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How to Prime Canvases – Preparing a Canvas for Painting

Date Added: December 10, 2009 05:01:59 AM
     If you’ve purchased the raw un-primed cotton canvas instead of the pre-primed canvas, you’ll have to prime it before painting on it. It’s easy to prime a canvas for painting and the process it can be completed in a few simple steps.

Preparing Gesso for Priming a Canvas
      To prepare a canvas for painting you need to buy gesso which is available at any art supplies store. When you buy, ensure you get gesso that’s applicable for oil as well as acrylic paint if oil is your preferred type of paint. The gesso is sometimes thick, so you may need to add water in order to evenly prime your canvas. Half a cup of water for two scoops of gesso would be the right consistency. The amount of gesso required depends on the size of the canvas. Stir till the gesso becomes easily manageable with the brush. You can also use acrylic gloss medium mixed with the water in equal proportions to dilute the gesso. Then you’re ready to apply the gesso to your canvas with a house painting brush.

Applying the Gesso Primer to the Canvas
      Apply the gesso in parallel strokes from left to right. A single coat of gesso can only give a rough finish. If you want a smoother surface and better protection for your Canvases, two or more coats would be necessary. One you’ve completed the first coating of gesso, ensure there aren’t any spots on the canvas which the gesso hasn’t covered. Fill up the spots, and then coat the edges of the canvas as well. In order to ensure a smooth surface, checking and re-checking the Primed Canvas is necessary, before the gesso dries up. Any drips across the edges must also be smoothened.

      If you wish to do more coats, wait for the first one to dry, which won’t take long. After you’ve completed priming the Canvas for Painting, wash the brush thoroughly with water as the gesso could stick to it forever. Once you’ve primed your canvas with the final coat, it’s ready for painting.