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All Things Ampersand

Painting on Panel: Cradling and Supports

Cradled panels in the warehouse

In order to give a panel extra support, many artists produce a bracing system (cradling) for their panels. While this is not an option for solid wood panels due to their expansion and contraction over time, manufactured panels are structurally sound enough to be cradled. For panels over 24″ cradling is advised. 

Elaine and Veronica inspecting panels

Cradles are generally a separate unit the size of the panel that is attached to the back using carpenters glue and C-clamps. Larger size cradles will generally have cross-braces, much like stretcher bars for canvas. When choosing a wood for your cradle, it’s best to go with high quality multi-ply plywood, as this will give you the best protection against warping. Solid woods are to be avoided, as they have a uniform grain that will warp over time in a thin strip. Do not nail or screw the cradle onto the panel, or you will have a blemished surface that is certain to deteriorate over time. 

Save yourself the trouble of all this carpentry work by using an Ampersand cradled panel. 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 carefully made by hand in Buda, Texas. 
Ampersand Claybord and Gessobord panels are now available in a new 1.5″ Cradle Profile that offers you more flexibility for hanging and framing your 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.

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

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