DIY Tutorial: How to Make Black Gesso Easily

  • By: Michael Smith
  • Time to read: 10 min.
Michael Smith
I'm Michael Smith, the founder and creative director of Art and Drawing. With over a decade of experience in the art and design industry, my keen eye for detail and passion for creating inspiring artwork drive my work. I'm dedicated to capturing the world's beauty through vibrant, expressive pieces that spark imagination and emotion.

In this DIY tutorial, you will learn how to easily make black gesso at home. By following a simple recipe, you can create your own gesso to use in your art projects. This homemade gesso will save you money and allow you to customize the color to black. With just a few ingredients, you can create a high-quality gesso that will provide a smooth and durable surface for your artwork.

Key Takeaways:

  • Making your own black gesso at home is a cost-effective way to create a customized art supply.
  • By following a simple recipe and using common household ingredients, you can create a high-quality gesso.
  • Homemade gesso allows you to adjust the color to black, providing a versatile option for your art projects.
  • Using homemade gesso gives you creative control over your art-making process.
  • Experimenting with different gesso recipes can help you find the perfect one for your artistic needs.

Continue reading the article to discover why making your own gesso has several benefits and to find the step-by-step instructions for creating black gesso at home.

Why Make Your Own Gesso

Making your own gesso offers numerous benefits that can enhance your art-making process. Firstly, it allows you to save money by avoiding the high cost of store-bought gesso. Particularly if you use gesso frequently, homemade gesso can significantly reduce your expenses and free up funds for other art supplies.

Secondly, DIY gesso provides you with the flexibility to customize the recipe according to your preferences. For example, if you prefer to work with black gesso, you can easily incorporate black acrylic paint into your homemade recipe. This level of control enables you to achieve the exact color and texture you desire for your artwork.

Lastly, creating your own gesso can be an enjoyable and rewarding project. It allows you to engage with the artistic process from start to finish, infusing your work with a personal touch and connection. The satisfaction of making your own gesso can also inspire and energize your creativity.

Ingredients and Tools Needed

To make black gesso, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 3 parts cornstarch
  • 3 parts baking soda
  • 1 part glue
  • 1 part white acrylic paint
  • 2-3 parts water

In addition, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • A container for mixing
  • A spoon or stirring rod
  • A storage container for the gesso

These common household items are readily available, making it easy to gather everything you need for your homemade gesso recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to make black gesso at home. First, mix the cornstarch and baking soda, making sure to break up any lumps in the mixture. Then, add the glue and white acrylic paint, ensuring that all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Finally, gradually add water to achieve the desired consistency, adjusting for a thicker “texture paste” or a more traditional gesso texture. Stir well after each addition of water.

Gesso Making Steps:

Ingredients Ratio
Cornstarch 3 parts
Baking Soda 3 parts
Glue 1 part
White Acrylic Paint 1 part
Water 2-3 parts
See also
DIY Gesso Recipe: Make It Without Glue!

Note: Adjust the ratio of water to achieve your desired gesso consistency. Increase or decrease the amount of water according to how thick or thin you want your gesso to be.

  1. Mix the cornstarch and baking soda in a container, ensuring there are no lumps in the mixture.
  2. Add the glue and white acrylic paint to the mixture, and stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  3. Gradually add water to the mixture, stirring well after each addition, until you achieve the desired consistency.

Pro Tip: For a thicker texture paste, use less water. For a more traditional gesso texture, add more water.

Shelf Life and Storage

When it comes to homemade gesso, it’s essential to understand its shelf life and proper storage methods. Unlike store-bought gesso, which often contains preservatives, homemade gesso has a shorter lifespan. On average, homemade gesso can last for about a week or two, depending on various factors.

To maximize the shelf life of your homemade gesso, it’s crucial to store it properly. The key is to keep it in an airtight container, ensuring that no air or moisture can enter. This will help maintain the freshness and quality of your gesso for a longer period.

When choosing a container, opt for one that provides a tight seal. Mason jars or screw-top containers work well for storing homemade gesso. Make sure to clean and dry the container thoroughly before transferring the gesso into it.

