Getting Stuck: Glues and Pastes

For all artists, crafters, or just people who need to know how to glue two items together, there is a website for you: thistothat.com

The homepage gives you two boxes to choose the two items you are trying to glue together. Click Submit, and it gives you the best glue for the materials.

There is also a page for trivia that includes items like:

” When you are sucking in all the toxins from your cigarette, you can rest assured that the glue used to hold it together is completely non-toxic. It is made from a combination of casein (milk) and wax (to increase moisture resistance), and is absolutely harmless.”

There are many ways to stick one thing to another. Methyl Cellulose does not irritate human tissue, which is why it’s a popular glue. You generally have to buy it dry and mix it with water yourself.

Candle wax will hold one piece of paper to another, but it leaves a grease stain and you need quite a bit of it–you have to cover one piece of paper to get it to stick to another.

PVC paste is white book glue. It’s archival and is probably my favorite. Dilute it with distilled water to thin it. I also use Elmer’s brand, as it is ideal (and inexpensive) for creating crackle paste:

  • Paint a background and let it dry.
  • Apply a thick coat of Elmers glue, using a brush to paint it on in one direction.
  • Immediately apply a thin coat of paint on top of the glue
  • Let dry completely, several hours. You can help it with a warm (not hot) hair dryer.
  • The dry glue will create cracks and pulls in the direction you brushed it on

I may be the only person with a studio who doesn’t own a glue gun. Hot glue seems to work fine, I can never get it to stay stuck once it’s cooled and about a month old. So I’m a wet glue person. Or a cold connection person. (Cold connection is what you call attaching metals without solder in jewelry). I mean on paper–staples, tabs, stitching are great attachment methods.

Nori glue is made from seaweed. It’s very wet but it works beautifully because it goes down evenly and doesn’t soak paper or warp it much.

You can also use the countless gel mediums, glazes and pastes made to use with acrylic paints. For that matter, you can use acrylic paint itself as a glue.

Glue Tip for Cactus Owners: If you’ve touched a cactus and have dozens of no-see-um stickers in your finger, coat it with a white glue (Elmer’s is fine, any kind of PVA will do. Do not use super-glue) and let it dry. Then carefully, slowly peel it off starting at one edge. The glue will pull out all the cactus spines.

–Quinn McDonald is an Raw Art Journal artist who sticks up for original artwork, with and without glue.

Advertisements

How to Make it Stick

For all artists, crafters, or just people who need to know how to glue two items together, there is a website for you: thistothat.com

The homepage gives you two boxes to choose the two items you are trying to glue together. Click Submit, and it gives you the best glue for the materials.

images13.jpegThere is also a page for trivia that includes items like:

” When you are sucking in all the toxins from your cigarette, you can rest assured that the glue used to hold it together is completely non-toxic. It is made from a combination of casein (milk) and wax (to increase moisture resistance), and is absolutely harmless.” or

” Cellulose, the major ingredient of the cell walls of plants, is the base of adhesives ideal for sticking plastic or glass to the cornea of the eye. Methyl Cellulose does not irritate human tissue, which is why it is used for this application.”

No wonder I use methyl cellulose for collages and cards–it’s easy and doesn’t pull of my skin.

Glue Tip for Cactus Owners: If you’ve touched a cactus and have dozens of no-see-um stickers in your finger, coat it with a white glue (Elmer’s is fine, any kind of PVA will do. Do not use super-glue) and let it dry. Then carefully, slowly peel it off starting at one edge. The glue will pull out all the cactus spines.

–Quinn McDonald is an Raw Art Journal artist who sticks up for original artwork, with and without glue. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2008-9 All rights reserved. Image: northumberlandglue.uk

Glue Tips

Whether you use PVA glue, acrylic medium, or methyl cellulose, wet glues have their own problems and their own great uses.

I always wanted to use glue sticks, but I just don’t have luck with them. They aren’t precise enough, and for some reason, they don’t hold well over time. If they work for you, great.

So, here’s what I’ve found out about using wet glues.
Buy them in big bottles and transfer them to smaller squeeze bottles. Label them by writing on a piece of tape and putting the tape on the bottle. Wipe the rim of the big bottle carefully with a wet cloth so you can open it again.methyl cellulose

Invest in parchment paper. The kind cooks use in the kitchen. Not waxed paper, not plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Not parchment from an art store. Kitchen parchment paper. I bought a giant stack and use it in pieces about 5 inches x 8 inches, or, if I am working on larger pieces, enough to leave a one-inch margin around the piece I’m working on. I tear up an entire stack, and work on top of the stack. More on that in a minute.

