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Old 09-02-2008, 10:38 PM
AmandaH AmandaH is offline
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How do you prepare MDF board for oil painting?

Hi I'm new to oil paints (and wetcanvas so hope i'm in the right area) and have recently learned (through old art magazines) that I can prime mdf board before painting.

I've read different things though...and don't know what they are or how I should go about trying them. If anyone could help me understand what each is and what would be best achivically I would ver much appreciate it.

1. 3mm MDF board, bondcreted and gessoed
2. 8oz cotton glued onto MDF board
3. 3mm MDF board prepared with acrylic sealer/undercoat and gesso
4. 3mm MDF board with 4 coats of gesso
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:49 PM
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Einion Einion is offline
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Hi Amanda, welcome to WC! and the Studio Tips forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaH
I've read different things though...and don't know what they are or how I should go about trying them. If anyone could help me understand what each is and what would be best achivically I would ver much appreciate it.
Unfortunately there is more than a little subjectivity in this kind of thing.

Some people don't agree that MDF is an archival material to begin with! Most MDF is bonded together with glues that degrade over time, while hardboard (an older and common alternative) is bonded together using the wood fibre's own lignin and could be considered to be superior in that respect.

If you decide that MDF is stable enough for you there are any number of different preparation procedures one could adopt.

Size first? If so with what?
Prime or cover?
If covering with fabric what glue to use? What fabric type and weight?
If priming, what primer - acrylic 'gesso', true gesso (with a new or traditional binder) lead/oil primer or alkyd primer?

Einion
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Old 09-05-2008, 02:50 AM
AmandaH AmandaH is offline
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Re: How do you prepare MDF board for oil painting?

Hi Einion,

Thanks for your reply. My first set of oil paints arrived yesterday (very exciting ) they are Genesis Heat Set Oils. After reading your reply I think I'll go with hardboard.

The instructions that came with my paints recommend priming with an acrylic gesso, then sanding to roughen the surface (this is for any surface that you can use oil paints on). So I'll keep to the manafacturer's instructions.

But.... I have one more question. (I don't know much about wood or oil painting )

What is a reasonable/good quality hardboard?

Thanks again for your help,
Amanda
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:03 AM
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mick11 mick11 is offline
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Re: How do you prepare MDF board for oil painting?

Hi Amanda and welcome to WC and this forum.

Can you please tell us where you are located. It also helps us to help you if you can fill in your profile.
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:33 AM
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Einion Einion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaH
Thanks for your reply.
Welcome, glad to try to help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaH
My first set of oil paints arrived yesterday (very exciting ) they are Genesis Heat Set Oils.
Those aren't actually oil paints, despite the name

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmandaH
After reading your reply I think I'll go with hardboard.
Just to note that hardboard, like MDF, may need to be sized before priming for best results. Not everyone does this, but it's considered to be advisable among those aiming for a good, long-lasting painting support.

If you want to size I would recommend a couple of thinned coats of polyurethane varnish, after a light scuff/sand of the board's face. You size the back, front and all edges. Other options for this are PVA glue, some kinds of acrylic medium, as well as hide or fish glues for the traditionalists; since you're going with acrylic 'gesso' primer then I wouldn't think you want to mess with those.

Some people prime just the face of panels, other people prime the entire thing. With thinner materials it's often a good idea to at least put a couple of coats of primer on the reverse to equalise stresses from the drying primer on the front, which helps prevent bowing.

Hardboard is highly variable and unfortunately what's available locally may dictate your choice - check with local lumber yards and home centres, see if they have more than one brand. Especially for paintings of larger dimensions I would recommend you go with 1/4" rather than 1/8"; the thinner type is absolutely fine for smaller panels and is used by many painters. Try to find a brand that is not very dark in colour or with a friable, flaky surface - even untempered hardboard should still have a nice tight front face (the reverse usually has a screen pattern on it, although sometimes you'll find it with two smooth sides).

Einion
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:08 PM
AmandaH AmandaH is offline
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Re: How do you prepare MDF board for oil painting?

Hi Einion,

Thank you so much for the information, you've been a great help - been looking through art mags, local library books, even emailed the paints in-house artist (no reply yet) so thanks.

Mick11 - I'm in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) will fill in profile soon.

Amanda
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:37 PM
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RonL RonL is offline
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Re: How do you prepare MDF board for oil painting?

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