Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

You can send an email to [email protected] if you have questions about how to use this forum.

My painting is rippling

My painting, "Daddy's Funny" is starting to ripple. It's the second time using polyester canvas and it looks like maybe I didn't put enough staples in the back. They are spaced about every 2 inches. It's only rippling on the longer edges of the painting and not the shorter edge. It's 18x24. So, after this dries, what do you think I should do? I've never had this happen...although "Pensive" which is on linen is starting to do the same. My paintings on cotton canvas has not done anything unusual. My only other painting that is on poly canvas is "Wedding Flowers" and that is not showing any issues, but it is quite a bit smaller.

Do you think it could be glued down to masonite or hard board? Re-stretching sounds like I could easily ruin the painting.


  • dencaldencal -
    edited November 2014

    You could key or wedge the stretchers.

    Some artists recommend dampening the back of the canvas with water (Not tried).

    If the slackening is too advanced gluing to Masonite or hardboard is good option.

    The other thought is that if you are using a poly/cotton 2 way (selvedge) or 4 way (knit)stretch fabric you might be chasing ripples for a while. In this case Masonite or hardboard is the only option.

  • @dencal‌ I really can't remember what I bought. Fedrix artists polyester canvas? I used my own strainer bars, so no key spaces to put them. It is a weird acting canvas. More bounce than usual...and yet, when wet, it easily depresses. I have another canvas that I had already toned that has a depression in the corner. I remember painting it and thinking it shouldn't do that....

    Spraying water on a cotton canvas works well for taking out dimples and impressions. This painting is not dry so I'm reluctant to try that.

  • MeganS

    This link sings the praises about the dimensional stability of Fredrix Poly Canvas.
    Does "Red Lion" sound familiar to you? Looks like there is some lab analysis work too.

  • I'm done with stretched canvas on all but really large paintings. I can't see any upside.
  • Yes on the pliers. I use fedrix brand pliers. I use kiln dried fir wood. 3/8 inch staples. Sometimes I use my pneumatic stapler, other times, I use my hand/manual one. (I fully admit that the pneumatic one scares me a bit since the safety is not by pressure on the tip like on a nailer, it's on the handle.)
    So after it dries I will try the following (in order):
    -put in more staples
    -spray water on the back
    -gesso an X on the back
    -cross-bracing (I don't think this will help. It's not sag, it's tight in some areas but not in others.)

    -Take out staples and glue to hard board using PH neutral glue.

    I looked closer on my small painting (12x16), Wedding Flowers under daylight. It also has some rippling. It's as if I pushed too hard with the brush and it left a stretched out area. It happens closer to the edges. I sprayed that one with water. We shall see.
  • @Martin_J_Crane‌ Yeah, I'm no longer feeling it. I'm glad the portrait swap forced me to look into gessobord. I really do like painting on it. For small portraits, it's great. Not sure what to do with larger works. Dibond, probably.
  • My very first portrait was on linen. It has depressions too. I haven't done anything to it besides varnish and putting a frame around it. It might be the temp here. It's was near zero for almost a week. I have a "ready to paint" stretched linen that I will be using for a small painting. It'll be interesting if that holds up well.
  • No. They are stored on an unused fireplace mantle for now. Sometimes I put them on the wood floor. The humidity is drier.
  • It resolved itself. I can still feel it when I run my hand along the back side, but I can't see it. Maybe only when it's wet it will be like this? But my other painting that is on linen is doing terrible! I may have to take that one off the frame. It has turned me off of linen for a bit....yikes. Finicky and expensive.
  • With polyester which is essentially woven plastic it will continue to sag as it ages. The most direct solution would be to mount the painting on Masonite 1/4"thick. One way to do that is to use Elmer's glue thinned with water to the consistency of slightly thinned Gesso. Brush it on the Masonite and the back of the painting that has been taken off the stretchers and all staples removed. Measure before hand the space inside the folds and have your Masonite cut to that size plus 1/8th inch easement. Place the prepared painting face down on a sheet of glassine paper, wrap excessive edges of the painting around back flat corners and glue all folds. Turnover painting over leave glassine on top and use a brayer to roll out any possible air bubbles. Let dry at least 24hrs. Next gesso the back I think because this not new canvas you should gesso the board before hand all edges to prevent out gassing of the Masonite affecting your painting from behind the painted surface. You may know this already so then excuse the detailed information.
  • I think you are right @Lorie‌. I think it does sag over time. There are two paintings that will need to be mounted on masonite. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    question: should I varnish on the frame first before mounting or should I wait until after mounting?
  • It important to let the glue dry slowly. Although, you have a painted surface blocking the fast drying of the glue there are tiny openings here and there that will allow the mounting to be successful. I wouldn't varnish for at least 8 months just to be sure everything will be a done in an archival way. Good luck with it. The process is a little labor intensive but you will be happy with the results. I would love to see one of the paintings in question.
Sign In or Register to comment.