2/06/2008

Gluing Plastic to Paper

I've spent a lot of time looking at completed collages, however I have not delved into collage construction. I have had people asking me about materials, adhesives...and I figure that it's time I wandered onto this subject.
Since I am no expert by any means, I cannot sit hear and write like I am an authority. There are plenty of places on the web where one can find out about glues, adhesives and their qualities. I won't even attempt to list them all. However, I can tell you how I personally feel about some of the glues that are out there. I am inviting any and all discussion regarding glues and the various techniques of adhesion.
For this post, I am going to copy the contents of a brief email conversation I had with fellow collage artist Marty Gordon.
MG: I am looking for the right glue to adhere plastic to paper. In the past, I've had the plastic peel right off after it dried. I thought I would consult my expert collage connections. Any suggestions?"
CC: HA! (good one!) expert connections! hahahaaaaa
That's a hoot! I am not really expert, but I do have some experience. And I also am not a technophile with this type of thing, I don't manage to retain chemical information of anything of that sort... But still, I appreciate your asking and of course I have an answer for you, actually a couple of choices.

My ultimate glue of choice is Golden Matte Medium. I have used Golden Matte Medium for things like this before and it holds. Liquitex also makes it but it costs more. Both products are comparable.

You basically are looking at a non-porous item adhering to another non-porous item. I have used Yupo as a base (synthetic paper, basically plastic...) and have successfully adhered pretzel bags to it (also non-porous). I had to glob the medium on pretty good and get a nice thick layer. The glue will not be absorbed, so therefore you really need a nice bed of medium because "it" is doing the job of sticking.

After globbing it on, you don't touch it AT ALL if possible. Let that sucker dry, and it might take hour(s) to do so. If your plastic has folds or bends in it this may make things a bit more difficult. I have used all sorts of things to weigh down plastic that is stubborn. Use objects that are heavy and not porous. If you use porous objects for weight, they may stick to any stray medium and cause issues later on when you try to remove them. Once the glue dries, it will hold your object on there. Continually bending or messing with it will allow it to pop off. Still, matte medium has worked the best for me many times in these conditions and even works on objects that you wouldn't think would stick.

Golden Matte Medium isn't cheap. But this stuff is serious. When I use my fingertips to press out air bubbles or to press papers to each other I get it all over my hands. Washing it off is Really Difficult, because water just doesn't automatically absorb it and wash it way. It isn't like Elmers glue to clean up, even on skin! This stuff has staying power. I have faith.

Another alternative I have used successfully is Tacky Glue. Tacky Glueis really thick and gooey and reminds me of Elmers glue when it comes to cleaning it off. It has sticky power, which the Golden Matte Medium does not, so if your object is heavier, you may want to consider Tacky Glue.

Finally, I have to mention the glue stick. I did a project just last night and had to adhere a flexible plastic computer circuit board to paper. I used glue stick, but then again, one of the surfaces was paper(porous).

What do you normally use? I probably will post this a la blog.... No doubt we will gain further feedback."

MG:
Thanks for the input. I usually use Mod Podge (gloss) for everything. I rarely use plastic so it's not a problem. Do you have a position or insight on Mod Podge?"
CC: Mod Podge.
That was the stuff I first used years ago.....
I don't like the gloss. That's the first problem. I use antique materials and the gloss bothered me.

I wish I could remember why I stopped using it, to tell you the truth. Oh YEA! I DO remember!!!
When I did pieces with Modpodge, I found they stuck together easily. I was doing journals and collage in books at the time. IF I used Modpodge, I couldn't put another modpodged item against it. They would stick together forever if I closed the book and sometimes it destroyed all the artwork. It would require waxed paper in between the sheets, which was a drag. I was participating in round robins, and other people that used ModPodge didn't protect their pages. A few of my altered book specimens have pages that are permanently stuck because of it...
With matte medium, I never had that problem. Once it dries, it isn't sticky anymore, or at least I haven't experienced a problem with it.

I imagine ModPodge would work fine for a single collage that was not up against another one or in a frame. Moisture in the air seemed to exacerbate this problem. Perhaps the climate where you live is dry .
MG:You are correct about the stickiness. Sometimes I stack my collages (since I work on 20 or more at a time) and sometimes they get stuck together. I can see where that would be a major pain with an altered book project. I like the gloss look. It makes my images pop. Plus I'm a texture guy and I like the way the light picks up the brushstrokes and fingerprints and all.

I really appreciate the input. I think I might try the Golden stuff just to compare (since I never have).

CC: Thanks Marty for inquiring and giving me a chance to share some info...My experiences are only the voice of one, however. Does anyone else have any thoughts about gluing plastic to paper?

Check Marty Gordon out on his site or his blog!

3 comments:

Melis said...

I have actually sewn difficult to adhere things to paper. I did a few hand stitches in places where it was not noticeable or I incorporated the stitching into the design. I used this in conjunction with acrylic medium, it just adds another layer of stability.

julie said...

Good point!
Sewing works really well, I agree. I have had to incorporate clock springs in a work, and I found it easiest just to sew them in, rather than to attempt any kind of gluey maneuvers.

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