You can paint beautiful paintings on water-color paper by using watercolors, but soon it starts looking bumpy.
In this situation, one has to find some solution to this problem. In fact, water-color paper starts expanding as soon as it absorbs water from the watercolors and starts looking bumpy.
It is a very annoying situation as in low areas pigment will pool down distort the painting if you continue painting on it. One of the most common solutions for this problem is to stretch watercolor paper.
Though watercolor paper is specially designed to use water-based colors on it and keep it stable but the wetness of the colors causes bumps in the paper.
These umps in the watercolor paper can be prevented by preparing it before using watercolors on them.
Some of the commonly used methods for preparing water-color paper are briefly described n this write-up for your consideration.
Different Ways to Prepare Watercolor Paper
Soak the paper completely and use gummed tape to keep it stable.
It is one of the most common methods used for stretching and preparing a water-color paper to use watercolors on it.
In this method, a clean gator board will be used to stretch the watercolor paper and some gummed water-activated tape to fix the paper on the board.
The glue on the tape can be activated just by wiping its glue side with a wet sponge. But you should not rub a wet sponge on it as it can wash away the glue on it.
You can also draw some 1/4″ wide guidelines inside all the edges of the paper with a pencil to help you in aligning gummed tape precisely on it.
To fix the paper on the board gummed tape is better than masking tape as it will stretch with the paper whereas masking tape will not stretch. But while using gummed tap you should be careful as its glue should not drip on the paper as it can cause blemish marks on the paper when you will paint on it.
Now you have to soak the water-color paper for 5-10 minutes depending upon the thickness of the paper. But it should not be soaked for a long time as it can wash away the internal sizing of the paper.
Now spread the soaked paper on the board and start taping all of its four sides with glued tape with two opposite sides say top and bottom as well as right and left. While taping the paper on the board you should check air bubbles underneath.
Though it can fix your paper effectively but if you use a few staples then fixing will be reinforced safely.
When the paper dries and shrinks then it applies a lot of pressure on the tape to try to pull out of the taped edges which makes it difficult for the tape to hold the paper in its place.
In such a condition staples can help the tape to keep the paper in its place. After the paper dries you can paint a watercolor painting on it.
Now the board should be laid flat to dry. You can use a sharp craft knife to cut the painting on the watercolor paper around its edges. You should avoid removing gum tape as it can rip your painting.
This is the most reliable and the best method to avoid bumps in watercolor paper with water if you have soaked it for the right time. If you find it difficult to get a gatorboard then you can also use a sheet of flexiglass to fix your paper as well as transfer a drawing on your paper due to its transparency.
Stretch The Watercolor Paper On a Canvas Frame
Another method to avoid bumps on the watercolor paper with water is to stretch the paper tightly on a canvas frame.
This method can be used if you have canvas stretcher bars or an empty canvas frame. For this purpose, you can either buy stretcher bars to make your frame or some cheap canvas frames and strip them.
On a flat clean surface, you can lay your soaked watercolor paper without any air pocket underneath. Now in the center of the paper, you should place the canvas frame and wrap the paper around the edges of the frame.
To fix the paper on the edges of the frame you are recommended to use a heavy-duty stapler to staple the paper in the middle of each side of the frame.
The corners of the paper should also be stapled after folding them neatly.
Leave the canvas frame flat until the paper dries. It will provide you a smooth surface to paint on.
This method can be used to create canvas frames of all sizes as per your requirement. These frames will allow you to keep your watercolor paintings safe as long as you want because these frames are light in weight and can be ported easily.
Painters can also use the wet-to-wet technique while painting on canvases thus created. It also allows you to test the wetness of the paper by touching it from its backside.
How to Prepare Watercolor Paper By Using a Paper Stretcher
In this method, a paper stretching board designed specifically for this purpose is used. Originally this system was invented as a perfect paper stretcher by Ken Bromley, the British artist.
This method of stretching watercolor paper is very good as it provides you a flat surface like a drum.
The board used for this purpose has grooves on all of its edges. These grooves will be used to keep your soaked paper safely in its place with the help of rubber strips.
To insert the rubber strips forcefully into the groove you will have to use a hammer. It will add more tension to the paper. To remove the paper easily from these groves some artists recommend putting candle wax into the grooves.
You can speed up the process of drying the paper by using a hairdryer as the paper is held firmly on the frame and is not likely to distort.
Thus, by using any of these methods you can easily avoid water paper bumps with water.