traditional gesso panels & french cleats

Traditional gesso panels have an ivory like painting and drawing surface for superior mark making. Our panels are made with genuine traditional gesso using English whiting and technical gelatine, more commonly known as hide glue. It is not merely an acrylic paint passing off as gesso.

Gesso is a high performance, permanent foundation for a wide variety of visual art techniques, and a surface that is receptive to the finest marks and subtlest of tones. All of the panels use eco friendly, ultra low emission EO grade fibreboard. Refer below for further technical information.

French cleats are the simplest way to hang a light flat panel onto a wall. Two French cleats are used in the process – one cleat is attached to the wall, and a second matching cleat is glued to the panel. Once the glue is dry, the board is hung by sliding the cleat attached to the board onto the cleat attached to the wall. Gravity does the rest creating a snug, precise fit. French cleat packs are available in sets of 6 and sets of 24. Instructions on how to use French Cleats are included in the technical information below.

to purchase

You can purchase our panels and art tools at select art material shops. There are links to our stockist’s online stores below the products. More stockists are listed on our stockists page.


Art material stores can become a Fisher Wells stockist by contacting our national distributor Langridge Artist Colours or by contacting us directly at

traditional gesso panels And French cleats – technical information

The 5” x 7” and 8” x 10” gesso panels are 6mm EO grade fibreboard with a traditional gesso ground applied. The 6 pack of 4” x 5” panels are on 3mm EO grade fibreboard.

The traditional gesso ground is made and applied by us using hide glue and English whiting (calcium carbonate), and is applied in layers. This is not an acrylic primed surface (erroneously called gesso).

Perfect for the application of egg-tempera, watercolour, acrylic, silverpoint, drawing and other graphic techniques. The absorbent ground takes drawing marks well.

As is to be expected with a traditional gesso ground, the surface may be prone to marking and chipping if not handled with care. The panels are shrink-wrapped to protect the surface for sale and delivery.

Also, as with any other support structures for painting and drawing, i.e. paper, canvas, etc., the panels should not be kept in a moist environment.

As with any other timber panels, once an artwork is finished it is good practice to seal the back of the panel with shellac or an acrylic sealer. This will help protect the panel for years to come.


Fisher Wells have recorded the size of the panels in inches and mms on the labels. There is occasional, very marginal variation in panel sizes as the panels are handcrafted.

4” x 5”Traditional Gesso Panels - 102mm x 127mm3mm depth panelsSold as a 6-pack
5” x 7”Traditional Gesso Panels - 127mm x 178mm6mm depth panelsEach panel is sold individually
8” x 10”Traditional Gesso Panels - 203mm x 254mm6mm depth panelsEach panel is sold individually


1. Position and then glue the cleat to the back of the panel. Make sure the narrow face of the cleat is glued to the board and is exactly parallel to the top of the panel. This will create a narrow angle between the bottom of the cleat and the board.

2. The matching cleat is positioned and then attached with a suitable fastener set flush to the face of the cleat, make sure the narrow face of the cleat is level and securely attached to the wall – creating a narrow angle between the top of the cleat and the wall.

3. After the glue from step one is dry, fit the panel onto the wall. The panel cleat will fit neatly above the wall cleat for a secure hang.