Making a FAUX CANVAS for tiny Art Squared and ACEO/ATC (Also works for larger sizes) First is a series fo simple, inexpensive ways to create your one Canvas Boards.
Because the following technique produces such a wonderful surface, I often assign it to my students in the 8-week and 13-week fine art workshops as one of their classroom projects. The Faux Canvas is made using Masonite with a gesso/canvas texture surface. And is used in place of traditional stretched canvas.
The technique used to create the "canvas" texture is simple, though somewhat time consuming because of the required drying time.
What you will need:
..Masonite Board cut to exact size needed. (Consider making several at one time)
..White or Black Gesso (For best results use freshly opened containers. Older gesso tends to clump but will still do a good job for other projects)
..A very stiff bristle paint brush in a suitable width from 1" up. (Depending on the size board you are making. You must work quickly to produce the best surface.)
..A covered work surface (Kraft paper or newspaper is a suitable covering. I use cloth such as wide muslin or an old sheet which is stapled to the under edges of table and left until it absolutely has to be replaced)
..A Container of water
..Paint rags (Any art studio should have a large supply of paint rags)
..1 or 2 sheets or pads of 80 to100 grit sandpaper. (I use a Mouse Sander and an 80 grit sanding pad. But a sanding block will do a good job for this small, but important task)
..Tack Cloth or Micro Fiber Cloth (I despise Micro Fiber anything, but since some people like them I have added them to the list)
Steps to follow:
1) Sand the smooth surface well and evenly all over.
2) Wipe all dust and grit off the surface with Tack Cloth (or Micro Fiber Cloth)
3) Dip brush into gesso and brush using very long strokes, back and forth to load and distribute gesso evenly into bristles. Do this step on a piece of newspaper.
4) Reload your brush and using long straight stroke, and taking care not to over-work the gesso, cover the board with long horizontal strokes. LEAVE THE BRUSH STROKES.
5) Wash brush completely. (Due to the time required to accomplish this task, I suggest you consider making a dozen or more boards at one time)
6) Allow both the brush and the coated board to fully dry. This may take several hours.
7) Repeat Steps 3 and 4. But this time use vertical strokes. Allow the horizontal strokes to show through.
8) Clean up and condition your brush and tools.
You are done. Allow to dry completely. Once dry, you will have a faux canvas surface that is ready to use.
Note: It can be noted here that most Masonite has a very rough, cross-hatch finish on the back that also makes a wonderful painting surface, when coated with 2 or 3 very thin layers of gesso. Allow to dry completely between coats. No sanding is required. And no brush strokes should be seen in the case of the very rough surface.
I hope the artist in you will find a bit of useful information in this guide to take along on your journey. Enjoy!