How To Use Gouache On Wood (Tips For Beginners)

how to use gouache on wood
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If you’re looking to change things up and be more creative, using gouache on wood is a pretty good place to start. This is a completely new surface to work on but it will definitely be a fun process overall.

Even if you haven’t used gouache for that long or maybe you have and find that it’s a difficult medium to work with, I find that sometimes trying a new surface can help you figure out what works best.

As you may know, there are two different types of gouache (acrylic and artists grade) however with acrylic, it tends to dry faster whereas with artists grade gouache is reactivates more easily which may be one of the reasons why you find it difficult to work with.

So, if you’re planning to use gouache on wood or interested in knowing how to do so, here’s a little guide that will answer all your questions with a few additional tips any beginner should follow.

Supplies You’ll Need

Before we get started, you will need a few supplies if you plan to paint gouache on wood:

  • A wooden panel
  • Gouache Paint and Brushes
  • Gesso and applicator brushes
  • Wax (for sealing)

How To Paint On Wood With Gouache

Painting gouache on wood is relatively simple however there are few things to take into account for instance, if you paint on this surface without prepping it, you will find it incredibly difficult to get your desired outcome and the colors of your painting may end up looking dull since this surface absorbs the paint.

It doesn’t matter if you purchase a wood panel from the craft store or use a piece of wood at home to paint on, prepping your wood before painting is definitely something you want to do and this will help you along the way.

Prepping Wood

So, how do you prep wood for painting? It’s super easy. You can start off by sanding the wood surface down with a light grain sandpaper. Make sure to dust the surface before the next step.

Grab a gesso that you have (clear or white) and apply a light layer. Allow this layer to dry before applying any other coat. You can sand this layer down too if you want.

Continue to follow this process until you achieve your desired surface. Using gesso will ensure that the paint will not seep into the wood.

Once completed, allow the wooden panel to dry for at least 24 hours before you paint on it.

 If you find yourself having to paint on multiple wooden panels, I highly recommend that you do this in one batch.

It can be a tedious task but it’s better than having to do it one at a time and then you end up regretting not doing it advance when you’re all geared up to paint something.

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Begin Your Painting

Now you’re ready to begin painting your masterpiece on the wooden panels.

The fantastic thing about using wooden panels is that they’re practically ready to display anywhere in your home without you having to go through the extra mile.

One thing to remember when paining with gouache or any medium is to really nail your sketch before painting.

You wouldn’t want to redo a painting and lose that beautiful wooden background so it’s no doubt important to have your idea fully thought about before painting on this surface but if you’re not too concerned about the background then there’s really nothing to worry about.

How to Seal Gouache on Wood

Now that you have your beautiful paintings all done, you must be worried about how to varnish them since it’s a little different from the usual vanishing of acrylic and oil paintings.

With gouache, you don’t necessarily have to seal the painting if you’re framing it behind glass.

However, the good news about sealing gouache paintings is that there is a method to make sure your paintings stay protecting and that’s by using wax medium or a matte water-based varnish sealer!

You’ll want to use a few light layers of the spray and allow each to dry before applying the next coat. Be careful not to smudge any additional residue from the spray since this can damage your artwork.

Other Gouache Painting Tricks That May Be Helpful

Having a few additional tips you may not have known can be extremely helpful and I thought I’d share some of those with you.

Paint in Layers

With Gouache, as you know, painting in layers will give you extra time to make changes in case something isn’t working. Also, by allowing each layer to fully dry, you won’t have to be annoyed that a previous layer reactivates.

Take Your Time

Unlike with acrylics, you don’t need to stress about the paint drying out instantly. You can slow down with gouache and be more careful.

Try Using Fresh Paint

Gouache tends to dry up in a palette and you may have noticed it cracks after some time.

You can reactivate the paint by misting the palette before you begin or adding a few drops of water and mix the paint to get its consistency back.

However, it’s must easier to use gouache straight from the tube which is perfect for beginners if they need to practice with finding the right water ratio for their paint.

Use a Clean Palette

Having a clean palette is crucial if you want do not want to have muddy colors. Since gouache reactivates easily, you’ll often find when mixing a new color, the previous dried color mixes with your new one.

Take the time to clean your palette after every painting which is really easy compared to acrylic palettes, all you need to do is use a wet wipe or run it under water.

What Are You Painting Next?

As you can see, using gouache on wood isn’t any different as painting with any other medium but as long as you have the surface prepared correctly, you don’t have to be concerned about your paintings looking dull or the issue with the paint seeping into the wood.

See also: Differences Between Gouache and Watercolor Paint

Gouache can be a fun medium and is quite forgiving if you do make mistakes.

Getting the hang and truly knowing this medium will benefit you but one thing is certain, with gouache, you can make incredible pieces that truly stand out in its matte finish.

What are your thoughts on using gouache on wood? Love it or hate it? Let us know which painting surface you enjoy the most in the comments below.

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