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Choosing Wooden Painting Panels

Choosing Wooden Painting Panels

Choosing Wooden Painting Panels

Amylee reviews this traditional painting surface!

What are the advantages of wood and hardboard panels?

They offer a great solution to stretched canvas. To begin your adventure in painting and drawing on wooden panels, the differences you need to know are very simple.

Art board, wooden panel, painting board, hardboard

Are you looking for painting panels? Choosing between all wood and MDF painting panels is really easy when you know the differences. Here I give you all information to help you discover new tools and I’m sure that you look forward to using them again and again.

Choosing Wooden Painting Panels

Wood Painting Panel: what is it for?

Made of 100% wood, these panels are generally built according to the same principle: a flat and smooth surface free of knots, with a thickness of 3 to 5 mm (plywood, MDF or wood) strongly bonded to a solid wood frame. This assembly eliminates the need for staples or nails that could penetrate the surface of the panel, and also avoids unpleasant twisting caused by drying paint.

Because wood has a rigid and solid surface, these panels have much more weight than a thin linen or cotton canvas. One can afford to use all manner of collages and reliefs on a such surface because nothing moves.

This kind of surface is suitable for many techniques: acrylic, oil, alkyd, oil pastel, graphite, coloured pencils, encaustic, tempera, etc. It also allows for glazing, “alla prima” or “wet on wet” techniques.
Formerly used during Ancient Egypt or the Renaissance, the wooden painting panel remains useful for all creative ideas today.

1/ Natural Wood Panel | Wood grain

Choosing Wooden Painting Panels

  • Tintoretto* All Wood Painting Panel. (*= A tribute to the famous painter Tintoretto).
  • Brand : Gerstaecker
  • Made of 5 layers of poplar wood joined together with a synthetic binder and attached to a heavy-duty solid wood cradle.
  • Soft surface, finely sanded, and coated with a clear natural colour. The surface of this wood allows you to work with just a coat of basic primer such as Gerstaecker Gesso , I love Art Gesso, or Capacryl.
  • Available in 22 sizes, from 5x10x3cm to 50x50x3cm

Where can I find this item?

Gerstaecker Tintoretto All Wood Painting Panels, I click here

Choosing Wooden Painting PanelsPictures @

Note: If you are like me “never paint without primer“, know that there are those available with transparent finishes that allow you to use the wood grain (Transparent gesso, here). The primer prevents wood resin residue from mixing with your pigments. Some woods are also coated with oil to prevent deformations when the artwork is in progress. The primer stops any mixing so the colours won’t change over time.

Choosing Wooden Painting PanelsPanel reverse: differences between Wood and MDF (dark back)

2/ MDF Hardboard  | White Primed

Choosing Wooden Painting Panels

  • White Primed Wooden Panel (Gesso board ready to paint)
  • Brand : Gerstaecker
  • Made of 5mm thick MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) joined together with a synthetic binder to a heavy-duty solid wood cradle.
  • Soft surface, finely sanded, and coated with white gesso.
  • Available in 22 sizes from 5x10x5cm to 50x50x5cm

Where can I find this item?

Gerstaecker Primed Wooden Panels, I click here

Choosing Wooden Painting PanelsAcrylic on MDF (70x50cm), handmade panel

Wooden Painting Panel: Amylee’s review

  • Painting on wood remains an excellent option, and Mr. Da Vinci would not disagree! The result is an entirely different texture, the surface is very smooth, the brush glides easily and the wood is less prone to cracks than a canvas.

Choosing Wooden Painting PanelsMona Lisa (1503-1506), Leonardo Da Vinci, oil on wooden panel, 77x53cm

  • For heavy collages or strong reliefs made from modeling paste, a wooden panel is really the ideal option. Once hung, the construction holds well, contrary to the canvas which can (with time) being twisting under the weight of materials.
  • For a glossy finish, it is possible to cover a whole wooden painting panel with resin. This is equivalent to 50 coats of varnish and provides a surprising three-dimensional effect.
  • The wood panel can also be used as a support for printing. The result is rather surprising. Several of my paintings in Limited Editions have been printed on hardboard with a nice epoxy resin finish. The result is absolutely stunning!!!

Choosing Wooden Painting PanelsPrint on MDF panel + epoxy resin finish (65x55cm) + black frame

Weak points: The weight of a wooden panel is always heavier than a stretched canvas. Despite its rigidity, the wooden panel is still fragile and can move. It does not resist strong heat or humidity, violent shocks or falls. In addition, large painting panels are rarely available in stores. For a large one (eg 80x80cm), I always use a bespoke wood panel or I join several panels together to create a nice polyptych.

Information for this article was provided by professional fine artist, Amylee Paris. You can visit her colourful portfolio or follow her on Facebook and Instagram

Find all Amylee’s posts published in GreatArt online Magazine by clicking here!

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