Hello You Crafty MeFi Bastards!
July 30, 2010 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Hello dearest Hive: Any of you by chance crafty bastards? Here's what I want to do. I have the proofs from my first book, and would like to cut out and make a collage of all the pictures, glue them to an old hunk of countertop that i can stick some IKEA legs on and make into a coffee table. I guess what I need is best practice as far as glue, and what to cover it in. I understand there is some sort of stuff you can spray/paint on to seal it...or I could go with the stick a hunk of glass/plastic across the top. any info will be greatly appreciated.
posted by timsteil to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Google jigsaw glue. It's designed to coat completed jigsaws for display on walls or whatever.

I reckon that'd do the trick beautifully.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 6:05 PM on July 30, 2010

The term you are looking for is decoupage. The stuff you are looking for is ModPodge.
posted by purpleclover at 6:06 PM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I would go the glass angle, if you can get a slab cut to the right size. It would make it relatively simple to rearrange or change out the photos if you ever wanted to, like to add some from your next book.

It would also be much easier to clean if people spill things or forget to use a coaster.
posted by Night_owl at 6:10 PM on July 30, 2010

Seconding ModPodge.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:19 PM on July 30, 2010

if you are going to be using it as a coffee table, i would go for glass (or plexi), even if you use modpodge to glue down the collage. it's going to handle the use a lot more gracefully.
posted by jimw at 6:22 PM on July 30, 2010

I like to use gloss acrylic gel medium to do image transfers, and to make paper collages. It sticks paper without wrinkling it, it's completely transparent (gloss, don't use matte) and it doesn't flake. It also doesn't goo up if you spill liquid on it later.

If your book has text in it, choose collage over transfer, or it will be backwards.

posted by Sallyfur at 6:23 PM on July 30, 2010

Yeah, mod podge might work to adhere it initially, but I wouldn't want it as the top/finish coat of a coffee table. I would this that condensation from glasses, etc would could the mod podge to get sticky again. I would definitely get a piece of glass cut to top the table.

Also, Yes glue is just about my favorite stuff ever. It is more vaseline like than mod podge, so it's very easy to use small amounts and not rip or cause wrinkles in your pictures/papers. It's much easier to control. Basically, I rarely every use mod podge anymore because I find Yes glue so much easier to work with.
posted by shesbookish at 6:27 PM on July 30, 2010

ModPodge is great. Make sure you get the matte kind, though-- the labels are very similar and you can easily end up with the glossy kind that doesn't work as well.
posted by karminai at 6:29 PM on July 30, 2010

There's a new variety of Mod Podge just for projects like this called Hardcoat Mod Podge. If it works anything like the regular kind, just use a light coat so it doesn't warp the crap out of your pictures.
posted by dayintoday at 6:32 PM on July 30, 2010

posted by Max Power at 6:35 PM on July 30, 2010

I agree with jimw and shesbookish - modgepodge is great, but for use as a coffee table over the long run, you're going to want glass. I'd be afraid of hot beverages melting or making impressions in the 'podge over time.

If you're going to go with glass anyway, you could use rubber cement or the like to adhere the photos. Which might enable you to change the collage as you see fit (either making changes as time goes by or so that you don't have to be such a perfectionist as you arrange things to begin with).
posted by Sara C. at 6:48 PM on July 30, 2010

To cover it I would definitely use epoxy coat. If you've ever been to a bar that has stuff embedded into the bar or tables, this is what they use. It's simple to make up a half gallon or so that would coat a decent sized coffee table in 1/4" or so of impenetrable clear coat.
posted by sanka at 7:03 PM on July 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you are at all worried about ink running, lightly spray the pages with a clear acrylic a few times before applying any glue, etc.

Are you talking about those places where bars have cards, etc. embedded in the counters? If you want something as permanent as that, there is probably a local company that will do that for you. They can make sure there are no air bubbles or other problems. Don't do this large a project with epoxy resin yourself, unless you have a really good respirator. It's toxic stuff.

You could apply your pages directly to the backside of a piece of glass with a good glue. Mod podge tends to stay sticky, but i am not familiar with the type dayintoday is talking about.

To avoid any kind of yellowing with age, use a pva glue. It's archival, which means it will stay clear once it dries, and retain a slight flexibility. It's the type of glue most libraries use. You should be able to find it in the scrapbooking section.

The gel medium Sallyfur mentions is also archival.
posted by annsunny at 7:12 PM on July 30, 2010

They make a special mod podge for furniture, just go to a craft store and they should have it. It's pretty much specifically made for gluing paper down, and giving it a good enough coat to use for furniture.

Works great. I did the same sort of project, covered a tabletop, and threw on some ikea legs. Turned out pretty well.

You will want to make sure anyone putting drinks on your table is using a coaster though.
posted by Caravantea at 7:14 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you decide to place a piece of glass over top, you'll want 1/4" clear glass- if you want to go thinner, say, 1/8", you'll want to get it tempered so if it breaks, it shatters into tiny bits instead of large, heavy shards. If you have kids around, you might even want to temper the 1/4" just in case.

If you go to a local glass shop and they try to get you to go to 3/8" or 1/2" glass, don't do it- it's much more expensive, and 1/4" glass'll do ya. You'll probably also be asked about beveled versus simply sanded edges- that's up to you, beveled or polished edges will look a little nicer. Keep in mind if the table has rounded corners, you'll want the glass piece to match that as well!

...or you could ModPodge it. But I love the look of glass.
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:47 PM on July 30, 2010

If you have any glossy images they will look absolutely awful when pressed against glass. Unless you make an edge around the table to set the glass on.
posted by sanka at 8:02 PM on July 30, 2010

Everyday Hardcore did a project like this. It starts at about 4 minutes. (Warning: SWEARS.)

She warns you that ModPodge is not water-resistant.
posted by NoraReed at 8:30 PM on July 30, 2010

Modge podge I believe is water soluble so if you spill anything on your coffee table it will get sticky.

What you want is a Gel medium or Golden's Gel topcoat which will help protect against fading.
posted by ljesse at 8:39 PM on July 30, 2010

For another version of "no, what you really want is"... as sanka says, what you want is bar top epoxy, which is a self-leveling clear epoxy designed to be used around potentially wet situations with both water and alcohol. Just make sure you have some help, as this stuff sets up quickly and it's easier with more than two hands to mix and pour and de-bubble.
posted by catlet at 9:26 PM on July 30, 2010

keep in mind that any epoxy-based solution is going to yellow over time, so if that's not an effect you want, it's not a great solution.
posted by jimw at 12:30 PM on July 31, 2010

Collage/decoupager here. Modge podge or acrylic gel medium (sold in craft/art stores with the acrylic paints) will stick down your photos nicely. The Modge Podge is a bit more liquid than the gel medium, therefore, your photos will be more prone to wrinkling. If you are careful about burnishing them down, it is definitely do-able. Mind you, if your proofs are printed via inkjet - you'll need to be concerned about them bleeding and will want to take the precautions of spraying the pages as annsunny suggested.

After the images are down on the surface, and dry, you can then use this resin product to pour a thick acrylic layer over the top of your artwork. I've had this stuff on my coffee table for 15+ years and it still looks great. I've found the resin at my local craft store.
posted by sarajane at 12:27 PM on August 2, 2010

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