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How to Prevent Watercolor Paper Bumps

ow to Prevent Watercolor Paper Bumps

 

Your amazing watercolor painting is dry. But the paper is bumpy. Your paper will stay flat if you follow the step-by-step tutorial below next time you set out to watercolor.

You don’t need any specialized equipment. All you need is a piece of wood board, water, and watercolor paper tape. 

You can purchase wood especially for mounting watercolor paper in most art supply stores. The watercolor tape is also available there. 

Another option is to head down to your local hardware store and ask for surplus pieces of wood and have them cut to desired sizes. This is an inexpensive way and what I did back in Norway. 

In the picture below you can see my collection of wood for mounting watercolor paper here in Japan. These are all from the art supply shop. 

Wooden boards for mounting watercolor paper

Step 1
Hold your watercolor paper under running water. Make sure it gets thoroughly wet on both sides. Lay the paper on a wood board.

Note: The artwork shown here is printed onto the watercolor paper with a regular laser printer. But it's recommended to make pencil drawings after the paper is mounted and dry, not before. This is because an eraser hardly works after pencil lines have been soaked in water. 

The wet watercolor paper on the wooden board

Step 2
The paper will quickly buckle with all this water. Let it dry until it is moist but not soaking wet. 

After drying  a bit bumps appear in the paper

Step 3
The paper is now malleable. If you are using 100% cotton watercolor paper, you then stretch it both horizontally and vertically with your hands.

If you are using paper with less cotton content, it will be less malleable. 

When the paper is moist but not wet it's ready to be stretched in both directions

Step 4
Tape all 4 sides with watercolor tape. Be careful not to make the tape too wet, because it won’t stick well. The best way is to dip your fingers in water, then spread water onto the tape. 

Download free printable line art

Start attaching tape at the bottom of the paper first, then sides, then top. Doing it in this order makes it easy to control the buckles. 
Note: You must apply the tape in good time before the paper is dry. 

Fasten the stretched, moist paper with paper watercolor tape

Step 5
That's it. When the paper is all dry, it’s ready for painting.

The paper is now dry and completely flat

You can cut the paper loose by using the sharp edge of a scissor as a knife. Cut along the sides of the paper. 
Another way is to use a utility knife and cut along a metal ruler with rubber back (that prevents it from sliding). Place the ruler along the edge of the paper and press down when you cut. With this method be very careful and watch out for your fingers.

The artwork printed on the paper you see in this tutorial is the bud of a poppy flower and some mature flowers too. Painting this drawing is for another tutorial. 

You can download many line drawings to print out and trace in One Tree Art Club. If you’re already a member, go to login. Happy watercolor painting!