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  • mounting paper on wood panelApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-03-14 12:45:43 ... Most recent comment 2017-03-31 16:43:00
    Rigid Supports Sizes and Adhesives Oil Paint

    ​I'd like to know the accepted, archivally safe way to mount an oil painting created on paper (140 lb 100% cotton) onto a cradled birch panel. Specifically, how to seal the birch so acid cannot migrate to paper, and what no-acid glue to use for mounting.  

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    I do believe that what you want to achieve is doable. First, if I had my way I would suggest a heavier weight, cotton rag paper to begin with but the 140 lb. will likely work. The heavier the paper, the more rigid the primary support. The wooden secondary support will help to offset this.

    I do not think that this is overly complicated.   You should make some tests first to determine if the adhesive will stain or change the appearance of the paper substrate. Make sure to test any adhesives that you intend on using on a scrap piece of the same rag paper that is sized or coated (eg with an acrylic dispersion “gesso” ground if you used one). The wooden panel should be well sized, I would probably use an acrylic solution like B-72 in acetone (or a spray like Lascaux) or an acrylic dispersion gel medium. Let this completely dry before moving on. One could also use a PVA dispersion size. I would then adhere the paper support to the panel with an acrylic dispersion gel medium if that passed your initial test. Care must be taken to make sure that the paper does not wrinkle or developer a fold when you are pressing it to the panel. You should gently press the paper to the panel starting from the center towards the edges. You may even use a brayer as a last step as long as this is done very gently. Remove excess adhesive that has oozed out around the edges of the paper. I would cover the face of the painted paper with a blotter and weigh down the whole for a day or so to eliminate the chances of buckling or warping.  

    Brian Baade
    2017-03-14 13:47:03
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Two further related questions:​

    First, you mention sizing or priming the paper-- I usually only prime the paper on the painting side. That's what you mean I assume?

    Second, if I have birch papels that I have primed w/ several coats acrylic gesso (thinking I would paint directly on them) and then later decide mount paper on them instead, should I sand the gesso prime off and start over with a PVA sizing of bare wood? or can I proceed with the gluing paper step on the gesso-primed wood?

    2017-03-17 11:40:18
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Your first question: Yes this is what we mean by sizing/priming the paper.
    Second: It would likely be fine to use your primed birch panels...were these purchased pre-primed or did you prime them yourself? You might make a note of this on the back of the panel (including any of the other materials you are using) as this would help to inform future conservators should your oil on paper need to be removed. You should consider lightly sanding the acrylic gesso to get a smoother surface, then apply a layer of acrylic gel medium to cut the absorbency. Wait for this to dry and apply another layer of gel medium before adhering your paper substrate (following the same directions as above).

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-03-17 12:53:37
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    OK. But your answer brings up another question​ -- re "inform future conservators should your oil on paper need to be removed." Jade PVA glue or acrylic medium are not reversable, i.e they are permanant once dry. My intension is to have the paper and the wood panel not be separated in future, as I think of this as part of the constrcution of the painting rather than a framing method. Do you see this as a problem? 

    And by 'acrylic gel medium' you mean simply fluid acrylic painting medium, matte or gloss, i.e. what is added to acrylic paint to make it more fluid? Sorry to sound picky, but I'm trying to get specific enough to be sure I'm on track! thanks. 

    2017-03-17 13:13:44
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Actually these materials can be reversed (although not easily...and it takes having a Masters degree in conservation to know how to do it properly!)...Just to give you some possible scenarios as to WHY it may need to be reversed:

    1) The Birch ply support becomes compromised and develops splits/warping/cracks, etc. and risks imparting damage to the oil on paper.

    2) If the particular type of acrylic gesso is one of poor quality (there are many, many, brands out there these days) it may have an adverse effect on the oil on paper (although this is less likely to occur with a layer of good quality acrylic gel medium in between).

    As per your second question...yes we mean for you to use the fluid acrylic gel medium....the kind you can add to acrylic paints. I would avoid using matte although it would likely work as well...matte mediums tend to be bulked with fumed silica and have a toothy surface when they set...this would make for a less successful bond with your paper substrate.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-03-17 13:32:18
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    P.S. gel medium is described online as "Gel medium is a white, paste-like gel that will thicken your paint". That's why I wonder if you menat simply 'acrylic medium', which is a liquid.​

    2017-03-17 13:32:42
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Got it.

    Last one -- is Talas JADE 403 as good or better for the glueing step as acrylic medium?​

    2017-03-17 13:36:57
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​You CAN use Jade (PVA) but then again you adding yet another material into the mix if you are already working with acrylic gesso anyhow. Your bond will likely be more chemically "successful" if you use acrylic gel medium but you can certainly test a sacrificial piece of paper and try it out (after sanding the gesso a bit).

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-03-17 13:42:43
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​The gelled form of acrylic dispersion medium is preferable as it fills any voids and can create a better bond. You could use a fluid medium as well, but I would go with the gel.

    Brian Baade
    2017-03-17 14:14:50
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Yes my apologies...the GEL medium would be better (thicker consistency).

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-03-17 14:18:19
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Yes we are aware of the confusing terminology :) hopefully we have been able to provide you with some useful info to help you proceed...

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-03-17 14:48:20
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​I am trying to glue 140 lb. or 300 lb Arches acid free watercolor paper on a masonite panel  6" square.  What type of acid free adhesive do you recommend?  Thanks

    2017-03-30 15:01:18
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Either a high-quality acrylic dispersion gel medium or a pH neutral PVA adhesive would be good options.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-03-30 17:46:49

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