how to flatten and glue down paper on a canvas panel collage

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SandyRanga wrote
on 28 Jul 2010 4:38 PM

Hi all,

Wondering if someone can give me some hints on how to "flatten out " and glue down a variety of pieces of paper, like scrapbooking paper, onto a canvas panel.  I've applied glue to the back of the paper, pressed it onto the canvas and then run an old credit card over the top to squeegy out the excess glue but I'm afraid to put too much pressure on the canvas in case I stretch it too much - then I find that when it's dry, it's not totally flat with air bubbles etc.  I find that corners of the panel are particularly the worst as there's the wooden edge underneath and then canvas on thin air which makes it hard to press down on.  Would a book or something high enough underneath the canvas to be able to put pressure on it work?  I'd love it to work as if I'm working on a piece of hard timber.  Hope I've described my problem well enough........ there must be something simple I'm not doing.  Many thanks in anticipation.... Sandy. 

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Posts 199
on 29 Jul 2010 12:30 AM

Matte medium might work better than glue.  I did a canvas a while back and wanted sheet music covering it completely.  I made a mixture of Mod Podge (I always use matte, not glossy) and water and soaked my paper in to to make it flexible, then put down some concentrated glue on the canvas and laid the paper on top.  Just a little smoothing with my fingers was all it took because the Mod Podge mix gives it weight and makes it easy to shape. 

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SandyRanga wrote
on 29 Jul 2010 12:37 AM

Oh yes thank you, softening the paper would probably help.  When I said glue, I kind of meant a Mod Podge sort of thing........... the one I was using is very tacky and similar to MP.  I will try the soaking, thanks so much for that :-)......... S

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Posts 371
on 1 Aug 2010 7:06 AM

There is a technique that Jonathan Talbot does with acrylic medium and an iron that really gets those papers down. The way it is done, once you lay out your papers, you can iron it down instead of redoing it by glueing down. I hope that made sense.  I forgot what the technique is called. 

What I do when I collage with paper is make sure that my glue used matches the substrate that I am using.  I have best luck with liquid glue such as Sobo or glues especially made for paper.  Once I lay the papers down, some do come up, but I weight them down with a weight like a matte medium jar.  What you can also do is put down a piece of freezer paper and then put a weight on it so it won't stick for a few minutes until your elements fuse.  It is counterintuitive but sometimes less glue is better than more.  I sometimes glop on too much glue and that causes the edges to come up. 

An alternative is to sew together some of your bothersome papers (adding some texture and contrast) and then adding it to your canvas.  I use needle and thread as my glue a lot nowadays.  I am on my sewing machine a lot sewing together both fabric and paper.  I will cheat - I will do some decorative sewing and/or sew some elements together and then glue it to my canvas or other substrate.

Belinda aka crazyartgirl

Blog:  http://alteredbelly.blogspot.com/

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SandyRanga wrote
on 1 Aug 2010 2:32 PM

More good advice, thankyou :-)  It's a little difficult trying to match products with what we have here in Aus......... Mod Podge is the only thing I can find that is the same, although I'm sure lots of products will do the same jobs.  Will try all these things........ thanks again, Sandy.

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rainbow71 wrote
on 16 Aug 2010 8:28 PM

Not sure if this is helpful but if you have a canvas on the wooden stretchers & it gets stretched or droopy, you can tighten it up a bit by spraying the backside with VERY HOT water, moisten it as much as you dare (not drippy) to protect your artwork and let it airdry.  It tightens it up simply and naturally.  HTH. Some of the art supply places have forums and I read this there.  There is a spray you can get that tightens them too.  Am curious to see what adhesives others suggest too.  So glad you asked.

