Does this watercolor paper stretcher really work?
Here's what satisfied users say.
"I liked the board so much I bought a second one so I could have two paintings going at once. I have back problems and it bothers my back to pull on the paper. This does some of the pulling for me and made a big difference for me. It keeps the paper tight through the painting process. Fast, reliable shipments. Many thanks." Nancy Ibsen, Seattle, Washington
"No fuss. No bother, and no sticky butcher tape that doesn't stick and, no staples. Hurray! I bought watercolour stretchers from John and find them so easy to use. Soak your paper, put it on the stretcher, trim, clamp down, tighten the screws and that's all there is to it. Magic, and when dry the paper is as taut as you would ever want it to be."
Joyce Furness, Powell River, B.C., Canada
How does it work? Watch the videos below.
A watercolor stretcher built for artists by an artist!
Tired of taping and stapling your 140 lb watercolor paper to plywood? The "1-2-3 Fast & Easy" watercolor stretcher cuts out all the fuss of stretching paper. That way, it's easy to get to what you really want to do . . . paint! This is the watercolor stretcher I use to create the watercolors you see on my web site. (Google: John Wiens Watercolors)
The problem If you've tried painting watercolors without first stretching the paper, you probably know the frustration of having your paper start to curl and then watched your watercolor paint move towards the low-lying areas. Watercolor painting is enough of a challenge without having the paper work against you.
Some solutions One way to hold down your watercolor paper is to use butcher tape. I tried this years ago and didn't like how poorly the tape adhered. The picture you see here is an extreme example of what tape can do. The paper taped onto plywood in this picture is one that I prepared a long time ago for a watercolor class I was giving and I've hung on to it for demonstration purposes. Your use of tape to hold down paper probably won't look this bad, but I never liked using tape.
You can also staple paper to wood as in this photo. I found this worked better than tape, but I didn't like to pull up all those staples when the painting was finished.
A third solution
Some watercolor artists use Gatorboard which looks like a good system but I haven't had experience with it. I personally am used to the solid feel of these watercolor stretchers.
A better way! "1-2-3 Fast & Easy"
The "1--2--3 Fast & Easy" watercolor paper stretcher
This is a simple to use but very effective way to stretch your watercolor paper that I use to paint my pictures.
The frame is made of solid wood with a plywood face board. The aluminum clamps are held on with wingnuts and bolts. The wood surface is covered with several layers of polyurethane.
Step One I use 140 lb paper that I soak under the bathtub faucet. For full size sheets I hold the sheet under the shower. (While standing outside the shower:) You will find all sorts of advice online about how long to soak paper, but I only soak mine for 5 minutes or less, making sure that both sides get soaked from edge to edge. Too much soaking can damage the paper, making it hard to stretch.
I used to soak the paper in the bathtub but found it was too easy to pick up oily residue from the tub which could really mess up a painting.
Next Position the wet paper on the stretcher board.
Step Two Use the wingnuts to attach the four pieces of angle aluminum. Allow time for the paper to thoroughly dry. Pencil in your drawing and . . .
Step Three Paint! Paint! Paint!
The big finish Simply loosen the wingnuts and the angle aluminum and lift off your paper. Trim the white unpainted edges and there's your finished painting. Beautiful!
"1-2-3 Fast & Easy"
Watercolor Paper Stretcher Prices.
Size based on
22" x 30" full size sheet.