Is anyone varnishing paper collaged onto 140 lb watercolor substrate? I varnished onto 100lb bristol and the substrate warped... Help, my creative friends!

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That has happened to me. I have been known to iron a piece or two in the past.

I am not sure if this would work with varnish but...I put wax paper or a sheet of plastic on top of the collage and then weight it down with books or anything heavy with a flat surface while the piece is drying.

Thanks ladies. I'm trying to give my pieces some uv protection without permanent warping! The spray varnish does a better job, but it is msa and very, very smelly - requiring proper ventilating. One step forward, two steps back!

Hi!  I'm new to this creative community and this is my first post.  I'm curious as to why are you varnishing your collage?  I am only varnishing pieces I wish to frame without glass.  If you are varnishing work on paper, my suggestion is to tape your piece securely to a board on all four sides.  This way, the paper can expand with the moisture and dry flat.  I hope this is helpful.

Very helpful, thanks. And welcome Robin!


Using tapes sounds like a good idea as long as the adhesive on the tape does not have acid...
Robin Brooks said:

Hi!  I'm new to this creative community and this is my first post.  I'm curious as to why are you varnishing your collage?  I am only varnishing pieces I wish to frame without glass.  If you are varnishing work on paper, my suggestion is to tape your piece securely to a board on all four sides.  This way, the paper can expand with the moisture and dry flat.  I hope this is helpful.

And if the tape does have acid, one could always get around it by taking a cutoff piece of acid free paper and taping that over the corner of the paper. 

Trial and error...if this doesn't work, try something else. Usually if something warps, moisture is the culprit. Notice how water color paper blocks are gummed on the edges to hold down the paper when it is worked. That is because moisture in water colors warps the paper. Try using a different paper or cardboard base and a petroleum based adhesive that does not contain moisture...rubber cement vs. Elmer's or other brand of white glue. Most varnish will not warp anything if petroleum based...or use clear shellac which is alcohol based. If the technique is for longevity...I am reminded of Dylan's "...inside the museum, infinity goes up on trial..." take crisp photos of your work...preserve it that way. it is your art...make your own rules.

I can't speak for everyone... but I have never had this problem.

Adamandia Kapsalis said:


Using tapes sounds like a good idea as long as the adhesive on the tape does not have acid...
Robin Brooks said:

Hi!  I'm new to this creative community and this is my first post.  I'm curious as to why are you varnishing your collage?  I am only varnishing pieces I wish to frame without glass.  If you are varnishing work on paper, my suggestion is to tape your piece securely to a board on all four sides.  This way, the paper can expand with the moisture and dry flat.  I hope this is helpful.

I use Polymer Varnish with UVLS (gloss) by golden.  Follow the directions on the bottle, and have not had a warped art work.

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