DIY Gesso for Acrylic Painting – Quick Guide

  • 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.

If you are an artist who works with acrylic paints, you know the importance of using gesso as a primer for your canvases and other surfaces. Gesso creates a smooth base that prevents the paint from soaking into the canvas and allows for better adhesion and durability of your artwork. While store-bought gesso can be expensive, there is a cost-effective solution – making your own gesso at home.

By making your own gesso, you not only save money but also have the freedom to customize the consistency and color to suit your artistic preferences. Plus, it’s a great way to experiment and create unique textures with your homemade gesso.

In this article, we’ll provide you with easy-to-follow recipes for making your own gesso using various ingredients like plaster of Paris, cornstarch, and even dollar store supplies. Whether you’re looking for a traditional gesso recipe or a clear gesso alternative, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s dive into the world of DIY gesso for acrylic painting and unleash your creativity!

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how to make your own gesso for acrylic painting.
  • Save money by DIY gesso instead of buying expensive store-bought options.
  • Customize the consistency and color of your homemade gesso to suit your preferences.
  • Experiment and create unique textures with DIY gesso.
  • Explore different recipes using plaster of Paris, cornstarch, and other affordable supplies.

Why Make Your Own Gesso?

If you’re an artist, there are several compelling reasons why you should consider making your own gesso instead of purchasing it from a store. By opting for homemade gesso, you can take advantage of numerous benefits that will enhance your painting experience and give you more creative control.

  1. Cost-Effective Option: Making your own gesso can be a cost-effective alternative to buying commercially produced gesso. Store-bought gesso can be quite pricey, especially if you use it frequently or in large quantities. By creating your own gesso, you can save money and allocate your budget towards other art supplies.
  2. Customizable Consistency and Color: Homemade gesso allows you to tailor the consistency and color to suit your specific needs and artistic style. Unlike store-bought gesso, which typically comes in standard formulations, making your own gesso empowers you to experiment and achieve the exact texture and hue that you desire.
  3. Freedom to Experiment: Creating your own gesso opens up a world of possibilities for experimentation. Homemade gesso can be customized with different additives, such as sand or texture mediums, to create unique textures and effects on your canvas. This flexibility enables you to explore new techniques and unleash your creativity.

Remember: Making your own gesso is not only cost-effective, but it also gives you the ability to customize its consistency and color, offering you the freedom to experiment and create unique textures for your artwork.

By making your own gesso, you can unlock endless opportunities for artistic expression while saving money and having greater control over your painting process.

See also
DIY Gesso Guide: How to Make Gesso at Home

Homemade Gesso Recipe with Plaster of Paris

If you’re looking to make your own gesso at home, using plaster of Paris is a popular option. This recipe is easy to follow and requires just a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 part plaster of Paris
  • 1 part PVA glue or Elmer’s Glue
  • 3 parts white acrylic paint or black acrylic paint
  • Approximately 1 part hot water

To start, mix together the plaster of Paris, glue, and paint. Use equal parts of plaster of Paris and glue, then add three times the amount of paint. This ratio will give you a good consistency for your homemade gesso. Gradually add hot water while stirring the mixture until you achieve the desired texture.

Remember to mix the ingredients thoroughly to ensure a smooth and even consistency. The plaster of Paris will provide the necessary body and texture, while the glue and paint will help bind it all together. The hot water helps in achieving the desired texture and reduces clumping.

Note: It’s always a good idea to wear protective gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when working with these ingredients.

Once your gesso is mixed and has reached the desired consistency, it’s ready to use. Apply it to your canvas or surface using a brush or a palette knife. Allow it to dry completely before starting your acrylic painting.

Pro Tip: You can experiment with different variations of this recipe by adjusting the quantities of the ingredients. Adding more paint can create a tinted gesso, while adding less water will result in a thicker consistency.

Homemade Gesso Recipe with Cornstarch and Baking Soda

Looking for an alternative homemade gesso recipe? Try making gesso with cornstarch and baking soda. This recipe is a great option for artists who prefer using natural and readily available ingredients. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making gesso with cornstarch and baking soda:

  1. Mix the Ingredients:

Start by gathering the following ingredients:

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

In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and baking soda. Stir well to remove any lumps and ensure a smooth mixture.

