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How to use the KEBAartmate

KEBAartmate stretching the imagination






The KEBA artmate



The quick no pre-drying method



The pre-drying method



KEBAartmate without the art base



KEBAartmate trouble shooting



Care and maintenance



Improve your watercolour technique



Product assortment





Copyright Š KEBA Sweden AB


The KEBAartmate The KEBAartmate has been carefully designed by the artist Ben Haslam and his collegue Karl Haida. The patented product gives all artists a unique and truly practical solution to an age-old problem. KEBA Sweden AB has developed and produced the KEBAartmate in Sweden under an approved quality process. All products that are produced at Keba have a warranty of 5 years. Be prepared to experiment and adapt the KEBAartmate to your own personal technique. In no time at all, you will be able to enjoy a new found creative freedom with paper like never before.

The artist Ben Haslam with a painting in the KEBAartmate


The quick no pre-drying method Use this method when you are inspired to paint straight away. 1. Open the frames of the KEBAartmate, using the winding key provided, wind back the bolts until they stop. Open the frames.

2. Place the paper face down in the Kebaartmate and wet the back of the paper. Allow to soak until paper is soft.

For a guide to soaking times, use the table in the appendix


3. Turn the paper over so the dry side is up, wet only the edges of the paper and close the frames, making sure that the paper lies between the 2 marker lines at each corner. 4. Use the winding key with even turns on each bolt until the paper is flat, use it during the painting for tension control.

You are now ready to start painting! 5

The pre-drying method Use this method if you intend to paint at a later period. 1. Open the frames of the KEBAartmate, using the winding key provided, wind back the bolts until they stop. Open the frames.

2. Place the paper in the KEBAartmate and wet both sides of the paper. Allow to soak until the paper is really soft.

For a guide to soaking times, use the table in the appendix


3. Make sure the paper is face up (see watermark), close the frames ensuring that the paper lies square between the 2 marker lines at each corner.

4. Important Go clockwise around the frame using the winding key with one full turn on each bolt at a time until they are in the fully down position. Avoid over tightening.

Allow to dry before use! 7

Using the KEBAartmate without the art base The KEBAartmate can also be used very successfully without the art base. The option is to prepare the paper rather like a drum skin, for reduction of weight perhaps when on a painting expedition and for ease of transport. It also allows the product to be used very successfully and quickly for: 路Stretching pre-primed artist canvas 路Stretching silk for painting and for batik work 路Stretching tapestry materials


When stretching materials: 1. Simply ensure that the fabric is cut to the right size, as with paper and as marked on the frame member 2. Open the frame members 3. Place a book in the centre of the frame to give support to the fabric 4. Square up and lower in the fabric, engage the frame members 5. Turn the bolts in even 陆 turns until the fabric is tight (a fine spray of water to silk works well to give it extra tightness once dried) Using the product without the art base also gives freedom to the user to: 路Create different shapes from a collection of the 3 sizes available 路Up to 8 different shapes from 3 (including the collection) 路Up to 4 shapes from 2 (including the 2 collected) Not recommended when stretching paper at full Imperial size but acceptable for Imperial panoramas.


How to detach the art base from the KEBAartmate. Using the winding key provided, unscrew 2 retaining bolts that secure the shortest frame to one side only of the longest frames. Put the removed short frame to side and slide out the art base. Relocate the short frame member and secure the bolts. To make multiple sizes from your collection of KEBAartmates all frame members will have to be detached from the Art Base.


KEBAartmate trouble shooting Frequently asked questions 1. Paper continues to bulge and lift in the maximum down position. Answer 1 The paper might be too small. An edge of the sheet of paper may not have been in full contact with moving frame members and the tension controllers. By looking at the exposed corner pieces you can check that the paper is big enough, that it is near square and evenly engaged over the flexible tubes. The paper should ideally be positioned halfway between the etched marker lines on all the moving frame members. Answer 2 Paper needs time to expand. Try soaking the brand of paper for longer, allowing it to stand a little before winding the key. Note: it is easy to remove the painting from the KEBAartmate during the session. Re-wet the back of the work quickly at any time, re-position and then wind down the key as in method A to re-stretch. Answer 3 You may be winding the key with too large a turn, keep between Âź to full turns at a time on all bolts.


