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Watercolor, Gaterboard and Foamcore: Some Tips

Hi everyone,
Many of you probably use Gaterboard for your watercolor work. It is a sheet (usually 1/2″ thick) that is light and fairly indestructible. It is different than foam core in that it is much stronger and really the only suitable surface for holding your watercolor work when you are painting. Foam core just doesn’t stand up to the moisture or wet in wet watercolor technique.

Cheap Joe’s has a video I highlighted in an earlier post for stretching watercolor paper that shows how you can wet your paper on both sides thoroughly, dry with a paper towel and then paint on it while it is damp. And yes, your paint does not bleed.  Really, it doesn’t!

However, what I really wanted to make you aware of is how you can save money when purchasing Gaterboard. As you may have already found out, it is expensive. A 22″ x 32″ sheet at Cheap Joe’s is about $32. If you Google “Gaterboard” you will find companies that sell it in very large sheets such as 48″ x 96″ (yes, 8 feet long) and even 60″ x 120″. If you have a group of painters, or you want to have a few sheets lying around in different sizes, you can cut this yourself (several strokes with a box cutter and a straight edge) and get several sheets out of a large piece.

I was looking online today, and at Foamcore Heaven (yes they sell Gatorboard) you can buy a 48″ x 96″ piece of white 1/2″ thick Gaterboard on sale for $103.50 (their normally price  is $210).  if you cut this in to 22″ x 32″ inch pieces, for example, you should get 6 pieces.  Six pieces at Cheap Joe’s will cost about $192.00; a savings of about $90.  So if you can use more that one piece (I have several in different sizes) or if you want to go in together  with your friends and share, this is really the way to go.


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