Compulsive Craftiness Logo
This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We are reader-supported. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. This doesn't affect which products are included in our content. It helps us pay to keep this site free to use while providing you with expertly-researched unbiased recommendations.
The Best

Gesso Primer

Liquitex Professional Gesso Surface Prep Medium, Clear, 4-oz
  • Fluid in nature
  • Reduce viscosity of heavier paints and gels
  • Includes 4-oz / 118ml bottle of medium
  • Intermixable with Liquitex Professional Acrylic Paint Colors and...

Buyer's Guide: Gesso Primer

A Guide to Gesso Primer Buying

We'll look at what type of primers are recommended for what surface and what grade of primer is required for the type of paint you have. At the end of this article, you'll be armed with the information you need to make an informed decision about your gesso primer purchases.

Let's begin by looking at some of the basic ingredients and properties that are found in gesso primer. It is made primarily from silica, calcium carbonate, iron phosphate, and potassium nitrate. In order to make it's effective, these compounds must be mixed with water. Colors usually range from light silver-gray to pale yellow or brown. When mixed with water, gesso primer doesn't just stick to the surface it bonds to; it also gives a gradual drag to the color, making it easier to blend with the rest of the paint.

A strong bond is sometimes required to prevent runs and streaks when using gesso primer. The grain structure of the material is such that a thin layer will form along the surface of the primer itself, while a thick overlying layer will form at the base of the primer. The color will gradually change throughout the drying process as the overlying layer builds up and dries. If you don't want your paint to change shades in the process of curing it, wait until the last minute to prime your surfaces.

One of the main reasons why you might use gesso primer is because you want to avoid the risk of having surface colors run when painting. By applying the material as early as possible and allowing it to dry, you can ensure that the color you're working on is as close to the one you desire as possible. Gesso comes in various strengths and densities, and there's likely to be one that's right for the type of surface you're dealing with.

As mentioned above, gesso comes in different strengths and forms. Some forms of gesso are meant to simply seal your surface, while others have a stronger bonding capability. For example, there are two types of gesso meant to be sprayed directly on the surface, and these are often referred to as hard and soft gessos, respectively. Hard gessos are stronger and should only be used for extremely hard surfaces like stainless steel or very large pieces of glass. Soft gessos are generally used for more delicate surfaces, as they tend to bond more easily to the surface and tend to be less durable in the long run.

The first step in purchasing a gesso primer is to read up on the various types available. If you're a beginner, you can start simply by picking up a few cans of gesso paint or gesso powder. If you're looking to apply a more durable application, you can choose a heavier grade of gesso primer. You can purchase gesso primer in two different forms: in a liquid form and in a solid form. If you're working on delicate surfaces like a marble countertop or wooden floor, it may be better to go with a liquid mixture rather than the solid kind, as you can apply it more quickly.

Before you can start applying your gesso primer, you need to prepare the surface you're going to work on. Since this is a strong adhesive, you need to make sure that the surface you're working on is clean and smooth. A mild detergent and water wash on the surface you're working on will do. Then use a wood grinder to sand the surface. Never scrub any area of the gesso because you risk the gesso becoming weak. The idea is to allow the gesso to bond better to the surrounding area so that you don't have to sand continuously.

Once you've cleaned up the surface, you're ready to start applying your gesso primer. Start applying small dots of gesso onto the surface you've worked with, paying particular attention to the areas where you'll need to cover. Gesso primer is very easy to apply, and a little goes a long way. If you don't get a perfect coat on the first try, just keep applying until you get an acceptable level. It's possible to finish your project relatively fast with a gesso primer.