View Full Version : Masonite board..prepare or no?

07-08-2008, 01:29 PM
I am getting low on Gesso, and can't drive (at all) to the store to buy anymore at the moment, but I really want to start a painting. A few months ago, JoAnns Fabric didn't carry Gesso (The clerk didn't know of it at least), so I bought an "All-Purpose Sealer". from the brand Delta Ceramcoat. I painted one tagboard painting with this wood preparing sealer (and it actually was pretty easy)..
I then bought Gesso later and have been using that. This is going to be my first time painting on Masonite hardboard, so I am wondering if I should use the all-purpose Sealer or gesso or BOTH.

The Masonite board is reallly smooth already, and I think this Prep All-Purpose Sealer is to make a smooth surface; I am not sure if I should use gesso instead. I googled this sealer product, but still would like opinions/advice.

Also, how many coats of whichever I apply? I'm painting with acrylics. Thanks -Leah

07-08-2008, 01:37 PM
Hi Leah!!
I'm not sure what the all purpose sealer is or how it will be under the acrylic paint.. I would use gesso on it. I have only used gesso.
I usualy use gesso on masonite board painted one way, lightly sand to smoothe and re gesso in opposite direction and lightly sand again. then its ready to paint.(after brushed off sanded powder). so 2 coats is enough of gesso. Good luck.

07-08-2008, 01:39 PM
I always use three coats of gesso, and only lightly sand the first coat. I have never used a Sealer.

Gesso is primarily a barrior between paint and substrate, an acid neutralizer if you will. However, when using acrylic, I have known many artists that just started painting without a Gesso surface. I guess it all comes down to how archival do you want your work?

07-08-2008, 03:21 PM
Isn't masonite smooth on one side and rough on the other? My first paintings were on Masonite-the rough side and my husband just used a regular paint primer on them for me. The paints I started with were plain craft paints from tha fabirc store. They are 10 years old and still hanging outside on our cabin deck. Ruthie

07-08-2008, 03:40 PM
I would love to use Masonite, but have been told that I must use untempered masonite and no one around here sells it. I have been afraid to use regular masonite, but would it be OK if I gesso it?

07-08-2008, 04:23 PM
If you dont have gesso, try just using white acrylic paint...You can also use acrylics on wood without sealers...though I would do a very loose first coat and let that be the sealing coat.
You could also use a shellac or primer. Just be sure the sealant is alcohol or better- waterbased. Oil based sealers would not be good for acrylics.

Tempered masonite would be fine to use if it is gessoed. Ampersand art has great info on hard baords. www.ampersadart.com

07-08-2008, 04:41 PM
If you paint on masonite, you do need to seal the surface before applying gesso. If you could see the results from the unsealed, gessoed panels in the Golden test lab, you would be quite shocked at how much brownish-yellow stuff migrates up through the gesso of an unsealed panel to the paint. I put on at least two coats of sealer, followed by 3-5 of gesso.


07-09-2008, 12:26 PM
If you paint on masonite, you do need to seal the surface before applying gesso.

Now you tell me. :rolleyes:

07-09-2008, 01:49 PM
I use the golden sealer on masonite, after I have sanded the surface lightly. 1-2 coats of sealer and 1-3 coats of gesso. But realize, I tend to be very fussy about the surface.

These days I generally use a sealer and then adhere a sheet of canvas to the surface and paint it black as I am using it as a substrate for a shadowbox affair for my work on paper.

07-09-2008, 05:09 PM
i only paint on masonite, i gesso 3 coats, but thats me and here is the deal depending on the quality u want from your piece and how long you want it to last you dont even have to prime it lol your paints wont adhere correctly though i am not sure about house primer and what chemicals it has if u have some gesso left here is a suggestion mix what ever gesso u have left with equal parts white paint and elmers glue this will be acid free at least and add a medium if it is to thick i use a mixture of golden mat medium 50/50 with water and 3% retarder

07-11-2008, 05:27 PM
I have been using Gessoed panels for many years. I give the smooth side a light sanding. I then apply a relatively thin layer of gesso on the smooth side. When thourghly dry, I give another light sanding and put a coat of gesso on front and back (to deter warpage). Another light sanding on the smooth side and with a bristle brush I will put a layer on with horizontal strokes, sand lightly put a layer on with vertical strokes. I repeat the horizontal and vertical strokes and a final very light sanding. This gives me a texture very like canvas.
One draw back has been the hard surface makes the paint more suseptible to scratching from rough handling at art shows.
My favorite surface is canvas glued to a lightly gessoed masonite. Even elmers glue can be used (it is supposedly acid free). I was given this method by a well know artist. I won't give his name in case he has changed his mind in the intervening years since I last saw him.