Getting Your Work Neat and Clean

Getting Your Work Neat and Clean
Getting Your Work Neat and Clean

Getting Your Work Neat and Clean

What is (mostly) missing from this photo?

I’ll give you a hint… it starts with a g and ends with an e. That’s right glue. Or, more appropriately, glue boogers. Glue dandruff. Whatever you want to call it. All it really is, is the debris that you leave behind when you transfer glue onto the surface of your quilling.

When I first started quilling, I couldn’t fathom how anyone could sell their work because by the time I was done manhandling my creations, they were beautiful, but covered in glue boogers. Some of this was a result of me smudging a dollop on another quill when placing it. Some of it was dried glue that flaked off from my fingers. Some of it was glue that I pressed onto the surface of my quills during the gluing or placement process. I’m sure there’s a million other ways to create the mess, but the point of this post isn’t to act as though it’s just part of quilling. Because it doesn’t have to be.

I have seen some spectacular work on the web. And quite often, this beautiful, painstaking work is marred by ugly, gloppy, furry, gobby, glue boogers. And this makes me so sad. And while I agree that sometimes it’s almost unavoidable in small amounts, when it really becomes noticeable, it really detracts from the beauty of the piece.

Luckily, the solution is incredibly simple.

And it’s almost free. Almost… You just need to invest in a small watercolor paintbrush. Like a small round #2. That’ll do for most pieces.

Here’s what to do.

  1. Slow it down. Don’t rush through from start to finish. Rushing means you might be seeing the final product and not the finer details of it. Especially those small, hard to see boogers!
  2. Pay attention to how you’re holding your quills. Keep a rag on-hand to wipe your fingers with regularly. This will cut down about half of the debris field.
  3. Work in sections. After you finish a section, look at the surface of your quills. Are they covered in glue boogers? Fix them while they’re still wet (they come clean easier!)
  4. Limit your glue consumption.  A little dab will do ya!
  5. Use your tweezers not your fingers when possible. I realize that this isn’t always an option. But as often as you can, place your quills with your tweezers without touching them. This is a big glue transfer vector.
  6. Don’t apply glue with your fingers unless you are an obsessive compulsive wiper. Try using a needle-nosed glue bottle instead. (Quilled Creations has a great one).
  7. Brush dried glue off with a soft blush brush. This will also help prevent smudging your backgrounds if you try brushing with dirty fingers.

And when you’ve done all this and you still have glue boogers – and you will! – lightly wet the aforementioned paintbrush and gently brush the boogers away. Don’t use too much water or you will “melt” your quills, especially with very thin paper. Don’t brush too hard or you’ll disturb the sheen on the edge of the quills.

For large glue blobs, it may take several brushstrokes or attempts to remove the glue, but it’s still possible, even when it’s been dried on for days!

Lastly, before you send your work off to its new owner, sit down in bright lighting and look it over again. You will often notice glue boogers that you missed previously. We get blind to the boogers after a while, but to someone who hasn’t been staring at the piece for the past week, they’re very noticeable.

So to recap – all you need is a small, soft, round watercolor paintbrush and voila, all your glue boogers will disappear.

This technique also works good when you have glue blobs on your background paper. It’s easiest to smooth them away with a paintbrush before they’ve dried on, but if you’re using thick background paper, you can work off even dried glue spots.

Don’t worry! You won’t get them all. But getting the majority will go a long ways towards bringing your work to a whole new level.

Note: I don’t recommend this technique with gilded or edged papers as it may damaged the edging. (I actually do use this technique on those types of papers, but I don’t want to be responsible if it doesn’t work for you!)

 

 

 

My art is for sale. If you would like to purchase something you see on my site, or want an entirely unique quilling made just for you, please contact me. I have some listings for original artwork and prints available on my Etsy Shop, and can always create a custom listing for you. Do you have any comments, questions, or suggestions? Please feel free to let me know what's on your mind. Or, you can contact me directly. Please visit Quilled Creations for all your quilling needs. They offer some of the best products on the market including premium quilling paper, high-quality tools, kits, and much, much, more.


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