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Taping down your paper


Taping down watercolor paper before painting serves several purposes:


  1. Preventing Warping: Watercolor paper tends to absorb a lot of moisture, causing it to warp or buckle as it dries. Taping down the edges of the paper helps to stretch and anchor it to a flat surface, minimizing warping and ensuring an even painting surface.

  2. Creating Clean Edges: Taping down the edges of the paper creates crisp, clean borders for your painting. This can be especially important if you want to preserve the edges of your artwork or if you plan to frame it later on.

  3. Securing the Paper: Taping down the paper ensures that it stays in place while you paint, preventing it from shifting or moving around on the surface. This allows for more control and precision in your painting process.


Using rubber bands or bubble tape to hold watercolor paper in place is an alternative method to traditional masking tape, and each method has its benefits:

  1. Rubber Bands: Rubber bands can be wrapped around the edges of the paper to hold it securely to a drawing board or painting surface. They provide a flexible and easy-to-use option for securing the paper, especially for smaller compositions or studies where precision isn't as critical.

  2. Bubble Tape: I like to simply roll up some masking tape into what I like to call bubble and secure it to each corner of the paper. Then secure it to the surface where I am painting. Bubble tape is particularly useful for smaller or quicker paintings where more traditional taping is not as necessary.

When deciding whether to tape down your paper with masking tape, rubber bands, or bubble tape, consider the size and complexity of your composition:

  • Larger Compositions: For larger paintings, such as landscapes or intricate scenes with multiple elements, it's best to use masking tape to ensure a secure and stable painting surface. This helps prevent the paper from buckling or warping as you apply multiple layers of paint and water.

  • Simpler Compositions: For simpler compositions or smaller studies, rubber bands or bubble tape may suffice for holding the paper in place. These methods offer convenience and flexibility, especially when working on a smaller scale or experimenting with different techniques.


Experiment with different taping techniques to find what works best for your painting style and preferences.

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