Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Lucky Find and a How To

 Since I have been thinking about the Sea, I have been thinking about maps and charts.  Yesterday, I had a lucky find.  I popped into a antique store, one that I had been in before but had not had any luck.  However, this time - lucky!  I came across those charts I had been thinking of.  They were right there in a basket waiting for me.  They are dated from the 60's and must have belonged to quite an adventurer.  They mostly were maps of far away places - Hawaii, the Philippines and southwestern coast lines.  Basically - big printed on thick pieces of paper - YAY!  Now what to do with them? 

 Yes, mount them on panels for encaustic paintings.  I'll share my process for mounting paper on panels.  I think its useful for all kinds of applications - collage, encaustic, photographs and watercolor - you name it.  My neighbor is a water colorist and she uses this technique to mount her paintings directly to wood panels.  They look great!  Here's your supply list::
  1. YES! Paste.  I was told its the only one to use
  2. SHARP razor blades.
  3. Brayer
  4. Old credit card or some kind of shim to apply the paste
  5. Boards or cradled panels to mount the paper too.  Smooth.
  6. Your fabulous paper of choice.
 First make sure your surface is smooth and clean.  Then apply a THIN (very important) THIN layer of paste.  I end up scraping most of it off.  Keep the edges clean of any paste overflow.
 Second, have your paper cut to size with a little overhang.  I try to have one edge as my reference and square the paper on the panel using that edge as my guide.  You can see that in the picture above the left edge is pretty flush but the others have an overhang of paper by 1/4 inch or so.  Roll, Roll again and Roll even harder - make sure all corners and edges are rolled and flat.  Be watchful of getting paste on the brayer and spreading it to your paper - don't want to do that - so be watchful.
 Now the cutting.  Use the style of razor blade in the picture - only.  Use two hands, grasping the blade at the top edge of the right side and the top edge of the left side. ( I had to take a photo, so there is only one hand in the photo...)  Position the blade at about a 45 degree angle and ride it against the edge of the panel.  This takes some practice and your blade MUST BE SHARP.  Pull towards you, firmly and in one swoop.  You really only get one chance to get a good cut - going back to "clean up" the edges leaves uneven jaggy gouges that never really look good.  One swoop, one time, sharp blade.  I find that it is VERY helpful to block the panel against my body or something that gives a firm hold to the panel.  For these smaller ones I block one panel against my body and then block the one I am cutting against that one.  A firm foundation is important so your panel doesn't move as you pull the blade.
 I cut in a little tab at the top edge.  That way I'm not trying to get a pull from the corner that may pull the paper up from the board.  I then go back the opposite direction and remove the tab by pushing the blade versus pulling the blade.  Always keeping the 45 degree angle. 
 Go around all the edges.  Each edge I use a fresh area on the blade to ensure that it is sharp as I cut.  The first cut, I use the top of the edge, the second cut, I use the upper middle, then lower middle then lower edge.  That way - always a sharp spot on the blade.  Blades are cheap - toss this one when you are done and use a fresh one for the next project. 
Done!  and now ready to be coated with wax and let the creativity begin!  I'll show you next week what I have done with these panels.
Good luck and remember - SHARP BLADE, only ONE pull, one chance for a clean edge.


  1. Oh my gosh! I can't wait to see what you do with these! Thanks for the tips! Umm, I'm guessing the antique place near the waterfront and under the viaduct? :-) Love that place.

    1. Oh my gosh... I don't know THAT place. OK, gotta find it. This place was in Everett :)

  2. Great find, wonderful process, thanks for sharing!

  3. Nicely done! Also, post-cure, an abrasive nail file can be used to trim exceess.

  4. You lucky duck!
    These are gorgeous maps!
    Love what you are doing with them!!


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