Friday, September 7, 2012

Making Boards - My Top Five Secrets

Being a design student, the one thing I love most is making boards and I can confidently say I'm good at them. You have to have a little bit of obsessive compulsive disorder when making boards or else they will look like crap. I've probably made 15-20 boards of all sorts since I became a design student and two things I've learned you want when making boards are (1) for everything to stay on and (2) for everything to be evenly spaced with a good balance of negative and positive space.

My very first board.
I have pulled together some of my favorite techniques such as adhesives, cutting skills, and more. We're all on a budget, especially since most colleges will not reimburse you for your supplies. Some of these items are a little pricey, but I promise it's worth it. Nothing is worse than getting up to present and something falls off your board!

First things first, most people double mount their boards because it just looks better. I've used a lot of things to glue my boards together but the best thing is Gorilla Glue. I'll explain how to use it later.

You want either a half-inch or an inch border all the way around. If you decide to cut a window in your board, do it before you glue your boards together. Windows take talent, one I do not have. I've cut a couple of windows in my time and I wish I would cut more. It looks so great.
Here are a few of my favorite tips when making boards. If you use these adhesives, your board will look great!

1. When using wood, stone, or anything over 2 pounds use Gorilla Glue. $4.99 Hobby Lobby

This stuff works wonders with heavy pieces. I like to use the white glue because the yellowish-brown glue actually dries that color and that's not pretty, now is it?
A tip when using this glue - it expands as it dries. So that means to place the glue a couple of inches towards the middle of the object therefore when it dries it doesn't look like this.

Once this stuff is dry, it's NEVER coming up so make sure wherever it lands, that you love it! Also, it takes a good 5 hours to completely dry, so last minute board makers - this will not work for you.

2. When using thin paper-like pieces such as paint samples, labels, title blocks, etc. use Rubber Cement. $2.99 Hobby Lobby

Rubber cement is something I always have on hand. What I love most about rubber cement, is that you can brush it on and then slide it around on your board to where you like it - unlike hot glue. Rubber cement dries completely clear and what's amazing about it is that you can use a rubber cement eraser and erase your mistakes. The eraser last forever, so it's definitely a good little thing to have.
***DO NOT EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER USE ELMER'S GLUE. You're not in kindergarten so just don't use it.***
3. When using fabrics, use Aleen's Fabric Fusion glue. $3.50 Hancock Fabrics
There are a lot of products by Aleen's that are great for a lot of different things. Fabric fusion is perfect when gluing fabrics to your boards. Draw a small rectangle around your fabric close to the edge and you'll be good to go. Don't GLOB on the glue, because you will see it when it dries. Fabric fusion is also great when gluing trim pieces to fabric such as for showing window treatment details.
4. When you have pictures and/or labels that go on top of pieces use Foam Mounting Squares. $3.69 Hobby Lobby
These are great for anything, really. When all else fails, just use these. Foam squares give your board dimension by making things pop! If you have a piece of plastic or something that is clear such as a resin panel, it's great to mount those instead gluing them. Hobby Lobby or Michael's also has their brand of foam mounting squares that are itty-bitty instead of these 1" ones (I just couldn't find a picture.)
5. When you have something and you just don't know what to use, try Zots Glue Dots. $3.77 Hobby Lobby
Zots are great for things like ribbon, thick card stock, thin/sheer fabric, etc. I have a design friend that swears these things are the bomb. I use them more for scrapbooking but it never occurred to me to use these for other things. I would stray using these for heavy things like tile and wood for the fact that it might not hold.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful to you and even though you might not be a design student, you might have to do a presentation board for some class in the future. If you use these tips, you won't go wrong!
And just because I'm awesome, here's a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby!
If you have an iPhone, you can download the free app and get these coupons ALL THE TIME.
Happy presenting!

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