Thursday, September 19, 2013

Glitter, Glitter Everywhere

As mentioned this past weekend, today's blog entry is dedicated to all things GLITTER. As many of you know, I have a love-hate relationship with glitter. I love the look of glitter but dealing with all of the mess associated with it is so problematic. Regardless of how hard I try, I can't seem to prevent the glitter from getting everywhere. So, what I wanted to do for you today was share with you some of the lessons that I learned from working with glitter.

Lesson #1--When you can use glitter paper/glitter card stock, you should. There is a whole lot of mess that you save yourself when using glitter paper/glitter card stock. Keep in mind, though, not all of the products are the same. There are separate thickness of each so try and get a hand feel of the material before buying. Also the backing materials can differ as well. Some of the materials use a paper backing (both a mat or glossy backing) and some use a film backing. Be sure to get the material that corresponds to your project. I prefer the glitter paper with a mat backing because it is much easier to cut.

Lesson #2--Not all loose glitter is the same. I prefer to use glass ultrafine glitter. I will do a separate post on glitters next week and compare them side by side.

Lesson #3--Use the right adhesive. There are special adhesives for gluing. Some people use a glue/lamination machine for their glitter adhesive. Some people use glue sheets (which is great for large pieces). I use 3M Spray Adhesive (strong bond--not repositionable). While it is best used in well ventilated spaces, I have never had any problems with the glue or fumes. Spray liberally and well and it accepts glitter beautifully.

Lesson #4--Attempt to reign in your glitter. The most annoying aspect about glitter is that it gets everywhere--regardless of how careful you. There are numerous products out there that try and help you corral the glitter and most of them are fairly useless. The difficulty of glitter is putting it back in its container once you have used it. It is fairly easy, if you are careful, to contain glitter in a small space while using it (and do NOT try to use glitter with a fan in the room). The problem arises when you try and move the excess glitter back into its container when you are done gluing. Usually, the glitter containers are so small that it is almost impossible to return the glitter to its container and this is when the glitter gets everywhere.

For example, a current product on the market is the Martha Stewart Craft Glitter Tray and Rack. While the product is useful as a glitter tray (especially when working on a large project) and is also very useful as a drying rack for three dimensional projects; it is much less useful in containing glitter as you try and return the glitter to its container. If you look in the bottom left hand corner of the tray, you see the exit hole of the tray. You are supposed to "sweep" all of the glitter into that corner with the brush and then pour the unused glitter back into its container (which in my case was about 1" in diameter). For me, it was a massive fail.

Martha Stewart Craft
Glitter Tray and Rack
To glitter my pieces for the last Iron Craft Challenge, I simply used wax paper that was then turned into a cone and poured the glitter back into its original container. While this felt more comfortable and an easier solution, there was still the chance that the glitter would escape the cone and get all over my work surface.

Lesson #5--There are two standard methods of applying glitter: submerging and spooning. In the first method, you simply pour the glitter from it's original container over the glued surface. This method increases the risk of wasting your glitter (especially if you lose glitter when trying to return it to its container). This method also increases the possibility of glitter getting everywhere. The second method is where you take a non plastic spoon and spoon loose glitter over the glued surface (while holding the glued material with a pair of tweezers). You then tap the glued material with the back of the spoon in order to loosen the excess glitter from the surface.

Lesson #6--Glitter is sharp. Protect any open wounds (even if they are paper cuts) from the glitter by wearing gloves. When you are done, you simply turn the gloves inside out as you remove them and it is another way to contain the glitter from getting all over the place.

Lesson #7--Baby Wipes are your best friend. If you have to clean up glitter from surfaces, wipe the area with Baby Wipes and most of your escaped glitter will be gone. There is something in the lanolin/soap in the Baby Wipes that collects the glitter.

Lesson #8--Contain your work space. Do not use your major/usual work space when working with glitter unless you want glitter to get into all of your projects--regardless of how careful you are. I work on a folding wooden TV tray when I glitter. This way, if I spill I will have a finite area to clean and hopefully it won't contaminate my other work surfaces. Since I work with paper so much, glitter can definitely be my Nemesis.

Lesson #9--Spray your finished, glitter project with Fixative. This will set the glitter so that it doesn't become loose through handling. Regardless of how hard you have worked, glitter never seems to be permanent on any surface once it has been handled. Give your project an extra chance by taking this step.

Lesson #10--When dealing with bright colors, you can hide the lack of glitter coverage by using a card stock that is similar in color to the glitter you are using. I prefer to just use black card stock to cover any errors that I might make in coverage. If you are using pale or pastel colors, either use a similar colored card stock or white/ivory.

Lesson #11--Most glitters come in weight containers (usually in ounces). While it might not seem like a lot, you will get a lot of glitter because it is very light. Don't over buy your glitter because a small container will go a long way.

Lesson #12--To solve my problem of returning glitter to those small containers, I have decided to purchase fast food storage containers in bulk to store my glitters. I purchase some interim containers from The Container Store to work out the process. The containers are roughly 4.5" wide by 5.5" in height and 1.75" in depth. I pour the glitters into the containers and will use the spoon method mentioned above to apply the glitter to my object. The container provides enough space to work with without fearing that the glitter will escape the area. When I am done, I will snap the lid shut and will store the entire container in a medium size storage container where all of the glitters will be kept in their own individual working containers.

If I have to work on larger pieces, I will work on wax paper and will use the glitter storage container as the pouring mechanism to immerse the larger piece to be glued. It will be a lot easier to use the paper to return the glitter to its new storage container.

I hope that you have learned some useful information about glittering and that something here will help you on your glittering journeys.

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