Why use Gesso?
Gesso acts as a primer and barrier, providing a tooth to trap pigment and also reducing absorption into your chosen work surface. Gesso can be applied thickly to create a textured surface, or thinned down and applied in multiple coats.
Use it to prime paper, cardboard, canvas, wood and more. Some canvases can be purchased pre-gessoed.
You can buy white (and sometimes also black) pre-made gesso from your local art store - or save yourself some money and make your own by following the simple recipe below.
Approximately 1 cup of each, or equal parts -
- Pigment - Acrylic Paint
- Binder - White Glue (PVA)
- Tooth - Talcum Powder or Calcium Carbonate (Whiting)
- Warm Water
- Pour the warm water in a suitable bowl.
- Add in the same quantity of talcum powder, mix thoroughly.
- Add in the same quantity of white glue, mix thoroughly.
- Finally, add in the same quantity of paint (usually white, but whatever colour you like) and mix together well.
- Transfer to an air tight container or jar, stir again before use.
- Can be made thicker or thinner depending on your preferences, add more pigment for more coverage.
- Can be applied in coats and sanded smooth, or leave thick and textured for added interest.
You can purchase Calcium Carbonate, or alternatively Casting Plaster, from Jackson's Drawing Supplies