For optimal storage conditions, keep your homemade gesso in a cool and dry place. Direct sunlight and excessive heat can affect the quality of the gesso and reduce its shelf life. Find a spot away from windows or any heat-emitting appliances to maintain the integrity of your homemade gesso.

To ensure the longevity of your homemade gesso, it’s recommended to make smaller batches. By making just enough gesso for your immediate needs, you can minimize waste and maintain the freshness of the remaining gesso.

Remember, homemade gesso doesn’t contain preservatives like its store-bought counterpart, so it’s essential to monitor its quality and freshness. If you notice any changes in texture, consistency, or odor, it’s best to discard the gesso and make a fresh batch.

Comparison to Store-Bought Gesso

When it comes to gesso, you may wonder whether homemade gesso stands up against store-bought options. The truth is, homemade gesso can be just as effective, if not more so, depending on the recipe you follow. While store-bought gesso may offer a longer shelf life and consistent quality, homemade gesso provides the advantage of customization and cost-saving.

“Making your own gesso allows you to have complete control over the ingredients, resulting in a product that specifically meets your artistic needs.”

By experimenting with different recipes and techniques, you have the opportunity to create a gesso that suits your unique requirements. Unlike store-bought gesso, which often comes in predetermined formulas, homemade gesso enables you to fine-tune the texture and consistency to your liking.

Moreover, creating your own gesso can save you money in the long run. Store-bought gesso can be pricey, especially if you use it frequently or require large quantities. By making gesso at home, you have the freedom to adjust the recipe based on your budget and consumption.

The Quality Factor

While homemade gesso can be as effective as store-bought gesso, it’s essential to follow a reliable recipe and use high-quality ingredients. This will ensure that your homemade gesso performs well and provides a durable surface for your artwork.

When making gesso at home, pay attention to the quality of the glue, acrylic paint, and other components you use. Opt for reputable brands and products known for their art-grade quality. This will help maintain the integrity of your homemade gesso and ensure satisfactory results.

See also
Easy Guide: How to Apply Gesso on MDF

Gesso Quality Comparison

Here’s a comparison table outlining the key differences between homemade and store-bought gesso:

Gesso Type Shelf Life Customization Cost
Homemade Gesso Shorter shelf life (approximately 1-2 weeks) Highly customizable Cost-effective
Store-Bought Gesso Longer shelf life (several months to years) Limited customization Varies by brand and quantity

As the table demonstrates, homemade gesso has a shorter shelf life but allows for greater customization and cost savings. On the other hand, store-bought gesso generally offers a longer shelf life and consistent quality, but with limited customization options and potentially higher costs.

Ultimately, the choice between homemade and store-bought gesso comes down to your individual preferences, budget, and artistic requirements. Both options have their merits, so feel free to experiment and find the best fit for your artistic endeavors.

Tips and Suggestions

When working with homemade gesso, keep in mind these tips and suggestions to achieve the best results.

Gesso Application:

  • Apply gesso to your painting surface in thin, even layers for optimal coverage and a smooth finish.
  • Use a brush or palette knife to evenly spread the gesso, ensuring it reaches all areas of your canvas or other surfaces.
  • If desired, you can use sandpaper to lightly sand the gessoed surface after each layer has dried. This helps to remove any brushstrokes or imperfections and creates a smoother texture for your artwork.
  • Remember to wipe the surface with a damp cloth before painting to remove any dust particles that may have accumulated during the drying process.

Gesso Drying Time:

  • Allow each layer of gesso to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before applying additional coats or starting your artwork. This ensures that the gesso fully dries and adheres to the surface.
  • The drying time may vary depending on factors such as the thickness of the gesso layers, humidity, and temperature. It’s important to be patient and let the gesso dry completely before proceeding.
  • If you’re in a hurry, you can use a hairdryer on the low setting to speed up the drying process. However, be cautious not to overheat the gesso, as it may cause cracking or other damage.

“Applying homemade gesso in thin layers and allowing sufficient drying time between coats are key factors in achieving a professional-quality surface for your artwork.” – Artist’s Corner

By following these tips and suggestions, you can ensure smooth and successful gesso application, as well as optimal drying time. These techniques will help you create a solid foundation for your artwork and enhance the longevity of your finished pieces.