  1. Add the Glue and Paint:

Next, add the glue and white or black acrylic paint to the cornstarch and baking soda mixture. Stir thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients.

  1. Gradually Add Water:

Now, slowly add water to the mixture, a little bit at a time. Stir well after each addition until you achieve the desired consistency. The amount of water may vary depending on the humidity in your environment and the consistency you prefer.

This image showcases the ingredients used in this homemade gesso recipe with cornstarch and baking soda.

And that’s it! You now have homemade gesso made from cornstarch and baking soda. This versatile gesso can be used as a primer for your acrylic paintings, providing a smooth and durable surface for your artwork. Enjoy the process of creating your own gesso and exploring the possibilities it offers for your artistic endeavors.

Homemade Gesso Recipe with Dollar Store Supplies

If you’re looking for an affordable option, you can make your own gesso using supplies from the dollar store. This budget-friendly recipe allows you to create a quality gesso for your painting needs without breaking the bank.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for making homemade gesso using dollar store supplies:

  1. Start by gathering the following ingredients:
Ingredients
1/2 cup of school glue
3 cups of talcum powder
2 ounces of white or black acrylic paint
Water (to achieve desired consistency)
  1. Mix the school glue, talcum powder, and acrylic paint together. The glue acts as a binding agent, the talcum powder provides texture, and the paint gives your gesso its base color.
  2. Gradually add water to the mixture while stirring. Continue adding water until you achieve the desired consistency. The gesso should be smooth and spreadable, but not too watery.
  3. Once your gesso reaches the right consistency, it’s ready to use! Apply it onto your canvas or desired surface using a brush or palette knife.
See also
Applying Gesso to Wood: Quick & Easy Guide

This homemade gesso recipe with dollar store supplies is a cost-effective alternative that doesn’t compromise on quality. With just a few affordable ingredients, you can create a gesso that provides a smooth and durable surface for your acrylic paintings.

Remember, making your own gesso allows you to customize the consistency and color to suit your preferences. Feel free to experiment with different proportions of ingredients to achieve the desired texture and opacity in your homemade gesso.

Traditional Gesso Recipe with Chalk

If you’re looking to create gesso using a more traditional approach, using chalk is a great option. This recipe will guide you through the step-by-step process of making traditional gesso with chalk.

  1. Ingredients:
  • 250 grams of water
  • 125 grams of glue
  • 750 grams of powdered chalk (powdered marble, calcium carbonate, or gypsum/calcium sulfate)
  • 120 ml of white acrylic paint or black acrylic paint
  • Step-by-step guide:
    1. Mix the glue and water together until they are well combined.
    2. Gradually add the powdered chalk to the glue mixture, making sure to mix thoroughly until fully integrated.
    3. Add the white or black acrylic paint to the mixture and continue mixing until the paint is evenly distributed.
    4. Adjust the thickness of the gesso by gradually adding more powdered chalk if desired.

    Note: Traditional gesso recipes often utilize powdered marble, calcium carbonate, or gypsum/calcium sulfate as alternatives to powdered chalk. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients to achieve the desired consistency and texture for your homemade gesso.

    With this traditional gesso recipe, you can create a high-quality primer for your acrylic painting projects. The combination of chalk, glue, and acrylic paint ensures a smooth and durable surface that is ready for your artistic endeavors.

    Clear Gesso Recipe with Calcium Carbonate or Powdered Marble

    If you’re looking for a clear gesso recipe, you can create it using calcium carbonate or powdered marble. This homemade clear gesso serves as an excellent primer for various painting projects, allowing you to achieve a smooth and durable surface.

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

    • 1 cup of glue
    • 1/4 cup of water
    • 4-5 tablespoons of powdered marble or calcium carbonate

    To begin, mix the glue and water together in a container. Stir well until the two ingredients are fully combined.

    Next, gradually add the powdered marble or calcium carbonate to the glue and water mixture. Stir continuously to ensure a smooth integration of all the ingredients.

    Continue adding the powdered marble or calcium carbonate until you achieve a consistent and desired texture for your clear gesso.

    Once your clear gesso is mixed thoroughly, it is now ready to use as a primer. Apply it to your canvas or desired surface using a brush or roller.

