadow box style frame is easy to make and with no glass/matting to deal with it actually saves me a bit of money on framing and I prefer the look of it.
I work with Arches blocks but I usually stretch my papers. Especially when working on A3 comic pages, I have to be able to do very good scans of them and can't allow them to have a wrinkle. :3 For my illustrations, as some of them are not meant for publication in books, I sometimes work directly on the block but for me , the paper tends to come appart from the block on its own anyway.
That used to happen to me. I use 140lb paper coz its cheaper and about all I can afford.. so I stretch by laying down gum tape (framers tape), but I add some diluted PVA glue to the water I wet it with (about 3 parts water to 1 part PVA).. this way it holds much better. then I staple through the paper. that way the staples dont tear the paper.
I stretch because I use heavy washes.. If I dont stretch I end up with pools of paint that I can't control
I just cut around the edge with a razor blade and pull e staples out. I don't even try to lift the tape from the paper. I let the framer cover that with a Matt when I get it framed (and I crop it out with photoshop for my DA gallery)
All sorts. I tried the fancy tape at the art shop, electrical tape, duct tape, some other tape at a different art shop, masking tape, gum tape, tape with staple, tape with no staples. The paper comes loose of the tape and if there are staples and/or tape it tears the paper loose as well. Now I just do washes on parts of the paper at a time instead of the whole page. Or just live with the wrinkles.
As I work on large size and with a lot of layers and water, I always stretch my paper, even if it's in a block. I think it's the only way to have a perfect surface. My paper if often so tense after that, that the board itself is curving ! And I keep it taped until I finish the work. When I was younger I didn't do that, I now I find myself with some good paintings I was not ashamed to show all crinkled ! I have to get them out of frame, than stretch them again (I put water on the back and tape the paper upside down)
I either use blocks or tape my paper down to keep it from warping, or I use 300lb arches cold press paper, which usually holds up at the sizes I paint without warping. Overall I don't usually work larger than 18"x24" (and that is really big for me) so the paper is usually not in danger of wrinkling too terribly much.
You soak it in cold water for 15 minutes (bath tub for large sheets) and then lift it out and let all the water run off. Lie it on your board evenly and use a soft clean towel, or even paper towel (nothing that's rough or leaves lint) and from the center out - push out all of the water and any buckles or wrinkles ...
When you're satisfied you have it nice and tight on the surface of the board - Use a staple gun and place a staple (approximately 1 inch from the outer edges)at the top center, the side centers, the bottom, then do the corners, then add them again within those spaces but not on top of each other .. so there's like 2 inches between each staple.
Let it dry over night - and you'll see why it's worth it to stretch when you start painting on it. It's beautiful really. I do several at a time, so I have several canvases going. When yo paint in layers, you have to allow them to dry, so when I'm in serious painting mode, I want to keep going, so I put down the one that needs to dry and start on the other ...