Monday, July 25, 2011

A day of prep work

Now that my boxes are back from storage, you would think I would be chomping at the bit to organize and have fun in the basement. It's no secret I love to organize, and have written more than a few posts offering tips on organizing and organization. However, I'm overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead of me, and I'm now looking for any excuse to keep from unpacking.

I'm now finding even unpacking three boxes a day has become a chore. That is partly because the boxes that started out well packed by one person only lasted part of the first day of packing. It didn't take long till items started getting dumped into boxes, with their containers placed on top or sideways in the same or a different box. To add to the problem, some of the containers could have been easily and gently placed in boxes, but the packers chose to remove or dump the items, wrapping anything that looked like it might be damageable. Not breakable, but damageable. No wonder it took them three days to pack up my studio. So a box that should have taken no time than 15 minutes to unpack, now takes up to an hour.

As I begin to unpack my supplies, I am drawn to the empty boxes I now have sitting in a pile in my basement. Since I have wanted to try this technique ever since I saw it on Quilting Arts TV (shown on my local PBS station), I can now do so using one of my unpacked boxes and a boatload of my least favorite glue.

I cut two sides of one of those weighty corrugated boxes and found the perfect use for

Mod Podge! If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know my dislike of Mod Podge. It remains sticky well after the project has dried, although the label claims it glues and seals all in one fell swoop. So today I am showing you what I started, using nearly two bottles of Mod Podge: first gloss, then when it was gone, matte!

This is the beginning of a collagraph. According to Wikipedia:
Collography (sometimes misspelled "collagraphy") is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid substrate (such as cardboard or wood).
The process of collography comes about from a collographic plate. After printing, the paper or fabric is called a collagraph, adding further confusion to the words. In the photo above, I have already placed embellishments onto the cardboard using a few dabs of white glue, but have not added the Mod Podge to what I am now calling the collographic plate. I applied three coats of Mod Podge to the other side of the above plate before I attached the embellishments to this side. And yes, the embellishments and the keys below were all in storage, and I am thrilled that I have found and unpacked them.

For this plate, I applied three coats of Mod Podge before I added the embellishments. At this point, they are not attached, but I have finalized this design, after moving keys around for a bit.

If you want to make your own collographic plate, here's what you have to do:

1. Cut an old, but sturdy cardboard box to a manageable size. The cardboard will now be referred to as a "plate." You will probably want your plate to be around 8.5 inches X 11 inches, or a similar size for those of you who work in metric.

2. Apply three coats of Mod Podge (often misspelled and mispronounced Modge Podge) to one side of the cardboard, allowing the Mod Podge to dry completely in between applications.

3. Practice saying the words "Mod Podge" and collography while waiting for the glue to dry. If you are still waiting, write the words so you will know what they sound and look like.

4. Gather and assemble your embellishments. Make sure that, to ensure proper printing, the embellishments are all a similar height.

5. When completely dry, flip the cardboard and do something I failed to do on one of these plates: add at least two coats of Mod Podge before adding your embellishments and final coat of glue. You will get less buildup in the recessed areas, and the Mod Podge will still coat your embellishments.

6. You may choose to use some white glue to position your embellishments on your plate prior to adding the Mod Podge. I did that with the coins and dragonflies, but didn't with the keys. Everything stuck well because the Mod Podge was still sticky on the plate with the keys, but I had not yet added Mod Podge to the other plate, thus the need for the white glue.

7. If you have not already added at least two coats of glue to the embellishment side of your plate, make sure you now cover it with at least three coats of Mod Podge. You will need these plates to be waterproof, not just water resistant. So be sure to apply the glue in one direction, then at a 90 degree angle, then at a diagonal.

8. When dry, admire your work of art, then gather your paints and papers or fabric and go to town making prints.

We'll try these plates soon to see if they are going to work and give the type of coverage I'm looking for. And you can expect a couple of tutorials to go along with those collographic plates.

16 thoughtful remarks:

Unknown said...

I can't wait to see how these work for you- VERY clever use for Mod Podge (did I say it right?) and you forgot to add the way Mod Podge SMELLS as another draw back- truly nasty stuff!

Halle said...

Sorry you're basement is continuing to be a pain. At least you took a break and did some art. Looking forward to the next step....

Healing Woman said...

When I started cleaning my studio, I kept repeating, "Just one corner at a time, just one box at a time." Eventually, it became a place I love to work in. Yours will be spotless and perfectly organized when finished.

I actually don't mind Mod Podge and even though it smells strange and is sticky to the hands, it has some advantages over other glues. and the projects seem to last for years and years, once dry. I'll watch for your tutorial on this project and thanks ahead of time!

Marilyn J. Rock said...

Your basement project is a major undertaking. Even though the results will be awesome of unpacking and organizing. A job, such as this, I would have to save it for the fall and winter. The heat just does not motivate me. You will get to it in your own time-slow and easy. Love your tutorial for the collographic plate - thank you! We have slightly cooled off, here, but not enough for my liking. Cool thoughts to you! xxoo

Terri Kahrs said...

Another terrific tutorial, Elizabeth! I'm not a Mod Podge fan -- sticky and smelly! Yuck!!! Please take care to make sure you cool down occasionally. Your basement project is huge, and I know you want it get it finished, but the weather is brutal! Hugs, Terri xoxo

Darla said...

Collograph. A new word for me. I'll be rolling that around in my mouth for awhile.

I too dislike Mod Podge for just the reasons you and others stated.

Anxious to see what you create with your plate.


Unknown said...

The only thing I use mod podge for is photo transfers and for that reason alone I LOVE the stuff. I seriously did not know it could be so waterproof though as to seal your printing platform. Great step by step here - thanks!!

Jo Murray said...

Thanks for all this info. I love collographs.

Margaret said...

well I'd much rather do this than unpack boxes, love this tutorial, I've never seen it done before, I'll be back to check out your results! mx

voodoo vixen said...

Well that looks like it could be fun!! I know I have cardboard boxes... I know I have Mod Podge... and I am sure I have keys.... so now I need the next step of the tut!! :)

thekathrynwheel said...

Oh I feel for you having to unpack all the boxes. But it will be so worth it when it is all done so keep going! I'm fascinated by what you are doing here and I'm looking forward to seeing the results :-)

Gayle Price said...

Hi Elizabeth, my you have been busy ! But not doing what you are supposed to be doing, i.e. unpacking. I love that you have got distracted, and like me when something has to be done that you don't particularly like you go off and create something....making and creating is SO therapeutic ! I personally, unlike you have a little love affair with Mod Podge and have used it on many projects, I do agree on the drying tacky point tho. Can't wait to see how your 'plate' prints up. xx

Anonymous said...

Ohhh i had a day like that yesterday, prepping for my journal. I am hoping the art bit will come today hehe. You have been so busy, time to put your feet up and have a rest.
If you get time, please pop by my Dezinaworld blog today as i have a free collage sheet for everyone. I hope you will like it. Have a great day !

Laura Tringali Holmes said...

Ha! Step #3 puts me in a good mood! I have three bottles of MP (gifts from well-meaning sorts), and now I also have a plan...great tutorial! Looking forward to becoming an initiate collographer!

~*~Patty S said...

Can't wait to see what your collographic plates make...I am not a MP fan at all...can't stand the stuff for several reasons...maybe it's like olives...people either Luv em or hate em LOL

Your shelves and unpacking will wait...nice to see you playing and creating!

stay cool...I had lots to catch up on with you...the heat has been zapping my energy!

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