How to Use Acrylic Gesso? Step-by-step Guide

Find out how to use Acrylic Gesso Primer in this step-by-step guide from Smart Art Materials

How to use Acrylic Gesso? Most of the artist beginners think that this is some kind of serious process that requires special skills. But the good news is that actually, it's not hard at all and only takes few times to practice! So let's get to the process.

How to Use Acrylic Gesso - Step-by-Step instruction.

First of all, make sure that canvas/board position is absolutely flat. I recommend you to do your first experiments with canvas board or canvas paper (just make sure it stays in place during the whole process). When you use acrylic gesso, the only thing you really need to care about is to make sure that you cover the entire surface of the canvas evenly. Follow these simple steps:

  • Find out how to use Acrylic Gesso Primer in this step-by-step guide from Smart Art MaterialsGive you premixed gesso a stir.
  • Use a wide, flat brush. The bigger your surface, the bigger brush you will need.
  • The first coat always needs to be diluted with a touch of water. Thinning gesso with water will make the layer more smooth.
  • Apply the gesso in even strokes. Work from the top to the bottom of the canvas, in parallel strokes from one edge to the other.
  • To ensure a nice, smooth coat, make sure you go over the surface enough times with the brush to make the gesso sink evenly into the canvas.
  • Allow to dry, turn your canvas 90 degrees (to ensure even coverage), then apply a second coat. This can be applied thinly and does not need to be watered down.
  • Turn your canvas 90 degrees again, and apply a final coat using the pure, undiluted gesso.
  • If you want to create a really smooth coat, use sandpaper to gently sand in between each layer. Make sure the surface is completely dry before sanding.
  • Wash your brush out immediately in running water then use a brush cleaner to thoroughly remove the gesso out. It’s worth cleaning it twice even if you think it’s clean.

Tip: You can mix gesso with texture gel to create a textured surface for your painting.

What about the brush?

Use Acrylic Gesso Smart Art MaterialsI really like the Liquitex Professional Freestyle Large Scale Brush, Universal Flat. It works very well for Gesso application, but generally, it's a great all-purpose brush. good for large surface covering and paint spreading. Available in 3 different sizes - 1, 2 and 3 inches.

Prime time! 

Well, now you know exactly how to use Acrylic Gesso. As you can see, gesso application (or canvas priming) does take some time but is not hard at all. So have fun experimenting and gaining new skill!  As always, please let me know if you have any questions about this process. And if you want to know more about what Gesso is, check out the Acrylic Gesso and Why do You Need to Use It



2 thoughts on “How to Use Acrylic Gesso? Step-by-step Guide

  1. Kavinah says:

    I am an artiste beginner and painting it’s something I’m thinking of being developing my creative juices. I was thinking I might enrol in my adult education institute next year.
    You have confirmed that desire. Your site is very resourceful. I will definitely come back for more education in art.
    I have learned a bit about acrylic painting and it’s exciting.

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