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Additional Pointers when Stretching Paper Over Glass

Commentary by ST‘s Sign Game cartoonist, Justin Green

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Justin Green, ST‘s Sign Game cartoonist since 1985, explained the basics of stretching paper over glass in his May cartoon on page 12. Justin provides more details here:

This project was completed on a 28 x 42-in. piece of plate glass. There are certain factors that must be considered when working at this scale. If you’re using a smaller piece of glass (up to 18 x 24 in.), the paper can be immersed in water before the stretching begins. Soaked paper is easier to manipulate. Most bubbles can be smoothed out before the reverse side is taped.

But greater surface tension occurs when working on a large size. The recycled bond can take only so much stress. It’s better to leave a few bubbles, which will be eliminated as the water evaporates.

The width of the glass itself must be considered when creasing the paper prior to taping. Unless the fold allows for that slight fold, there may be too much tension along the edges, and the piece may tear, especially at the corners.

Prior to taping, I recommend that the edges overhang the glass approximately two inches. If larger, the flaps tend to get unwieldy; if smaller, there’s nothing to grip.

This is a trial-and-error technique. It took me several attempts before getting it under control. I found that that spraying the glass front and back prior to applying the paper increased the window of time for the operation. I occasionally spray both front and back during the stretching.

I tried simply taping the paper to the front of the glass. This created some adhesion problems, because glue leaches from the tape during the painting process, making it difficult to remove the paper from the glass.

Use wheat paste to adhere printed copy. If this is done, care should be taken not to abrade the surface, allowing the paste to leak onto the glass, making paper removal difficult.

If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at [email protected] I would welcome any suggestions or discoveries that you make with this process.

And I continue to welcome input into my Sign Game cartoon.

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