Materials Needed for Stretching Watercolor Paper

Necessary materials for stretching watercolor paper

When it comes to stretching watercolor paper, having the right materials is crucial for achieving the best results. Here is a list of materials you will need:

  1. Watercolor paper: choose a high-quality paper that is suitable for watercolor painting
  2. Water: you will need plenty of water to soak the paper
  3. Large container: a shallow container or tray large enough to hold the paper
  4. Masking tape: to secure the paper to a board or surface
  5. Board or surface: to tape the paper to while stretching
  6. Sponge: to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles in the paper

Importance of each material

Each material serves a specific purpose in the process of stretching watercolor paper.

Watercolor paper is specially designed to handle water and paint, making it the ideal surface for watercolor painting. The quality of the paper will directly affect the final result of the painting.

Water is needed to soak the paper, making it pliable and easier to stretch. The amount of water used will depend on the size of the paper.

A large container is necessary to hold the paper while it is being soaked. It should be shallow enough to allow the paper to lay flat.

Masking tape is needed to secure the paper to a board or surface while stretching. It should be strong enough to hold the paper in place but gentle enough not to damage the paper.

A board or surface is used to tape the paper to while stretching. It should be sturdy enough to support the paper without bending or warping.

A sponge is used to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles that may occur during the stretching process. It should be damp but not dripping wet.

Recommended products

Here are some recommended products that will help you achieve optimal results when stretching watercolor paper:

  • Arches Watercolor Paper
  • Large Plastic Tray
  • ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape
  • Gator Board
  • Natural Sea Sponge

By using high-quality materials, you can ensure that your watercolor paintings will turn out beautifully.

Stretching the Watercolor Paper

Watercolor painting is a delicate art that requires precision and finesse. One of the crucial steps in watercolor painting is stretching the paper. Stretching watercolor paper prevents it from warping and buckling when it comes into contact with water, thereby improving the quality of the final artwork. In this section, we will discuss the different methods for stretching watercolor paper, their pros and cons, and provide a step-by-step guide for each.

Stretching Method 1: Wet Stretching

Wet stretching is the most common method for stretching watercolor paper. It involves soaking the paper in water and then taping it to a board. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Completely submerge the paper in a bathtub or container of clean water for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove the paper from the water and gently blot it with a clean towel to remove excess water.
  3. Place the paper on a flat surface and tape the edges to a board using artist’s tape, ensuring that the paper is taut and flat.
  4. Allow the paper to dry completely before removing it from the board.

Pros: Wet stretching is a simple and effective method that produces excellent results. It is also the most affordable method.

Cons: Wet stretching can cause the paper to become over-stretched, causing it to warp when it dries.

Stretching Method 2: Dry Stretching

Dry stretching is a less common method that involves using a dry mounting tissue to adhere the paper to a board. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Cut a piece of dry mounting tissue to the same size as the paper.
  2. Iron the dry mounting tissue onto the board using a hot iron.
  3. Place the paper on top of the dry mounting tissue and iron it on using a hot iron.
  4. Allow the paper to cool before removing it from the board.

Pros: Dry stretching produces a flat surface that is less prone to warping.

Cons: Dry stretching is a more expensive method that requires specialized equipment and materials.

In conclusion, stretching watercolor paper is a crucial step that should not be overlooked if you want to produce high-quality artwork. Choose the method that works best for you and experiment with different techniques until you find the one that produces the best results.


Watercolor painting is a beautiful and rewarding art form that requires a delicate touch and attention to detail. Stretching watercolor paper is a crucial step in the process that can significantly improve the quality of your finished artwork.

In this article, we have discussed the importance of stretching watercolor paper before painting and how it can improve the quality of your paintings. We have also covered the necessary materials needed for stretching watercolor paper, the steps to properly prepare and stretch the paper, and tips for drying and storing the paper to prevent damage and maintain its shape and quality.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to stretch watercolor paper properly, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice. With a little patience and practice, you’ll soon be creating beautiful watercolor paintings that will last a lifetime. Happy painting!