Hello folks, glad to have you back! Today I want to share with you my method for attaching finished paintings to their permanent wood panels.
I like to paint on oil-primed Belgian linen. It's a really finely made, super smooth surface which allows me to get into tiny detail in my works. I really like that it comes primed for oil painting in particular since it saves me a bunch of priming and sanding time as well as doesn't suck up the oil and make the paint dry too quickly. (I'll do a post about my linen soon, too)
Anyhoo, this method will work for both linen and canvas, provided either one is of more of a fine, rather than course, variety.
- matte medium glue
- paintbrush (for glue)
- parchment paper
- paper towels
- credit card
- heavy books/weights
- paint & paintbrush (optional)
- utility blade (fresh blade!!)
- cutting board
- painting on linen or canvas
- wood panel (birch wood)
Let's get started!
1 - Prep your panel: If you want the sides of your artwork painted black (or any other color) now's the time to do it. I don't recommend paintings the side after the linen has been affixed simply because it leaves too much room for error. I also advise going ahead and attaching your hanging hardware before preceding (unless you're getting it framed) 'cause using an electric drill around a beautiful finished painting is kind of a terrifying thought.
2 - Prepping to cut: When the wood panel is dry, you can go ahead and get your painting on linen ready to attach. Hopefully you left some space around the edges of a pre-measured linen piece and/or made your painting slightly bigger than the panel in order to cut it down.
Now this next step is important - you want to cut two perpendicular sides at an EXACT right angle in order to form a perfect corner in which to base the placement of the painting on the panel. (Read on and that sentence will make sense - I promise! ;) )
3 - First cut: Ok, so first choose a corner that is your 'anchor'. I chose the corner with my signature because I wanted to make absolutely sure that it reads on a clean horizontal line and that my signature tucks perfectly into the corner. If you have a horizon line in your painting make sure you take it into account when preparing to cut.
Next, take your time and nicely line up your ruler along where the bottom edge of your 'anchor' corner should be. Hold the ruler nice and snug, take a deep breath, and use the utility knife to cut your linen using a firm grip with a fresh and sharp blade. Seriously, do not attempt to cut your precious painting with anything less or you will create jagged edges that will haunt you forever.
>>Pro Tip: The ruler should be held on the 'good' part of the painting when cutting, letting the waste, or unwanted piece, fall away.
4 - Second cut: The steps are pretty much the same as step 3, however now it is super crucial to make sure that when you are preparing to cut the second side in order to create your 'anchor' corner, you must cut your linen at a PERFECT right angle. I have a great cutting board that helps me make sure my cuts are exactly perpendicular, but if you don't you can just use a piece of printer paper as a right angle guide to help you place your ruler and cut.
5 - Glue the linen: Once you have your perfect 'anchor' corner, you can use the paintbrush to spread the matte medium glue all over the back of the linen thickly and evenly, making sure to go all the way to the edges. Quickly, yet carefully, affix the linen to your wood panel, using the perfect right angle corner you just cut in order to anchor the rest of the piece at the correct angle. So the corner you just cut should match one corner of the wood panel as exactly as you can make it.
6 - Smooth the panel: While the matte medium glue is still wet, protect the painting with a large sheet of parchment paper and use the credit card to carefully smooth out the glue and push any trapped air bubbles out. Make sure you're being firm enough to get out any irregularities, but not harsh enough to scrape the paint. Use paper towels to clean off any excess glue.
7 - Let glue dry: Get the biggest, heaviest, hardback books you own 'cause we're going to pile them on top of this drying-glue painting. Find a hard, flat surface that can be left alone overnight, such as a wood table or tile floor. Place the painting face up on the hard surface, then lay a fresh piece of parchment paper on top to protect it. Next place multiple books that are slightly larger than the panel on top of the parchment paper. It's ideal for the weight to go slightly over the edge of the painting so you can make sure the glue adheres all the way to the edge. Pile on plenty of books, and if you have any weights place them on top evenly spaced as well. Let dry overnight.
The next day....
8 - Cut the other sides: Yay! The glue is hard, you have a beautiful 'anchor' corner that looks so snug and perfect, and you're ready to complete the panel! Basically now you just use the wood panel as your cutting guide for the other two sides. Place a clean piece of parchment paper down on the cutting board, the place the painting face down in it and, using a fresh sharp blade, firmly hold the panel down and slice the excess linen off.
This can be a scary task, so just cut with care and confidence and you'll be fine.
Don't you love the tight, crisp corners you get with this method!? I sure do! It just has such a sophisticated look and is ready to hang as-is, or will make framing a breeze.
Any questions? Feel free to drop me a comment!