Sizing with Whiting in the 1930s

The following excerpt is from “Scenery, a Manual of Scene Design” by Harold Helvenston (1931, page 55)

“Sizing is made by putting into a large bucket about three-quarters of a bucket of dry whiting, allowing water to flow easily into the bucket while a stirring rod or stick is used vigorously to dissolve the lumps and make an evenly consistent paste.  Three or four small cups of glue are then added to this mixture for binding purposes and enough water is added to insure the proper consistency for the easy use of the brush,  the amount of glue is variable and is usually determined by each individual painter in the preparation of sizing…if there is too little glue the paint will crack and if there is too much the sizing will stretch the canvas or cloth too tightly.  The whiting serves to fill the pores of the fabric and the glue acts as a binder to stretch it tightly on the frame.”


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