Art Supplies - How To Make Your Own Painting Panels for Oils, Acrylic and Watercolor

Making your own art supplies such as painting panels (both gessoed and/or linen covered) is both easy and economical. These panels can be used for both plein air painting or studio painting.

We'll start with Gessoed wood panels as the least expensive and easiest panels to make


Cut either 1/8 inch mahogany skin plywood, masonite, Gatorfoam or birchwood into the sizes you want. Such as 8" x 10", 9" x 12" or any standard or custom size you use most often.

Keep in mind that standard sizes of panels will be much less expensive to frame as finished artwork rather than custom and non-standard size panels.

Apply acrylic Gesso paint (either white or tinted with a greyed acrylic) to the board surface. Let dry well and reapply 2 more coats. Using less than 3 coats can cause your oil paint to absorb into the wood a bit. Not what we want. So go for the 3 coats.

You now have painting panels ready to paint on. Very easy. Very affordable.

For Watercolor Panels - $$ Saving Tips from Suzanne Savage Brewer

"I have experimented a bit with other substrates than WC paper to save on the other end of matting and framing. I have painted on canvas prepared with Daniel Smith watercolor ground. To finish I use several coats of acrylic sealer. The means you can choose to leave it unframed (gallery wrapped) or frame as you would an oil without glass. As for paper, I watch for online sales and take advantage of buying quantity". Find Suzanne Savage Brewer's works at her website:


The commercially prepared canvas boards available at art stores are of inferior quality and not as nice to paint on. They also cost more than making your own panels.

1. You will need to purchase some artists canvas or Belgium linen that has been pre-primed to accept oil paint - this comes in big rolls and can be purchased at any art supply store or on line.

2. Place your wood board (see Gessoed panels above) onto the linen/canvas and cut the fabric around each panel so that the fabric is about one half inch bigger around than the wood panel.

3. Apply glue to the wood panel with a 1" cheap brush - make sure to get a good, consistent application of glue on the board.

The right glue is important: use something called

Miracle Muck Do not attempt to use Elmers Glue - you will not be happy with the results - I know - I have tried it. Miracle Muck is the only way to go in my opinion. Make sure no debris or pieces of wood are on the board before you apply the glue.

4. Place the linen/canvas onto the board (with the primed side facing out). Glue linen down.

5. Use a rolling pin or bottle to roll the surface of the linen onto the board to make sure a smooth surface results with no bubbles or bumps on the painting surface.

6. Take your glued panel, place some books or heavy objects over the top to weight the whole thing down as it dries.

7. The next day, take your exacto blade and cut the linen flush with the board edges.

These Home-made wood panels are great for the Traveling Artist.

Quality Supplier of Painting Panels - Made in the USA

For those of us who need to purchase quality panels from time to time and didn't get our act together in time for that big painting event, here is a honest supplier of high quality panels that I can recommend. They are located in the Western USA - Source Tek aka

Plein Air Painting Equipment
Make Your Own Tripod
Equipment Review - Open Box M Pochade System
Equipment Review - French Easel
Equipment Review - Gorilla Pochade Box
Equipment Review - Soltek Easel
Art Studio - Big or Small? Does it Matter?
Check List for Oils
Check List for Watercolors
Check List for Pastels
How To Re-Surface Old Painting Panels & Reuse

Health & Safety while Plein Air Painting

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