Reese Tipis has a full-service paint department. With over 33 years experience in painting tipis, and more experience painting canvas, our artists can customize a tipi paint job to meet your dreams.
When we first started making tipis (over 33 years ago), we knew nothing about painting them. We did, however have a lot of experience painting banners and signs on canvas. We had already learned that poster paints, latex house paints, and oil paints become stiff when they dry. Heavy applications of paint, after drying, are so stiff that if the banner is folded flat and creased, it is possible to fracture the fabric and weaken it.
Because of this, we always cautioned our customers to roll their signs and banners for transport, rather than fold them flat.
We knew not 'what to do' when we decided to paint our first tipi but we knew 'what not to do'. The commercial painters we called knew nothing about painting on a tipi. Most of our artist friends, who purchased canvas from us for paintings, stretched their canvas and coated it with gesso (a filler and surface preparation) before painting. This gave them a firm "stiff" surface. With this treatment they had to be even more careful not to fold the canvas. But a tipi owner "must" fold the tipi for transport, and a paint is needed that will allow the fabric to be folded without any harm to the paint of the fabric.
When we began asking questions about paint for tipis, the owner of one of our local artist supply galleries was able to give us the right answer. And the answer is; "Water soluble artist's acrylic paints".
These paints can be thinned with water or with acrylic mediums furnished by the manufacturer. They can be mixed together for a variety of effects. When dry, they are permanent, water resistant and flexible - - just what the medicine man ordered. And brushes can be cleaned with soap and water. Caution: do not apply paint too thickly - thin it down and do some tests. We offer free canvas scraps to any customer who has purchased a Reese Tipi and wishes to paint it themselves.
These paints can be found in almost any store that sells artists paints and in the school supply section of many department stores. We currently use GOLDEN Fluid Acrylic Colors. This product line is supplied in a large variety of colors. It is available in 1 oz, to 1 gallon bottles.
Golden paints has tested all of the paints we use on our canvases and recommended specific pigments that are more resistant to the effects of UV exposure. We never use any of the toxic pigments such as those with heavy metals.
Call our artists and they can assist you in developing the perfect paint job for your tipi. View some of our past sketches on our Painting Ideas page or visit our Tipi Picture Galleries