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Old 07-28-2006, 02:25 PM
studemobile studemobile is offline
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Adventures with Dibond

Hello Fellow Artisans,
I have been experimenting with a new painting substrate and thought you might be interested. Its called Dibond. That is 2 sheets of painted aluminum sandwiched between a hard plastic core. It comes in 2mm, 3mm and 4mm thicknesses. I found a source near my home and purchased a 5'x10' x 3mm piece and had them cut it into many various sized boards (no waste!). This was delivered to my home - total cost just under $200.
Next I purchased "Miracle Muck" adhesive. I had to wait until after the winter because it will spoil if frozen. I lightly sand the board with a fine sandpaper and de-grease with rubbing alcohol. Then I apply the glue to the board, and the 1/2" larger preprimed canvas to the board. I place a flat board on this and weight it down heavily and allow to dry for 24hrs. A properly glued canvas will be perfectly adhered to the entire board. Loose corners can be re-glued and clamped until dry. The finished product is straight, won't warp and is archival.
My next experiment is to gesso a lightly sanded and de-greased board without using a canvas because I frequently apply a couplo of roughly brushed coats that obscure the canvas anyway. If this works I will eliminate the canvas and Miracle Muck. This is not a tutorial! If you want to try it please research!
Stu
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Old 08-20-2006, 01:20 PM
paintlion paintlion is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

i've used over 500 panels of DiBond for exterior murals in Atlanta, GA.

first, if you want the best "permanence", i would recommend just sanding it and priming it directly with Sherwin-Williams DTM Bonding Primer (if you work indoors and are concerned about using an exterior-grade product inside, then you can also use Prep-Rite Bonding Primer)

then painting directly onto that with artist's pigments, or if you wish, you can gesso it then paint.

one question though: why spend all that money per panel just to totally cover this material so thoroughly with layers of canvas and texture?? if Dibond was, or ever becomes, made mostly or totally from recycled materials, that would be a great reason. but right now it is not made from recycled materials (less than 20% if any at all if i remember what alcan told me). so it just made me wonder what other reasons for the expense for personal artwork that is not in need of exterior durability.
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Old 08-21-2006, 09:22 AM
studemobile studemobile is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

Hi Paintlion,
Thanks for the tips. I wanted to move from stretched canvas to a board support and was apprehensive about woodbased products. (warping, expansion and contraction, archival concerns, etc) I found the Dibond to be competitively priced when a large sheet is purchased and cutdown. Now I must admit I haven't reasearched othe board supports and am open to other possibilities.
I have just completed a painting using Dibond without canvas but with gesso applied with a course brush to produce texture (I'm an acrylic painter) and am satisfied with the results. So I eliminated the cost and hassle of glueing a canvas to the support.
I'm open to suggestions and comments...
Thanks,
Stu
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:08 PM
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manfrommerriam manfrommerriam is online now
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

PaintLion:
I have also been interested in working on Dibond in mural projects. What is the largest Dibond surface you have worked on? Have you found a way to invisibly splice two pieces together? Do you cradle or frame it? Do you glue it up or hang in some sort of physical support? And the biggie: what is the life expectancy (assuming the work is exposed where you are) of the typical (acrylics) outdoor mural on Dibond have?
Have fun, Dave
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Old 09-04-2006, 12:29 PM
paintlion paintlion is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

Dave,

We've made murals as large as sixteen 4ft x 8ft panels.

We have installed directly onto concrete, pre-drilling and using a hammer in anchor. This was ok not that bad, as the anchor heads are not noticeable at a distance and can be painted over.

We now only install on pressure treated framework (firring strips on existing walls, or freestanding ones similar to privacy fencing) and used exterior decking screws to apply them, then again have the artist cover over the screwheads. The seams can be a little off occasionally, but this can be minimalized greatly with the wood framing underneath.

From any sort of average viewing distance for an exterior mural, we've never had any problems with the seams being noticeable at all. If it is something people can walk up to and see up close, you may want to just pay close attention to the flat and level qualities of the framework itself, and then use shims wherever needed as you apply the panels and see any areas you feel need tweaked. I would be surprised if you had many problems with this though.

Of course to be sure it meets your standard and expectation - just find a privacy fence and install a small sample of 3 or 4 panels painted with geometric shapes and color and see how you like it. Then zip the screws out and re-use them elsewhere. The few holes in the fence shouldn't be noticeable.

