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All Things Ampersand

How to Connect Cradled Panels

For artists working with multiple Ampersand DEEP cradle panels, bolting together their own panels is an inventive way to present their work. If you can drill a hole and have a little patience, bolting panels together and mounting hanging hardware is really no big deal.

Figure 1a


Bolting small panels together
(ex. 12˝x12˝ and smaller)

Bolting Materials List
Ampersand DEEP cradle panels
Crescent & socket wrenches
Electric or cordless drill
7/16˝ drill bit
3/8˝ x 2˝ hex bolts
3/8˝ nuts & washers
Pencil & ruler/tape measure

Step 1: Decide how the painting should be assembled.
Next, lay the pieces face down on a soft cloth or towel so as not to damage the painting surface. Caution! When turning the painting sections over, make sure you have arranged them correctly from top to bottom and left to right. Double-check again before drilling holes.

Figure 1b


Step 2: Measuring the placement of the holes. Line up the panels flush and hold them in place with clamps if necessary. Measure the center of the cradle frame and pencil-mark the two panels that are to be connected (fig. 1a). Unclamp the panels and measure the center of the side of the cradle from top to bottom using your center mark from the backs of the panel as your guide (fig. 1b). Placing the holes in the center of the side of the cradle will prevent the panels from pulling forward or pulling backward and will keep the panels perfectly flat.

Figure 2


Step 3: Drill the holes (fig. 2)
You may want to adjust the size of your holes and the size of your bolts depending on the size of your panels. For this demonstration on both the large and small panels, we used a 7/16” drill bit. Important: Drill the hole from the outside of the cradle to the inside. Repeat this process for all the cradles. The hole will be larger than the bolt so that you have some “wiggle room” for shoring up the panels. Sand the holes if necessary and vacuum or brush away any debris.

Figure 3


Step 4: Bolt the panels together (fig. 3-4)
We used a 3/8˝ x 2˝ bolt, one 3/8˝ washer and one 3/8˝ nut. Insert the bolt through the holes of both the panels to be connected. Put the washer over the end of the bolt and then attach the nut. Make sure the panels are flush together and adjust if necessary. Tighten the nut with a socket or crescent wrench while holding the bolt steady with a second crescent wrench. Repeat this process until all the panels are connected. Test the tightness of each connection to be sure they are completely secure. 

Figure 4


Bolting larger panels together (ex. 24˝x 24˝ and larger, fig. 5)
Larger panels may require more bolts if you’re assembling them into a straight line so as to prevent twisting. A general rule to follow is one bolt every 12˝-16˝. For this demonstration, we used two 6˝x 24˝ panels mounted to one 18˝x24 panel, creating a 24˝x30˝ panel in three sections. Since the piece was tall and narrow, two bolts seemed a logical choice. When you are working with larger panels, keep the panels clamped together tightly while drilling the holes through both panels simultaneously as illustrated in Figure 5. Follow the same step 4 above (fig. 3-4) to bolt the panels together.  

Any technical questions you might have about this process, feel free to contact me. Thank you for using Ampersand panels for your art; we appreciate your support!

Andrea Pramuk
Marketing Director & Artist
Ampersand Art Supply 

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