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rroberts
08-16-2004, 10:33 PM
Hi Everyone:

I'm a new member. Before joining, I carefully perused every single page of oil forum posts and read hundreds of threads - a project that took almost 3 weeks! Anyway ...

Has anyone else tried using Acrylite Acrylic sheet for panels instead of masonite? I began experimenting with this idea when I worked a lot with egg tempera. There appear to be several advantages:

-- After sanding/cleaning the surface, acrylic gesso adheres very very well. After all, it's acrylic on acrylic.
-- Thicker sheeting is available for larger panels
-- No warping
-- smaller random sizes are very inexpensive; the scrap box at Tap plastics offers nice pieces from .50 cents up to about $2, and it doesn't matter what color the plastic is.

A possible disadvantage is weight, but then larger masonite panels require backing or struts, so I don't see that as a real problem.

Even if one didn't want to gesso the sheet directly, canvas can be applied using acrylic mat medium as a binder, then proceed with 'normal' RSG and gesso.

I've started an experimental piece for now, 8" x 9" x 3/8". After 5 coats of gesso, it's almost ready to take paint.

Thanks for any input.

artbabe21
08-16-2004, 10:49 PM
welcome to the oil forum rroberts...:)
Glad you enjoyed absorbing all the information here at WC!

The surface you are describing is it similar to what sign painters use? There is an artist here who uses a rigid acrylic surface to adhere canvas to & it worked quite well. Sounds food, and easy to cut I am sure.

Look forward to seeing your work!! :)

Brian Firth
08-16-2004, 11:25 PM
What is Tap plastics? Is is a plastic supply retail outlet? I have never heard of them. I think a rigid plastic panel would be superior to masonite/hardboard in almost every way. I would imagine that it would last for thousands of years with no possibility of delaminating. This sound great, I am definitely going to look into getting some to experiment with. Does Home Depot or Lowes sell Acrylite? Is it the same as Plexiglas?

rroberts
08-16-2004, 11:26 PM
Hi Cathleen:
I have no idea what sign-painters use. I pretty much stumbled onto this on my own, and have not heard experiences from others.

rroberts
08-16-2004, 11:36 PM
Brian ...
Tap plastics is a chain outfit here on the West Coast. I bet Yellow Pages listings for "Plastics" will turn up something. I don't know if Acrylite is the same as Plexiglass - never asked at the store. I do know that Acrylite is definitely an acrylic product.

Just for kicks, I think I'll keep a record of this experiment, and post relevant results: number of coats of acrylic, painting stages, etc.

shrinkinviolet
08-17-2004, 06:31 AM
I had never thought of trying this. But why wouldn't the plastic be as good a support as masonite? I have several sheets of leftover plexiglas. I may try your new way.?
Judy

schravix
08-17-2004, 07:29 AM
Some plastics such as ABS are great as supports, others such as Polyethylene are terrible. some Plexi's like Lexan (Polycarbonate) will craze (that is, it will develope fine cracks that look like shattered safety glass) when exposed to solvents.

Bottoni
08-17-2004, 08:29 AM
As a sign manufacturer, I have great deal of experience with 'plastics' - acrylic, lexan, styrene, pvc etc. I would be very skeptical about using acrylic as an archival board. You not only run the risk of your paint delaminating, but also face the fragile nature of acrylic which leaves it susceptible to cracking. Also, depending on whether it is cast or extruded acrylic, the chances are that you bought extruded, the plastic will warp with larger sizes. Acrylic gesso may not be the proper ground for the initial priming because it doesn't have a proper chemical bond...the acrylic gesso (as a ground) should be applied after the plastic has been primed. The only primer I know that can be used properly for acrylic priming is a lacquer based primer similar to automotive paint primers...anything else is a temporary paint job. Almost any substrate can be turned into a suitable ground with proper preparation and priming, but I personally wouldn't use acrylic for archival fine art. No problem for experimenting, studies and personal projects.

David

Enchanted
08-17-2004, 09:38 AM
Has anyone else tried using Acrylite Acrylic sheet for panels instead of masonite?

I would never think to use this for oil painting but here is a thread I began recently in the ACRYLIC forum that is relevant to using acrylic sheet as a painting support:
Acrylic on Acrylic (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208238)
There are also photos of usage examples that I posted.

