Home » Do’s and Don’ts: Essential Watercolor Techniques & Tips for All Beginners

Do’s and Don’ts: Essential Watercolor Techniques & Tips for All Beginners

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Tip 3: How to Avoid Buckling

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Next tip: don’t wet the whole paper without first taping it down!

Paper saturated with water tends to buckle, curling up around the edges. Because it is no longer laying flat, any paint added to the paper will pool around the edges, instead of spreading around the whole page. This makes trying watercolor techniques, like a flat wash, virtually impossible!

To avoid this, use artist’s tape (or masking tape) around the border of the watercolor paper. This type of tape isn’t as sticky as regular tape, so you can peel it off without tearing the paper underneath. It also ensures that the paper remains relatively flat, even after you’ve added water to it. As a result, layers of paint are able to spread evenly. A nice bonus to this is that the tape gives your watercolor painting a clean edge after it is removed. Just make sure to gently peel the tape off after the paint has dried.