Katie Liddiard

How To Shellac Paper

Katie Liddiard
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Duration:   7  mins

Paint on paper? How is that possible? Artist Katie Liddiard argues that it’s one of the most economical surfaces you can paint on. It’s readily available, cheap, and can be cut to any reasonable size. But it must be prepared properly.

That’s where the shellac comes in. Shellac creates the barrier between the paper and paint to protect the paper from the damaging oil that would otherwise degrade it. There are some properties that you must be aware of, such as the shellac must not have wax in it or you risk the oil paint not adhering to the surface. Another thing is that shellac will likely darken your paper and it will remain that color permanently.

Katie demonstrates this on a fresh piece of Canson paper as she applies the first layer of shellac. Using a cheap disposable brush she dips into the shellac and it immediately soaks into the paper, darkening it. After letting it dry for a few minutes, she applies the second layer of shellac to finish sealing it. Once the paper has dried overnight you can tear it down to any size you may need, gaining you lots of painting surfaces from a very small investment.

The paper that she used comes in a wide variety of colors, so explore what you like best, keeping in mind the color change that shellac makes. It also has two sides, one smooth and one rough, so is versatile in how textured you prefer your surface to be. Give painting on paper a try!

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