Easy Way to Flatten a Watercolor Painting Without Stretching the Paper First


How to Flatten a Watercolor Painting

Hello Fellow Art Lovers!

If you’ve painted something on watercolor paper, or even mixed media or drawing paper, your paper probably buckled as mine did. All watercolor artists have to deal with watercolor paper bowing or warping after applying watercolor paint.

So you might have heard people talking about stretching their watercolor paper before they apply their paint.

I tried stretching my watercolor paper and was not satisfied with the results. First, the tape around the paper came lost. Then I put staples in the edge of the paper, which left holes.

And after I did flatten a watercolor painting, the paper still buckled. That really put me off of watercolor painting for a while.

Then I heard about this different method and I tried it. I was very pleased with this method and the results. It’s super simple and it works. Let me show you.

If you would rather watch these instructions in my video, click on this thumbnail:

How to Flatten a Watercolor Painting
First, you put down a board. I happen to have a piece of masonite board that I ordered from Dick Blick but any hard, flat surface will do.

How to Flatten a Watercolor Painting


Then I laid down a piece of acid-free paper. I just used another piece of watercolor paper from my watercolor pad.

How to Flatten a Watercolor Painting


Then I placed my warped watercolor artwork FACE DOWN on that paper.

How to Flatten a Watercolor Painting


I wet the back of my painting. Don’t soak the painting. Just put some water on it and rubbed it around with my hand for a few seconds until the entire back of the painting was wet.

wetting the back of painting

Then I placed another clean sheet of watercolor paper on top of the wetted back of my painting.

On top of that, I placed a big book.

Then I piled a bunch of art and coffee table books on top of that to add a bunch of weight and left it like that overnight.

The Next Morning (or Several Hours Later)In the morning, when I removed the books and papers, my painting was completely FLAT!

It was not damp like I was afraid it would be. Instead, it was perfectly dry (not sure how that happened since it was under so many books) but

I was VERY pleased with the results.


How to Flatten a Watercolor Painting


I think that if I added another layer of flatten a watercolor painting,

I could just let the watercolor paints dry, turn the painting over and wet the back again. Then I’d then place it on the board, sandwiched between the 2 blank acid-free papers and under the pile of books overnight and it will come out flat and dry again.

So let me know if you tried this method and if you liked it. Or if you plan to try it – or not and why not.
You can email me at Elaine@SkillfulArtists.com

If you like these kinds of art tips, request my free ebook, “Drawing Tips 1-10 for Beginners” from the home page of the website: SkillfulArtists.com.

Until next time, dear art lovers!