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How-To: Frisket Film


Taping and Frisketing on Canvas

When utilizing stencils, friskets, or tape in developing a work on canvas–either primed or unprimed–you will encounter some unique problems. For example, it is difficult to get self-adhering materials to stick to canvas (unlike paper and illustration board). Most paintings on canvas are painted in either acrylics or oils, and in airbrush technique, the majority are done in acrylics. The materials used as stencils and friskets are numerous, running the gamut from tapes to found objects.

Following are some tips for working on gesso-primed artists’ canvas:

1.The smoother the surface, the tighter the adhesion, and coating the gesso with acrylic gloss medium will give you a smoother surface. Sanding the surface with sandpaper will also give a smoother surface. However, be aware that too smooth a surface can sometimes cause paint to be lifted when a self-adhering stencil or frisket or tape is removed.

2. On a rough surface, adhesion can be enhanced by using a burnisher around the edge of the masking material. To do this without causing indentations in the canvas, the canvas should be either unstretched and attached to a wall or backed with a hard material such as Masonite, plywood, or stiff foamboard.

3. A variety of tapes can be used as stencil material. Masking tape is mostly used on gessoed canvas, while drafting tape is mostly used on paper surfaces. Masking tape is available in several widths. Some artists use wide masking tape over top of a line drawing to cover the entire surface; or they do a drawing on top of the tape. Then, areas to be painted are cut out using a frisket knife. The tape is thin and translucent enough for a line drawing to show through.

4. No matter what type of tape is used, do not leave it on the work surface for long periods of time, particularly in hot weather. If you do, when you remove it, you will likely find that adhesive residue remains. If this occurs, remove it gently with rubber cement remover.

5. Self-adhering frisket film adheres well to acrylic paint. But always make sure that the paint is thoroughly dry before applying it or any other self-adhering stencil.

An alternative to burnishing the edge of tape or frisket film is to use acrylic medium to seal the edge of the tape that you are painting against. This will prevent paint from bleeding underneath, and a hard edge will appear when the tape is removed.

Reprinted with permission from Arttalk.com.


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