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Readers Respond: Have You Got a Great Painting Tip to Share?

Responses: 21


From the article: Painting Tips for Beginners
What is the best painting tip you've ever come across? What tip do you wish you'd know when you first started painting? Help other painters on their creative journey by sharing your favorite painting tips here.

Rolling Pin Trick

Here's my trick for getting all the paint out of a tube. I use a small rolling pin, or a short dowel, to push the paint from the bottom of the tube to the top. Be sure the lid is on and lay the tube flat on a table. Pressing down, roll from the bottom to the top like your rolling out dough. You wind up with the top part of the tube full and round again and the bottom is flattened and empty. You can squeeze all the paint out of the tube this way, and at the very end, I take a pair of needle-nose pliers and squeeze the collar at the top of the tube to flatten it. This completely empties the tube.
—Guest Virginia Braden

Make a Brush for Painting Fur

I took a brush and cut into it with hair thinning shears. It is easier to paint fur with this brush.

Creating Transfers on Black

I do a lot of acrylic paintings with black backgrounds. Graphite paper for transferring images or text works great on a light surface, but isn't usually visible on black. Solution? Take your template (image or text on paper) and using a soft pencil (6B works best, but any will do) scribble the entire back of the paper (behind the image). Now lay it in place and go ahead and trace, the pencil on the back will transfer your design to the painting and will show up perfectly on black. Use this method in place of graphite paper when transferring onto a dark surface.
—Guest Wendy

Clean Colors.

To assure more brilliant colors, clean your brushes, water containers and palette frequently. This way old colors don't get mixed in with newer colors. This avoid mud and you get cleaner, more brilliant colors. This is especially true with watercolors.
—Guest Anne

Tips for Soft Pastels

Work your kneaded rubber to a point to lift up small areas or clean up edges. Keep blending to a minimum so as not to overwork your pastels.
—Guest Verna Warwick

Kneadable Eraser

I have a very tight budget for supplies and when I wanted an eraser that would work for pastels, $6 for a kneadable one seemed really exhorbitant so I passed. Then I was in the childrens section of the craft store and saw Silly Putty for $1. LIGHT BULB!!! It can pick up one layer or many, it lasts for ages, it comes with its own container, it can be shaped to pick up a tiny mark or a whole area. It doesnt leave any stains or grease marks, and it actually restores the tooth of the paper if an area has been overfilled with pastel. Its the BEST and cheapest, kneadable eraser EVER!

Canvas Protection from Stretchers

I stretch my own canvas, I put a coat of rabbit size glue on my stretcher bars to help keep the canvas protected from the acid in the wood. I let the glue dry completely. I use copper tacks to tack the canvas to the bars. Copper doesn't rust and there is less damage to the cloth if it is needed to be re-stretched for some reason.
—Guest Ramona F. L.

Removing a Seized Tube Cap

Hold the cap under boiling water for a few seconds. This will make the cap expand enough to free up.
—Guest Paul Smith

Pull Water Out of Watercolor Brush

Take a paper towel (or clean, squeezed-out sponge) and touch the hairs of your brush right where they go into the ferrule for a couple seconds or so. This way you can draw water out of your brush, while leaving most of the color in it. This thick paint will be more controllable, will keep its shape better when painted into that wet area.

Glass Chopping Board as a Palette

I have tried several different type of palette, yet found that a toughened glass chopping board from my local super market works a treat. Both with oils and acrylic as it can be washed in the dishwasher after taking off any excess.

Intensifying Colour

Blue underpainted with solid dry orange will give you a much brighter and concentrated colour.

No Need for Stay-Wet Palettes

I use an old,medium sized enamel baking tray (square size that fits 20 cookies to bake) and I fill it up with tap water. I use a flat- round enamel plate as a palette that fits perfectly to float on the baking tray, with minimal movements which then makes it easier for me to mix my colours. The idea is because it is enamel, the water stays cool and it even delays drying time of colours on the palette. I don't even have to spray moisture on the unused paint. Try looking up your kitchen for old and unused tools and you'll be surprised with what you can use.
—Guest Maya

Spraying Pastel Painting with Fixative

If you're going to spray your pastel with fixative, never spray it all once when the artwork is finished. This will darken the work significantly over time. Spray Fixative should be applied in layers as you're working on the painting.
—Guest Helpful

Left-Over Paint for Collage

When finished painting, turn that palette over and squash in onto a clean piece of paper. When dried, it cuts up nicely for collage.
—Guest lisa

Storing Unused Acrylic Color

The medicine containers also can be used for storing unused acrylic color. Only make sure you peel of the label and yes, dab the color dot on the lid to identify what color is inside.
—Guest MeeraB

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