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How do you hang an MDF panel?

Hi all! I am experimenting with painting on MDF board, which is a nice, lightweight material. One issue I’ve had is hanging it. I wanted to put picture hangers on the back so collectors could just hand them without a frame if they want, but the 1/4" board is too thin to accommodate nails. What does anyone suggest? Also, do you always frame your Claybord/Gessobord, etc.?

It depends on your clientele. In my experience, unframed work does not sell nearly as well as work that is thoughtfully and appropriately framed. If you don’t wish to frame it, you can glue it to a finished chunk of wood that is thick enough to put screws in. Leave at least a one inch margin around the painting and use construction adhesive like liquid nails or Tite Bond 3. The problem with this is that the face of the painting is unprotected. This chunk of wood can be put in a frame later if it has a rabbet deep enough. There are a lot of videos about different ideas.

Thanks for the advice. I’ll try it.

I have lots of artwork hanging in my home… large and small stretched canvas, framed watercolor with glass, and wood panels…and I have not put a single nail hole in my walls. I only use Command Picture Hanging Strips. They have worked well for me. You can include a package with the painting if you are selling it.


I usually put mdf panel works into what we in the UK call tray-frames, or float-frames. They’re like an ordinary frame but in reverse; think of one and just turn it over. The panel sits on the bottom ledge and is surrounded by the “walls” of the frame, giving a slim framing- edge to the painting-panel. They’re usually made in plain wood and have a L shaped profile. Still means you have to find some form of attachment for hanging, but you’ve added a frame to the work.

Where do you source your floating frames? I’m also in the U.K., looking for a reasonably priced source. Thanks!

They can be a bit fiddly to find, but Jackson’s (jacksonsart.com) does them under their self-assembly framing section (“Frame Builder”). You ask them to cut the mouldings to the required lengths and they then supply them with special notches and fitting-pegs. Try the tab for Panels…they seem a bit short on stock at the moment but I have used them successfully.
There is another supplier called Maple Framing (mapleframing.co.uk) that offers them; their sizes are fixed, however, since they tend to supply them for photographs rather than artists…but you could see if there’s anything that appeals.

Thanks, I was aware that in a Jackson’s shop nearest me, one of the staff would make them up but I will look online too. Will also look at mapleframing. Found an advert in The Artist for Ashcraft framing, great website selection however, after an initial email exchange, I cannot get a response to an order request by email, website contact or phone!

I have some small canvas mounted on 1/8" hardboard. I’ve used the Clearmount Zig Zag hangers on many. They hold firm - I’ve not had a problem with them yet. If your piece is large or heavy, I suppose you can adhere 2 of these on the back for support. On my larger pieces, I usually frame.


One advantage of using MDF panels is that they’re so easy to frame. To me, thin, unframed panels look a little unfinished. Most galleries will only hang unframed work if it’s gallery-wrapped on wide stretcher bars, with the sides finished.

You can use the panels that are cradled, and paint the sides per Connie’s advice. There is also a brand of panel that comes with a nail whole in the back for hanging. I think they are from Jerry’s Artarama but don’t know about in the UK. I use Frankeframes online to order any size frame I need, but then you need to invest in a gun for inserting the points to hold it in, but that’s worth it if you are entering shows. There are also standard size frames on art supply sites.

I frame it, usually using this U.K. site
They allow you to upload an image of your painting so you can try out different frames to see which looks right. It is very useful for commissioned work - I take screen shots of different options then the client can choose which frame to go for. They are made to order.
For DPW paintings, all my buyers are in the US and it makes no sense to ship framed work to them from here (UK) because the cost is eye-watering. I can see from various US sites I have explored that frames are way cheaper over the pond than here so it makes no sense for me to frame.
I always paint standard sizes for work I offer for sale to simplify things for customers.
It was this complication that settled me to using only oil and abandoning pastel, because I couldn’t figure out a safe way to ship unframed pastel. Oil on board by comparison is so straightforward.

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Perhaps the easiest solution would be to go with MDF that is a bit thicker;
not that much more expensive when considering all the suggestions here
which would add more cost anyway :slight_smile:

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I have faced this problem many times and found the solution in this blog post

Industrial-grade double-sided tapes can be used. For individuals who don’t want to hammer nails or drill screws, adhesive tapes are ideal. It’s simple to do and won’t damage your wall. You can find more information on how to hang paintings on the wall.