Homemade Gesso Tips and Suggestions Summary

Gesso Application Gesso Drying Time
Apply gesso in thin, even layers Allow each layer to dry for at least 24 hours
Sand the gessoed surface lightly to remove imperfections Drying time may vary based on factors like thickness, humidity, and temperature
Wipe the surface with a damp cloth before painting Use a hairdryer on low setting to speed up drying (with caution)

Note: These gesso tips and suggestions are intended to provide general guidance. Adjustments may be needed based on specific project requirements and personal preferences.

Additional Gesso Recipes

In addition to the cornstarch and baking soda recipe for black gesso, there are other DIY gesso recipes you can explore. These alternative gesso ingredients offer unique qualities and variations, allowing you to experiment and find the gesso that works best for your art projects. Here are a few options:

  • Plaster of Paris: A popular choice for homemade gesso, plaster of paris can create a smooth and sturdy surface for your artwork. Mix it with water and glue to achieve the desired consistency.
  • School Glue and Talcum Powder: This simple recipe combines school glue and talcum powder to create a budget-friendly gesso alternative. The talcum powder helps to add texture and absorbency to the mixture.
  • Chalk: Chalk-based gesso can provide a matte finish and excellent coverage. Grind chalk into a fine powder and mix it with water and glue to make your own chalk gesso.
  • Clear Gesso with Calcium Carbonate or Cornstarch: If you prefer a transparent gesso, you can use clear acrylic medium mixed with calcium carbonate or cornstarch. This recipe allows the texture of your substrate to show through while still providing a protective layer.
See also
DIY Gesso Without Cornstarch: Easy Guide

Feel free to explore these DIY gesso recipes and experiment with different combinations of ingredients to achieve the desired results for your art projects.

Note: The image above showcases the process of making DIY gesso and is for illustrative purposes only.

Conclusion

Making your own black gesso at home offers a range of benefits that can enhance your art-making experience. One of the key advantages is the cost savings you will enjoy by avoiding expensive store-bought gesso. By using simple recipes and readily available ingredients, you can create a high-quality gesso that meets your specific needs.

Customization is another significant benefit of making gesso at home. With DIY gesso, you have the flexibility to adjust the recipe, allowing you to create the perfect black gesso by adding black acrylic paint. This customization empowers you to achieve the desired texture, consistency, and color for your artwork.

Furthermore, creating homemade gesso gives you creative control over your art projects. By experimenting with different recipes and techniques, you can find the ideal homemade gesso that complements your artistic style and preferences, providing a smooth and durable surface for your artwork to shine.

Take your art projects to the next level by unleashing your creativity with homemade black gesso. The benefits of cost savings, customization, and creative control make this DIY alternative a valuable addition to any artist’s toolkit.

FAQ

Can I make black gesso at home?

Yes, you can easily make black gesso at home using a simple recipe.

Why should I make my own gesso?

Making your own gesso allows you to save money, customize the color, and add a personal touch to your art-making process.

What ingredients and tools do I need to make black gesso?

You will need cornstarch, baking soda, glue, white acrylic paint, water, a mixing container, a spoon or stirring rod, and a storage container.

How do I make black gesso step by step?

Mix cornstarch and baking soda, add glue and white acrylic paint, gradually add water while stirring well after each addition, until you achieve the desired consistency.

How long can homemade gesso last?

When stored in an airtight container, homemade gesso can last for about a week or two.

How should I store homemade gesso?

Store homemade gesso in a tightly sealed container, in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

How does homemade gesso compare to store-bought gesso?

Homemade gesso can be as effective as store-bought gesso, with the added benefits of customization and cost-saving.

Do you have any tips for working with homemade gesso?

Apply gesso in thin, even layers, allow each layer to dry for 24 hours, lightly sand the surface, and wipe with a damp cloth before painting.

Are there other gesso recipes I can explore?

Yes, besides the cornstarch and baking soda recipe, you can try recipes using plaster of paris, school glue and talcum powder, chalk, or clear gesso with calcium carbonate or cornstarch.

What are the benefits of making gesso at home?

Making gesso at home provides cost savings, customization options, and creative control over your art-making process.