How Do You Get Paint To Stick To Canvas (11 Useful Tips)

While painting a drawing usually beginners face problems like paint is not sticking to their canvas or paint is runny on the canvas. Most of them may panic in this situation. To help novice painters we are discussing some easy solutions in this write-up to resolve their issues.

Reasons For Runny Paint On The Canvas

  • There can be many reasons if your paint is not sticking to your canvas. The most common reasons behind this problem may include the poor quality of your paint or the canvas is not prepared properly.
  • If the paint is not sticking to your canvas due to its poor quality then you should, first of all, ensure that you have bought from a reliable source or not. If the quality of paint is good then it can be due to your faulty canvas.
  • If there is some fault in your canvas then you should check whether the quality of the fabric used in the canvas is good or not. You should also ensure whether it has been prepared well to paint it with acrylic paint or not.

So if the quality of your paint is good then you must prepare your canvas properly so that your paint can stick to your canvas. Tips to prepare a canvas for painting are provided here under for your consideration.

Preparing The Canvas For Painting

Before starting to paint a new but properly stretched canvas you should ensure that you can paint it effectively or not. Usually, the stretched canvas you buy from a store has gesso applied on it. So, if you do not want to change the texture of your canvas you should not apply more gesso to it. But if gesso is not applied to the canvas then you should, first of all, apply gesso to it.

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Reasons To Prime A Raw Canvas

  • A raw canvas does not allow your brush to move easily across its surface when you are painting with acrylic or oil paint. So it becomes necessary to prime the canvas with gesso to give it a smooth and less absorbent texture so that you can move your brush easily on it.
  • It is necessary to prime a raw canvas before using oil paint on it because it provides you a smooth surface by sealing to pores of the canvas otherwise your canvas can rot after some time due to the chemicals in the paint.
  • If you are using acrylic paint then you can apply it to various types of materials even without preparing them or with minimum preparation of their surface. However, the surface should not be greasy or oily. But you cannot use acrylic paint on the canvas or any other surface painted with oil paints. However, oil paint can be applied on surfaces painted with acrylic paints.

In this way, you can paint the raw canvas with acrylic paints but it can waste a lot of your expensive paint by sucking it into its absorbent surface. So, before painting it is ideal to prime your canvas with gesso to seal it and your paint can stick to it effectively.

11 Tips To Apply Gesso To Prepare A Canvas For Painting

Material required to apply gesso primer on a canvas include a canvas glued or stretched properly on a rigid support, water, sponge, acrylic gesso, metal or plastic stirrer, a plastic container, paper towel, and a 1″ or 2″ flat brush.

  • Tip 1: first of all you should slightly wet the canvas and its sides by using the sponge dipped in water.
  • Tip 2: Use a plastic or metal stirrer to stir the acrylic gesso in its container.
  • Tip 3: Pour enough amount of gesso into a plastic container so that you can complete the task easily. You should not have too much extra gesso in the container after finishing the task as it is not good to put it into its original container as it starts drying with time. After pouring the gesso into the plastic container you should close the jar quickly as it can dry fast.
  • Tip 4: Add nearly 20% water to the gesso to thin it and stir it well. While applying the first layer of the gesso you should dilute it so that it can seal the fiber of the fabric used in the canvas so that you can spread the gesso more easily. Normally gesso is white but if you want to change its color then you can add acrylic paint of any color to it.
  • Tip 5: While stirring the gesso you should have a paper towel ready to clean the spills as it cannot be cleaned by using water once it dries as it dries very fast.
  • Tip 6: Now use a 1″ or 2″ flat brush to apply horizontal strokes of gesso on the canvas and spread it evenly from right to left and vice versa.
  • Tip 7: Allow your canvas to dry for at least one hour. You can start painting o it once gesso is dried completely. You can ensure that the canvas is dry by touching it, if it is cold then you should wait for some more time.
  • Tip 8: Though it is not necessary but to get a smoother surface you can use sandpaper to sand the canvas slightly before applying another layer of gesso on it. You should use a rag to clean the residual dust from the canvas after sanding it.
  • Tip 9: You should apply a second coat of gesso whether you have sanded the first coat or not. In the second coat, you should apply strokes of the brush perpendicular to the strokes of the first coat so that it can seal the canvas perfectly.
  • Tip 10: If you want to give a specific texture to the canvas then you can go on applying gesso after drying and sanding the previous coat. But, if you want to paint on a smooth surface then two coats of gesso are sufficient to prepare your canvas for it. 
  • Tip 11: You can start painting on your canvas once its final coat dries completely.Thus, by preparing your canvas you can easily get your paint to stick to it while painting on it.
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