Preparing Different Surfaces

How to Prime

Priming a canvas, canvas board or MDF using gesso is a crucial step in preparing the surface for painting. To prime a canvas, first, make sure the surface is clean and free from any dirt, dust, or oils. Then, using a wide brush, apply a thin and even layer of gesso, making sure to cover the entire surface. Allow the gesso to dry completely, which can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight. Once the gesso is dry, you can apply additional coats as needed, usually two to three coats are sufficient for most purposes. When applying subsequent coats, make sure to brush in the opposite direction of the previous coat to ensure an even surface. Priming the canvas or canvas board with gesso helps create an ideal surface for painting, providing a smooth base and increasing the longevity of the painting.

Additionally, gesso helps prevent the MDF from warping and swelling due to exposure to moisture and humidity.

How to Stretch Paper

You only really need to stretch paper if you are using a light weight, if you are using over 300gsm than you don’t have to worry to much as long as you are not using lots of water. I would tape the paper down using ‘painters tape’ which you can purchase from Amazon. If however you would like to stretch your paper to ensure there are no ripples in the paper please see the below video.

To stretch paper using water and gum tape, first soak the paper in water for a few minutes or under a running tap until it becomes pliable. Then, drain any excess water and lay the paper flat on a smooth surface. Next, wet and apply a thin layer of gum tape around the edge of the paper, making sure it is evenly spaced and covers about half a centimeter. Use your finger to gently press down on the gum tape, removing any air bubbles. Repeat this process, layering more gum tape and pressing down, until you have a solid border of gum tape around the edge of the paper. Then, use a clean cloth to gently blot the surface of the paper, removing any excess water (optional). As the gum tape dries, it will hold the paper taut and prevent it from warping. The result will be a smooth and stretched piece of paper, ready for painting on.

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