BRAIN CORAL HOT GLUE ART PROJECT
This is my second project to use hot glue on canvas to create some interesting art. This one was created by request from my friend Heather. She liked the faux wood grain art I created for my own place (see that post here), so we came up with the idea to do the same technique for a piece for her little boy's room. This time I would try to mimic the patterns of brain coral. I wasn't quite sure how this was going to work out - so before doing the final piece - I did a test on a smaller piece of canvas...
I started with a photo I found through Pinterest. (I attempted to contact the photographer to get permission to post the original photo as it is copyrighted, but I did not get a response - so I am not posting it here). I liked the photo because it showed very definite and clear lines for the brain coral pattern.
BRAIN CORAL PROJECT - TEST RUN
It was important for me to try the pattern in the same scale that I planned to do on the larger piece of canvas. I printed the pattern on a piece of paper. Since this is a smaller piece of canvas, about 1/4 the size of the final piece I plan to make - I made the pattern 1/4 the size of the final piece.
I started by transferring the paper pattern to the canvas. I did this with tracing paper. The resulting pattern on the canvas was light, but I could still see it well enough to apply the hot glue.
I decided that a continuous "squiggly" line was going to work best with the hot glue (to avoid stopping and starting and dealing with too many hot glue strings.
Here is the finished hot glue pattern on the canvas:
I learned a couple things in this testing process.
(1) If I put too much glue, too close together - it ran together and created smooth blobs of glue on final product. If you look close at some of these photos - you can see what I am talking about. I'll be more careful about this on the final project.
(2) You get a different effect if you are pushing versus pulling the glue gun to make the pattern. On the final project I will avoid pushing the glue gun - because as I apply the glue as it kind of scrapes the glue as it is applied. I will have to rotate the canvas often in order to consistently pull the glue gun as I apply the glue. It's kind of hard to see this in the photos, but I can tell it affects the look of the texture.
I decided I could go ahead and do the final larger piece...
BRAIN CORAL PROJECT - FINAL
I traced the pattern onto the large canvas. I also extended the design free-hand onto the sides of the canvas. This will take some more time to complete and might be a little tricky with the glue gun, but I think it will be worth it on the finished piece.
I followed the same steps to apply the hot glue as I did on the test piece. Before painting the canvas - an important step is to remove as many of the "glue strings" as you can before proceeding. You can do this by simply rubbing your fingers along the piece. Do yourself a favor and get as much of the extra glue strings off before priming. Look at the piece under a good light and take your time. Getting those pesky glue strings off is much easier to do at this point, than after you starting priming and painting.
The next step was to prime the piece. Use a spray primer to be sure to cover up any markings you have traced or drawn on your canvas. The other value in this step is it enables you to easily see the hot glue strings that might still remain on your piece. These can still be pulled off with your fingers or with tweezers. Definitely try to get these glue strings off now, before you use your final coat of paint.
|Visible hot glue strings after priming|
|Remove hot glue strings with tweezers|
High Gloss spray paint works best to show off the texture of the glue. I recommend a few light coats rather than heavy coats. After you do your first coat of high gloss spray paint - even if you see remaining hot glue strings on your piece - I would recommend leaving them there. You run the risk of messing up your project more by trying to remove them.
Here are some photos of the final piece. I'm not sure anyone will look at it and say "Hey look - Brain Coral", but that is OK. I think it's just a cool pattern.