GUEST POST: making cradled wooden panels with stacy elaine dacheux

So honored to have my friend Stacy doing a guest post for sunandglory! One of my most talented friends! I ADORE her art and her wonderful talents!

this is a picture of my studio, with a freshly primed wooden panel ready to go.

i never learned how to stretch canvas or build frames in a school setting. in fact, i never went to school for art, i went to school for writing. art was a supplemental interest that started out as a way for me to cope or relax. i would just buy prepped canvas at the store, throw some paint on it, and let my mind get lost in the colors.

this was my relationship to art for a few years. then, something slowly unfolded and i fell in love– with not just the act of painting, but the research, history, techniques, theories, and practices of art. i became more invested. more dedicated.

two wonderfully kind friends taught me how to build cradled wood panels from scratch, and i haven’t painted on anything else since. here are those notes. enjoy!


1. band clamp (you can purchase this at Amazon or local hardware store).

2. bar clamps (at least 4– you can purchase at Amazon or local hardware store).

3. wood glue.

4. masking tape.

5. sandpaper.

6. gesso & paint brush.

7. wood stain or bee polish (optional).

8. t-square, tape-measure, & pencil.

9. one 3/8 in. 2 ft x 2 ft piece of plywood (thin, yet sturdy– it shouldn’t weigh too much, but should feel firm. check to make sure the wood is not splintered or bent when purchasing).

10. one 1 x 2 x 8 piece of lumber (the total length measurement of this should be at least the length of your plywood x 4. check to make sure when you lay the board down on its side that it lays straight and doesn’t bend) ***you may want to buy an extra back-up piece of lumber, just incase you make a mistake.

11. miter box with saw.

12. oh, and you might also need a yard. if you live in the city like i do, then you might need to borrow one. the incredible annie let me use hers and it helped to make the day even that more enjoyable.


1. measuring. it’s my least favorite activity, but it needs to be done and it has to be done right, otherwise everything else gets a ton more difficult/crappy.

grab your long piece of lumber, plywood, tape measure, t-square, and pencil for this part.

my plywood is 24″ long and 24″ wide (a nice even square). So, I need to cut this one piece of lumber into 4 pieces, each of which measures 24″ long.

sounds easy, right? sort of, but we are not cutting at 90 degree angles, we are cutting at 45 degree angles. don’t get overwhelmed by that right now– first things first. take your tape measure and mark your lumber in relation to the length of each side of plywood.

now, we will mark angles. take your t-square and measure a 45 degree angle into the very end of each mark. your T-square will make this feel intuitive. make sure your new mark moves “into” the line as so–

ex: \ == /

my digital sketch above is what your lines should look like. the two furthest points should measure the 24″ length of your plywood.

ex: \==\

my digital sketch above is what your lines should NOT look like.

2. sawing. your arms will hurt like hell, but it will be fun and empowering.

basically at this stage, you will only need to do one thing– saw the lumber with your miter box/saw. however, you will need to have your plywood on hand to double-check that everything measures out correctly.

set your saw box to a 45 degree angle. fasten your wood into place, attach your saw, and go at it. make sure you lay the saw on the measured line you drew, before and as your saw, since you are sawing by hand, swooshing the blade super slow, this won’t be hard to do. try to keep everything clean and steady, ask a friend for help if you need it. this part is sometimes challenging if your lumber is long.

once you cut your piece, make sure it measures to fit your plywood as indicated above (refer to my digital sketch). remember, the cut should be inward, not outward. don’t rush this part, it’s pretty important. all your pieces need to match. here is a photo of how you can double-check your measurements without pulling out your ruler again.

3. gluing: all your attention to detail is about to pay off.

grab your cut lumber, plywood, wood glue, band clamp, at least 4 bar clamps, and t-square.

fit your cut lumber together on a clean surface that can afford to get a little messy.

your t-square should be able to fit snugly into each corner.

take your wood glue and dab some onto each end, then fit them together. this will still feel loose, if you need to support the structure of your frame, by placing heavy items, such as books, around the exterior, please do. use whatever you can to keep it all seemingly in one piece while you work to put the band clamp on. a friend might come in handy here for this part too. once you have the band clamp on, it’s smooth sailing.

your band clamp comes with four metal corner pieces. place each one on an end, and then wrap the band around the frame, nestling it into the grooves of each corner piece.

tighten the crank on your band clamp so the belt is taut. a little bit of glue will seep out of the corners. take a wet rag and wipe up the residue.

place glue along the edge of your plywood and fit it over your frame. take your bar clamps and clamp each corner accordingly.

glue will again seep out of the crevice when you tighten the bar clamp. take a wet rag and wipe it up. if you don’t want to do this, that’s fine, but the glue will noticeably stain the wood a bit. you can sandpaper it later, but that might be a little extra work at that stage, something that is best to be avoided.

you can put a little extra glue along the inside crevices, just to ensure a bit more support/cohesion. then, let it dry. wait a day if necessary. you don’t want to take the band or bar clamps off until you feel it’s dry and safe to do so.

4. finishing touches. yay!

in addition to your raw wood panel, you will need masking tape, sandpaper, gesso, and polish/stain (optional) for this part.

masking tape the side of your wood panel for protection, and gesso the surface of your plywood. when that dries, take the tape off, then smooth the sides and edges with sandpaper.

you can paint these edges any color, but if you use a pretty wood, you can just stain the wood for a more natural effect. This is my preference. I use an organic bee polish, that really makes the wood sing.

5. now, get ready to paint your masterpiece. otherwise known as hooray– you did it– you made your cradled wooden panel!

here are a few assemblage paintings that i built on this type of panel. i am so thankful that my friends took the time to explain this process to me– hopefully my tutorial wasn’t too confusing and you were able to gleam something from it too.


stacy elaine dacheux, pictured above, lives in los angeles. she has written for Flavorpill Productions, BUST Magazine, and Venus Zine. her crafty guest designs have been published in Bead Simple by susan beal and Pop Goes Crochet by vickie howell. she currently co-edits Slack Lust Magazine, and also might have something happening over on Etsy. introduce yourself anytime.

Published by Dear, Us

Welcome to the bridge where I hope and intend to create a space for ALL the things I do and can't seem to quit. I am a stylist, a creator, a shop owner, a writer, an artist, a mama. Sabina Bloom was born FEB 2021 in a snowstorm and she has an extra special gift on her 21st chromosome. Here you will find us laughing, loving, creating, and navigating Down syndrome and our life together.

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