Bottoni
08-17-2004, 09:47 AM
Both Acrylite, Plexiglass (and Cyro, et al.) are the companies that produce the acrylic sheet or roll. They recommend using specific paints and primers such as these specialty paint producers: Spraylat, Gripflex and Matthews Paints (to name a few) for proper adhesion and durability. These paint companies have custom formulated paints and primers designed specifically for acrylics, polycarbonates, pvc, vinyl etc. Hope this helps.

Einion
08-17-2004, 01:19 PM
After sanding/cleaning the surface, acrylic gesso adheres very very well. After all, it's acrylic on acrylic.
Hi Robert, it's a mistake to think that because the support is acrylic that acrylic polymer 'gesso' will automatically bond to it well. Just consider how different the two materials are - one hard and rigid, the other soft and flexible - and you get some idea of the variation without the broad 'acrylic' category. Acrylic solution varnishes for example are usually totally different from acrylic emulsion medium/varnish and that's with two products that are broadly similar.

I've painted on a number of different surfaces over the years including metals, various plastics and resins and what David says about tailor-made primers makes a lot of sense. I use automotive primer to prep most craft applications like this and it's so much tougher and more tenacious than 'gesso' it's hard to even compare them.

I'm all for a rigid supports for oil painting and you've provided a good surface for a mechanical bond but that's all you get with acrylic 'gesso', so I would suggest trying comparative tests to determine the best preparation method in terms of longevity if that's a concern.

FWIW I know of a UK painter who has painted in oils/alkyds on Formica for years, I'll check for his preparation method if you're interested.

Einion

rroberts
08-17-2004, 09:59 PM
Thanks for all the great input, and especially thank you, Bottoni, for pointing out the potential hazards/pitfalls. I guess what appeared simple just ain't so simple, but then that's what this forum is for, and I'm really glad I asked. I'll abandon the idea for now - those other primers sound really awful and way too toxic. Still, I can't exactly wrap my head around the notion that masonite is all that archival either, and I have a hunch that there's something else out there that would be very worth exploring. Back to good ol' canvas! Thanks again, everyone.

Enchanted
08-18-2004, 10:04 AM
Still, I can't exactly wrap my head around the notion that masonite is all that archival either, and I have a hunch that there's something else out there that would be very worth exploring. Back to good ol' canvas! Thanks again, everyone.

You might want to look into different metals for painting upon. Copper plates have been used for centuries, dating back to the days when religious icons were in demand.

Not long ago I did a demonstration painting on recycled aluminum plates common to the printing trade. I liked the result enough to frame it and would use the plate more often if I had more of it. Of course it's still available from printer supply outlets - such as Daniel Smith. I have also experimented with recycling canceled zinc print plates, which are much thicker and heavier but will also take paint well and don't appear to oxidize as much as aluminum does. The zinc plates are also much more expensive than aluminum. But in both cases, the oxides that form are much more stable than those that form on iron-based metals. I've also used galvanized (zinc coated) steel sheet, which is commonly used by sign painters, I believe, and is very inexpensive when purchased from builder supply houses where it is sold as "flashing."

Termini.
08-18-2004, 10:15 AM
Hi Robert, it's a mistake to think that because the support is acrylic that acrylic polymer 'gesso' will automatically bond to it well. Just consider how different the two materials are - one hard and rigid, the other soft and flexible - and you get some idea of the variation without the broad 'acrylic' category. Acrylic solution varnishes for example are usually totally different from acrylic emulsion medium/varnish and that's with two products that are broadly similar.

I've painted on a number of different surfaces over the years including metals, various plastics and resins and what David says about tailor-made primers makes a lot of sense. I use automotive primer to prep most craft applications like this and it's so much tougher and more tenacious than 'gesso' it's hard to even compare them.

I'm all for a rigid supports for oil painting and you've provided a good surface for a mechanical bond but that's all you get with acrylic 'gesso', so I would suggest trying comparative tests to determine the best preparation method in terms of longevity if that's a concern.

FWIW I know of a UK painter who has painted in oils/alkyds on Formica for years, I'll check for his preparation method if you're interested.

Einion


Automotive primer, thats a good idea, and I have some already. I think that I will make a couple of boards, and see what happens. Thanks.

JT