curved foamcore

Al E

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Jan 21, 2001
A customer brought in an acrylic painting done on black foamcore bought at AC Moore. It is Xacto foambord mfg'd by Hunt Corp. The board has curved quite a bit. It looks like the letter 'c'. She wants to have it framed if I can flatten it. She says she has previously painted on 32x40 fc with acrylic which didn't warp. Maybe, she used less paint on those?

I know counter mounting can prevent this happening but is it too late? I was thinking of applying something to the backside with white glue as a counter. Any opinions on this?

Also, she has several other boards to use. Can I mount something on the back to prevent this happening? She loves to paint on the fc and I must say her work is nice.

[ 01-26-2004, 07:12 AM: Message edited by: Al E ]
Al E : The things I remember about Flatening /unrolling a painting and causeing Fomeboard to curl(Deliberately) are as follows.
First un -curling a painting can be risky,depending upon which direction the curl is .If the curl is towards the back/unpainted side when un flattening it (by what ever means) the paint is less likely to crack and open up as you are not streching the painted surface any more than it is already.However it can cause creases which might crack the applied paint. Of courese doing this in the opposite direction will probaly do all those things that I just said probably might not happen . This is why ,If you must carry an oil in a rolled up fashion ( be it undesireable)it is better to roll it away from the painted surface,and when it is unrolled you will be bringing to surface together so-to-speak.
so be very cautious even if you can flatten the Fomeboard.
Next the best advise I can give you about curved Fomeboards might be to try to contact Bill Parie. Bill gave a class (some time back) about decrotive ways to use fome board .In this class he made fome board curl up to form things like columns and pedistals for displays. I think (although I don't fully remembr) he applied moisture to the boards to make them curl. Therefore it is highly likely that an excessive amount of Paint even acrylic but especially water color could curl the boards. But this might just send up Red Flags since heavy applications of paint are more likely to crack when flattened in any direction.
This is not framing gospel by any means ,just my memeories and where I think you might find better advise.
If a client brought an item like this in to me I would tell them about the possibilities of the paint cracking, the surface creasing, or even tearing.

With client approval and release forms signed,
I would build a Med./Large Stretcher/Strainer bar the same as the outside dimension of the foamcore and if it is really bad , beef up the strainer with cross bars in a plus formation or a least one bar down the center of the stretcher running in the long direction of the curve.
You wondered if you could do anything for her before she paints on these:
Yes I would offer to build and glue these stretcher bars to the back of 5 to 10 foamcore canvases for her. This will help keep the edges from getting dog earred/dented, should help keep the items flat and increase your profits for providing another framing service to her that she will be happy to pay for to keep her boards flat.

The kids her in Coronado like to paint the store windows for Halloween, I dont like having the mess on my window and then I would have to scrape it off then wash it down. So I provide a 32x 40 piece of foamcore to them to paint on and then display it in the window or out front during the day. When they finished the first one, guess what? it bent over like a bad taco. Not wanting to diappoint the kids I built a wood stretcher bar, applied glue and weights and let dry for a few hours and it was a good as new and in my window for all to see.

I wish you all the best a big sales to all

Hello again,
You might also want to offer her black gattor board which might stand up on its own without a stretcher bar, it comes in 48 x 96 sheets so your client does not have to be limited to 32 x 40. Which in turn could turn into bigger framing dollars for you :D

Good luck,