Painting on panel: Cradling and supports
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 inches cradling is advised.
Cradles are a separate unit the size of the panel that is attached to the back using carpenter's glue and C-clamps. Larger size cradles 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. This will give you a blemished surface that is certain to deteriorate over time.
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