You can buy a 9 x 12 painting panel from an art supply catalog for about $7.00. Or you can make them yourself for about $ .50 each. (Yep, 50 cents!) Here’s how:
1) Buy hardboard (masonite) at Lowe’s, Menard’s or any other lumber supply store. A 4′ x 8′ sheet is about $7.00. At Lowe’s they cut it down for me on the in-store saw at no charge. I had one sheet cut into 10 x 12′s, the other into 9 x 12′s.
2) lightly sand the panels, to help the gesso adhere better.
3) Dilute 1 pint of professional grade acrylic gesso ($9.00) with water until it’s roughly the consistency of pea soup
4) Using a paint roller ($3.00), roll the diluted gesso onto the panels. I do 3 coats.
$ 7.00 4′ x 8′ masonite sheet, cut into smaller panels
$9.00 1 Pint of acrylic gesso (I get mine from Utrecht.com)
$3.00 disposable paint roller cover
$.99 disposable plastic paint roller tray liner
$20.00 Total cost
From one sheet of masonite, you can get 40 9 x 12′s at $ .50 each, or 36 10 x 12′s for $ .57 each. (BTW- You can cut them to any size you want!)
Forty 9 x 12′s from the art supply catalog would cost $280.00 plus shipping instead of the $20.57 we spent.
Now the hard part -
what will you do with the $259.00 you just saved?