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Go Back   WetCanvas > The Learning Center > Studio Tips and Framing > Framing Discussions
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:37 AM
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AnnieA AnnieA is offline
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What is the purpose of the common paper backing on a framed oil painting?

I guess it's for keeping dust off the back of the canvas, but I'm not sure. One person I asked said the backing is just to make the back look neat, and that it isn't really necessary.

If it is necessary, can someone let me know what the paper backing is called - "paper backing" perhaps? And also where I could find more information on what paper to use and hot to attach it. TIA!
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:45 PM
BeLing BeLing is offline
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Re: What is the purpose of the common paper backing on a framed oil painting?

Keep roaches out.
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:25 AM
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Steve Collins Steve Collins is offline
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Re: What is the purpose of the common paper backing on a framed oil painting?

There's good & bad reasons for it. In the case of stretched canvas, a dust cover makes it inconvenient to access the corner keys for adjusting tension. However, it does help protect the back from dust, cobwebs, insects and other stuff that comes along.

Anyway, dust covers are not strictly necessary. They do make the back look finished but have limited protective value, especially paper covers which can easily tear or lift on the edges. Stretched canvas creates a hollow space inside the stretchers, making it inevitable that a hole will get punched in the paper.

It's common practice to cover the back of stretched canvas with a protective board (mat board, coroplast, etc), which does more to protect the piece than paper alone. It also eliminates the hollow space.

As a rule, I cover the back with board and finish with black Tyvek, which is much less likely to tear.

Last I knew, standard practice in some other countries (England, maybe others) was to not bother with a dust cover.
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Old 08-26-2018, 06:10 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: What is the purpose of the common paper backing on a framed oil painting?

I like the idea of Tyvek, even without a rigid backer it would provide significantly more protection from contact damage to the back of the canvas without adding much weight.

Thinking back, I can't recall having ever seen a framed oil painting with a paper backing on it, nor have I ever put one on a framed oil of mine, though I do put paper backings on framed art that is under glass to help keep out bugs and dust.
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