View Full Version : can I use all kind of masonite, hardboard, cardboard to paint after gessoed it?

03-26-2015, 08:23 PM
Hi, sorry if this is a stupid question but I am unable to find any answer on internet so I ask you guys :angel:

my question is if I can use any kind of "panels" like masonite, hardboard, cardboard or any rigid support to paint after gessoed it. basically I would like to buy cheap MDF panels on a carpentry, gessoed it and starting painting on top

I know that if you use paper it must be acid and lignin free paper but what about this? if I seal all sides with gesso can I paint in all kinds of boards and it will be archival?


03-27-2015, 12:56 AM
yep pretty much. I'm guessing you're referring to Ampersand's Masonite boards as well, which are already prepped and don't require additional gesso.

Jon Bradley
03-27-2015, 02:44 AM
A better approach is to to just primer or spray paint the back of the board to seal it, unless you plan on painting both sides. I don't like wasting precious gesso!

03-27-2015, 06:47 AM
Yes. Cardboard obviously won't stand much rough handling. Thin panels of any kind will usually warp if you paint only one side, but as Jon pointed out you can use cheap paint for the back. Don't know if this is true of MDF. I don't use it because it's heavy and blecherous to cut and loaded with formaldehyde. But that's just me.

03-27-2015, 07:41 AM
utilize masonite(untempered), MDF gesso'ed two coats applied 90 degrees apart....gesso has a archival life, whereas store bought paint has a limited life and will peel, deteriate over time....utilize good archival materials and methods....and never utilize 'cardboard'...it's made for shipping boxes with limited life....a 'no, no'!

03-27-2015, 01:44 PM
ok folks, one last question: do I need to seal with Shellac or Golden GAC 100 or similar my MDF boards before gessoed it? gesso is absorbent so if I just gessoed the untreated wood maybe the MDF could get moisturized in the future?

03-27-2015, 01:52 PM
MDF is not recommended for areas subjected to moisture...it will absorb water and swell....it is recommended to gesso all sides including the ends.....formaldhyde will continue to come out of the MDF if not properly sealed....and formalahyde is a known carcinogen.....nothing to mess around with nor have in your living area....

masonite, plywood, canvas, 100% cotton rag board are the safer alternatives....

Phil Bourgeois
04-18-2015, 12:22 PM
You wrote " gesso is absorbent " , What kind of Gesso are you using?

04-22-2015, 05:44 PM
I have been painting on gessoed mdf for 2 years (mostly in gouache). I usually use a moisture (and mould inhibiting) sealing primer from a hardware store on all sides to prevent warping (I apply gesso very thickly. I also make my own gesso from the primer ground into calcite/chalk, and for a clayboard I substitute kaolin clay for the calcite which is handy if you like your paint to dry in seconds.

btw, this kind of setup has mostly been for me to learn on. The finished painting is very heavy once you add a cradle, and I have a 6090cm piece that weighs 15 kg.