How to Prepare Rabbit Skin Glue for "sizing" a Canvas




Introduction: How to Prepare Rabbit Skin Glue for "sizing" a Canvas

I made this instructable because I could not find good recipies anywhere on the internet. Every method I tried did not work for me. After much trial and error I have settled on this method.
Rabbit skin Glue or "sizing" your canvas is good step to do before gesso to futher prevent your painting from cracking. Most people skip this step and go straight to gesso.
This recipe should make enough glue to cover an area of 400-500 sq inches of canvas surface.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Equipment

1)Rabbit Skin Glue
2)Distilled Water
3)Formaldehyde Solution (optional)

1)Baby bottle warmer
3)Coffe Mug warmer
5) One jar that will fit inside the can.
6)A tin can big enough to fit on the mug warmer
5)1"-2" Paint brush. large enough to fit in your jar.

Step 2: Prepare Mug Warmer

First add regular tap water to the can (about a 1/3 full)and place it on the mug warmer.Turn it on and let it heat up. Use Hot tap water so it takes less time to warm up.

Step 3: Warm Up Distilled Water

This is where I differ from the common advice at this step. Most recipies say to mix the RSG granuals with the distilled water and let it sit until it becomes jelly.
I throw that rule out the window. Instead I first mix the water and formaldehyde together in the jar, give a little stir and then place the jar in the bottle warmer.
*Formaldahyde is optional but if you use it ,use no more than 5ml for 100ml of distilled water. It will give off a vapour as soon as it is poured and while it heats so I recommend gloves,a mask and ventilation when handling formaldahyde.

The ratio of RSG to water Is 10:1. I used 100g of water and 10g of glue. 1g=1ml
Now place your thermometor in the mixture until it reaches a temp of 50°C or 120°F (this may be quick depending on your bottle warmer) and then stir in the RSG granuals. Do not let the temp exceed 55°C or 125°F.
Then transfer the jar to the mug warmer and keep stiring until completly disolved.
Do this in a well ventelated area and maybe wear a mask if you opt to add formaldehyde. Its also recommended to wear rubber gloves when handling formaldehyde.

Step 4: Apply to Canvas

Apply to canvas while the solution is hot. The can on the mug warmer should keep the solution in temperature range. The desired consistency should be like watery syrup and sticky i recommend doing this stage quickly.
Allow it to dry overnight before appling gesso.

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    Uncle Kudzu
    Uncle Kudzu

    4 years ago

    Would you do this before applying acrylic primer/gesso?


    Reply 4 years ago

    I paint with oils but I use acrylic gesso to prime after sizing. I would recommend it for any medium you use to paint in and for whatever you use to prime. It works like a sealant layer for the canvas preventing the fibers from soaking up gesso which can cause it to crack.