    This clear gesso recipe provides a cost-effective and customizable option for artists who prefer working with a transparent primer. Experiment with different amounts of powdered marble or calcium carbonate to achieve the perfect consistency for your artistic style.

    Clear Gesso Recipe with Cornstarch

    If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional gesso, you can make your own clear gesso using cornstarch. This homemade clear gesso is suitable for various art projects and provides a transparent primer for your painting surfaces.

    To make clear gesso with cornstarch, you will need the following ingredients:

    • 4 parts glue
    • 2 parts water
    • 1 part cornstarch

    Start by mixing the cornstarch with water to avoid clumps, ensuring a smooth consistency. Then, add the glue to the mixture and mix well until everything is thoroughly combined.

    See also
    DIY Gesso for Oil Painting Guide | Easy Steps

    With this homemade clear gesso recipe, you have the flexibility to customize the quantity based on your needs. Simply adjust the proportions of the ingredients as desired, as long as you maintain the ratio of 4 parts glue, 2 parts water, and 1 part cornstarch.

    Now, you can confidently apply your clear gesso to your canvas or other painting surfaces. It will provide a smooth and transparent foundation for your artwork, allowing the colors to shine through while increasing the longevity and durability of your piece.

    Conclusion

    Making your own gesso can be a rewarding and cost-effective option for artists. By creating your homemade gesso, you have the flexibility to customize and experiment, while also saving money. Whether you opt for gesso made with plaster of Paris, cornstarch, or other ingredients, the process adds a fun and creative element to your artistic journey.

    Feel free to try out different recipes and find the one that best suits your needs and preferences. With homemade gesso, you can prime your canvas and other surfaces with confidence, ready to explore the world of acrylic painting with ease.

    Not only does making your own gesso offer you greater control over the consistency and color, but it also allows you to create unique textures. You can unleash your creativity by trying new techniques and achieving the desired effects on your paintings. Additionally, homemade gesso is a cost-effective alternative to store-bought options, letting you stretch your budget without compromising on quality.

    So, why not embark on a gesso-making adventure and discover the benefits of creating your own primer? Enjoy the process of crafting your personalized gesso while enhancing your painting experience. Embrace the possibilities that homemade gesso brings and elevate your artwork to new heights!

    FAQ

    Why should I make my own gesso?

    There are several reasons to make your own gesso. Firstly, it is a cost-effective option compared to store-bought gesso. Secondly, making your own gesso allows you to customize the consistency and color to suit your preferences. Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to experiment and create unique textures.

    How do I make gesso with plaster of Paris?

    To make gesso with plaster of Paris, mix 1 part plaster of Paris, 1 part PVA glue or Elmer’s Glue, 3 parts white or black acrylic paint, and approximately 1 part hot water. Gradually add water until you achieve the desired consistency.

    What is the recipe for gesso with cornstarch and baking soda?

    To make gesso with cornstarch and baking soda, mix 3 parts cornstarch, 3 parts baking soda, 1 part glue, 1 part white or black acrylic paint, and 2-3 parts water. Gradually add water until you achieve the desired consistency.

    How can I make gesso using dollar store supplies?

    For gesso using dollar store supplies, mix 1/2 cup of school glue, 3 cups of talcum powder, 2 ounces of white or black acrylic paint, and water to achieve the desired consistency.

    What is the traditional gesso recipe with chalk?

    To make traditional gesso with chalk, mix 250 grams of water, 125 grams of glue, 750 grams of powdered chalk (powdered marble, calcium carbonate, or gypsum/calcium sulfate), and 120 ml of white or black acrylic paint.

    How do I make clear gesso with calcium carbonate or powdered marble?

    To make clear gesso with calcium carbonate or powdered marble, mix 1 cup of glue, 1/4 cup of water, and 4-5 tablespoons of powdered marble or calcium carbonate.

    What is the recipe for clear gesso with cornstarch?

    To make clear gesso with cornstarch, mix 4 parts glue, 2 parts water, and 1 part cornstarch.

    Can homemade gesso be used as a primer for various painting projects?

    Yes, homemade gesso can be used as a primer for various painting projects.

    What are the benefits of making your own gesso?

    Making your own gesso allows for customization, experimentation, and cost-savings.