Home > Artist Tips, Uncategorized > Artist Tip: Art Works I’ve Ironed

Artist Tip: Art Works I’ve Ironed

I like when my art work on paper is nice and flat, but thinner papers will curl or cockle when wet media is used.  The offical way to flatten artwork is to press it.  You can take it damp and lay it between weighted boards.  I have used wax paper, twelve inch polished granite tiles, and the entire Harry Potter series to flatten paper overnight.  The proper method is slow and may not work perfectly every time.  If the work is still a little damp, the paper will usually conform to being flattened out by pressing better.

This is a gamble, there are no guarantees, but I have gotten away with ironing many drawings, paintings and collages.  I lay a clean paper towel or sheet of newsprint under the art work, place it face down, set the iron to its hottest temperature, keep the iron dry and steam function off, and iron quickly so that paper does not scorch.  I press firmly and move fast.  Always iron on the reverse side, so your paints, inks and pencils do not melt off onto the surface of your iron or burn.  I only do this with art that will not upset me if it is destroyed.  If there is too much risk or there will be a bad outcome if the iron burns the art, do not try this.  Either I iron really well or paper is a whole lot more like fabric than I’ve imagined because I’ve gotten away with ironing my art every time.  Art works I have ironed include:

  • Graphite and/or ink wash and drawing on lightweight drawing paper, 60 pound weight and up
  • Collages with gesso and/or acrylic medium
  • Warped watercolor paintings on 140 pound weight paper
  • Art work on vintage or antique book pages; the above rough sketch was pastels sealed by thinned gesso
  • Art work on lightweight cotton fabric, usually painted with acrylics or inks

If you are unhappy with the state of a warped art work or if pressing did not flatten the art work enough, you can roll the dice and try to iron it.

Categories: Artist Tips, Uncategorized
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