Part II: Gluing the Damned Paper

by Lisa      

       It should be an Olympic event to wrestle a 45 x 62 inch piece of watercolor paper with a mind of its own. I let it sit for days (see my last post) under the weight of books, and yes, I did think to put it face down away from its curl. I carefully began removing the books fearing the worst, and as soon as the last book came off it snapped back into position and laughed at me. I made the executive decision that I would apply the glue directly to the 1/2 ” gatorboard since I clearly was not going to get any cooperation from the paper.

The spreading of the glue–the building of the pyramids. Here are the tips for anyone crazy enough to want to do the same thing:

1. Make sure you have energy bars on hand.

2. Make sure you have a towel to wipe sweat since you must turn the air off so that the glue does not dry before you get it spread on such a large surface area.

3. Make sure you are not mad at your husband that day. You will need his help.

4. Make sure you buy the LARGE container of glue so you can avoid a heart attack when you have finished the small one and only half the board is covered.

5. Listen to your husband when he tells you to get the trowels with teeth instead of flat edges. Chances are he knows more about these things.

6. Don’t get too mad at him (refer to step 3) when you return with the toothy trowels and he tells you you should have gotten the ones with the shallower teeth rather that the deeper teeth since the deeper ones consume FAR more glue (refer to step 4).

7. Work fast and furious to get the entire surface covered without a spec of the original acidic gatorboard showing through and threatening to cause a big yellow acid mark on your drawing that you have worked SO hard for. (Never-mind the drawing itself. The prep is the hard part.)

8. Find your rolling device BEFORE you even start the project because you will immediately use it to commence rolling FROM THE CENTER. Eat an energy bar first.

9. Have a bucket of water on hand in which to rinse your glue laden paws so that it does not end up all over the obstinate roll of paper that you must then force onto the glue surface.

10. Make sure that your husband has a metal fabrication business directly next door, and two burly welders who can hoist a piece of sheet metal large enough to cover your paper once (and if) you get it laid down, so that it will distribute the weight of the books you will then pile on top.

11. When the last books are placed, call it a day, and go chug your favorite beer (right now that happens to be Corona with lemon thank you.)

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7 Responses to Part II: Gluing the Damned Paper

  1. Hi Lisa..
    I’m curious… WHY are you trying to glue watercolor paper to gator board????
    I look forward to seeing another great painting but didn’t know that you also use watercolor. Hope your summer has been going well.

  2. lbtowers says:

    Marian, refer to my post before this one. It is highlighted in this post for easy access.

    Hope you are doing well also, and painting up a storm.

    Storm. Boy could I use a good storm here in obnoxiously sunny California. Next time it rains here, I am going to go stand outside with my arms outstretched and let rain soak into every pore of my skin.

  3. All good advice… esp. #3.

    Reading this about the wc paper makes me glad I’m an oil painter. But I guess now that you have that huge roll of paper you have to do something with it. Maybe you can sell it on eBay.

  4. Nava says:

    Not that I do not fully appreciate all these tips, and I do stand in awe towards your efforts for the sake of art, but – – – next time, rather than use glue (and have to be nice to your husband, which may be the most painful part of it all), how about using a stapler? That’s how we usually stretch our watercolor paper, and it works fine.

    Hmm, unless you want to paint all the way to the edge and keep the wedges – in which case, I guess you’ll need those trowels and energy bars and Corona. With lemon.

  5. lbtowers says:

    Oh NOW you tell me about the staple gun.

  6. Pingback: Gluing Update « On Painting

  7. JA says:

    I am about to try the same thing (on a smaller scale) so was so happy to come across your great blog. I have been trying to find a way to mount some already painted arches watercolor paper to board and have had problems with the board warping. I tested acid free foam core with watercolor paper glue to the top and had terrible warping. Then I tested watercolor paper glue to both side to counteract each other, still warping (these have been weighted down with books and sandbags for 24 hours). My next test was with 6 ply mat board, same tests, less warping but still warping. I was about to lose my mind, then a friend told me that gator board would NOT warp, but was acidic. I can deal with the acidic, SO, my big question is, did your gator board warp after the glue dried and you removed the weight (please say no warping)? I am going to go out and get some and test it, but thought I would check with someone who has already been around this block.

    Hope you are checking replies to this older blogpost.


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