A SMART person would mount linen on the panel before doing the painting. Well, evidently I’m not that person.
I planned to send paintings to Australia that I painted on un-stretched linen so they could be rolled for shipping, but the customs requirements changed my mind and I sent smaller works instead. That left me with two completed paintings on linen that I had to mount on panels so they could be framed.
I decided to use Gator board for the panel since I could trim it by hand after mounting and I don’t have a table saw to trim wood or aluminum panels. Trimming makes it easier than trying to exactly align the same sized board with the edges of the painted area. Gator board looks like Foam Core and is light-weight but much sturdier.
A while back I ordered some Miracle Muck, which, let’s face it, looks and smells just like PVA glue. It also makes those fake fingerprint skins when you peel it off your fingers. Fun. Framers use it and it creates a permanent bond. I already had a ruler, foam paint rollers and a box cutter on hand.
Here’s how I did it so you can do this too.
First, apply the glue to the back of the linen and to the gator board, which should be cut to an inch larger than the image area on all sides. (Of course since you are smart and it’s not painted yet, no worries.) Then panic that it’s all going to dry too fast since you live in the desert and it’s like 100 and some degrees out and 20% humidity.
Now place the board on top of the linen and press. Carefully turn the whole thing over so the linen is facing up. Use a clean, dry sponge roller to work out any air bubbles that might have formed, working from the center out to all the edges.
Trim the gator board to size using a box cutter with a new blade and ruler to cut through the linen and board. (All the while, reassure yourself with phrases like, “I painted it once, and I can always paint it again”.)
To get a good clean cut it’s important to lightly score the line along the edge of the firmly held ruler first. Make successive cuts until the knife breaks through the under side. It took me about 10 passes for this. Trying to cut all the way through at once means you probably will be painting it again.
Cover the painted image with clean paper and another board and put weights on top. My weights were not elegant so I didn’t take a pic of them, but heavy books work well. It should dry for 12 to 24 hours to eliminate warping and ensure a tight bond. I left mine overnight.