Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Gluebook Becomes an Art Journal

Despite myself, my gluebook is beginning to look suspiciously like an art journal.  If you recall from my earlier post on it, my first pages were very square and linear in appearance.  Squares and rectangles of paper were neatly lined up with almost mathematical precision.  Now, however, things are starting to get a bit looser.  I'm still cutting out squares and rectangles, but I've stopped using my ruler and they're getting glued down at all angles and even overlapping.  The resulting pages look something like this:

"The Warmth There is in Winter."  Collage, stickers, Staedtler triplus fineliner, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Pen.
Before, I felt more like a collector, like I was merely assembling a collection of pieces of paper on a page, not that there's anything wrong with that.  Now, however, I feel more like an artist.  My pages have themes.  I choose images for their symbolism.  I draw together colours, textures, and patterns to create a whole that is larger than its parts.  And I'm having fun.  Just me and my scissors and my glue stick.  The top of my desk is already too crowded so I spread everything out on the floor of the library and work there.

"Come Home." Collage, stickers, Staedtler triplus fineliner.
I received a query earlier about the kind of glue that I am using, so I thought I would share it here:

My glues of choice.
On all of the pages in my gluebook I have used my trusty UHU glue stick.  These glue sticks are available just about everywhere around here, and they are non-toxic, acid-free, and archival quality.  I actually used the very same kind of glue back in elementary school and it is still my favourite glue stick to use today!  I like to get it in purple, which dries clear and allows me to see more clearly where I have applied the glue.  These glue sticks are somewhat prone to leaving little lumps of glue on the page when you are applying it, but these can usually be smoothed out.  You also need to apply a nice thick, even layer to make sure that it sticks well.  I go through these glue sticks fairly quickly, but because they are inexpensive and readily available, I don't mind.

If I need a stronger hold, I use liquid white glue of some sort.  The bottle in the photo is of Aleene's Tacky Glue, and I'm pretty sure that the glue in the bottle is the original glue.  When the bottle runs out, I've been known to refill it with carpenter's white glue.  This comes in a plastic jug and it looks and feels basically the same as the tacky glue.  These glues work on just about everything. I mainly use them on paper, but I recently also used white glue to attach fabric to metal, and that also worked well.  These glues do, however, take a while to dry and, because they are quite wet, can cause thin papers to curl, which is why I prefer drier glue sticks for thinner papers.

Vellum paper.  Like other translucent items, hard to photograph well.
The above photo shows something new that I've discovered recently - translucent vellum paper.  I only have a few sheets that came as part of a package of scrapbooking papers, so I have a very limited selection of colours and patterns right now.  I think I will try to find some more, however, as it is great to use in layering in collages.  You can see a small piece of it being used on the left-hand page of the first page spread I showed above.  It looks better in person however, since it tends to disappear in photographs.

Leaf stencil.  Like other shiny, reflective items, hard to photograph well.
Or maybe it's just my photographic skills that are lacking.
Finally, I recently picked up this brass leaf stencil at a local thrift shop, and I would really like to start using it in my gluebook/art journal as well.  I'm a bit unsure though, since I don't think I've used any stencils since elementary school and this one has such a small, fine pattern that I'm not sure how best to use it.  I should just start experimenting, I guess.  Any suggestions?

Do you keep an art journal, gluebook, or something similar?  If so, how has your style of working in it changed over time?  And what new supplies have you discovered lately?


  1. Thanks for this post. I knew I had asked about glue, but I couldn't find the post!

    I usually use UHU sticks too, but find that they don't hold for long. Apparently, I haven't been using enough--good to know.

  2. What a lovely idea. I've not heard of a gluebook before.

  3. Thanks, Lisa and Dan! Lisa, I'm glad you found the info on glue helpful. I have found that applying a thicker layer of the UHU glue really does make a difference in how it sticks, but if you still need something stronger, you might be better off with white glue.

  4. I love how you say you have moved from collector to artist. Excellent, enjoyable post! Thanks for sharing!

    1. And thank you as well, Jackie! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Nice. I'm going to start playing with this idea. The small stencil is an embossing stencil. Get an embossing pen (with a kind of roundy tip that doesn't have ink or any type of writing). Put the stencil down. Put the paper on top. Use the embossing tool to go into the stencil area. It will create a depressed version of the shape. So, if you put your paper right-side-down, the image will be raised. That is so hard to explain verbally. It is great to use a light table, so you can see where the shape is.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Sue! I never would have thought of that on my own; I'll have to try it out when I have a chance.

  6. Late comment, I know... but you could also use glue/gesso and smooth it over the stencil with a credit card/piece of cardboard, remove stencil and let dry for a raised embossed look you can paint over later? :)

    1. That sounds like a great idea, Caz, and I have some gesso sitting neglected on a shelf in my closet that I could use for it too. Thanks so much for the comment!


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