As those of you who follow this blog know, I have been quilling for 30+ years, actually it is almost 35 years. Two of the questions that keep popping up are about what kind of glue should be used and does the finished piece need some kind of fixative to preserve it. Let me start with the glue.
Glue can be a sticky subject (just kidding); everybody has an opinion and/or a favorite; this is my opinion. In general terms, white glue that dries clear, is water soluble for easy cleanup, and one that is non toxic and has no fumes is preferred. Since every coil you make will either have to be glued shut, glued to a surface or another coil you want to be working with a product that is safe and easy to use. Having said that, one of the most important things to know is that “less is best” when it comes to gluing your work. Even though the glue will dry clear, that doesn’t necessarily make it invisible. If you are using excessive amounts of glue, it WILL show either as a shine or as a shiny glob, clear but obvious. When I started quilling, I used white glue put out by Leewards, it was inexpensive, it didn’t smell, and it dried clear . . . then I actually had a bottle go bad and turn an ugly brown color (I have no idea who the actual manufacturer was). Then I tried Elmer’s and Sobo. I didn’t like the Elmer’s, I felt it was too “watery” and it took too long to hold. I was more satisfied with the Sobo. One year I decided to put my quilling on glass Christmas balls, what a joy that was! I had quilling sliding down the sides of the round balls, YUK!! That’s when I tried Aleene’s Tacky Glue which solved my “sliding” problem. Before long, I was using the tacky glue for all of my quilling; I guess I am just not patient enough to wait for a thinner glue to “set”. Recently, we started carrying pearlized and metallic finished papers here at Whimsiquills and my impatience reared its ugly head again. I hate to glue a coil shut and have it “pop” open the minute I set it down. I especially hate it if I am placing it directly on a mat (which is my usual way of working), if it moves, it leaves a smear which is really tough to remove. So . . . . Now, I am trying Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. I don’t like it for everything, but it does work well on those shiny coated papers.
How do I apply the glue? When I first started quilling I would put a little blob of glue on a piece of waxed paper and apply it with a toothpick. That works pretty well, but you do get a buildup of glue on the toothpick so it needs to be cleaned frequently; the glue on the wax paper starts to dry out and needs to be replenished. Boy was I thrilled when I tried my first fine tipped glue bottle! The first ones I bought were from England; it took me a long time to find a company that manufactured them here, but I have been sold on them ever since. We usually send our bottles out with two tips, one finer than the other so they work well with thick or thin glues. The glue bottles give so much more control when applying glue to those tiny pieces of paper we are so fond of. But there are times when the glue bottle might not be your best option. If you do your work on a work board and then transfer it to a mat or other surface, you may find you need to dip your pieces into the glue. What I find works best for me is to spread out a thin coating of glue on an easily cleaned surface like a plastic lid from a yogurt container or a “Glue Spot” (I’ll explain about them in a minute). Then pick up the quilled piece with your tweezers (I used a bent nose tweezers) and very gently let the bottom edges of your piece touch the spread out glue. If you get too much glue on the piece, tap off the excess by placing it on another piece of plastic and then lifting it off. The excess glue will stay on the plastic and you can place your piece on your mat. This is the method I always use when placing flower stems on a piece.
To get back to the “glue Spot”; this is a nifty little item patented by my friend and fellow quiller Molly Smith (She is the author of “The New Paper Quilling” ). She gave me one at our NAQG quilling conference and I have been using it ever since. It has a great plastic like finish that you can spread your glue on. After you are done working you just peel off the dried glue remnants and toss them. We will be carrying them at Whimsiquills, keep watching the NEW page on the web site. Next topic Fixatives (there was a lot more to say about glue than I thought) so long for now. (If there are any errors in this blog, it’s not my fault. I had to take 75 mg of Benedryl in order to keep breathing today!)