Description/Application

  • Gesso is used to prepare canvas for painting. It is very similar to white acrylic paint, only thinner. It dries hard, making the surface more stiff. 1

Resources

  • Gesso consists primarily of calcium carbonate and a synthetic compound known as acrylic polymer latex. 3 This is derived from petroleum and formed through a chemical emulsion process. 5

Environment

  • Petroleum required to make this product contributes to fossil fuel extraction, damaging wildlife habitats and contaminating waterways.

Human Health

  • May cause skin irritation. Avoid ingestion and contact with eyes, and wash hands thoroughly.

Safe Use and Exposure

  • Avoid skin contact, use gloves. Closed containers can explode violently when heated, due to excessive pressure build-up.4

Proper disposal

  • Acrylic polymers should not go down the drain as they cause difficulties for waste-water treatment processes. Dispose of the material as solid waste, or donate usable gesso to the givetake. 7

Safe Alternatives

  • Soy-based gesso is made from organic material. The properties of soy-based gesso are the same as acrylic gesso. 2

Sources

  1. “What is Gesso?”, Art is Fun, http://bit.ly/1nx8oa5
  2. “Gesso”, Wikipedia, http://bit.ly/2h27jFx
  3. “What is Gesso and How to Make Your Own Gesso”, Our Daily Craft, http://bit.ly/2he7Ln3
  4. Liquitex Acrylic Gesso White MSDS, http://bit.ly/2gNllwu
  5. NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS NOTIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT SCHEME Acrylic Polymer Latex WB-111, http://bit.ly/2gzxr9S
  6. “Latex,” How Products are Made, http://bit.ly/2g6OKy0
  7. “How To Dispose of Acrylic Paint Rinse Water”, How to Mosaic, http://bit.ly/2h2ev4C