I'm just getting into oil painting although I have painted acrylics before (folk art style mainly), and the odd landscape or two.

I have always painted on board such as MDF or hardboard.

As I have a good supply (free) of hardboard I would like to continue with this.

What is a good way to prepare the hardboard first for oil painting?


Normal 'household' type of undercoat/sealer/primer?

Yeah, I know, I should use canvas (and I do have some) but prefer boards.

No, No I'm not really a painting heretic (or a Luddite).

Maybe a hangover from painting acrylics on board has given me a liking for the firmer support.

Your thoughts?


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Kevin, I also prefer painting on hardboard and wrote a blog on this site several years ago on how to prepare the hardboard for paint application.  I now always use an oil ground for my final primed layer and prefer Gamblin's "Oil Ground" as my final prime rather than gesso.  I am still using Liquitex's "Super Heavy Gesso" to provide an underlying texture and I either buy Ampersand's precut 1/8" hardboard panels when they are on sale in the local art store, Jack Richeson's 1/8" MDF panels when I can find them, or just local hardware store 2' by 4' 1/8" MDF panels cut on my table saw.   I usually make up a batch of 30 or more panels in varying sizes at a time.   Please see my blog on this site for further information.  It is much easier to make textured hardboard panels than it is to adhere cotton or linen canvas to hardboard and I prefer the surface!

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