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Friday, December 10, 2010

Tutorial-how to make canvas panels part 2


Okay, we are ready to make our canvas panels. For supplies and tools, see the previous post. To begin panel making, I sand one side of my tempered masonite, and wipe down with damp towel. This helps the glue bond into the panel. Place your masonite or birch panel on top of the good side of the canvas and trace around it.

When you cut your canvas, you need 1/8 to 1/4" of overlap. This is very important. Less than 1/8" does not allow for shrinkage factor, and more than 1/4" causes the canvas to pucker when it draws in and shrinks to the board. Some canvas types shrink a bit more or less than others. After cutting to size, flip the canvas over so the good side is down, and lay on the newsprint. You will want the old newsprint or some old paper to lay the panels on when you are working, this will keep glue from dripping on your floor. If you are a slob, you can skip the newsprint step. Lay your panel on top of the back side of the canvas piece. Drizzle the glue over the side you sanded, and use the spatula to make a nice even coat....this can be tricky-gauging the right amount of coverage without glue running everywhere, or not enough glue and dry spots.

I aim for light coverage, and drizzle a bit extra on all four edges .

Carefully flip your board over and lay on top of your canvas panel, keeping centered.

You may want to trace with a colored pencil on the back of your canvas where to place your board. Flip over so the good side of the canvas is looking at you, and the masonite is on the newsprint. I check for glue drips too-they manage to get on the paper when I am not looking, and you don't want to lay your panel on them. Begin to roll your panel starting in the CENTER and working your way to the edges.

Firmly roll, but try to not "grab" the canvas and drag with the roller...this will make your canvas position uneven with its original placement. Every time you roll to the edge, check the rolling pin for glue...wipe with damp rag before starting to roll again. Go over entire canvas 1-2 times. Flip over and check the back, is your canvas still centered? If mine moves, I put panel masonite side down, and try to push canvas back to proper guidelines by using my hands and body pressure. That is what moved it in the first place, the glue can float the canvas out of place if you drag the pin across it. Try to think of downward pressure, not sideways pressure when rolling if that makes sense.

Wipe all edges with damp rag, you want to see a little bit of glue on all sides....if it is totally dry, the canvas will peel up at the edge.

I will gently peel back the side that is dry (especially corners) and put a little bit of glue there. Re-roll that spot. Place your glued panel face down on a pad of paper, newsprint, etc. I find that the cushion of the paper gets a more even distribution of pressure on the panel while gluing. Lay a larger book than the panel on top, and perhaps a heavy weight on top of that. In my case, I use these awful 1970's glass bookends-who thought these were a good idea? They cut your hands when you handle them, and look like they would go with a fishtank-themed decor...So, they are official canvas panel weights at our house. If your books are too small for the panel, use a couple of books side by side. The idea is to have all edges covered. Allow to dry overnight. I have a cutting board just for panels...lead canvas and cooking don't go so hot together. Use a razor and trim canvas overlap flush with edge. . .

Check your panel out...are there any edges unglued?

You can fix that, a bit of glue, and clamp the edge to a straight bit of wood to remedy those edges.
Remember the table saw I got one year as a gift? It comes in handy for panel making. If you do not have a table saw you can have your panels cut at the hardware store...some of them charge a little for the cuts. You can also get pre-cut panels at Blick and other art stores.
Happy panel making!

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