These simple instructions will allow you to remove your stretched painting from Gator Board and leave your board without any damage:
Ensure your painting is bone dry first.
Take a look around your tape to see if you can find an area where there may be a slight lift/air space in the area where the tape meets the watercolor paper? I use a kitchen knife that has a strong but thin blade. Holding a knife at an angle to ensure you don’t pierce the board too – simply pierce a small hole so you can gently slide the knife underneath the watercolor paper. Ensure your knife is held as flat to the board as possible so you don’t disturb the surface of the board – of course.
Once you have the point of the knife underneath the w/c paper – you simply slide the knife around the edges of the watercolor paper (I like to hold the knife reasonably low and flat to the board. It is just like opening an envelope with an envelope knife.
Voila! Now your painting is separate from the board!
Do I remove the tape on the edge of the painting?
You have some choices:
You have taken your painting from your board and this will leave part of the stretching tape still adhered to the white margin of your painting. (I always ensure I have an inch or more white margin around my painting).
You can cut the tape off if you don’t like it. Or leave it on the edge of your painting for stability. The decision whether to leave your tape on your paper is a choice for you.
One thing to consider
Is the tape you use archival? This will influence your decision.
If you use Lukas Wet Adhesive Tape
The Lukas tape I use is archival so it should not be a problem to leave it on the edge of the painting.
If you use Brown Gummed Tape
I know the brown gummed tape I used to use is also archival. (But unfortunately the tape does not have a brand name or identifiable markings so I am not able to recommend a brown gummed tape).
Because I can’t speak for the numerous brown gummed tapes available – I would recommend you cut the tape off the edge of your white margin around your painting.
How to remove the tape from your Gator Board
The remainder tape is of course still on your Gator Board. I throw my Gator Board in the bath with the taped side of the board facing downward. I leave it 10 minutes or so and then simply pull the last of the tape off. Sometimes I may need to use a blunt knife to get the stubborn pieces off – but generally it comes off without much effort at all.
Remember to wipe around the area where the tape had been to ensure you have wiped off any remaining gum. We don’t want your next painting to stick to the board.
This sounds involved but in fact it is very straight forward and easy to do. I have explained it in fine detail to help you understand every scenario. Once you have tried these suggestions you will find it all very logical and easy to do.
Now your board is fresh and clean and ready for your next painting. If you look after your Gator Board it will give you years of service. It is a fabulous product.