On a recent trip to Venice, Italy I learned how to turn an ordinary wine cork into a lightweight  plein air painting carrier.

Turn a Wine Cork into a Plein Air Painting Carrier
Lori (pictured in the middle) painting in Venice with Florida artist, Cory Wright and artist Mo Teeuw from England.

Traveling the world and plein air painting with International artists is a wonderful experience. However, lugging around a heavy backpack with a portable studio inside quickly becomes tiresome. Finding ways to minimize the load is a must. Commercially designed wet panel carriers are great for short backpacking trips or car painting. But, these carriers become too bulky and heavy if you are carrying more than just a few wet paintings.

In Venice, we were on our feet painting and maneuvering the busy streets from dawn until dusk. We would break for dinner, and then we painted past midnight!

Venice Fish Market
I loved painting with my handy Strada Micro pochade box at the Fish Market
Turn a Wine Cork into a Plein Air Painting Carrier
After a long day of painting, a relaxing dinner in Venice with my talented friends! Florida artist, Cory Wright, artists Mo Teeuw and Felicity House of England, and California artist, Wyllis Heaton. (Lori is picture in the middle).
Fine Art Tips in Venice
Fine Art Tips in Venice!

Using my wine cork panel carriers saved a lot of space in my backpack, and lessened the weight on my back! Thanks to my artist friend, Cory Wright who taught me this simple wine cork tip (learned from artist, Marc Dalessio).

Here’s all you need to make your own wine cork panel carrier:

  • A wine cork
  • A knife
  • Tape or rubber bands (I like blue painter’s tape)
  • 2 panels of the same size

Step 1

Using the knife, carefully slice the wine cork into penny size pieces. Then, cut those pieces in half.

Turn a Wine Cork into a Plein Air Painting Carrier

Step 2

Next, place the half-round cork pieces onto each of the four corners of your wet painting.

Step 3

Place the other wet painting of the same size face-down on top of the bottom painting. Be sure and line-up the edges. Wrap tape around all four corners to secure the cork pieces in place. *Note: Below, the right corner piece of cork is exposed for the picture – it will be wrapped with tape like the left corner.

cork wrap

Below, I have used extra thin linen panels by Multimedia Art Board. These lightweight panels are especially great for traveling and they are a wonderful substrate to paint upon! *Note: With thinner panels (less than 1/8 inch), I advise adding 4 extra wine cork pieces in the middle of each edge between the paintings. Be sure and tape them too!

cork middle

When you finally unpack, you might need to retouch your paintings where the cork pieces have been. I promise it won’t be that bad! Let me know if you have another clever way you travel with wet paintings.

Ciao! ~Lori

PS. Here are a few more of my plein air paintings from Venice. I always use Cobra water-mixable oil paints because they clean up with soap and water! I also used Dryangle drying racks to dry my paintings in my hotel room.

Morning Gondolas
©2015 Lori McNee – Morning Gondolas
Midnight Dorsoduro
©2015 Lori McNee – Midnight Dorsoduro
Rainy Day in Academia copy
©2015 Lori McNee – Rainy Day in Academia
Lori A McNee

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