Watercolor Stretcher for Half Sheet WC paper (22" x 15")
I created a reusable system for stretching watercolor paper, so it stays flat, wrinkle-free, while painting. It will stretch a full sheet of watercolor paper.
You can avoid using the expensive 300 lbs. paper to control buckling. With this stretcher you can use the cheaper 90 lbs. archival paper (a full sheet of Arches Hot Press 300 lbs. is about $17, and a full sheet 90 lbs. is about $5).
Use it repeatedly.
You are purchasing only a half-sheet size stretcher. It does not include any of the other components in the full system. If you are on a tight budget, start by buying the stretcher first. When funds free up, buy the other components to form a complete stretching and framing system.
Cut the paper to fit at least 1/4 inch past the inside, raised piece but not larger than the outside board. Be sure the paper is no larger than 22" X 15".
Soak the entire sheet of paper in clean, cool water for 3 minutes. A bathtub will work fine. To avoid spotting or damage to the paper, do not oversoak the paper for longer periods of time. Be careful to not scratch the paper while it is wet.
Remove paper from water, look for water mark. If you can read water mark you are looking at the top side of the paper. Lay the top side up on the board so it centered vertically and horizontally on the board.
Attach each of the four side bars, one at a time by slide the angle over the edge of the board and tightening the two wing nuts go the bracket secures the paper over the center ridged wood piece. Repeat until all four sides are secure.
Set the stretcher at a vertical angle for drying. There may be some water yet to drain off.