Watercolour Prep

Been feeling very unworkish lately and so decided to at least get some uncompleted watercolours finished so that I may have use of the boards they are on again for new works.

De-gummed boards at the ready!
De-gummed boards at the ready!

Also got the old gummed tape remnants of a pile of boards in readiness for a day’s watercolour paper stretching.I recently bought a pile of new boards all the perfect size for half a full imperial watercolour sheet. 

My fave gummed tape is Loxley Apollo Gummed tape – it is very strong when moistened with a sponge and had a lot of glue on it.

P1150344 P1150345

Above are some of my stash of gummed tapes. They are in various sizes from half inch up to 2.5 inches for lightweight to heavyweight paper. To stretch watercolour paper you must use gummed and not masking tape.

BEST GUMMED TAPE – Loxley’s Gummed Art Tape – available here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Loxley-Artist-Gummed-Tape-36mm/dp/B00EDKFLXY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1410278075&sr=8-4&keywords=art+tape

Second Best – Butterfly Gummed Tape – http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=butterfly%20gummed%20tape

The boards are quarter inch plywood and from B&Q. My dad had to cut them to size for me as they came as larger boards.

Having this many (about 13) is great as now I have no excuse for not painting as I have a stash of watercolour paper pre-stretched and ready for art!

Ideally I would like to get about another 20 and then I’d really be cooking!

There’s nothing that slows you down more than knowing you can’t paint unless you have stretched paper at the ready.

You can always paint on unstretched paper as there are some papers that don’t cockle much and others that you can flatten under a heavy weight but lately I’ve been getting back into stretching as it gives a superior finish not to mention you feel like a queen when you are painting on a taut as a drum non-cockling surface!

Before I place the pre-cut paper in my watertub for 5 minutes I draw pencil guidelines on the paper as sometimes its hard to see through the thick gummed tape where the halfway mark is between on and off the paper.P1150347 P1150348

Then I place the paper in the watertub and let it absorb water for about 5 minutes – then pick it up from one corner and let the water roll off before placing it on a board and pressing out airbubbles from the centre to the edges. Before moistening my tape with a damp sponge I take off any excess water from the strips where the tape will go as sometimes pools of water can be there which would be too wet for the tape to seal.


Then I always use a thumbnail to run along the edge of the paper so that it seals the gummed strip snuggly in and then press down all around on tape and leave in a coolish room to dry very slowly. This avoids any risk of paper drying too fast and thus pulling away from the gummed tape.

Finally after a few hours drying flat I have a little army of boards at my disposal !





4 thoughts on “Watercolour Prep

  1. Hi Alison,

    I found your post while researching how to make myself a board to use as a support while I’m doing watercolour painting. I like the idea of popping to B&Q and picking up some plywood. One thing I’m not sure is if I need to waterproof the board by varnishing or treating it first – to stop the board warping over time. What’s your experience of this?

    Many thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jesse – well glad it was of help and no – I have never varnished a board in 24 years of painting – there is so little water used that the quarter inch ply can take it I guess 🙂

      What are you into painting?

      Happy painting – Alison

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