How to Make Gesso: 6 DIY Recipes

As some of you already know, I am constantly looking for ways to save some money on acrylic pouring supplies. Today is no different!

This time I am bringing you 6 DIY Gesso Recipes that you can do at home for your painting projects.

If you need to gesso a canvas or messed up on a painting and want to reuse your canvas, then mix a batch of one of the gesso recipes listed below, apply a coat on your canvas, let it dry, and you are good to go to do a new painting. 

*Keep in mind that some artists have better luck with some gesso recipes than others, therefore, if you tried one and didn't like it, then try a different one!

Ok. Let's learn how to make gesso at home!

1. Gesso Recipe with Plaster of Paris

This first homemade gesso recipe with plaster of paris is one of my favorite recipes. 

INGREDIENTS:

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


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the plaster of paris, glue, and white paint together.
  2. Then add water until you get the desired consistency. Your gesso is now ready to use!

Check out the video below for more details on this plaster of paris recipe!

2. Gesso Recipe with Cornstarch and Baking Soda

Even though I like the previous recipe better, this is still a good recipe because you can do it very easily with ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen. Learn how to make this diy gesso recipe with cornstarch and baking soda.

INGREDIENTS:

3 parts cornstarch

3 parts Baking Soda

1 part glue

1 part white acrylic paint or black acrylic paint

2-3 parts water


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the cornstarch and baking soda together until you can't see any lumps. 
  2. Then add your glue and acrylic paint and mix everything really well.
  3. Finally, add water a little bit at a time until you have the right consistency.

Watch the video down below for more details about this gesso recipe!

3. Dollar Store Gesso Recipe

This diy gesso recipe is super easy and very affordable. These ingredients are easily available at your dollar store!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup (4 oz) School glue

3 cups (24 oz) Talcum Powder

2 ounces of white or black acrylic paint

Water to desired consistency


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add the school glue, talc powder, and acrylic paint into a container and mix really well. 
  2. Finally, add water a little bit at a time until you get the desired consistency.

Here's the video that talks more about this DIY dollar store gesso recipe. Check it out!

4. Gesso Recipe with Chalk

This is a more traditional gesso recipe that you can make at home. Learn how to make your own gesso with some simple ingredients that you can get right on Amazon. This is also one of my favorite gesso recipes. 

INGREDIENTS:

250 grams (9 oz) of water

125 grams (4 1/2 oz) 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


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the glue and water first until completely mixed.
  2. Then add the powdered marble, calcium carbonate, or gypsum slowly into the glue and water mixture while mixing until everything is completely integrated. Make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Add the white or black acrylic paint into your previous mixture and mix.
  4. If you want your gesso a little bit thicker, then add more powdered chalk. If you want it thinner, reduce the amount of powdered chalk.
  5. Your gesso is now ready to use!

Watch the video below to see details of this recipe!

5. Clear Gesso with Calcium Carbonate or Powdered Marble 

If you need some clear gesso, then give this recipe a try. I will teach you how to make clear gesso with just 3 ingredients. It is very affordable and works just as good as the store bought kind.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup glue

1/4 cup water

4-5 tablespoons powdered marble (marble dust or marble flour) or calcium carbonate


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the glue and water first until completely mixed.
  2. Then add the powdered marble or calcium carbonate to your glue and water mixture and mix until completely integrated. Make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Your clear gesso is now ready to use!

Watch the video below to see details of the recipe and why you would want to use clear gesso for your projects.

6. Clear Gesso with Cornstarch 

This is another great clear gesso recipe. If you can't find the powdered marble or calcium carbonate that you need for the previous recipe, then give this clear gesso recipe a go! This is a great homemade gesso with cornstarch recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 parts glue

2 parts water

1 part cornstarch


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the cornstarch with water first (this prevents clumps from forming).
  2. Then add the glue into the previous mixture and mix really well.
  3. Your clear gesso is now ready to use!

Watch the video below to see more details of this recipe.

Suggestions for Your Homemade Gesso Recipes:

Here are some extra suggestions 

  • Homemade gesso doesn't last as long as the store bought kind so don't make big batches.
  • Adjust the amount of water you use in your recipes to make thicker or thinner gesso.
  • If you want to make black gesso, just substitute the white acrylic paint with a black acrylic paint.
  • Let your gesso dry for at least 24 hours before painting on top of your gessoed surface.
  • Lightly sand your gessoed surface before your start painting on it to remove brushstrokes and imperfections. Wear a respirator when sanding.
  • Wipe your painting surface with a cloth slightly wet with denatured alcohol to remove any gesso dust before painting.

I tried to include a homemade gesso recipe for each different purpose and different budgets. Hopefully one of these recipes works for you. Let me know which one you like the best!


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