Grafix Incredible Art Board
by BJ Dickhute
For those not familiar with Grafix Incredible Art Board, this board is a lightweight, sturdy, water-resistant, ½” foam core board with a hard shell-like surface on both sides. The boards (white) come in two sizes (16×24” and 24×32”) and may be cut easily to your preferred size with a regular cutter aided by a metal ruler.
How to Stretch the Incredible Art Board
Start by applying/submerging/ spraying/ brushing your paper in water (on both sides). Then hold the paper up and make sure water has dripped off and check to ensure there are no dry spots. The paper may now be stapled to the board as seen below. This board is durable and won’t bend, buckle or warp.
There will be holes on the board after you have stapled paper on it several times, but it can take a lot of abuse. The holes are self-contained and will not radiate cracks unless you really have a heavy hand.
Staples aren’t the only way to secure your watercolor paper, depending on the technique you plan to use you could secure the paper with Blue Painter’s Tape from a hardware store, or Water-Soluble Paper Tape which leaves no residue. The board may be easily wiped after the tape is removed and can withstand repeat taping and/or stapling.
If you do use staples, it is wise to use tape to cover the staples. When you remove the tape, be sure to pull the tape gently away from your painting, holding the tape very close to the paper almost like you are peeling it up and away from your artwork. Tape should be placed on the paper using about 1/2” of the width and the remaining width adhered to the board.
A Clean and Pristine Art Board
The surface may also stain with paint, but will not pose any problem if you get most of the loose paint off when next you use the board. Use only water to wipe the board off; never chemicals to clean the surface as this may get absorbed and affect the next paper you stretch on it. Take care not to get oil on the board. Oil, will not affect the sturdiness of this board. But it may transfer to any paper that you stretch on it.
The best thing about foam core boards is that no matter how many times you wet and re-use it, it will not leech acid on your watercolor papers. The board surface also dries with the paper so you will not have the prolonged damp, paper problem. Both sides of the board are usable.
I teach multi-media workshops in my studio and I highly recommend the Grafix Incredible Art Board to all of my students. Grafix Incredible Art Boards cuts down on your preparation and stretching time considerably because it is always ready for use, easy to staple and affix your paper on the board with tape. The surface yields easily to staples, your wrists and hands will not be subjected to the jarring trauma as happens when you staple on wooden stretcher boards. I have used these boards for years; Grafix Incredible Art Boards are a good investment that will give you years of excellent service.