Magic Glue (Gel Medium)
Dala has probably the most VERSATILE creative medium available in the arts & crafts market today. We call it GEL MEDIUM, and it is not to be confused with other company's product of the same name. A medium is usually something you add to a paint to change its nature. Gel Medium does that, and more. So why should a medium that basically looks milky in the container, but 'disappears' when painted onto a surface, be so revolutionary? Below are some of the ways in which Gel Medium can be used in art, crafts and education.
- It is a must-have when working with Acrylic paints, as it is used as an EXTENDER. Most school art teachers would have told you that to make a colour lighter, you add … white! While that is true, it gives you the pastel shade of the original colour. Whenever you need to make a paint colour lighter, or more transparent, without making it a pastel shade, add Gel Medium. (GM) An example would be trying to get the effect of water in a swimming pool. If you added White to Cerulean Blue, it would make a pastel shade of turquoise (not at all like transparent water.) If you added GM it would lighten the colour and continue to give you more transparency the more you add. If you used water, it would make the paint very watery, whereas GM keeps the consistency of the original paint. So, Red + White = Pink, Red + GM = Light Red.
- School teachers often wonder what to add to POWDER TEMPERA to give it a BINDER, and they often try various mild glues (eg. wall paper paste or starch.) The best recipe is definitely Tempera + GM. It will allow the pigments to be brighter, make the paint stick to most surfaces, be waterproof when dry, and allow the paint to mix more quickly. It actually turns Tempera into an acrylic based paint, which will also not 'go off' (and stink) like Tempera and unfiltered water, that has stood too long, does.
- At its best, GM is a GLUE or a BINDER, hence its 'nickname' of MAGIC GLUE. It is an incredibly effective glue for tricky objects, like beads, netting, ribbon, serviettes, sand, seeds, shells, etc. The way to use it is as a 'LIQUID LAMINATING POUCH.' Simply spread a layer onto the surface (it will appear milky at first, but will dry matt and transparent) and place or sprinkle the objects into the wet GM. When the first layer is dry and holding things in place, paint another layer over the objects, effectively trapping them between two invisible layers of acrylic medium (like layers of laminating plastic.)
- This means that it is the most effective medium for RECYCLING projects, and MIXED MEDIA (which is very big in crafts and education at the moment.) When the GM is dry, it can be painted with a dark Dala Drawing Ink (which is very thin and gets into all the cracks and crevices effectively) and then dry-brushed with Dala Metallic Craft paints to create antique or metallic effects.
- It is as effective as a GLUE for fabrics, with the added bonus that it is a FABRIC STIFFENER. This means that it is brilliant for sticking down hessian or cloth for textural effects, or for creating stiffened drapery in sculptural effects. It creates exactly the same effect such as products like PowerTex or Tokreen. (For an even more effective solution, add 20% Dala Fabric Stiffener to the GM.) To colour it (any colour you want) simply add any strong water based pigment (eg. Dala Drawing Ink , Acrylic or Craft Paint.)
- It is also a CATALYST FOR TEXTURE. You can make your own texture paste by adding things like Dala Marble Dust or Sand (fine or coarse) Spread a layer of this paste (white, or add a hint of colour) onto a painted surface and then scratch through to reveal the contrasting colour beneath (a process called sgrafitto.) You can get very effective results. You could also add various powders or seeds to create different coarser textures. On its own GM is not really a texture paste yet. It will create a raised surface if applied thickly, but it will lack the definition of Dala's ready-made smooth TEXTURE PASTE, as it is still fairly self-levelling.
- If you want to make GLITTER GELS, simply mix any chemical-resistant fine glitter (like Dala's) to the GM. (Some poor quality glitters will lose their shiny covering when added to any liquid.) This means that you can make your own Glitter Glue in any shade of glitter you can find. Remember, the GM dries clear.
- When using glue sticks, it is difficult, messy and frustrating to get the glue on evenly, and into the corners. GM makes GLUING DOWN PAPERS eg. serviettes, easy. With one GM layer underneath, and one on top (with a soft brush or sponge, spreading from the middle of the paper out, like doing decoupage) you will never get 'dog ears', bits coming loose, or wrinkles. It's a FINE ART PODGE, a really magic glue!
- Many people wonder what is the best glue or binder to use for making PAPIER MACHE. The answer is definitely GM (as many school teachers will confirm.) You can either simply paint GM directly onto paper or card to stiffen it, or make a paper 'mulch' by soaking paper or card in some water overnight, and then adding GM as the binder. Ideal for the 'Volcano project' every school seems to have to do.
- Another great feature about GM is that it is a PRIMER. If you painted it over some cling wrap (which is almost impossible to paint on) it would stiffen the wrinkles, creating an exciting surface, but also act as a primer which will accept most paints.
- Not only is it a primer, but when you paint GM over dry clay projects (eg. Dala Air Drying Clay) it will act as a SEALER as well, making the clay less porous so that it will accept paint. Ideal for unglazed ceramics.
- It will seal the clay, but it also acts as a WATRPROOFING agent, like a liquid 'scotchguard'.
- As it seals projects with a waterproofing cover, it acts as a MATT VARNISH as well.
- Although Dala's Picture Perfect (as it even works on fabrics) is better as a TRANSFER MEDIUM, GM can do this as well. Take any image and photocopy, or Laser Print it (not Ink Jet prints, which will smudge) Paint a layer of GM directly onto the copy, and stick it wet side down onto your canvas or work surface. Put some pressure on it to avoid air bubbles (try a telephone book.) Leave overnight and then gently moisten the photocopy paper until it goes grey and is soggy enough to wipe off. When all the paper crumbles and is removed, the image will have transferred itself to the GM and will now appear (NB - in reverse) on your work surface. (You can fiddle on most printers under 'properties' to get it to produce an inverted print, so that your final picture will be the right way round.)
- If you need a STENCIL, but only have cardboard, you can cut one out and then protect it from going all soggy by painting a layer of GM onto it. This will protect it while you are working with wet paints or a tin of spray paint.
- O by the way, for any Scrappers out there … its acid free!
- It is simply the best medium to have with you if you are doing COLLAGE, as it will stick down and hold in place all items you wish to add to your work.
- Another use for Gel Medium is as a PUZZLE FIX. Most framers will not accept a puzzle to frame unless it is fixed to a surface so as not to break up. You can glue the puzzle down with GM, and then paint a layer over the entire surface as a waterproof, protective, non-glossy protection varnish.
The above is a good starting list, but there are many more uses. I am sure that this could easily grow into "101 Things to do with Dala's GEL MEDIUM." Have fun experimenting, and send me any more things you've discovered while working with it. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org, or sms to 072 151 0122.