What glue should I use for collage art?

topic posted Sat, July 30, 2005 - 10:23 PM by  Luna
What type of glue or adhesivie is suggested for collage art?

posted by:
Washington, D.C.
  • It really depends on what you want from your collage. If you want it to last as long as possible, I would suggest an archival quality glue. It will not yellow the paper or textiles at the contact point, or make it brittle over time. You can try a scrapbooking store or section in an art suppliy store, or even bookbinding glue (probably more expensive).
    I would steer clear from rubber cement and acrylic stuff, as it eats through materials over time.
    • Unsu...
      Joy wrote: "I would steer clear from rubber cement and acrylic stuff, as it eats through materials over time. "

      I've never heard this about acrylic medium. I've read exactly the opposite. It actually protects chemically laden papers such as newsprint and magazine clippings from exposure to the environment, therefore extending the life of these papers and protecting other components of your collage from damage due to these chemicals.
      • im going to try acrylic medium for sure, it dries clear and is not expensive... you can get different types for opacity and texture even... from what ive seen its basically liquid plastic that you can apply in small amounts with a small brush or blade.... seems so obvious now... im going to try it.

        ive had bad luck recently with my "archival quality" acid free special glue - memory mount -- is what it was called... when it gets moist like mine did, even just from humid air, the glue soaks thru the paper, discoloring it. crappy.
  • I've tried YES paste and liked it OK.

    My trouble is keeping the magazine clippings from warping. Does acrylic solve that problem? Also, with acrylic is there any need for a top coat? Also, how does it work -- do u put the acrylic both under and over the paper, and does the paper stay nice n' flat?
    • Unsu...
      "My trouble is keeping the magazine clippings from warping"

      The simple way I avoid this problem is to make color copies of the magazine clippings I want to use. It cost a little and I have to make a trip to the copy store, but I like the results better.

      "Also, with acrylic is there any need for a top coat? Also, how does it work -- do u put the acrylic both under and over the paper, and does the paper stay nice n' flat?"

      I put regular acrylic medium on the backside of the paper and smooth with a soft brayer. This creates even pressure and results in most paper lying nice and flat. I usually coat the top of my pieces with a matte finish acrylic medium. This seals and protects the entire piece. If you choose to use magazine clippings in you collage, don't apply the medium on top. Anything applied to the clippings after you've gotten them flat will results in the clippings warping again.

      I use only Golden products on my collage pieces. They cost a little more than some brands, but they've never failed me.

      I hope this helps...
  • I use different glues for different needs, the first one being longevity. If its a birthday card or something simple, not "art" per se or something you're goingg to sell then even glue sticks or white glue are fine. If you're concerned with archival needs than an acid free glue like "YES" glue is fine, but I've found it to be very susceptible to humidity and have had photos and gloss papers peel off their backings when using it. I use acrylic mediums for most things; gloss on occasion but usually matte. Laying your collage up on mat board (or any other stiff backing material; I often use "door skin", very thin 1/8" plywood) will certainly stop the curling/warping problem. Another is laying on a back coat to glue down, let dry (and possibly curl) then overcoat the front and it will usuall reverse curl...usually (that's why I prefer a back board). I love that it can be thinned with water to penetrate material or fabric or tissue paper, can be coloured with inks or acrylic paints, have glitter or powdered pigments or metallic powders added to it... I often mix rust into mine, or dirt to create aged effects. It's pretty marvellous and while i wouldn't drink it, it's mostly harmless (kinda like Earth).

    I also do mostly 3D assemblage over whatever backgrounds I've created. For this I tend to use GOOP, a hideously noxious decidely toxic "rubber cement meets crazy glue" material that will glue damn near anything to damn near anything. It'll likely kill me, but it works like a hot damn.

    There's also a very cool site that gives comparisons between just about every adhesive on the market and what it can or can't be used for.
  • Rubber cement baby!

    It takes time but it is nice to control your piece and does not ruin your images.
    I use to use one sided rubber cement but I do not k now if they have that anymore.
    So now I glue both sides - the base/background and then my little cut out piece, let them dry and them connect them.
  • Rubber cement will not hold for long.
    Over time, it yellows and becomes "brittle" to the extent that the adhesion quits, and whatever you've pasted simply comes apart.

    I'm assuming you're focused on paper-type collage works.
    Mod podge is a very low quality product, but will work fine beyond the warping of paper.

    Like so many things, it depends on a lot of factors...
    Permanence, intended usage, type of paper.
    But, rubber cement is not your best choice.

    Yes, clear GOOP is great, but overkill for paper.
    Now, if you don't mind spending a bit more, an investment in FUSABLE WEBBING from your local Fabric store is the best way to go.

    There are different "weights" depending on how heavy of paper you will be using.
    You simply cut a piece to fit your paper, and press it onto the back with a hot iron. It does stiffen the base paper or fabric a bit, which makes it easier to position. You then peel the paper backing off, and press your reinforced paper to the mounting surface with the iron.
    No wrinkling, secure fastening.

    For permanence, almost all paper crafts should be sealed with a clear acrylic polymer of some sort...

  • Many good suggestions, and I would add one that I haven't seen yet in this thread for paper-to-paper projects: PVA -- it's PH neutral, wonderful for many bookbinding and paper projects, extremely long lasting, no aging issue or discoloring, acid- and solvent-free, water soluble, so EZ clean up. Not hard to find at larger craft or art stores. When using many layers, though, it can warp slightly unless one waits between layers or, easier, use a brayer for each layer and several times on the finished project. It can soak through extremely thin paper (like rice paper or the like) so use very sparingly in such cases. It is not a good cover coat -- I prefer any good quality acrylic medium.
  • another vote for acrylic gel medium. will preserve pretty much anything and dries totally clear. the only way I know to keep paper absolutely flat... unless you use spray glue which is hella messy. you can get gel medium in different stiffness, and it can be thinned with water. also, it's fun to tint it sometimes and create a layered effect, adding texture to your design. When creating more 3D collages I also use hot glue to affix larger objects, and then seal them more permanently with gel medium. Good luck, have fun.!

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