Nothing is more annoying than having a watercolor painting buckle and warp after you finish it. But don’t stress, because there is such an easy way to flatten watercolor paintings!
In this post, I cover how to flatten a warped painting buckled from a lot of water. I use this method and it works great for me.
Since watercolor uses water to activate it, buckling is so common. This can happen when you use a lot of water and if you’re using cheaper watercolor papers.
Don’t want to read? Scroll down for the quick video version!
Why Flatten A Warped Painting?
There are several reasons why you should flatten out a watercolor painting if it has warped.
- It looks so much better when it’s flattened out.
- If you want to scan your painting to make prints, it will not scan well if the paper is all buckled.
- If you are doing an art commission your customer deserves a flattened-out painting that looks professional.
- Want to frame your painting? It’s going to be a lot easier if it’s flat.
How To Flatten A Watercolor Painting
A quick and simple guide on how to flatten a buckled watercolor painting.
Flip painting over
Make sure to flip the painting over to the white side with no art!
Evenly and lightly wet the back side of the painting
I use a cup of water and a brush to lightly wet the back of the painting. You can use a spray bottle, but make sure it’s evenly coated. It also doesn’t have to be super wet!
Place several heavy books on top of the painting after the back side is wet
The more books, the better! I use several heavy textbooks that are larger than the painting so my painting is nice and squished underneath.
Let painting sit with heavy books overnight or for 24 hours
Depending on how large the painting is, I usually wait overnight or 24 hours.
All done! Your painting should now be flat
After you let your painting sit to dry for the proper amount of time, lift the heavy books up to reveal your now perfectly-flat watercolor painting!
Watch the how to flatten watercolor art video:
If you have finished a gorgeous watercolor painting, chances are you want to either display it or give it to someone, so it will look 10x better if it’s flattened out.
There are instances when you may not have to flatten out a painting at all, and that’s totally okay and great! If you are using high-quality watercolor paper or don’t use a lot of water when painting, you may not even run into a buckling problem.
When I use Arches paper, which is an excellent watercolor paper I highly recommend, I almost never have to flatten the paper because it’s a super thick paper.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post on how to flatten watercolor paintings! This trick has saved me headaches so many times. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Thanks for reading!