Question Regarding Rabbit Skin Glue

Ask the Colourman ,

Question: How do you use Rabbit Skin Glue to prime a canvas? — Andy
Michael: Rabbit Skin Glue is the traditional painting surface that that has been in use for centuries. Simply add water to the granules at a ratio of approximately 8 parts water to one part granules, and allow to stand…

14 Responses to “Question Regarding Rabbit Skin Glue”

October 14, 2016 at 3:44 pm, Teresa said:

Can your foundation white be used on a flexible stretched canvas or should it only be used on panels?


November 01, 2016 at 3:38 pm, Austin Schneider said:

Hello Teresa,

Our Foundation White can be used on both.


October 17, 2016 at 1:27 pm, victoria said:

Dear Michael, could you tell me if the following instructions are correct for the preparation and application of:


Soak granules in cold water overnight
12 parts granules to one part water.
40g granules – 1.137 litres of water

In ban marie, heat the mixture with hot water (70c) stirring occasionally and gently.
2 oz – to pints

Once melted, set aside to cool fully.

Should have consistency of apple sauce (rough and uneven)

Re-heat to ensure even distribution. NEVER BOIL
Brush on in short strokes, avoiding back and forth movements and not going over covered areas.

Dry flat and naturally. – 12 hours

many thanks


November 01, 2016 at 3:35 pm, Austin Schneider said:

Hello Victoria,

That should be fine but don’t be afraid to put a little more rabbit skin glue in.


September 18, 2018 at 3:42 am, John Clifton said:

Hello. Can I paint straight onto rabbit glue once dried with oils ? Or should I use gesso first.


September 26, 2018 at 10:58 am, Michael said:

Hi John,

Thank you for your question.

You can paint straight on RSG but do not put acrylic primers on RSG

Best Wishes


April 09, 2019 at 11:29 am, Michael said:

If applied directly to aluminium it might scratch off easily I suggest you test it yourself first.


December 21, 2018 at 7:56 pm, ‘Josephine josephsen said:

Hi, I am using RSG with gilder’s whiting for gold leaf egg tempera work. I would like the surface to be softer for tooling on the gold leaf. Should I make the glue weaker by adding more water to the mix?


January 02, 2019 at 12:26 pm, Michael said:

I’m sorry I don’t have experience with this technique I suggest conducting your own experiments.


July 29, 2019 at 12:37 am, Lynn said:

The lead primer came through my 2 coats of rabbit skin glue that I applied just as I always have, although I sanded and I can’t remember if I sanded those other times


July 29, 2019 at 10:22 am, Michael said:

Hi there,

Were you using a very light linen with an open weave? Sometimes it’s best to apply RSG as a cold gel by hand. I presume you mean through to the back of the canvas?
Always wear a mask if sanding, sanding lead white really should be avoided at all costs. It might also be illegal where you are so be careful


July 30, 2019 at 3:48 pm, Lynn said:

It is belle arti portrait grade and it says it is a tight weave but yes, it is thin and see through, so I should use rag in gel form? would I need 3 coats?


April 11, 2022 at 5:34 pm, Jim Prokell said:

Can you apply RSG to the back of a FINISHED painted canvas to eliminate stretch marks and subtle buckles


April 12, 2022 at 1:32 pm, Michael said:

It would be better to apply a little warm water with a sponge, tighten the wedges and allow to dry. This removes dents and such like.


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