View Full Version : mounting painting on paper to wood

07-27-2001, 07:36 PM
i have done a painting on gessoed paper (which i would be interested in hearing any comments on) that i want to mount on a birch panel. any ideas? i've heard of using a gel medium but should i seal the wood panel first to prevent absorption? gesso perhaps? and the same questions apply for the back of the paper, which i didn't gesso. it's of medium size; 22x30" so i'm abit concerned about the medium drying before i can get the both surfaces covered. i've also heard about maybe using rabbit skin glue but have never dealt with it so i don't know what to expect. any and all comments would be appreciated.:confused:

Keith Russell
07-28-2001, 01:18 AM

Why do you want to mount this on a birch panel? I think I would prefer to have it dry-mounted on a piece of acid-free foam board, leaving a two or three inch border all the way around it, so you can have it matted, and framed.

Unless there is a specific need for it to be on a birch panel...


07-28-2001, 09:35 AM

most of the paintings i do are on 1/4" birch plywood on 1x3 wood supports. i like how substantial this makes the paintings look as they stand away from the wall significantly. rather than repainting this image my thoughts were that i could mount it on a panel i've already made and have an instant painting. (not that it's not already a painting but you know what i mean. ) i think the framing idea would look excellent too, unfortunately monetary issues kind of rule that out. thanks for the input.

07-29-2001, 04:22 AM
Hi, I have used gessoed paper myself a few times myself and there are quite a few artists who have done this in the past and continue to do this, so technically there is nothing wrong with the idea (acid-free paper should be used of course if you want it to last).

As for mounting, I have mounted onto hardboard (Masonite) and have read of many others doing similar things so again no technical problems per se. Depending on your feelings about longevity I would use a fairly thick layer of PVA adhesive spread out with a scraper,a thick piece of card will work OK, on to the ply only - this should allow for a certain degree of repositioning if necessary (I presume the finished painting is quite stiff) - and then lay the paper down, working from one edge, which should prevent air bubbles underneath. When you're done cover the painting surface with a piece of paper or fabric to protect the surface and press or roll out from the centre to ensure a good bond.

Again it depends on how you feel about longevity whether you want to worry about sealing the ply, the glues in plywood don't last forever anyway so if the painting is kept reasonably ventilated indoors the wood will outlast the glues. Other than this the only thing you might want to consider is warping but if you use wood framing on the back this won't be a problem.


07-29-2001, 01:01 PM
thanks for the input Einion. one problem though, i'm not exaclty sure what pva adhesive is...

07-29-2001, 03:22 PM
I've been led to believe that PVA glue is a European name for what we refer to as "white glue" here in the States, the most popular brand here being Elmers. I don't have absolute confirmation about this, so I'll defer to someone who does.

07-29-2001, 05:53 PM
Sorry, yep Elmer's is a PVA, there are other brands but that is the best known.

I forgot you don't use that term on the other side of the pond :)


07-29-2001, 09:12 PM
I asked this question a while ago and no one knew the answer so I'm happy to see this. One thing, will the pva glue cause the back of the paper to expand when it absorbs it, while the front is sealed with the acrylics? Does this have any effect on getting the thing flat? How heavy was the paper you've used? 300lb?



07-29-2001, 10:34 PM
iyoung and ejfarrae -
Not an expert on this but here is a note:
I did an 12 x 16 acrylic on a 140lb 100% rag acid free paper and did so in a very thick applicationof acrylic paint and when it dried it had ripples like waves. I was told of the hardboard (masonite) glue down by one of the techs of an acrylic paint manufacturer company and thought I would do that but I did not have hardboard - I did have a 16 x 20 canvas - so I marked the corners two inches in all the way around applied a coat Soft Gel on the 12 x 16 area with a large brush then lined up the corner of the paper to the penciled in corners and with one hand tacking the paper to the canvas with the other holding the opposite end up and lowering as I moved the other hand that tacks the paper into position on the canvas (kinda like lowering a piece of paper onto an etching plate on a press bed). Then I went over the paper acrylic work with my hand with a soft cloth (could use a soft brayer). When this dried I applied Gesso onto the canvas around the paper so it looks like a textured matte around the paper acrylic painting. Several things you can do after this is Soft Gel the canvas and paper art work and then varnish and when and if you varnish you can vary the varnishing - example gloss varnish the canvas and paper then go back and apply a matte or satin varnish on the canvas that is acting like a matte.
One thing I would do different from the above is before applying the paper to the canvas (or hardboard or other support) is size with Golden’s GAC 100 (other companies may make a product similar to GAC 100 but I do not know what it is you can ask them) and the reason for this is the following:

Support Induced Discoloration (SID)
cuttlefish posted an article from the Golden site on SIDs here:


07-30-2001, 10:54 AM
thanks everyone, for the information.

07-30-2001, 06:22 PM
Originally posted by iyoung
I asked this question a while ago and no one knew the answer so I'm happy to see this. One thing, will the pva glue cause the back of the paper to expand when it absorbs it, while the front is sealed with the acrylics? Does this have any effect on getting the thing flat? How heavy was the paper you've used? 300lb?


Paper will expand and buckle when any water bearing liquid is applied (the fibers also shrink when the water evaporates, often causing further buckling unless the paper is stretched), the extent of such buckling depends on the amount of water and the quality of the paper. Thicker paper with longer fibers and heavier sizing is generally less affected than lighter papers.

PVA is a dairy based adhesive, and should not be used where it will be subjected to further moisture after it has dried. It will redissolve and delaminate if water from your acrylic paint migrates through the paper. Most acrylic gel has similar adhesive qualities to PVA, and has the advantage of remaining flexible and being permanently waterproof when dry, so use your gel instead.

07-30-2001, 07:33 PM
Hi ejfarrae,

There are some good suggestions here. My only thought is to test whatever you think will work on scrap trials first. Make a quick painted sketch to emulate exactly what you did on usint the same paper etc., then apply to test boards. I'd hate to see you loose your nice original painting.


07-31-2001, 03:22 PM
Just to clarify, the reason I recommended PVA is precisely because it's reversible. Conservators bemoan adhesives that require solvents that would also attack the paint. :)

Buckling aside (which I doubt will be much of a problem with paper stiffened with gesso and a thick acrylic layer) the PVA will be quite stable during normal indoor conditions on a rigid support - it is often added to tile adhesives to improve adhesion and I have even read of it being used in concrete.


08-01-2001, 08:26 AM
thanks everyone. i am going to do a few experiments before mounting the painting to see which methods serve me best . i will post the results here for future reference.

08-01-2001, 10:23 AM
I regret that I can't offer any mounting advice (though the other replies make interesting reading), but I want to say I love this painting of yours, too, eric!
You have a new fan. :)
Keep it up!

08-01-2001, 08:01 PM
thanks for the encouragement *HC*.