Do you make your own boards?

I usually use commercially prepared boards. Occasionally I will make my own from hardboard that I get from the local building supply store when I am running low on supplies. I put gesso on with a drywall trowel in order to get a smooth surface. The resulting surface works for me but I have always wondered whether this is acceptable. Does anyone have concerns about selling oil paintings using DIY boards?

I use boards prepared by hubby. And canvas and boards from DickBlick, and no one has ever said anything. Most of the time you can’t tell the difference on the boards, every once in a while there is a slight wonky mark on the edge…I just gesso and move on. :smile:
But then again, my art is pretty low priced.

I paint still life on MDF panels (6mm) that I prepare myself.

Here’s an elaborate explanation on how I prepare them:
Blogpost on how I prepare my panels

1 Like

I make my own boards using linen glued to a hardboard panel. More recently I use gessoed boards commercial and my own ones, using only quality gesso and primers. It’s time consuming but I see it as part of the creative process.

I make my own. Either canvas glued with Yes glue onto Masonite, or I gesso Masonite. Sometimes I put gesso on with a palette knife to give the panel texture. I’m about to try canvas glued onto acid free foam core panels. It’ll be very light weight and something I can cut myself. (Yes glue is flexible, acid free and thinned with warm water to apply. That allows the canvas to be easily removed and mounted onto something else if needed.) good luck!

1 Like

Thank you, Johan, for your blog post!

Usually I buy my boards pre-cut, because I am such a klutz that I’m sure I’d cut off a finger if I tried to cut them myself. I’m not kidding. But I do prepare them the rest of the way and am aiming to learn how to glue canvas onto a board eventually.

what type of glue do you use

I’ve never glued anything on board as I keep thinking sooner or later it might come off the board. Even if it’s just at the corners or edges… I don’t want that.

Selling DIY boards is perfectly fine as long as you deliver a product that is decently finished. That’s why I paint my small work on 6mm MDM as it’s thick enough to be hung on a wall unframed (I have my own system) and with the edges painted black it looks quite contemporary.
Customers can always choose to frame if they wish.

Every system has its merits and problems. If one was to worry about everything that can go wrong with paint, mediums or substrates, I think we would just not bother.

Boards like mdf and hardboard, are only as good as the way they are manufactured, primed and sealed. Mdf often has, at least the older types, formaldehyde present in the manufacture process. Traditional canvas is prone to moisture especially if rabbit skin glue is used. Use the best quality materials and trust what the medium says on the tin, lol, I guess.

1 Like

Hi Jolynn, I use liquitex super heavy gel, which is archival, according to its information. Other people use archival PVA or alternatives.

Hi Joseph,
Thank you for your quick reply

Yes, I started making my own due to cost of buying pre-made, really expensive! Plus, often I would want a size unavailable. I buy a 4’x8’ sheet and cut to desired sizes. I usually spend a day cutting, gessoing etc but well worth the time. It also allows me to control the surface and finish which I prefer smooth. Important to lightly sand masonite to knock down or dull the shiny surface for adhesion of gesso. Also good to always use quality materials.

I also make my own boards with a slightly different procedure:

  1. cut boards to desired size
  2. seal all sides of boards with 2 coats GAC 100
  3. cover side to be painted with 3 coats of good gesso using a sponge roller, light sanding between coats as necessary

Sealing is important to avoid Support Induced Discloration which can occur if water-based medium is used.

1 Like

Very sound method Sandy. Exactly the way I make my gesso boards.

Thank you all for your help on this. I have come to the conclusion that I need to seal the board first on all sides and edges as Sandy has suggested, but instead of sealing with GAC 100, I was thinking of using Shellac. I have read that shellac is the more traditional sealer and is readily available for me. Any comments or suggestions?

Hi Gary, I used to make my own boards, linen on acid free carton, due to the size and format I like best to paint on and my self made pochade box that accomodates this format. Also it´s pretty light weight for shipping.
In the following link to my blog, the complete process of making the boards is described. Please scroll down a bit because at first you´ll find a little information on painting on cardboard directly, a very interesting alternative. By the way, I sold paintings on self made boards and carton.
Michaels canvas board
But for about two years I paint on bought panels or small stretched canvas.

1 Like

With raymar panels I just dont see the point anymore.

1 Like

Continuing the discussion from Do you make your own boards?:

Thanks Sandy for the info on SID. Looking at the video it looks like the SID happens only while the gesso is drying, but I was worrying about it continuing years down the road, discolouring my paintings. So if I am satisfied with the colour of the board once the acrylic gesso is thoroughly dry and I begin to apply oils, I don’t have to worry about SID any more. Am I right?

1 Like

Gary, my take on the video is that SID appears when paint is drying on top of the already-dried gesso.

I, (hubby and I actually), used to make our own masonite boards but I just want to get to the painting. Took too much time. I know, I could get a lot of them done with only one day devoted to this but I am not interested either. I hate to sand. I’m a perfectionist and it’s hard to get them absolutely without blemish. Hubby is busy. And you can find them with really good prices now. So I buy them.

Of course, I did have to send a whole bunch of cradled wood panel boards back to DickBlick that weren’t perfect. I mean, obviously not square 5x5s, 6x6s, 4x4s. So, I guess it’s not that easy. :slight_smile: