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claybord - Ampersand wood panel with a kaolin clay painting surface
claybord wordtype logo

Superior Performance with Mixed Media!

Museum Series Claybord is made using 1/8" true artist hardboard and features Ampersand’s simply amazing kaolin clay ground formula similar in paintability to the clay gesso grounds used during the Renaissance. The surface is sanded to an ULTRA-smooth, highly absorbent finish so your paint colors remain true and brilliant. Work the surface by thinly applying paint or ink, then remove it, reapply it, even scratch through it to add contrast, texture and fine details. Claybord is a favorite of both fine and graphic artists. Only Ampersand builds their cradles by hand with premium grade 13-ply birch plywood for maximum stability and a clean, finished look from edge to edge. Choose from 3/4", 1.5" and 2" Deep, all made in the USA.

We used to recommend Claybord for encaustic painting. Now we have a surface called Encausticbord that is rigid, absorbent, heat resistant and made especially for the unique demands of encaustic painting.

New 1.5" Profile!

Ampersand Claybord panels are now available in a 1.5" Cradle Profile that offers more flexibility to artists for hanging and framing their work. Featuring a 1.5" total depth, this new cradle profile is handcrafted with premium grade 13-ply birch plywood, designed to fit both standard canvas and floater frames. The cradle can easily be painted or stained to complement the artwork or primed with gesso to wrap the image around the edges.

For ideas on how to treat the edges of the cradle, consult this article on hanging and framing.

Why Choose Ampersand?

No other panel on the market protects an artist’s work like an Ampersand panel. Every Claybord panel is protected by our proprietary Archival-Seal barrier technology, the most advanced formula for sealing wood that prevents support induced discoloration. Only Ampersand uses true high-density hardboard made from US-grown renewable Aspen wood fibers. Claybord is archival, eco-friendly, formaldehyde-free and made by hand in the USA. Read more about the hardboard we use and why we’ve found it to be a better substrate.

About painting on Claybord

Apply paint and ink using brushes, sponges, palette knives, paper towels, airbrush, technical pens and painting tools. Claybord is also an excellent printing surface and can also be used for image transfers.

With Claybord, paints and inks can be manipulated to vary tonal value, create detail and to develop highlights and correct mistakes. Various artist tools can be used such as Ampersand scratchboard tools, hobby knives, razor blades, etching tools, sand paper, oil-free steel wool, and electric erasers. Claybord's clay coating allows for the use of sgraffito techniques to cut into the surface and re-expose the white clay ground. The coating is 7 to 10 dry-mils thick allowing for multiple cut-ins or erasers. The smooth finish and the absorbency of the clay ground allows the use of an abrasive like oil-free steel wool or sand paper to remove pigment without damaging the finish. Claybord’s inventor Charles Ewing demonstrates his process for using India inks in an additive and subtractive process here.

While Claybord allows the use of traditional materials, tools, and techniques, it is also an ideal surface for mixed media and experimentation. Details can be added, highlights created, and mistakes corrected.

More Info on Using Claybord

wood panel cradle detail

Standard Sizes Available

1/8" flat
4x4-­4pk
5x5-­4pk
5x7-­3pk
6x6-­4pk
6x8-­3pk
8x8
8x10
9x12
10x10
11x14
12x12
12x16
12x24
14x18
16x16
16x20
18x24
18x36
24x36
3/4" cradled
5x5
6x6
8x8
8x10
9x12
10x10
11x14
12x12
12x16
12x24
14x18
16x20
18x24
18x36
24x36
1 1/2" cradled
5x5
6x6
8x8
8x10
9x12
10x10
11x14
12x12
12x16
16x16
16x20
18x24
20x24
20x30
22x28
24x24
24x30
24x36
30x30
30x36
2" cradled
5x5
6x6
6x8
6x12
6x18
6x24
8x8
8x10
8x16
8x24
9x12
10x10
10x20
10x30
11x14
12x12
12x16
12x24
12x36
16x16
16x20
18x24
24x24
24x30
24x36
30x30
30x40
36x36
36x48

For information about custom sizes please contact us at bords@ampersandart.com

Artwork in the banner at the top of this page is a detail by Andrea Pramuk, acrylics and ink on claybord.