Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to Prime Mini Canvases

My boyfriend and I bought these cool mini canvases at our local AC Moore. The problem? They needed some more priming before we could paint on them. I put together this quick little tutorial on how to prime them quick and easily in hopes it will help someone else!

What You'll Need:
1. Your small canvas, ours are 4"x4" but you can use this tutorial for canvases of varying sizes.
2. Gesso, Gesso is an acrylic based primer. You use this to protect the canvas/wood and prolong your artwork by using this. It comes in numerous colors, but white is the most common.
3. A paintbrush. Does not have to be a quality brush, cheap ones work just as well.
4. Sandpaper, a couple different grits. I used a medium grit (100) and a finer grit (150). The higher the grit number the finer it is.
5. Tape and Scissors. Masking Tape is best and is what I recommend most. I used Scotch Magic Tape because it's what I had at the time and cut the tape down so I only used the amount I needed.
6. Cup for Water and to hold your brush.
7. Paper Towel or Rag incase your fingers get dirty.
8. Something to protect your workspace. I used a plastic sheet that our postal carrier brought us some packages in. Newspaper works great too!

First, Tape off the back of the canvases. This will help will priming the sides but not leaving a giant mess. With your canvas taped off flip them back over to the front.

Start painting on your gesso! I like to work in layers, the first layer being watered down making sure I cover the entire area of the canvas.

Let your first layer dry. After your your canvas has dried, apply a thick layer evenly across the surface. Let dry! If you think your priming is still too thin, add one more thick layer! When your canvases are fully dry, remove the tape.

It's time to break out the sandpaper! You're sanding to make the surface smooth again. I use the 100 first. Sand just enough to knock the tooth of the gesso down. Use the finer grit to work out a clean, smooth surface. The amount of sanding you need to do is mostly done by feel.

You now have a great little canvas to create your own masterpiece on!


mizdarlin said...

Good tute! The tip about masking off the back was new to me..but helpful.
My only other comment would be that if you would like a rougher surface for an 'impasto' look you need not sand the larger canvas.

Mary Anne Komar said...

Thanks, good instructions, happy painting!

Beth said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. How can you tell if a canvas is not primed enough? I am about to do some subway art, so this is very timely!

sh@z said...

This was very helpful! thank you :)