My guess is that if they were glued on at all it would mean that if they ever had to be removed (even just for repair or some other unforseen reason) they would be destroyed because pulling against the glue would probably warp them. Maybe one could use some sort of thin wire and "saw" down behind to cut it free, if the surrounding working space allowed this. But I would avoid gluing unless it was considered a permanent installation.

One key is handling them prior to installing them. They can be a little on the fragile side if dropped on a corner. (it will bend the aluminum sheeting very easily) If this is avoided, then they are pretty flat and match up edge to edge well.

Our murals are only needed to last 5 years since we plan on recycling them for another generation of youth in the neighborhoods where they are created and installed. However, even in the extreme conditions of Georgia heat and heavy rains vs. droughts we have seen pretty excellent results. It really depends on the acrylic paint that is used more than the DiBond. We just switched to Novacolor paints last year, so I have little first-hand results to share, but they are the absolute leader in mural paint in California. I would expect that with at least two good coats of pigment, and a clear UV protective topcoat, in any area that is not completely unprotected from South/SW exposure, they should be easily maintainable for at least 10 years. (with few if any touch-ups for minor fading, and a recoating with the UV clear) After that it may require more extensive re-touch to make it another 10-20 years or even more, which is the average life of most exterior modern murals. But the key is that by being made on the panels the re-touch and re-coat should really bring it back to almost new condition, whereas to achieve that on a mural on a wall requires much more extensive repainting. (Again, I'm talking modern murals, not frescoes!) But again, this is all about the pigment, not the substrate in this case. In one park where the mural is installed under the eaves of a house that is now a recreation center, facing north, with a lot of trees around, the mural looks as perfect as it did the day we installed it - 7 years ago.

The only other thing I can mention is that it is easy to scroll cut odd or curved shapes with a jigsaw. Straight cutting is easier on a table saw than with a circular. If you use a router the edges require less sanding, but the router can and will want to "run" a little which can screw up your cutting lines. I would never recommend using a utility knife and scoring them if you want a decent cut. I've had no luck with this even though some say it can be done well.

I just started bending it last year. we put a 45 degree bevel on the edges of a mural and it looked really nice. But it does open up some risks that i can't go into now because I've spent as much time as I can here, but I will say again: use a saw to score the back with, not a knife.

Oh, also beware of the tiny metal and plastic shavings! If you don't like little shavings sticking to you everywhere, then wear not only eye protection but also something over your head to keep them out of your hair, and long sleeves and no short pants. Other wise they will be with you until you shower.

(p.s. We are available to consult on projects: [email protected])
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:24 AM
forrie forrie is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

I'm also looking into dibond, being sick of making my own large masonite with heavy wood cradling.

I paint a lot with acrylic; I noted a poster above mentioning "Sherwin-Williams DTM Bonding Primer" which I'll look into. Dibond comes in different coatings: plain aluminum and painted (with something really slick, my source says). I would imagine you'd want the plain aluminum so it can be sanded, at least.

Anyone here have success using acrylics on this -- and what about after applying something like "Sherwin-Williams DTM Bonding Primer" -- would you sand your gesso coating.

Lastly, mounting these items. I understand you'd want to treat the edges with a burr to prevent sharp edges (ouch) -- but if you have a large item and want to mount it on the wall (not framing) -- how would you create a "cradle" for one of these; without drilling through the material. Some type of industrial adhesive like "liquid nails industrial adhesive"? Sounds really nasty to inhale
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Old 12-13-2014, 11:21 AM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

I've recently completed an oil painting that I did on a Dibond panel with a sheet of Arches Oil Paper adhered to it. It was a free (test) sample from RayMar Panels, from whom I've been buying linen-, and cotton canvas-covered hardboard panels.

I found it to be a rather nice surface upon which to apply oil paint, and I just used my normal, glazing method.

