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How to choose a surface for fluid art painting

What is the best surface to paint on for fluid art?

It can be overwhelming when you start painting, or start working in a new style to figure out what type of canvas or board is best for the artwork you plan to paint.

Whilst stretched canvas and wooden boards are generally the most common choices, and are readily available from art suppliers in a variety of types; from stretched circle canvas, square or rectangular linen, or wooden boards – there are also many other surfaces which can be used too.

Some Artists are known to be thrifty, using materials like cardboard, plastic, glass or metal – these among other materials which can be salvaged are possible to use to make an artwork with. However, it is important to consider the pros and cons of substrates or surfaces so you get an optimal result and long lasting painting.

Fluid art, resin art and other techniques which harness the properties of liquified acrylic paint or pigment require certain considerations before you start painting. What will the final weight of the artwork be? Will the paint and medium bind to the chosen surface?

Let’s consider a few of the more commonly available surfaces, and their compatibility with fluid art.

Stretched Canvas

Stretched canvas is by far the most commonly available surface for painting.
Available at most art stores in a vast range of sizes, shapes and types – stretched canvas caters to those working on a small budget right through to professional artists.
The reason artists have generally opted for stretched canvas is its stability as a support for most types of painting styles. 
For Resin Art and Fluid Art Stretched canvas is certainly a great option in most cases – such as Outside The Square Round Canvas which uses great quality primed cotton and a specialty solid bevelled MDF stretcher which provides a sturdy brace for the tightly stretched canvas.

As Resin and Fluid art utilise large amounts of liquid and paint though, stretched canvas can only be used in smaller sizes before you might possibly encounter issue with the paint pooling in areas where it is weighing down the canvas.
To avoid this with stretched canvas, you can prop up or cradle the back of the canvas with a rigid piece of card, such as foam core; until the paint or resin has fully cured. 

Cradled Wooden Art Boards

An alternative to the stretched canvas, a wooden art board can be made with a variety of different materials such as birch ply, Mdf or other wood substrates. 
They are generally made with a braced backing which gives the art board support, and also helps to restrict the tendency of wood to warp when paint is applied.
These tend to be the preferred surface for resin art as they avoid the issue of the resin and paint pooling or sagging the surface.
However, the downside to boards is the weight. For very large scale pieces which also have the added weight of the paint – hanging them can be difficult and require significant hanging systems so as not to damage the walls of yours or a clients home. 

Alternative surfaces

Other possible surfaces which will accept resin or fluid techniques could include –

Tiles or Ceramics – which can be used with out preparation to create outdoor coasters or just for affordable experimentation.
Glass – another great surface for fluid art as the non-porous surface gives the fluidity of the paint room to spread.

Above all else – experiment! Try things on small scale first and test whether they will work before delving into larger sizes.