Saturday, July 05, 2008

Making Affordable Canvas Panels.....

I've made canvas panels before and posted on my Blog about it with pics. If you want to read about that go back into the archives. I've made some new ones using a different method...much faster and cheaper.
Making your own canvas covered panels requires whatever wood panel you choose, I used Untempered Masonite panel, Glue, Canvas...and that's it! You can also use MDF, Birch, Luan's up to you.
I had to go to a small lumber yard to find the Untempered masonite by the sheet. You can't get it at Home Depot I've looked. Seems they only carry Tempered masonite now. The difference is the oil impregnated in tempered Masonite. There is a possiblility it could leach into your oil paint....I honestly feel the jury is out on that belief though. I have used it and sanded the oiled surface off before gluing on the canvas so very little oil would even contact the glue...which dries hard of course and then any oil that got to that would have to soak through the canvas...and the gesso and then finally make it to the oil paint. That's a lot of travelling and ask yourself this...have you ever met an artist you personally know who has ever had this happen to them? I don't.
So, to play it safe I found my supply for 3/16" thick Untempered masonite. How do I know it is Untempered...because the sign said so and of course it is much lighter in color than Tempered masonite which is a very dark brown color.
Anyway, all you do is cut up the masonite to whatever size panels you want. You really don't want large panels because once you frame them they can get pretty heavy. You don't want your painting to come flying off the wall dragging a hunk of plaster or drywall with it in your customers house right? stay small. Maybe 20" X 20", 16"X 20", and anything smaller. I made 8"x10", 9"x12", 11"x14", 12"x16", and 12"x24"s.....all from that one large sheet of masonite. can read an awful lot on what type to use. Theres Gak100, Miracle Muck, YES Paste, Lascaux 498. Whatever you really can afford. You can find more info on some of these products on the Judsens Guerilla Painter website, Makers of fine pochade boxes.
This time I decided to go with just normal ordinary Elmers White Glue....why? I've recently run into a pretty mega bucks painter who has been using it for problem. Also, I read a book by another mega bucks painter who is well known throughout the globe and he uses it. Good enough for me. Rabbit skin glue? They have recently found out that there is some sort of mold that develops in that glue and I'm sure it will become an no rabbit skin glue for me.
Canvas...whatever weight you choose. I used Fredericks brand cotton duck. Affordable.

The process is simple, cut your panels to size, apply your glue and lay the canvas on with your hands to flatten it and then stack something on top of it to weight it down while it is drying.
Here are some pics to show how I did it this time.....

Here is the panel cut to size. This time I decided to apply the glue to the rough back side leaving the smooth side for the back of the finished panel....just looks better. Behind is my canvas pre-cut 1'' or more larger than my panel. Also are some drying 9"x12"'s with weights on top of a scrap piece of panel.

I then applied the glue pretty evenly with one of those throwaway brushes that was wet to ease spreading the glue out.

Then you just lay your canvas on top of that and smooth it out with your hand....I also rolled a brayer over it to roll it as flat as possible. Not necessary if you don't have one but if you do it helps. If you buy one get a wide one. Mine is pretty small but did the job.

Then you let it dry. I do a bunch at one time, stack them and put a scrap piece on top with whatever weights I can can use books too. The Elmers dries in an 1-2 hours but you can leave it overnight for extra measure. Then you just trim it. Lay the panel canvas side down and use the edge of the panel as a guide while you cut off the excess canvas with a utility knife.

These have a great tight bond and look very similar to a very famous brand of panels that cost much, much more.
Cool edges huh? If I had tons of money I'd just buy them but since I don't making them is a very practical alternative....and it is very easy!


Canvas Republic said...

Nice work Ron!!

Ron Guthrie said...

You're welcome CR! Thanks for popping in to have a look.