Make Watercolor Paper

Can You Make Watercolor Paper? A Detailed Guide!

We all know that watercolor paper is made from cellulose, which is a plant fiber that has been sliced up, immersed in water, smoothed out, and pressed onto paper. Paper has been produced by humans since about 2400 B.C., beginning with papyrus for the cellulose. However, the artist cares a lot about the kind of cellulose used and how it’s processed.

What Is Standard Watercolor Paper Made Of?

Make Watercolor Paper

Cotton rag and linters are commonly used to make standard watercolor paper

There may be brand new fibers or ones that have been recycled from old materials.

Cotton or linen is ten times stronger than wood fibers and is acid-free by itself.

Cotton rag can be made from old fabrics. Rags can also be produced from fresh fabric scraps leftover from the clothing manufacturing process.

Cotton rag refers to the long fibers that can be spun into cloth that are gathered in a cotton gin.

One of the oldest ways of recycling is the conversion of cloth into paper. Since cotton rags are so resilient, they won’t break easily.

Cotton Rag and Linters

Linters are thinner than long cotton rag fibers, so they can at least be combined with cotton rag.

Cotton linters are produced from the shorter fibers left over after the seeds have been processed.

This used to be surplus material because it was difficult to extract the cotton from the crops, but it’s great that we can now use every little bit of the cotton.


Watercolor paper can also be made from linen. Linen fibers are long and solid, making them ideal for creating a transparent, strong paper.

They’re just not as water permeable, and the paper made from them isn’t either.

Wood Pulp

Remember to use wood pulp in the analysis. Wood pulp is used in a variety of sketchbooks and low-cost paper.

It’s one of the reasons that most sketchbooks just last one wash.

When you return for a second wash or attempt to clean a place, the paper disintegrates! Alpha cellulose refers to “acid-free” and “lignin-free” wood pulp.

Lignin is a type of plant glue that repels water, which is not ideal for watercolorists. Without yellowing, the acid-free paper will last for around 60-80 years.

A burn test is a simple way to determine if the wood pulp paper is reasonably acid-free. If the ash is dark, it contains lignin and is thus unsuitable for archiving.

It’s lignin-free and archival if it’s white.

Things Needed To Make Watercolor Paper

You can make watercolor paper with the following things;

  • Staple gun
  • 8-by-10-inch wooden frame
  • 12-by-14-inch window screen
  • Construction paper scraps
  • Large pan
  • Blender
  • Tub
  • Dryer lint
  • Shredded plant fibers (optional)
  • Clean rags
  • Newspapers
  • Rolling pin

How To Make Watercolor Paper?

Make Watercolor Paper

Watercolor paper is designed to keep the artwork from curling or discoloring, and its texture adds to the overall appearance of the piece.

Machine-printed watercolor paper is made from plant fibers like cotton, hemp, or linen, and is available in a variety of colors and textures.

Homemade watercolor paper blends plant fibers and saves money by repurposing paper scraps. It can also be an enjoyable family activity for kids who like painting.

Step 1

A 12-by-14-inch window screen could be stapled to an 8-by-10-inch wooden base. Be sure that all of the edges are securely fixed to the case.

Step 2

Put construction paper scraps in a wide pan and rip them into 1-inch square sections. Soak the paper overnight or until it becomes smooth and pulpy in the pan with warm water.

Step 3

In a mixer, combine 1 cup of the soft paper mixture. Fill the blender halfway with water and pulse the paper mixture a few times. Cover the big tub with the contents of the blender, then repeat until the tub is at least 5 inches full of paper mixture.

Step 4

If you choose to decorate the paper with dryer lint or shredded plant fibers, blend them into the paper mixture. Dry grass, onion skins, petals, or leaves may be added.

Step 5

Dip the frame in the paper mixture and gently move it back and forth until the panel is uniformly coated with 1/2 inch of the paper mixture.

Allow the water to drain out of the frame by lifting it out of the water without tilting it. If the water has drained, place a clean rag over the frame and gently press to clear any remaining water.

Step 6

Several layers of newspaper can be used to cover a work surface. Gently turn the screen over and put it on top of the newspaper while keeping the rag in place on top of the paper. Remove the frame with care to avoid scratching the document.

Step 7

To clear more water, cover the paper with another rag and turn it over with a rolling pin. To make more sheets of paper, repeat Steps 5 and 6 and stack the papers on top of each other, then roll the whole stack over.

Step 8

Carefully peel off the top, then bottom rags, and dry the paper on a flat countertop overnight. Allow the paper to dry on a rough surface, such as a porous tile if you want it to be texturized.

Final Verdict

You should be very careful while choosing the material you want your watercolor paper to be made with.

You should strictly follow the steps mentioned above and if you make your watercolor according to the steps described above, you will notice that you are getting a perfect watercolor paper at a cheaper rate as compared to the ready-made watercolor paper without compromising on the quality.

This will save you money and time.

If you are among those who love to make watercolor painting on watercolor paper this method would be very beneficial for you. Good luck!

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