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SandyRanga wrote
on 18 Aug 2010 2:16 PM

Will try this too, many thanks for the idea Smile

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Posts 105
Thespoena wrote
on 25 Aug 2010 3:25 PM

I've used Beacon's 3in1 Craft glue for stubborn paper corners, dries very quickly and bonds very well,  just depends on what you are doing. If your work surface isn't covered with glue you could try flipping your canvas over onto a hard surface and smoothing from the back thereby avoiding the whole stretching problem, of course if there is a lot of glue you wouldn't want your freshly glued paper to stick to the hard surface and tear off. I always work with a non-stick craft mat so I never have that problem.

I've also cut out a work board from scrap plywood that will fit in the back of the canvas, set it on your work surface and lay your canvas over the top while you work, smooth all you want then lift, no stretching from pushing. I tend to work with the same size canvases a lot so having a work board the correct size and depth on hand is easy.

Maybe one of these ideas will work for you, good luck!

Thespoena McLaughlin

The Official Prilosec OTC Mixed Media Art Teacher!

Take a free class online... http://www.mixedmediaartclass.com  

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SandyRanga wrote
on 25 Aug 2010 3:37 PM

Thespoena thankyou Smile  It appears that I did explain my problem well enough because all these suggestions are great and I can see that they will all help Smile  Sometimes the simplest solutions are unbelievably the best.  This is a great forum to belong to..... many thanks everyone!......... Sandy

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kade6767 wrote
on 25 Aug 2010 10:31 PM

A stretched canvas is always the hardest to work on. But it can be very easy by not using Mod Podge or simple glues. Always make sure the canvas is primed. If not, start by brushing some Gesso over the canvas. The canvas needs "tooth" so that medium will adhere. For most lightweight papers, the best medium is soft gel (gloss). My brand of choice is always Golden and can be found at your local art supply store, and even Michaels carries this now. Soft Gel (Gloss) is the best for most papers, because it is very light weight, and is the least wet of all mediums. Obviously, start with one corner and as you lay it down, you could use a brayer, it will not stretch the canvas, and you barely need pressure applied. The heavier the paper, you can step up from soft gel, to regular gel, and then, as heavy as cardstock you would go to the heavy gel. You will not get bubbles, and everything will lay smooth, and be archival. I am a mixed-media artist, and these mediums are designed for the type of work you described.

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on 21 Sep 2010 3:36 PM

Sandy,

if you live outside the USA, like myself, I have found out the PVA glue is identical to Mod podge, and a fraction of the price. Maybe you have PVA glue in Aus?

Hope this helps

Jan

 

http://scrapworkart.blogspot.com

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SandyRanga wrote
on 21 Sep 2010 3:51 PM

Thanks Jan...... yes, always have PVA on hand but didn't really think about it being identical to ModPodge...... will consider that.  Can someone tell me what soft, regular and heavy gel are?  Are they just like a PVA glue or indeed like ModPodge?  Confused about all these different mediums, what they do, and the difference between them all......... Sandy

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kade6767 wrote
on 21 Sep 2010 8:01 PM

Mod Podge is fine for some very basic decoupage. It's the equivalent of using Elmer's glue really. Gels and pastes, for example, by the company Golden are used for many different art techniques from fine art to collage and assemblage. Even basic Polymer Medium is great to use. If you are using tissue paper and very lightweight papers then you would want to use a soft gel because it will not be too heavy and tear the papers. Also, soft gels are less wet, so they make a good choice. It's up to you to decide if you want gloss or matte. So just go up from there. As the papers and elements get heavier step up the gel or paste. Objects can be adhered with heavy gel or extra heavy gel. Gels and pastes, particularly from Golden are the best choices if you want your finished piece to withstand time. Transparencies should always be pasted down with the regular gel gloss..

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kade6767 wrote
on 21 Sep 2010 8:01 PM

Also the Polymer Medium matte/gloss is great to use as a top coat, as is self-leveling gel or clear tar gel. But not as a final coat like a varnish.Big Smile

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ebhonn wrote
on 25 Sep 2010 2:29 PM

What about using a spray adhesive?

Miss E

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