Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Each artist works their own way. I do not pretend I know it all.
With more than 35 years playing with watercolour, I have accumulated some knowledge, I have been through time of despair trying to find my own way, bought unnecessary material I was fighting with.

So with this post, I am trying to show you how I stretch my paper.
Each time is perfect result. No wasted paper.

I have no way of showing with a Video. However I have been told a demonstration with photos is good as people can come back on it quicker.. !
I hope it is true.

So First of all, the paper!!!

You need to know the right side of the paper from the wrong side.
Most papers these days are made for the use of both sides.
But it is my belief that if there is a right side it is for some reason.

So here is a Saunders Waterford paper

The name is showing through the paper, if it was the wrong side, it would be reversed.

A TIP: Once I have found the right side, I put a cross in each corner of the sheet of paper.
It allows me to quickly find out which side I am working on, this if I have cut the paper in several pieces.
Notice too, on the left corner, there is a stamp down by Saunders Waterford. Their Logo.
It is raised on the Right side.

TRY TO  KEEP your paper on the right side facing you for when you are going to lay it in the bath for soaking and taking it out and laying it on a board.

Sometimes the paper is sent to you already cut and so some pieces will not show either the label or the stamp.
How to find the right side?

Simple: Look at the edges, on each paper you should have at least one edge, original cut from the factory.

On the Right side of the paper, the edge is not interrupted , it is continuous to the paper.

If you run a pencil against the edge you will meet a resistance as shown with the red pencil mark and the black dots.
It is the wrong side

So Now about soaking the paper.
I soak the paper for about 2 minutes for 300lbs more and you will loose some of its properties..

I run enough cold water and  making sure I do not put finger marks on the paper, I immerse it gently. I hold corners even to push it gently under water.

While it is soaking,
I make sure my MDF board is ready with my staple gun loaded!

By the way, I have bought a very large MDF sheet in B&Q.
My husband cut it in several sizes.
You can request this from the shop, they will cut it for you.


After two minutes, I lift the paper by one corner and let the water drip until there is no more dripping. 
You lay the RIGHT SIDE facing you, on the board, stretching the corner, making sure there no air bubbles under the paper. REMEMBER, no fingers on the paper.
You then fix the paper with the staple gun while stretching again from each corner

As you can notice, there is some buckling but after 30 minutes, it is perfectly flat and dry.
There is another way easy way to stretch paper: 

I have bought 2 sizes.

It is perfect! Dry and ready to work on within minutes. 

This is the back of the board.
It comes with black flexing rods 

You can see the Video below:

I will advise you TWO things.

- I do not use a towel as I have left the paper drip in the bath until no further dripping, holding the paper by one corner.
- I DO NOT put my hands or fingers all over the paper.
- I use a small hammer to fix the rods. Do not hit too hard or you might tear the paper.

Before soaking the paper, I cut it to the right size.
You must leave quite of an edge for the return of the paper.

See what I do:

I have a recess of about 2" all around the board.

Below is the Final result within 1/4 of an hour.

Ready to paint on!!!


Prepare you paper before going to bed. It will be ready for the next day.
Or before going shopping. It will be ready on your return!

Thanks to this demo... I have two boards ready for me to work on... Big smile on my face!


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