I am looking for ways to create razor sharp edges of watercolor paintings.

I provided an exeample that I found online from a paper manufacturer.

Was wondering how on earth they managed to stop the watercolor ink from flowing into the edge of the papier in such a straight line in the margins?

Ordinary painters' tape would cover the margin but the ink would surely creep underneath it making the edge less sharp right?

How can one achieve such a razor sharp white margin, on rough paper when using watercolors?

enter image description here

1 Answer 1

  • In most cases, it's likely due to the method used to fasten the paper and prevent crumpling once it gets wet. This is done by using water-activated tape (a.k.a. gum paper tape and stretching tape).
    The paper is moistened (causing it to stretch), laid on a surface, and then taped along the edges. Once dried, the paper can be painted on without causing it to warp, since it has already assumed its maximum stretch. Once the artwork has dried, the tape can (usually) be removed without damaging the paper (sometimes removing the top layer of the paper, depending on the type and quality of both components), and offers very sharp edges.

  • Another possibility (more plausible in case of the image you posted) is the use of masking fluid. This is often a transparent medium that can be applied like paint to the paper, and will prevent any water(colour) from going there. Afterwards, it can be removed relatively easily.

  • Blue painters tape works surprisingly well at protecting the edges. I would be careful of using gummed water-activated tape as there's no way of removing it without damaging the paper or the artwork. Otherwise masking fluid is a good, but time consuming method - but remember not to leave it on the artwork for more than a week as it becomes harder and harder to remove with time. From the image in the question, I'd assume they used painter's tape. Feb 17, 2022 at 7:05
  • Would also like to recommend from experience to get better quality blue painters tape. I have tried cheaper brands of blue painters tape on numerous occasions, and it rips the paper easily.
    – Lyssagal
    Feb 17, 2022 at 16:08

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