Mounting canvas to wood panel

Some artists choose to mount their flexible canvas or paper to rigid supports. One reason is to preserve the painting qualities of canvas or paper while gaining the advantages of painting on a panel. The other is that flexible supports are more susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity that can contribute to deterioration of the paint film over time. Mounting flexible supports like canvas, linen, or paper to an Ampersand wood panel preserves the painting qualities of the canvas or paper while gaining the archival benefits of a panel.

Claybord and Gessobord are the easiest, least labor-intensive choices in archival substrates for mounting. This is because both panels are sealed with Archiva-Seal™ and then primed with acid-free grounds. Hardbord, Unprimed Basswood, and Birch Wood Panel do require sealing (see extra step). Another time saver is to choose a pre-primed canvas or linen so you don’t have to gesso or prime after mounting the fabric to the panel.

There are many ways to mount a flexible support to a panel. The materials suggested can be mixed and matched in order to suit your purposes. For example, you may substitute paper for the canvas or the Lineco adhesive for the Golden Soft Gel Medium. You will develop your own personal preferences.

Materials:

  • Claybord, Gessobord, Hardbord, Unprimed Basswood, or Birch Wood Panel
  • Primed or unprimed canvas or linen
  • Golden® Soft Gel Gloss Medium or Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive
  • Golden® GAC 100 (for sizing Hardbord, Unprimed Basswood, or Birch Wood Panel only)
  • X-Acto™ knife
  • 2" paint brush or trowel
  • Small paint brush
  • Damp cloth or paper towels
  • Rubber brayer or plastic squeegee
  • Large heavy board
  • Water jugs or heavy weights
  • Wax paper

 

Step 1: Begin by trimming the canvas or linen to size. Allow for a 2" overlap around the panel. Note: if you plan to wrap the canvas around the panel, you will need to seal the edges and back of the panel with GAC 100 (see extra step). Otherwise, go to step 2.

 

Step 2: To maximize adhesion, thin the Golden Soft Gel Medium with a little bit of water and apply it over the front of the panel (Lineco is not necessary).

Be sure to coat the sides of the panel so that the fabric adheres properly all the way to the edge. You can apply extra gel medium or glue at the four corners because they are the most vulnerable to lifting. Keep applying medium or glue until you have a fairly thick evenly wet coat. Quickly move to the next step.

 

Step 3: With the canvas or linen face down, position the panel wet glue-side down in the center and press down firmly. Clean any extra glue off the back with a damp towel to prevent your panel from sticking underneath while drying.
 
 
Flip over the canvas together with the panel and go over the surface from the center out using a rubber brayer or squeegee to remove any wrinkles, lumps, or air pockets.
 
 
 
Step 4: Cover the face of the canvas or linen with wax paper and place a heavy larger board over the top. Weight the board down with jugs of water or something heavy and allow it to dry overnight. If you’re doing multiple panels at once, place wax paper in between the panels. Use the larger board with weights at the very top of the stack.
 
 
 
Step 5: The next day, take out your panels and place them one at a time face down on a clean surface for cutting. Using a fresh X-Acto™ knife, cut flush around the edges for a perfect and clean look.
 
 
 
If you are using 1/8" flat panels and would like to wrap your corners, with a small paint brush, apply gel medium or glue to the back where the fabric will overlap and quickly pull the corners in to fold. Brayer or squeegee over the folds to smooth.
 
 
Clean up excess glue with a wet towel. No weight is necessary in this step, but do allow the panel to dry thoroughly. The panels will be safe to paint on or gesso in 1-3 days.
 
 
 

Extra Step: When using Hardbord, Unprimed Basswood, or Birch Wood Panel as your substrate, follow the same instructions above, but add this important step first. It is important to correctly seal all unprimed wood substrates to prevent support-induced discoloration that can cause your paint film to yellow over time.

Apply Golden GAC 100 directly to the Hardbord, Unprimed Basswood, or Birch Wood Panel with the 2" paint brush or trowel. Allow the GAC 100 to dry completely and follow with an additional coat. Do not sand between layers. Before applying the adhesive in Step 2, allow the GAC 100 to dry for 1-3 days so that the sealer can coalesce into a uniform film for maximum protection.
 

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