I had, what I thought, was a brilliant idea as I was marbling last week. I have been marbling pages from an old coverless copy of Shakespeare’s plays and I thought I would use the title page of “King Lear” to make a Treasure Tower. It had an interesting line drawing and the beginning of the play. I then would marble one of the text pages in a similar palette to make the inside. I was so enthralled with the idea that I did “Much Ado About Nothing” also. The pages came out quite nicely.
Since these pages are smaller than the paper I usually use, I had to figure out new measurements for all the parts involved – boards, outside, inside, boxes and lid – plus a bit of trial and error and I was ready to roll.
After cutting the board, I started to paste out the outside paper. As soon as I started working with it I knew I was in trouble. When any paper becomes damp it begins to stretch and it also becomes weaker and tears more easily. The pages I was using were old, cheap paper and they became very fragile as soon as the paste dampened them. They had gone through the marbling process with some care, but now I was just asking too much. I went ahead, laying the pieces of board in position, but as I folded over the edges, the paper began to fall apart! Whoops.
By the way, you should always apply the adhesive to the paper and not to the board. The paper stretches, the board doesn’t. Let the paper rest for a few seconds so it has time to fully stretch before putting it on board.
I soldiered on and put the inside piece on, but the old paper just wasn’t strong enough to take the folding and unfolding the design of the Towers need. It would have been fine as the cover of a book. So now I have a tower that can sit on my desk and only I can see where the folds, cracks and tears are! From three feet away, it looks great.
Second mistake. I decided to try to reinforce the remaining paper by adhering another piece to it, just like using interfacing in sewing. Only problem is that instead of using Japanese tissue paper, which probably would have worked, I grabbed a piece of light weight modern paper. Another disaster! As I’ve said a couple of times already, paper stretches when is becomes damp. If you put a pasted piece on top of a dry piece, the dry piece will try to stretch as it absorbs moisture from the pasted piece. The result – wrinkles, lots of them! Sometimes you can get lucky and the wrinkles will smooth out as both pieces dry and sometimes they are just a mess.
In spite of everything, I tried out one of the laminated pieces and the old paper just cracked along every place I tried to fold it.
Some pictorial proof to come, if I can bear to take the pictures. I just hope my next great idea works out more smoothly.
As promised here’s a gallery of the disasters. Can you spot the problems?