Flattening Pastel Paper

Q. What’s the best way to smooth out pastel paper that’s been slightly dented or folded?

A. Pastel papers can be stiff, which means that dents or creases—especially if they’re pronounced—can stubbornly remain. But give this a try: Get a large sheet of plate glass (perhaps your living room picture window will do) or a very smoothly sanded piece of plywood. Thoroughly dampen the back of the paper using a spray bottle of water; the paper should be wet enough to become limp.

Stick the paper onto the surface of the glass or plywood and press it down with your very clean hands. Be careful not to mar or disturb the prepared surface. The size in the paper—added by the manufacture—should be sticky enough to hold the paper to the glass or plywood, even as the paper dries.

This process may flatten out any fold lines. No guarantees, though, and this solution may not be worth the trouble: It might be easier simply to buy new paper.

Tony Couch is the author of three North Light books and 10 videos on painting. He’s been conducting workshops throughout the United States and abroad for more than 25 years. Visit his Web site at www.tonycouch.com.

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