Three Easy Ways To Stretch Watercolor Paper

Two Quick and Easy, One More Effective

This tutorial shows three different ways to stretch watercolor paper.  It is recommended for any paper that is 140lbs or less in weight.

Stretching Watercolor Paper

Stretching watercolor paper is the best way to minimize buckling while painting.  There are a number of different ways to accomplish it.

This tutorial includes three different methods – two are fast and easy but won’t likely eliminate all buckling, the third is much more effective and also takes more time.

The one you choose will have a lot to do with the the support surface or board. Some surfaces, like masonite, luan and plexiglass will not easily accept staples. Brown packing tape that has adhesive activated by moisture is the best way to stretch paper on these surfaces. Unfortunately, the results with paper tape can be mixed, since the tape often ends up with too much moisture and then not hold fast.

All boards will accept bulldog clips around the edges, including those that won’t take staples.

Most supports will accept Artist’s Tape, which is a fast easy method, but requires dry surfaces to attach well.

Take a look at the tutorial and try all the methods to see which works best for you.

What you’ll need.

  • A support board. Gatorboard is recommended as it will accept staples and, of course, will also accept clips
  • Spring or Bulldog clips
  • Stapler and staples
  • The paper to be stretched



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