The trouble with glue is. . .well, it’s wet and sticks to everything. Including your clothes and skin. Wear an apron, and have a wet cloth handy. Once most glue gets on your clothing, you’ve got a piece of work clothing. If you jump up and wet down the clothing right away, you might save it, but it’s a hell of a way to spend an afternoon. Wipe your hands on the wet cloth frequently. Pulling glue off your skin is painful, wrecks a manicure, and may not come off in one piece. Walking around looking like a leprosy victim is not priceless, it’s creepy.

acrylic mediumPVA, acrylic mediums, and methyl cellulose can be thinned with water. I use distilled water in a spray bottle. Rather than thinning the whole bottle, I thin small amounts–about as much as I’ll use in 10 minutes.

Use the parchment paper as a glue palette. I squeeze a puddle of glue about the size of a quarter on a small piece of parchment. To thin it, I spray distilled water on it. I quit using tap water when I sprayed the water into the glue and a week later, there was mold on the glue. I quit using boiled water when I lived in hard water areas and the minerals in the water streaked the medium and showed when it dried. Distilled water avoids all sorts of problems.

images6.jpegDon’t scrimp on parchment. I use a 1-inch brush to cover a large area, and run the brush over the edges to get a good seal or to serve as a base coat on paper. I do one side, and pick up the parchment and move it aside. Most paper won’t stick to parchment and you can let it dry. Do NOT try to pick up the paper and use the parchment again. Wait till both are dry. You can re-use the parchment then. But while it’s wet, you will just transfer glue to the wrong wide, smear your work or mess up your surface. I’ve read the tip about using a phone book, but phone book ink smears and transfers, and it’s not what I want.

Most lighter papers will curl if you apply glue to one side. Particularly if the grain is running long. Use acrylic medium on one side, let it dry, then flatten it with your hands and coat the other side. After that, you can use watercolors, acrylics, and more glue and the paper won’t curl and ruin your project.

Acrylic mediums can be used as a base coat, a top coat, an isolator (coat the piece to be glued down on both sides, let it dry, then glue down), and a glue. You can coat isolated areas in matte and others in gloss for wonderful effects. If you want a gloss finish, don’t apply gloss over matte. You can apply matte over gloss to take the shine down.

If you are a collage artist, and have windows in the image, coat the glass part of the window image with gloss medium, then use matte or satin on the back for glue. The glass in the windows will shine, giving it a real effect.

–Quinn McDonald is an artist and writer. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2007. All rights reserved. Images: parchment paper, http://www.baar.com. Glues, http://www.dickblick.com.

Gel Medium:Coating the World

[Note: You may also enjoy reading More on using glues.]
Gel medium is the magic potion of the art world–it’s a glue or a sealer; it creates a matte or shiny surface, it thins acrylic paints and makes them more transparent, it slows drying.

And the vary characteristics that make it wonderful cause confusion. Let’s keep it simple: Gel medium is acrylic paint without pigment color.

Gel medium is a description, there are several brand names, including Liquitex, Golden and Dick Blick‘s house brand.

00628-1295-0ww-xs.jpgThere are three textures: thick, thin and medium. That’s where the first problem starts.
Thick is also called “heavy,” and “gel,”
medium is often called “fluid,” or “soft fluid, or “medium gel,”
liquid is also called “most fluid,” “self-leveling,” or, “liquid”

Confused yet? I use Golden, which is a brand name, not a color, and their viscosities are divided into Gel and Medium, which is fluid. Golden makes at least 20 variations, including gels packed with glass beads for shine and texture, and those you can shape into peaks for impasto.00618-1026-0ww-xs.jpg

I use heavy gel when I need a paste, a medium when a lighter glue is needed, and a thin for coating collage work, isolating elements that might bleed or deteriorate or have a high-acid content which interferes with the archival qualities.

In addition to their consistency, gels also have transparency. Matte is great for creating a see-through surface without a shine. But if you are going to build it up, it will reduce clarity. Satin has a soft luster, and gloss is perfectly clear. It is shiny, but you can also build up layers and get that trapped-in-lucite look that reminds me of decoupage gone wrong, but certainly has its place.

Almost all mediums extend drying time of paint, and your best bet is to use the thinnest consistency and apply several coats. Let dry thoroughly between coats. If you use a heat gun, be careful not to hold the nozzle too close to the piece while the medium hasn’t set. Your collage will absorb the liquid, form steam, then develop blisters that can pop, spraying hot medium.

If you press your pieces, make sure they are dry. Even then, I use parchment to separate pages when they go into the book press.

–Quinn McDonald. QuinnCreative offers journal-writing, training, seminars and life- and creativity coaching. (c) 2007. All rights reserved. Images: courtesy Liquitex and Golden.