My Watercolor Blog

February 12, 2008

Preparing the paper

Filed under: Getting Started — Elizabeth @ 6:02 pm

19767640_6d0f186f59_m.jpgPhoto By **ANNE via

For the longest time (years!) I managed to avoid the messy quandary of how best to hold down your paper onto a board while you slosh your paint and water all over it to create your masterpiece watercolor. How little I knew of how much trouble I had avoided all those years. I even for a fleeting moment wish I could crawl back into the watercolor block box and never come out again. However right now I am experiencing the incredible breadth of a huge white piece of paper before me and a nice long project I can sink my teeth into for a while. And I think I am in love. One obvious big benefit is I get to do odd shapes which I have been longing to do.

So if you outgrow watercolor blocks (300lb don’t commonly get very big, and they get unwieldy…hmm…then so do boards) or are just sick enough to just want to start out by strapping on watercolor paper onto boards (and I am not even going into soaking the paper since I hear if you work with 300lb you can avoid that mess) than two main questions arise:

What technique will I use (paste, gum tape, bulldog clamps or staples)? If only bull dog clamps solved everything. Since you may not always be working on a drawing board that is the size of the paper you want to use. Even though I haven’t yet (and I will) tried bulldog clamps, it is obvious more exploring has to happen. For another option I found an article in’s description. He uses 1/2 inch staples through Popsicle sticks into a Daniel Smith applewood board. I just found out gum tape creates a horrible mess! I am going to go for the popsicle sticks and staples method now. I am a little concerned about the board and how heavy and bulky it will be. I would like to try DickBlick’s incredible board, what should I do? Ok I decided on trying the dickblick wood board I already own and then if necessary resorting to Daniel Smith’s and to save the hassle of the windy un-informational website, it is item #285490002 and ph. (800) 426-7923.

Will I cut the mat board for and frame my own? Pre-cut mats don’t commonly get very big. I spoke to mat cutter company Alto and decided the Alto 4501 is the best way to go.

A later update 7/21/8:
Now I think I have decided buying a staple gun and using popsicle sticks and staple holes and a heavy drawing board all might be too much. I like to yank up the board and turn it too often. Maybe I will use clamps and gum paper in whatever combo works and all on a lighter weight board.

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