HomeWatercolor Painting8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper

Featured Artist

Tropic Drawing


I create this website to help all of you that are interested in the arts. I collect all pieces of information and tutorials on how to start your project. I hope you will enjoy each of the articles that are created for you. Don't forget to leave a comment on how to improve our website. Thank you for reading!

8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper

You wanted to stretch watercolor paper but you don’t know how. Or you have purchased a watercolor paper that is less than the required weight. If you will not stretch watercolor paper then the result is, it will buckle or wrap while you are painting. We don’t want that to happen because watercolor painting is a wonderful medium to start with.


Have you been eager to stretch that watercolor paper that you have but don’t know how to start? Does stretching your watercolor paper helps in the painting process? Can you do that even if you are just new to watercolor paints? Are these tips to stretch watercolor paper will improve you as an artist? Read along so you’ll have all the answers and more tips for you.

8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper

We stretch the watercolor paper to avoid it from getting buckle or wrap out when we are painting. You’d probably been wondering what are the things you will be needing for this process. Don’t worry as the materials are all handy for you. The reason why some watercolor paintings are wrapped is that they are not stretch. We wanted to make sure that as you finished your art piece, it will be amazing. No more any worries or hassle that the after effects are compromised by buckled painting surface.

8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper
8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper

Before we stretch watercolor paper, you must prepare the following materials or supplies. Some are already around the household and some are part of your list of essential tools. If you haven’t checked what are the necessary materials for watercolor painting, click them here.

You will need these the;

  • Sponge, you can prepare two pieces of them. Use sponge can be used if you wanted to.
  • Watercolor paper. This should be lesser than the required weight for watercolor painting. If you have. If you have less than 260 lbs, then you really need to stretch watercolor paper like that.
  • Brown tape. If you have gummed ones, then that is a great material to stretch watercolor paper. This will secure the watercolor paper that will be stretch. If you don’t have brown tape, the staple will be an alternative. That way, the paper won’t move.
  • Drawing surface or drawing board. You will need this to hold the watercolor paper with the brown tape.
8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper
8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper

Here are the easy tips on how to stretch watercolor paper like a pro.

  1. You just need to prepare four strips of gummed brown paper on the side. You will use them as we advance in the process. Make sure that the tapes are longer than the edge of your stretch watercolor paper. You will use them on each edge for securing.
  2. Submerge the piece of watercolor paper in water for about two minutes. Don’t wait for too long for the watercolor paper to soak in water. The process of submerging the watercolor paper will allow all fibers to expand from its original form.
  3. Make sure that the drawing board that we will be using is laying flat in the surface. You can remove the watercolor paper now from the water. Shake off any excess water from the paper. When you finished shaking the water off the watercolor paper, lay it flat on the drawing board.
  4. This is a crucial process. With the sponge on the side, smooth the surface of your watercolor paper. You can use your fingers if you wanted to. Just make sure that you have washed them properly to avoid any possible oil on them. Take note that the piece of watercolor paper must be smooth properly. If you will not do so, it will get dried with a not so smooth surface after.
  5. Next, you will be using the strips of gummed brown paper that you first prepared. Stick the wet gummed brown tape firmly. Make sure that the tape is on the board and one third holds the paper properly. You can use the remaining pieces of tapes to hold the stretch watercolor paper properly. Use the same method to hl\old the stretch watercolor like the first tape.
  6. You can now leave the wet watercolor paper to get dried. Never expose the stretch watercolor paper from direct sunlight or heat. When the water leaves the stretch watercolor paper for evaporation, the paper fibers contracts. It will leave the stretch watercolor paper flat and smooth.
  7. Make sure that your drawing board is in a completely flat position. Otherwise if not, all the water will run dry on one edge. That will affect the stretch watercolor paper texture unevenly.
  8. When the stretch watercolor paper is completely dried, you can start painting. The paint will stay flat since you have emerged the piece of watercolor paper in the water already.
8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper
8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper

Additional Tips On how to stretch watercolor paper.

Always use cold water for soaking the watercolor paper. Do not emerge watercolor paper in hot water. Hot water will remove the sizing properties of your watercolor paper. Avoid emerging or soaking the watercolor paper on the water for too long. This will also remove the sizing properties of your paper. Sizing properties reduces the level of absorbency of your watercolor paper.

Always used two sponges when you stretch watercolor paper. One must be for smoothing the watercolor paper surface and the one to wet the gummed tape. That way, you won’t need to accidentally put gum on your stretch watercolor paper afterward.

If you find difficulty in removing the gummed tapes, don’t peel them. That way you won’t have to run the risk of accidentally tearing the stretch watercolor paper. You can even cut the edges of the tapes. Moreover, you can hide the tapes underneath the panel mount.

If you think gummed tape is not convenient and may damage the stretch watercolor paper. You can use staples as an alternative to hold the paper while letting it dry on the drawing board.

The risk with gummed tape on a stretch watercolor paper. How to avoid the dilemma.

Just like any adhesive tapes which help in a lot of ways. Removing a gummed tape on an already stretch watercolor paper is most of the times horrifying. That is why some artist uses staples as an alternative to the material. But what if you already used them when you stretch watercolor paper? No worries, we have a bunch of solution to that.

8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper
8 Easy Tips to Stretch Watercolor Paper

You can;

  • Cut off the edge of the stretch watercolor paper that has the gummed tape in it. Do this so when the stretch watercolor paper is completely dried up.
  • Use moisture to awaken the gummed tape on the stretch watercolor paper. You can use the sponge you used to wet them before. Avoid soaking wet sponge as it may have the risk of going to your paintings.
  • If this may sound a bit of a risk for stretch watercolor paper, they always purchase the right paper. This, on the other hand, is for a paper that has not to reach the required paperweight.
  • Use another type of adhesive or tape. You can choose from the white acid-free tapes that are best for paintings. Drafting tape is another options.
  • Use binders to clip your watercolor paper on each edge.


When does stretching watercolor paper good for you.

If you knew that you will be using more water than ever, stretching watercolor paper will help you as your pain. Wet on wet technique requires more water on the painting surface as well. If you think you will use the technique, then it is safe to stretch watercolor paper then.


  1. I just want to mention I’m new to blogs and really loved your blog site. Very likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You actually have fabulous article content. Appreciate it for revealing your web page.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Posts