These simple instructions will allow you to remove your stretched paint from the Gator Board and leave your board undamaged:
Make sure your paint is completely dry first.
Look around your tape to see if you can find an area where there may be a slight lift / air gap 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 make sure you don’t pierce the board as well, just punch a small hole so you can gently slide the knife under the watercolor paper. Make sure your knife is as flat on the board as possible so as not to disturb the surface of the board, of course.
Once you have the tip of the knife under the w / c paper, just slide the knife around the edges of the watercolor paper (I like to keep the knife reasonably low and flat on the board. It’s like opening an envelope with a knife to envelopes.
Ready! Now your painting is separated from the board!
Do I remove the tape from the edge of the painting?
You have a few options:
You have removed your paint from your board and this will leave some of the stretch tape still attached to the white margin of your paint. (I always make sure to have a white margin of an inch or more around my painting.)
You can cut the tape if you don’t like it. Or leave it on the edge of your painting for added stability. The decision to leave the tape on 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 tape
The Lukas tape I use is archival tape, so it shouldn’t be a problem to leave it on the edge of the painting.
If you use brown duct tape
I know the brown duct tape I used to use is archival too. (But sadly, the tape doesn’t have a brand name or identifiable markings, so I can’t recommend a brown masking tape.)
Since I cannot speak for the numerous brown gummed tapes available, I would recommend that you cut the tape from the edge of the white margin around your painting.
How to remove the tape from your Gator board
The remaining tape, of course, is still on your Gator board. I toss my Gator board into the tub with the board’s glued side down. I leave it on for 10 minutes or so and then I just take the last of the tape off. Sometimes you may need to use a dull knife to remove stubborn pieces, but it usually comes off without much effort.
Remember to clean around the area where the tape had been to make sure you have removed the gum residue. We don’t want your next painting to stick to the board.
This sounds complicated, but in fact it is very simple and easy to do. I have explained it in great detail to help you understand each scenario. Once you have tried these suggestions, it will be very logical and easy to do.
Now your board is fresh and clean and ready for your next painting. Taking care of your Gator Board will give you years of service. It is a fabulous product.