2. I’ve taken my finished painting out and it has buckled up! Answer You have not dried the painting off fully before undoing the bolts. Resolve by wetting the back of the painting lightly, re-position and wind as instructed with the key until the paper is flat. Allow to fully dry off before removing the work. Note: if a slight twist occurs to the completed work on removal, often it is only the rim of waste paper around the edge of the sheet that is still damp. Simply remove the waste paper above the fold with scissors and the painting will be completely flat, ready for framing. If you have any further questions about how to use our KEBAartmate please send them to and we will get back to you with an answer.


Care and maintenance of my KEBAartmate Occasionally take time to dissemble the KEBAartmate and clean it in mild soapy water, this will ensure freedom of hinges and trouble free painting. A touch of machine oil on bolt housings will ensure that they travel freely. Reposition any flexible tubing that has come loose from its housing by simply running a plastic credit type card, finger nail or blunt rounded knife carefully between and along the tubes fixing flap and the rim of the alloy rebate housing. Avoid over-tightening the bolts and back-winding when the bolts are in the locked upper position.


Improve your watercolour technique By Ben Haslam BA Fine Art watercolorist 1. Use a Slant Well Tile Palette. This kind of palette was used by the great masters and allows you to pre-mix a reasonable quantity of the watercolours needed for the different stages of a painting. As well as keeping the mixes separate, it also prevents the artist from running out of colour in the middle of an approach. Creating a well of colour allows the brush to be submerged in paint and potentially filled to its maximum (see Brushes). It also helps to reduce the evaporation of pre-mixes, unlike 14

a flat tile. The slant allows you to see the consistency of paint as it runs from the top down into the well. It also has an area to store tube colour opposite each slant well. This kind of palette prevents accidental spills of colour into pre mixes when moving over to the painting. Use at least two tiles: one for all blues, blue/reds, violets and greys and one for yellows, orange/reds, greens and browns. 2. Mixing colour. Start by adding clean water to each well, and then mix into that. Remember black is nothing and white is nothing. Learn to mix different greys, try for e.g. Viridian green and Alizarin crimson (complementary colours). 3. Start mixing the palest colour first. Usually the yellows. 4. Brushes. Use as big brush as possible. Don’t give in to small brushes, learn to handle a larger size 12 or 14 as these are good for most painting. They 15

will produce a much better point when filled with colour and remain dominant over the washes you are applying, helping you to avoid siphoning the colour you are applying back into the brush. Use natural hairbrushes like Sable, Squirrel, Goat or Hog. Sable/ Sablene blends are often more versatile than pure sable and better value. 5. Brush handling. When applying a wash, consider travelling the brush hairs in the handles direction. For e.g. when applying a graded wash left to right, lay the brush horizontal. You will find the colour will go on better and you will prevent wear and tear of the brush. 16

6. Drawing with paint. Learn to paint from the arm and body, not from the wrist. Think of the fingers as only a kind of clamp. By doing this you will gain complete control over the brush.

7. Clean water. Use a large tub container to hold water and big enough to stand a small cup within. Use the large pot for swilling the brush and the small for clean water. 17

8. When painting trees: You will find it much easier to paint tree branches with a reed pen. Easy to make from garden cane, take a length, simply cut an angle of about 45 degrees, chamfer in the sides to make different size nibs. Finish by splitting the nib down the middle with a sharp knife. Load the pen nib with a brush using an inky solution of watercolour. Don’t forget to draw with the arm! A narrow nose palette knife works well also. 9. Plan your painting. Go through a dress rehearsal before starting any stage of your painting, be sure you know how and where you want to finish. How are you going to get there? 10. Check that the brush is clean. The easiest thing to forget in painting. Get into the habit of cleaning off the brush between different mixes. Empty out the excess water before going into the next wash or you will end up watering down everything.


The product assortment

Art. No


External size


KEBAartmate 1/4 imperial

345mm x 445mm


KEBAartmate 1/2 imperial

445mm x 620mm


KEBAartmate 1/1 Imperial

620mm x 820mm


Appendix Type of paper


Bockingford Style 140LB

4+ min

Bockingford Style 90LB

3+ min

Artist’s /Rag140LB

4+ min

Artist’s /Rag90LB

3 min

*Cartridge /Pastel Papers

30 sec

*When using cartridge and other lightweight papers it is recommended to wet the intended painting side only, wind down and dry off before use. You will find an updated copy of this information on our web site Please visit for the latest version. Retailer

Date of purchase/Sign.


Kebaartmate catalog instructions  
Kebaartmate catalog instructions  

How to use the KEBAartmate paper stretcher. More information at