How to connect cradled panels

If you are working with multiple Ampersand cradle panels, bolting together the panels is an inventive way to present your work.


  • Ampersand 2" cradle panels (any surface)
  • Clamps
  • Crescent and socket wrenches
  • Electric or cordless drill
  • 7/16" drill bit
  • 3/8" x 2" hex bolts
  • 3/8" nuts and washers
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or tape measure


Bolting small panels together (12x12 and smaller)

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


Step 2: 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.

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. 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.


Step 3: 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 brush away any debris.


Step 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.


Bolting large panels together

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 inches. For this demonstration, we used two 6x24 panels mounted to one 18x24 panel, creating a 24x30 panel in three sections. Since the piece was tall and narrow, we used two bolts.

When you are working with larger panels, keep the panels clamped together tightly while drilling the holes through both panels simultaneously. Follow the same step 4 above to bolt the panels together.

Andrea Pramuk, Climbing Out, oil on Ampersand Gessobord


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