I often get asked how to glue papers with gel medium and not get bubbles. There is a little trick to it and I'll show you my technique! Using gel medium to glue your layouts or artwork is a great way to protect your work, you'll create a smooth, waterproof and archival surface which will stand the test of time.
First let's talk about what gel medium is. Gel medium is essentially acrylic paint without the pigment, so it dries clear. It is used to seal surfaces as a type of varnish, you can mix it with your acrylic paint to make the paint into glazes. And because it is archival and non-yellowing many people like to use it as their glue.I have used gel medium as my glue for 19 years and I can't even think about using anything else!
Many different companies make gel medium and some are thicker or thinner than others, some come in a matte finish, semi-gloss or gloss, you'll find the one that works right for you.
I am so excited because I got to create my own DREAM gel medium with Ranger that has all the elements needed to make it perfect for mixed media use! I'll be using my Multi-Medium in Matte from the Claudine Hellmuth Studio product line for this demo.
To get started here are the supplies that I am using. A small canvas, a dictionary page, gift wrap, a few small buttons (I'll show you how to glue small objects too!), paint brushes and Multi-Medium from my Claudine Hellmuth Studio Line with Ranger.
The first step to gluing without air bubbles is to coat your surface with a nice thick layer of Multi-Medium. You want to make sure to go back and forth and that there are no areas without medium. If you have any gaps in medium you will create an air bubble. So take your time and get good coverage.
Then lay your paper down on top of the wet Multi-Medium. Don't press down at first. Then take your brush with more Multi-Medium and spread it on top of the paper starting in the middle and spreading from the center out. This will force out any air to the outer edges of the paper and off your artwork.
The larger the size of paper you are gluing the trickier it can be to not have any air bubbles. If you are working on a large size piece of paper you need to work fast to make sure the medium doesn't dry before you have the chance to press the bubbles out.
Sometimes I like to take my finger and smoosh around on the paper to really make sure those air bubbles are out. if I see any I can take my finger and gently coax them away to the edge. This only works while the medium is still wet on top. It acts a lubricant so that way I don't tear the top layer of paper.
Here I repeated the process again with a layer of wrapping paper on top of the dictionary page. You can layer as many layers of paper as you like using this method.
You can also glue objects using Multi-Medium! (that's why we called it "MULTI-medium"! Because you can do so many things with it, transfers, gluing, glazes etc)
Here's how to glue a button. Add a glob of Multi-Medium to the back of your button.
Press down to your surface.
Then take a clean brush and clean up the excess. Wait to dry and viola! It will be glued on there forever and because of the flexible nature of the medium, you will never have to worry about it falling off!
Here's an extreme closeup of the finished gluing demo so you can see how smooth the surface is. Now I have created a nice waterproof and archival surface that will stand the test of time!
if you are gluing photos just follow the steps in this tutorial. If you are wanting to do a transfer - I'll show that in my next tutorial, or maybe I'll do a video!
I hope that helps!!