Marc Hanson, is a talented artist friend who caught my eye not only for his beautiful paintings, but for all the clever art tips, like making your own panels, he shares on Facebook with his adoring fans.

Marc is a world class artist and recently won the Oil Painters of America, ‘John Marion Pardy Landscape Award of Excellence’ for the painting ‘Sunday Morning Frost,’ a 16×20 oil.

A while back, Marc shared a popular article with Fine Art Tips, “Save Studio Space! How to Make Your Own Painting Racks” and since then people have been asking about the small panels that he uses to fill these racks.

(This is a stack of 120 panels all ready for priming or for having linen mounted to them.)

Marc makes his own small panels from 8 Ply 100% Rag Museum Board. He uses Crescent board.

  • Marc says if you Google ‘8 ply museum rag board’ there are quite a few suppliers who show up. B&H Photo is one that shows up the most.
  • Also try frame suppliers, frame shops, and some art supply stores. Sheets are 32×40 I think. There are elephant sized sheets also available… 40×60.

Marc first cuts the panels out with a mat knife (utility knife) and an aluminum ruler.

He primes them either with a coat of shellac, a thin coat of acrylic primer with pumice and then shellac or he glues linen or canvas directly to the panel using, Miracle Muck.

A few interesting facts about Shellac:

  • Shellac has been used for centuries as an isolator for many finishing and ‘Art’ uses.
  • A friend Marc’s who used to be a professional restorer told him that the hardest paint to remove from an old painting was paint that had been applied to a surface with shellac as the primer.
  • The framers out there will know this saying, “Shellac sticks to anything and anything sticks to shellac.”
  • It’s only two draw backs are that if applied too thick it can crack, and it is not water impervious. But if you are bending or soaking your paintings, you have problems anyway! 😉

As for permanence, Marc takes the 8 ply 100% rag board any day over the Gator board.

  • He does not like the way the foam gasses off and will eventually deteriorate.
  • Plus the Gator board can be punctured or dented to the point of ruining the surface of the painting.
  • The 100% rag, if properly isolated from the paint, and taken care of as you would any painting support,  will be here hundreds of years from now.

That said, if Marc plans on painting larger than about an 8×10 using the museum board, he would glue it down onto another support, probably composition hard board that has had the surface isolated with urethane floor varnish.

Marc says it works great.


Thanks again Marc for sharing a great tip with us 🙂

You might also like to read:

Save Money! Learn How to Gesso a Hardboard Panel for Painting

How to Bring out the Mona Lisa in Your Own Artwork!

Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Artist Ambassador to Arches/Canson/Royal Talens. As the owner of, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses. Lori is also a member of the CBS Entertainment Tonight & The Insider Tweet Team.

6 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Inexpensive Small Painting Panels

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention How to Make Your Own Inexpensive Small Painting Panels | Lori McNee Artist --

    • Lori McNee says:

      I always wonder if these type of comments are spam??? However it is not impossible that you are a physician assistant who is interested in art and reading this website on your coffee break – lol! I hope so…thanks.

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