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Thursday, January 08, 2015

A Better Way to Secure Pastel Paper to Your Board

'Almost Winter'                 11x14             pastel                    ©Karen Margulis
painting available $150
 Say no to the blue tape.  Say no to long strips of tape. Say no to clips that have to be moved around. Say no to rolling up pieces of tape. There is a better way. I am very easy going but I do have one big pet peeve when it comes to painting. My paper must be secured firmly to my drawing board. It has to lay completely flat. There can be no curls or paper moving and lifting. It is difficult to control marks when the paper is curled up at the ends. I also don't like to use a lot of tape for a painting.
I have a solution!

Make Tape Hinges with white artist tape! 


A roll of white artist tape on a dispenser (a must have tool!)

Why not blue painter's tape or long strips of tape?  I avoid using any color tape other than white. I also avoid taping the paper down on all four sides using strips of tape.  Long strips of colored tape are especially dangerous.  Why?  Colored tape will effect how the colors and values in your painting are perceived.

We know that colors change the way they appear when another color is places next to it.  A color may be considered cool until we put an even cooler color next to it.....all of the sudden the first color seems warmer. So if you have bright blue tape or manilla masking tape all around your painting....these colors effect how the colors you put in your painting appear. It may be subtle but it is there! White tape prevents this potential influence.

Not only does colored tape effect the painting....long strips aren't really needed to secure the painting. Have a look at making simple tape hinges:


STEP ONE: Tear a piece of white artist tape measuring about two inches long. I use tape that is 3/4 wide. Place the tape on the back of the paper with about an inch of the STICKY side facing out (towards you). I place a piece of tape on all four corners. I will sometimes add a piece of tape to the sides especially if I am going to do a wet underpainting.


STEP TWO: Tear another two inch piece of tape and place it over the sticky side of the corner tape. Voila! A hinge is made. Do the same thing for all four corners.


The beauty of making tape hinges is the economy. I can easily peel the finished painting from the tape hinges and reuse the same board with tape in place. I can usually use the same tape for 2-3 paintings. Once it loses it stickiness I throw it away and start fresh.

Hinges also allow the entire paper to be exposed. Taping the corners down leave you with unfinished corners to deal with. Making rolls of tape stuck to the back of the painting might create bumps in the painting. Hinges prevent these problems!


Disclaimer:  This is my preferred method. I know many artists who do things differently and with great success. This is just another way. Some artists like to use long strips of tape to mask their painting and create a clean edge. My working method is different and I'll share more tomorrow.

11 comments:

mi fasola said...

thank you for this tape tip!

Sherri Cassell said...

Great tip, I am using it tomorrow. I have the problem of unfinished corners and I think this will work great.

Lyn Evans said...

Another gem. Thank you Karen.:)

Leora LaGraffe said...

Thank you so much for this brilliant tip! I've wondered how best to attach paper to a drawing board!

I've just started exploring the gift of a Pastelmat pad I received for Xmas. Is it just me or is that surface really something amazing?

Not connected to the company in any way, just expressing my happiness in finding this new surface to paint on.

Sea Dean said...

I love this painting Karen, especially the fine dark lines in the trees. The tip is amazing too. I don't use paper much but I can see this will also work for my Canson Arches Board and my teeny tiny ACEO skidding all over the place.

I'm an avid follower of your blog and think it's one of the best out there for tips. I just wish I was a pastel artist.

Did I invite you to post on my blog yet? I have an ART PARTY during the month of January where all artist can post their work, anyone can vote and win prizes. I would love to see you there.
www. paintamasterpiece. blogspot. com

robertsloan2art said...

This is pretty cool. Thanks for a good idea, it'd work well. I usually use the clip on my drawing board and occasionally put a bit of tape on the bottom corners to hold it still though. Then again, I'm usually working quite small so the problem's more minor.

The one thing that I always do if I can remember to is mark off the painting area separate from the paper size. I like leaving some border for matting and I will jot in crop marks in the margins in case I go over the lines and corners. I reinforce those and then when I go to take photos of it, crop the photo to the crop marks. I'll mat to the painting rather than paper size.

This also leaves me a little elbow room if my composition is off and I need a quarter inch to avoid kissing or something, having marked the lines I can move the lines.

robertsloan2art said...

Also I love today's painting, it's so gorgeous. Meant to mention that. Those gorgeous golden orange russets are so enchanting. Though I laugh at the title, almost winter? Looks like winter to me! Brrr!

Tim Moore said...

now i see..great idea.I will give this a try..and as you say, so much less tape to use..

Debbie Hughbanks said...

Love this idea! Can't wait to give it a try . . . especially since I have been considering framing more of my pastels without a mat in the future. Thank you for sharing.

theoboy said...

I do it since I have seen it in a video. But I have a problem to find the right tape. Some are to strong and distroy the paper when pulled up and the best I could find is green. From which company is the tape and the dispencer?

Karen said...

I get my tape online at Blicks. I think it is their own brand. I do know they call it white artsist tape. I got the dispenser on eBay!