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I want to seal the edges of cut Gatorfoam board with something to make it smooth. Has anyone done this? It has already been sanded, so is as smooth as mechanical means can make it. It is THICK board so those edges matter.


I will be applying Japanese block printed rice paper over it. If anything sticks out through it, the paper will not apply smoothly and may tear / abrade with use.


Archival is preferred. The board is archival too. Anything else will probably deteriorate the paper quickly.


 I used a coat of gesso yesterday. The foam is still pretty rough, though. Not sure how many coats would make it smooth: the edges I coated yesterday took me 4 hours. (!) 


I could use acrylic medium.


Not sure which will fill up the “pores” faster.



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Linnea, are you painting them by hand?

Yes. I am applying the gesso with a palette knife to try to get a thicker coat. Then brushing over with a fine brush or smoothing with my finger, if it is not smooth enough. I will sand where needed once I get the texture covered.  

Edges are tough and time consuming. Gesso depending on the brand varies in viscosity.

Modeling paste or gel might be a better choice choice because its thicker in viscosity to begin with.

The other thing you could do is stack several together, maybe wrap them tight in blue tape or a ribbon, and do the edges together instead of one at a time.

If you are doing this vertically (standing on edge) and don't want to wait for each side to dry try using a 'lazy susan' so you can do all four sides of the whole stack at once.

Yes, as thick as the gesso looks in the jar - and it looks very thick, no dripping or sagging at all -  it must dry to a very thin film. 

The modelling paste looks promising: it states minimal shrinkage. 

They are drawers (like shallow trays) I have made: so I have not figured out any way to do them except one at a time. I want only to cover the foam and the cracks where the joins are, not the already smooth surface of the board itself. 

I'm not sure what you mean by "They are drawers (like shallow trays) I have made:"

I do understand not wanting to get it on the surface.

I just meant that there is no way to stack them and do all the edges at once. 

Well, it is a matter of problem solving. If its me I would give up the one at a time and the system you are using now and find a way.

This kind of thing is not the artistic side of making art but the production that goes onto it. You want to streamline that process somehow.

There is a way to do more than one at a time. Try the stacking/bundling, paint one side, unwrap, see how much got onto the surfaces and go from there.

If too much then figure out how to prevent it. It could be modeling paste won't bleed around the corners onto the surface (have as much capillary action between the bundled panels due to its thicker viscosity) as much as gesso but you won't know until you try it.

If you stay with the current one at a time you'll never know.

One step at a time.

I gotta run... I'll think about this...

Can you post a picture of one of them? It sounds like you are assembling them first then doing the edges.

Aaargh! part of my edited comment got lost.

Can you post a photo of one of them?

I think I understand now. It sounds like you have assembled a box (drawer or tray) similar to a stretched canvas frame where you will be wrapping the Japanese block printed rice paper around the sides?

Are you gluing them together? One panel with strips as sides?

If so then you can still do those edges before assembly


Thought about it. The only problem with taping/tying them together is only 2 sides can be done at a time.

What about still doing a stack of them laying flat on a 'lazy susan' then weight the stack with heavy books or something to compress the stack preventing gaps between panels so the gesso or modeling paste doesn't bleed to surfaces?

You could also consider trying a rubber or plastic squee-gee like screen printers use to spread the material faster and more efficiently instead of a brush.

Yes, the trays are already glued together. I keep trying to post pictures, but AFI won't load them. 

I am not applying with a brush: I am using a palette knife. And the last thing I tried with the gesso was applying it with a squeeze bottle, to get a sizable bead on the surface. At least I didn't have to scoop up every trowel / palette knife full. 

I bought the modelling paste yesterday. 

You could ask Connie Mettler why you are not able to upload the photos.

Ok, so these are already glued together. If you do more later try doing the edges together as a stack all at once before assembly.

Your squeeze bottle is a good idea.

Hopefully the modeling pastes works better. Let us know how well it works.

How did you cut them in the first place? That could be why your edges are rough.

The edges are only rough insofar as any foam is rough. I used a small hobby scroll saw, and sanded thoroughly afterward. 

I just tested the block printed rice paper over the foam, and felt like I could both see and feel the texture through it. 


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