Quick guide to using Gesso

Written by chris pink on August 15, 2014 in Picture Framing

How to apply gesso to picture frames

Some picture framing materials have died out as technology has progressed, while others have flourished and stubbornly refused to leave the trade. Gesso is one of the lucky ones that has transitioned through time with ease, allowing framers, artists and hobbyists numerous opportunities to get creative.

In this quick guide, we’ll explore why Gesso can be useful, and give you some tips on application and use.

 Gesso is fantastic at acting as a primer

How many materials can you apply to virtually any hard surface, then paint over? Bought as a ready-made substance, Gesso is a kind of thick-paste like thing – with a very particular smell – that can be brushed or poured on to wood or canvas. Use it on canvas to even the surface texture out, or paint it on thickly to a frame if you’d like to smooth out any rough bits for sanding over later.

Gesso can also be carved, sculpted and moulded – or polished to a fine and impressive shine. It dries very hard too, which means it also lasts a long time.

Heat it up and pour it on

Available in numerous varieties – and in white and red colours – Gesso can be bought ready mixed or as a powder. If this is your first time dabbling, we’d suggest the ready-mixed variety. Then again, if you’re adept at mixing paints, you may want to go with the powdered type. This is much more adaptable, as you get to control how thick the substance gets.

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