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How To Prepare Canvas For Acrylic Painting?

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how to prepare canvas for acrylic painting

Preparing an amazing painting surface to work needs to be the best surface as it adds richness to the quality of your work. You can do it by evaluating with colored grounds and textures to create the surface for a unique effect or go with a more classic smooth and white finish.

If you have pre-stretched canvas then chances are it has already a layer of two of gesso on it. These layers result in pretty thin layers so that can build up the surface from there and create a more rectified surface.

If you have stretched the canvas by yourself or the canvas is raw for some other reason then you would be required to apply PVA size to the canvas before you begin going to seal any kind of impurities in the fabric.

Here are the essential items you are required to gather

  • Water
  • Gesso
  • A wide brush
  • Bowl or container nearby the size of a bowl

Now begin with the process of preparing the canvas to make a creative, unique, remarkable masterpiece.

Step 1:- Choose the brush that is broad sufficient for the size of the canvas you are preparing. For example, using a 4” brush for a 3ft x 4ft canvas will save you a lot of time and you can start making your painting.

Step 2:- Mix about 10% of water with some gesso in a bowl and start applying it to the canvas. Don’t rush the application, as the paint is done with gesso, or brush out visible brush strokes when dry.

Step 3:- Once the layer is dry you can begin painting at another layer. But ensure the paint is dry completely, not damp or cool to the touch.

Step 4:- After applied the second layer and is dry completely, you can sand down any bumps using fine sandpaper and proceed to the next layer.

Step 5:- Go ahead in this manner by building up layers until you feel you have the surface you want.

Step 6:- You can also gesso the edges of the painting edges, some artists prefer to leave it raw and others paint the edges with a different color.

Colored grounds:-

You can purchase colored gesso which is Golden makes a black gesso for an entirely different experience. There are many others on market such as Holbein’s gesso which is available in different colors and different textures from course to eggshell.


You can tint your gesso with some fluid acrylics but remember that the white pigment in the gesso will give you a pastel tone, not a saturated color.

If you want to apply different textures to your d=surface before you start painting there is a comprehensive range of textured mediums you can apply. Golden and Liquitex make a variation of molding pastes, mediums, fiber pastes, and crackle pasts as well as mediums that consists of tiny glass beads or pumice.

View Also – How to Choose Good Canvas Boards


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