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Does Gesso Dry Clear?

Gesso is an incredibly popular product to use as a primer on canvas, and other surfaces with acrylic paint. The color of gesso is usually white, but it comes in other colors as well. It is commonly asked whether or not gesso will dry clear.

So, does gesso dry clear? Yes, if you purchase a clear gesso, it will dry clear. White or black gesso will dry the color they are. There are different types of gesso out there, including clear. Gesso that is colored, such as white or black, will not dry clear. Clear gesso will dry clear because it is specifically designed to do so. The clear gesso will be the best choice for glass or window painting.

The way a gesso dries will depend on what kind it is. For example, clear gesso will dry differently than the white gesso, and the black gesso will dry differently than both of these other types. It is important to pay attention to the label when you are buying gesso to make sure you get the right product.

Is Clear or White Gesso Better?

When you are considering which type of gesso is better, you need to consider what you are using it for. Clear gesso doesn’t have any pigment or calcium carbonate like the white gesso. Clear gesso has a quality that is very comparable to white gesso when it comes to absorbency and texture.

U.S Art Supply has a great clear gesso, that I have used on my plastic surfaces. It dries clear, so you don’t have to worry about having a colored background.

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White gesso is mostly used as a primer for canvas or wood surfaces before using acrylic paint. It can also be used as a white paint with a matte finish or mixed in with acrylic paint to lighten the color and take away some of the glossiness. U.S Art Supply also has a great selection of white gesso. This would be used more on surfaces like wood, plastic and even metal.

Clear gesso can also be mixed with acrylic paint, but it will have a different effect. It will make the paint a little less opaque and give it a watery texture. You can also mix glitter in with clear gesso to add more character to a piece of artwork. This will work especially well if you are trying to protect a piece of patterned paper or a picture.

My favorite and top pick is always Arteza Acrylic Paints. They have so many different colors, and the quality is amazing! I usually use Arteza Paints for all my projects.

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Does White Gesso Dry White?

White gesso dries white. It will not turn clear as it dries, which is why there is also a clear gesso available. The purpose of gesso drying white is to create an even background for your painting. It will make your colors appear smoother, brighter, and more vibrant. A canvas is usually closer to an off-white color that can alter the color of the paint when it is applied.

Clear gesso has the ability to be used on top of paintings because it dries clear. White gesso, however, can only be used underneath paint. Since it dries white, you will not be able to see anything underneath it. There have been many mistakes made where new artists thought it would dry clear, used it on top of their painting, and it was ruined. To prevent this, it is best to only use gesso underneath paint.

How Do I Use Clear Gesso?

Using clear gesso is similar to using regular white gesso. You want to make sure you start with a clean, dry surface. If you are using the clear gesso on glass, wash the surface with warm water and a mild dish soap. If you are using it on canvas, use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust that might be on the surface.

You will then want to make sure the surface is completely dry before applying the clear gesso. If there is any moisture left on the surface, the gesso won’t stick properly and can start to peel away. This will create creases, bubbles, and even cracks in the paint.

If the consistency of the gesso is thicker than you want, you can dilute it with some water. Creating a thinner gesso will allow it to apply more smoothly to the surface, making it easier to apply thin layers of the product. It is better to apply multiple thin layers than one thick layer for drying purposes.

To ensure that the gesso is applied evenly, you will want to brush over the same spot a few times to smooth out any brush strokes or lumps. You can do this with a dry brush to ensure that no additional lumps get added into the mix.

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If you still aren’t happy with the smoothness of the clear gesso, you can use some sandpaper to lightly brush off any lumps that are still visible. Make sure the gesso is completely dry before trying this or you risk scratching the entire surface of the gesso.

You can also use clear gesso to mix with acrylic paint. It will create a somewhat watery effect to the paint and make it look similar to watercolors while providing the durability and opaqueness of acrylic paints. 

What is Clear Textured Gesso Used for?

Clear textured gesso is mostly used for priming surface for painting. It adds the perfect amount of texture to acrylic paints, pencils, and pastels. The ideal use is acrylic paints, but you can also use oil paints, enamels, pastels, and charcoal. It is considered a perfect primer for canvas, wood, paper, clay, and cardboard.

You can also use clear textured gesso as a sealant for drawings that you are planning on painting over. You can easily paint on top of the clear gesso without having to worry about messing up the marks of the drawing. Since the gesso is clear, you will still be able to see the drawing and add the paint as a way to enhance your great drawing. 

Can I Use White Paint Instead of Gesso?

One of the most commonly asked questions about white gesso is if white paint can be used in its place. Since gesso is pretty pricey, it is often thought that white acrylic paint can be a more affordable option than gesso. However, this isn’t the case.

One main ingredient of gesso is white paint, which is where the confusion comes from. Gesso has more added ingredients that make it the perfect primer. It is absorbent and creates a slight texture on the surface, allowing paint to stick easier.

White paint shouldn’t be used in place of white gesso. While it can be used as a base coat, it doesn’t work the same way as gesso. The point of gesso is to enhance the adhesion of acrylic paint to surfaces. If you are just using acrylic paint from the start, it won’t have the same impact.

Final Thoughts

There are multiple different types of gessoes available. It is a common misconception that the white gesso dries clear, but this isn’t the case. The only gesso that dries clear is the clear gesso formula. This formula will be best for priming a glass surface because you won’t be left with a white background for your painting.

You can also use gesso with acrylic paint. If you use the clear gesso, you will notice the paint has a look that is similar to watercolor paints with the durability and opacity of acrylic paint. If you use white gesso, you will be able to lighten the color of the paint and get rid of some of the glossiness, leaving you with a more matte finish paint.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your gesso primed painting turns out great. Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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