How to Prime Cotton Canvas

How to Prime Cotton Canvas

Hi, I’m Katie and I’m
going to show you how to prime cotton canvas, although you can use
these materials on a variety
of surfaces. It’s important to protect
your painting surface from oils or harmful acids that may deteriorate
your work over time. I’ll be priming canvas with
an acrylic gesso which is the most
common primer used for both acrylic
and oil painting. First I should mention there are a wide variety
of canvases and gessos to choose from
that will give you a range of absorbency,
texture, and flexibility. Generally the higher
the quality the gesso, the more opacity it has and the fewer coats
it requires. To start with you want to mix
your gesso thoroughly before using it, as it can separate if it’s
been sitting for a while, and it’s best to use a
wide, flat, sturdy brush that will cover
your surface efficiently and hold plenty of gesso. Bristle brushes like the one
I’m holding here are standard. I like to brush water
on the canvas first which reduces resistance between the gesso
and the dry canvas. You can also thin your gesso
a bit for the initial layer. In your first coat you want
to make sure that the pores in the canvas are being
completely sealed. KATIE:
Allow each layer of gesso to
dry completely before adding the next. For your second layer,
load your brush and apply the gesso
in even parallel strokes from one edge to the other,
including the sides. Since I went this way
the first time, I’m going to go
this way this time and I’m not going to dilute
my gesso this time. KATIE:
And this time
since the gesso doesn’t have any
water underneath it it’s going to be a little bit
more of a struggle to get it
into the pores. You can go in
multiple directions while you’re working, just make sure that
you even it up by going in long strokes in one direction
at the end. The number of layers
of gesso you add depends on how well it covers. You definitely want to add
a few additional coats if you’re working in oil paint
to make sure the canvas is well sealed. Just make sure to continue
alternating the direction of each layer as you go. Once dry, those wanting
a smooth painting surface can gently sand the top layer with a fine grit sandpaper
and a dust mask. Now you have a great surface
for any painting application, and all the materials you need
for priming your own canvas can be found on
the Blick website. Captioned by GigEcast

9 thoughts on “How to Prime Cotton Canvas

  1. @GawdImHungry Gesso, in this case, acrylic gesso, is used to protect a surface from acids and other harmful contaminants that naturally occur in paints and other media. These can deteriorate your painting surface over time and affect your artwork. Acrylic gesso is made with an acrylic polymer medium base and contains calcium carbonate and other ingredients – it is similar to a liquid, white, acrylic paint.

  2. @GawdImHungry It is a good idea to add another layer if you feel that the surface isn't coated evenly or if you will be using oil paint.

  3. The only investment is a stapler if you don't have one already. Making it yourself is cheaper as a rule but the best part is that you get to pick any size and where you want to save money or spend some extra. Heavier canvas or cheaper (any cotton fabric will do actually. Even printed or dyed.) Stretcher bars or just plain pieces of wood. It all changes the price.
    What you should never save on is the gesso. Always get the best.

  4. Yes, we have many different gesso brushes on our website – please take a look and if you have questions or need assistance in finding the right brush, our Product Information experts can help you. Their contact information is on our site.

  5. do you add the gesso directly after you apply the water on the canvas or do you wait for the water to dry before adding the gesso?

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