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BronxLens's avatar

How to protect old paper when used in a collage?

Asked by BronxLens (1527 points ) February 25th, 2009

I am gathering paper from various sources (auction catalogs, every day magazines, newspaers, old textbooks, etc.) and would like the end product to remain stable, that is, not to change too much (yellowing, fading, becoming brittle, etc.) As an adhesive I will use Liquitex Matte Medium. Is there anything I can do to make a collage long lasting? I would like that the final product is finish-wise art gallery ready.

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10 Answers

Dr_C's avatar

have you tried hairspray? it may not be very green… but it will coat the paper and pretty much seal it off from the elements.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Have you thought about using modge-podge matte finish or some sort of varnish over the top as a sealer? I was looking at a collage hanging in the “gallery” at work today; it was a piece with photocopies of old photos reassembled and then painted over, and the images were sealed.

alive's avatar

Mod Podge!!!!!!

bigbanana's avatar

You can use water based varnish if you have enough of a base paper to support it. Make sure to ventilate when you do it.

TheRocketPig's avatar

I would suggest usings something along the lines as Mod Podge. I would avoid anything that comes in a spraycan. Using fixative, lacor, or hairspray are more temporary fixes than anything. Hairspray is a quick way to make your image yellow over time. Make sure whatever you use that it says “Acid Free” on the bottle. If it’s acid free you are more than likely safe for 20+ years. Actually, looking at what you’re using as an adhesive, acrylic matte medium would work well to seal your collage as well.

Dr_C's avatar

The rocket pig completely pwnd that question… kudos!

madcapper's avatar

Liquitex Matte will prob work pretty well. rocket has a good answer as well! as long as you keep it out of sunlight (or the hands of drunk person such as myself) it should be pretty solid also

Christian95's avatar

wax,after you put that old paper on its place just cover it with wax and try to make it as thin as you can

kruger_d's avatar

Because these are all “disposable” media made from wood pulp paper, they all going to be acidic. There a sprays that can help neutralize or buffer the paper that won’t actually seal it. Try any archival framing supplier or a well-stocked scrapbooking/craft store. Any acrylic medium (matte, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes available) would work.
Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) is an adhesive used in bookbinding that is tough, acid-free, dries clear and reduces stretching and wrinkling of thin papers as it contains very little water. It is a great collage adhesive and I think might work as a sealer, too. Apply with a brush. Dries pretty fast.

BronxLens's avatar

I’ll check out the PVA. Lurve kruger d!

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