17 September 2012

How to make simple canvas panels

Finished canvas panels

This is a simple tutorial on how to make a basic canvas panel.
No powertools needed.

What you will need:
  1. Straight and dry wood panels
    You could get them real cheap from most hardware stores. Some would even cut them to size for free. Some artists would want good quality wood for their panels but since I am pasting my canvas onto the wood I'm not too fussy about what sort of wood it has to be, I just make sure that it's very dry, at least 4mm thick and straight.
  2. White or off-white regular cotton fabric
    I used some that I found lying around in my attic. I'm not too fussy about the details either so I'd use them as as long as they're fresh, clean and unworn. You can also buy them from any fabric stores or online. I also iron my canvas beforehand in case they happened to be all wrinkly.
  3. Wallpaper Adhesive
    I call it wallpaper glue. I use a toxic-free version that are also safe for children.
    Usually they come in powder form and you mix it with water before use.
  4. Gesso
    For those who don't know, it's often a white mixture that acts as a base for the paint.
  5. Big brush
    For glue and gesso application
  6. Scissors

Let's do this!

  •  Trim the canvas and leave about 2 inches (or 5cm) of fabric around the edges so that you can glue them over later.

  • Apply the wallpaper glue on the wood panel evenly.
  • Flip the panel over and lay it gently on top of the canvas
  • Press down onto the panel and apply some pressure

  •  Then flip the panel (with the canvas sticking to it) over and get rid of any air bubbles by smoothing out the surface. It's up to you how you do it. Some people use a rolling pin. I use my hands so I can feel it.

  •  Next, flip the canvas over again and start applying glue around the edges.
  • Fold the excess fabric over and same thing: press down, apply pressure and remove any air bubbles.

  • If you want, you could cut off the excess fabric on the corners before folding in, just so you don't end up with too much glue on thick, bunched up edges.
  • Keep in mind to cut off only the part that's folded over (see picture) and not the fabric underneath.
  • Once you've gotten all four corners, and once everything's glued in place, leave the panel to completely dry.

  • Next, apply at least 2 coats of Gesso. 
  • Apply the first coat and wait for it to dry before applying the second coat.
  • When everything's dried, you're done making a wonderful, professional looking canvas panel.

Time to make some art!

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