I would not be apprehensive regarding painting directly upon the smooth, Dibond panel itself, either. But, I would sand the surface, clean it with acetone, or alcohol, and apply oil paint directly upon it, rather than first applying an acrylic primer. There has been some indication that the acrylic primer may not create an appropriate bond with the aluminum surface--something to do with a chemical reaction between the ammonia/formaldehyde of the acrylic, and the aluminum surface.
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Old 12-13-2014, 03:00 PM
forrie forrie is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

Someone I found on Youtube has a bit to say on this topic. Her Youtube video is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBs9BwdBNho

The covering/paint on the dibond is apparently polyester-based and is therefore very compatible with acrylic adhesive/gesso.
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:44 PM
Artist Helper Artist Helper is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

Hello,

Decided to use Epanel instead of Dibond...both made by 3A graphics
4x8 sheet of Epanel was $65 (picked-up price)

Has anyone used Lamin-all to glue linen to Dibond, etc. yet..?

Thanks,
J
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:41 PM
Artist Helper Artist Helper is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

Just a follow-up,

Very happy with a test piece of classens mounted on epanel with miracle muck....

will proceed to mount a 30x40

Still trying to research Lamin-all

Thanks.....
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Old 01-13-2015, 04:38 PM
forrie forrie is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

I got some large Dibond sheets and the DTM bonding primer.

My question is, the bonding primer is meant for application directly to metal - whereas, the Dibond I have has the white polyester coating. I'm sure the bonding agent is harmless here, but can you elaborate on your usage?

I would probably elect to spray a couple coats of gesso over the dried bonding layer.


Thanks,

Forrest



Quote:
Originally Posted by paintlion
i've used over 500 panels of DiBond for exterior murals in Atlanta, GA.

first, if you want the best "permanence", i would recommend just sanding it and priming it directly with Sherwin-Williams DTM Bonding Primer (if you work indoors and are concerned about using an exterior-grade product inside, then you can also use Prep-Rite Bonding Primer)

then painting directly onto that with artist's pigments, or if you wish, you can gesso it then paint.

one question though: why spend all that money per panel just to totally cover this material so thoroughly with layers of canvas and texture?? if Dibond was, or ever becomes, made mostly or totally from recycled materials, that would be a great reason. but right now it is not made from recycled materials (less than 20% if any at all if i remember what alcan told me). so it just made me wonder what other reasons for the expense for personal artwork that is not in need of exterior durability.
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Old 07-11-2015, 02:11 PM
forrie forrie is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

I ended up applying 1 coat of DTM Bonding Agent (ventilation needed!) then, applying three coats or so of gesso.

My experience with dibond on larger surfaces is such that you need to really secure it to your easel -- not easy on standard run-of-the-mill easels, and it will wiggle and rattle especially if you use any stippling. Maybe if I had a larger, wall-mount easel with some rubber stoppers to secure it, it would be better.

Now: my next challenge is how to build a cradle for this? I don't believe you could apply wood, even gorilla glue (which I use). Looks like you'd need some additional plastic along with possibly more noxious agents to affix them, which I'd like to avoid. The DTM Bonding Agent has silicates in it and it makes you nauseous (found that out the hard way, won't ever do that again).

Anyone do this?
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Old 07-12-2015, 05:29 PM
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

Why would you feel the need to cradle it? It is not wood, or a wooden product. It should not warp.
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Old 09-09-2015, 11:38 PM
rama777 rama777 is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

Well I too am curious about cradling it. Not because it needs it per se, but for a flush to the wall hanging option. I started a post about it in the oil painting section, and someone mentioned that because of the shrinking/expanding quality of the wood cradle, the dibond sheet would react by becoming convex and concave, respectively. This doesn't sound good! I'm assuming that a cross brace would help, but maybe it too would move in and out with the dibond. Also it would add more weight!!

If anyone here has creative ideas for hanging larger pieces of dibond on the wall (on the order of 4x4 feet..), please do share!
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:09 AM
forrie forrie is offline
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Re: Adventures with Dibond

I have cradled a couple pieces of dibond, using liquid nails (industrial strength) and it works fine. I don't really buy into the veracity of the statement that the wood movement will bow the aluminum.

The key to good wood cradling, I've found, is to make sure the wood is really, really straight -- that is, when you're at Home Depot (or wherever) hold the wood out straight and look down it. I use 2" wide wood (don't know the name for it) -- light-weight, sturdy.

You can also create cradling for dibond with other pieces of aluminum or plastic or whatever.

Anyhow, what I do is apply the liquid nails with the dibond face-down, then I use items of weight to hold it down (after straightening everything) overnight. Works fine. And that stuff holds! I could not pull it apart.
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