Recently a number have swappers have reported receiving slightly damaged mail. Has this happened to you? It’s certainly happened to me. As someone who prefers to send and receive my art “naked” without an envelope I accept that occasionally things will get damaged in transit. It’s part of the adventure. As a sender, I often wonder if my things arrive in one piece. I assume they do since I rarely get any reports to the contrary, but on the other hand I rarely let people know if their piece arrived damaged because I don’t want to make them feel bad. Maybe my stuff arrives in tatters and nobody has the nerve to tell me! I know it happened at least once recently because I mailed my husband a handmade postcard from San Francisco and arrived home to find a large chunk of the collage had torn off in transit.
This recent mishap makes me realize no matter how well you think your elements are adhered when they leave your hands, the rigors of climate, handling and the US postal machines can make even the best glues come loose.
We’ve already had an interesting glue discussion here, and people have passionate opinions about what makes a good (or bad) glue.
(if you are not offended by profanity, you should go read Lynn’s hilarious rant about her quest for the perfect glue)
In light of some upcoming collage swaps (such as the “letterS scavenger hunt” and the “found poetry” ) I thought this would be a great opportunity to review some good gluing tips and practices. Regardless of what KIND of glue you use, following these four steps will improve your results.
Apply glue all the way to the edges
Take the little piece you want to stick to your background. Place it upside down on some scrap paper. Apply your glue so that it completely covers the whole surface, and overlaps the edges. Go ahead, get glue all over your scrap paper. That’s what it’s there for, and by applying liberally at the edges like that you increase your likelihood that a small corner doesn’t start lifting up and peeling off.
Take that freshly glued little piece and position it where you want it on your background. Cover it with something non-stick, like parchment or freezer paper or waxed paper, and then rub that little bit down firmly. The non-stick paper really helps protect the collage below – you’re less likely to scratch your collage or accidentally lift it back off with your gluey fingers. You can burnish with your fingers, the side of your fist, the edge of your fingernail, a fancy bone-folder, the back of a spoon, a wooden craft stick, the edge of a credit card, etc.
Just give it a good firm rub all over.
Once your whole collage is finished, sandwich it between two clean pieces of non-stick paper and press it underneath something heavy, like a stack of books, overnight.
After it’s dry, give the whole thing a generous coating of some kind of sealant (such as matte medium, or gloss varnish, or mod podge). This helps integrate all the layers and makes them less likely to lift up and peel off. Let your sealant dry for a day or two before stacking your work or putting it in an envelope. (Especially if it’s humid out.) It should not feel tacky or gummy at all.
I did a much longer blog post about this last year, complete with photos and some of the specific products I like. Click here to read it.
What are YOUR glue experiences?
What are your overall experiences as a “receiver” of MMSA swaps? Do most of your items arrive in good condition? How often do you receive an “injured” piece of mail?
Would you want to know if you pieces were falling apart in the mail?
Share your thoughts!
Share your thoughts!