Watercolor Painting Process – Part 1

10 Steps to Stretching Watercolor Paper

I realized when I was looking over old posts that it has been way too long since I said I was going to post about how to do a watercolor painting. Sorry about that!

Here is the first step to many in completing a painting! Here are pictures my daughter took of me just doing the very first thing which is to stretch the paper so it won’t buckle (curl up) when you go to paint on it.

Also, you can do this with any size paper and in a sink in the house. I did this outside in a huge tub, because it was one of the pieces that one of my sea turtles was painted on.

If you have any questions, post them below! 🙂

Steps 1 through 3 are just putting the paper in and immersing it completely, holding it under the water a couple of minutes, then turning it over and doing the same.



Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4 is lifting the paper out and shaking off the excess water.

Step 4

Steps 5-7 are wiping the paper down on a flat surface. I use a smooth board and a porous sponge to continue getting the excess water off. I put paper towels under the paper also. Then I turn it over and put it on new dry paper towels and do the same.

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Steps 8-10 are when I tape the paper down to my board. I make sure the board is as dry as I can get it first. Then I lay my paper down, use artist’s tape (don’t use masking tape!) or some people use other types of tape. Check with your art supply store first before you buy any. I have always preferred the white artist’s tape, because after my painting is finished, it doesn’t tear the paper (if the paper is good quality) when I take it off.

When I lay my tape down, obviously part of it is on the paper and part on the board. Then to make sure there is no air, I run my fingernail along the edge of the taped paper that is attached to the board.

I hope that is clear. If not, ask me a question! Soon I will try and post the process I go through to do my paintings. 🙂

Step 8

Stretching Paper 9

Step 10

© Patsy H. Parker

About whitefeatherfloating

When I began this blog I was simply going to share my writing. However, after being part of the blogging world for quite some time now, I decided to begin sharing my artwork. Patsy's Creative Corner will always have my artwork. Thanks for visiting! :)

Posted on August 24, 2014, in Art Talk and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Great post, not done this before and it helps to see the process.


  2. Fascinating this, I learnt something new today Patsy 🙂


  3. Wow, I had no idea there was so much preparation involved, Patsy. You obviously have a great deal of patience. Thanks for this very thorough explanation and seeing your smiling face made it even better! xo


    • Yeah, what you saw there is a little back-breaking, because the paper is so huge. Once I’m finished with the sea turtle paintings, I may go back to smaller paintings where I can soak my paper in the kitchen sink again! 🙂

      And thank you! I think art has taught me how to be patient for sure.



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