How To Sand Canvas After Gesso

While it may appear tedious, sanding a canvas after applying gesso is a crucial step in the painting process. This aids in achieving a flawless and uniform surface, ideal for both painting and drawing. This blog outlines the straightforward process for effectively sanding your gessoed canvas.

Why Sanding Canvas After Gesso?

First things first, why do we need to sand our canvas after applying gesso? The answer is simple. Gesso is a primer that helps paint to adhere to the canvas. However, it can also leave a textured surface that interrupts the smooth strokes of your painting.

Sanding your canvas after applying gesso gives your canvas the texture of finely-woven fabric, allowing your brush to glide smoothly across the canvas. This gives you more freedom and control in your brush strokes and allows for a more refined finish.

Materials Needed

  • Gessoed Canvas
  • Fine-grit Sandpaper (220 grit or higher)
  • Tack Cloth or Damp Cloth
  • Respiratory Mask (optional)


Before you start sanding, it’s important to let your gessoed canvas dry fully. If you’re using acrylic gesso, a drying time of 24 hours is ideal. As a precaution, ensure the room is well-ventilated or wear a respiratory mask to avoid inhaling the gesso dust.

Steps to Sand Canvas After Gesso

  1. Start by lightly sanding the canvas. Gently rub your sandpaper over the canvas in a circular motion. Make sure that you cover the entire surface. Remember, your goal is not to remove the gesso but to smooth it out.
  2. Wipe the surface clean. After sanding, wipe the canvas with a tack cloth or a damp cloth to remove any gesso dust. This ensures a clean surface for your upcoming painting session.
  3. Inspect the canvas. Look closely at the canvas to ensure that it’s as smooth as you want it to be. If it’s not, repeat the sanding and cleaning process until you get your desired result.

And there you have it! A simple yet effective way to sand your canvas after applying gesso. Remember, the goal of sanding is not to remove the gesso, but to smooth it out for a better painting experience. Happy painting!