Wednesday, 3 June 2015

How to successfully glue different types of lace

I just finished listing these four on Etsy and I thought I'd share a few lace related tricks with you tonight, in case you want to add some lace to one thing or another (maybe not on a book cover, though, especially if you're planning to sell that book, because that would be kind of a bad thing for you to do after I took the time to write down these instructions). I've been making books with vintage lace covers for I have no idea how many several years* and I'd like to think I've pretty much perfected my lace glueing methods. When I first had the idea of using some of my/my mother's vintage lace in book covers I honestly didn't think it could be done; I make books that are inteded for actual use, not just for looking at admiringly, which means the lace needs to be firmly stuck onto the cover material, which, of course is easier said than done, lace being, well, lace, with holes all over and glue going through said holes fairly uncontrollably. With some trial and error, but mostly with common sense, I came up with these four methods for different types of lace:

1. Just glue it

Stiffer types of lace on the heavier side are perfect for this method.

Stipple on glue on the reverse side (determining which side is the reverse can sometimes be an art in itself) with a waste paper under your lace. For this I use PVA glue that's pretty thick (having thickened after I've forgotten to seal the glue jar properly, which is why one needs several glue jars for different thicknesses). Stippling motion is crucial because you don't want excess glue building up in the holes of your lace, or for your lace to move around on the waste paper and getting all gluey on the front side, too. Once you've covered the lace with a moderate amount of glue, you ever so gently flip it over by picking it up by the edges, and place it where you need it before very gently pressing it down with the palm of your hand first. If the piece you just glued is large, you might want to place a sheet of non-stick material, like wax paper, over it and rub it down with a bone folder.

2. Have your lace make a layover

Some really delicate lace with large holes is best glued by creating a "layover" sheet of glue for it to pick up glue from. This one is the method that requires the quickest fingers.

Spread a thin layer of glue (not too thick, but definitely not runny) onto a sheet of transparency film, or some other smooth surface, like glass (if you're up to washing it afterwards), and gently place your lace onto it, making sure it touches the glue everywhere. Quickly, and carefully, lift the lace by its edges (you may want to use tweezers), and place it where you want its final destination to be. Rub down as explained before.

3. Glue it in steps

This one works for lace that has some structure and is made of somewhat heavier weight thread.

Pick a starting point (an edge would usually be ideal) and mark where you want to stick it. On a waste paper, glue that edge by stippling on very, very thick glue. Only glue a small area along the edge since that glue is going to dry quicker than you can stipple since the lace absorbs moisture from the glue, too. Carefully place that glued edge into position and press down firmly. Then, fold over the loose side, place a clean waste paper under it and stipple on another narrow strip of glue. Press down, repeat until you run out of lace to glue, making sure you always have a clean waste paper to glue on.

 4. Glue the receiving surface

This one is for dense lace with small holes, regardless of the weight. I use this for lace that is netted tulle and for heavy crochet lace, as long as there are no large areas without thread where the glue would show through disturbingly.

Place your lace where you're planning to glue it, and use masking tape to tape around it (you might want to use washi tape that you've first stuck onto your shirt, or somewhere, if the receiving surface is very delicate and masking tape might stick too hard). Remove the lace and stipple on a very thin layer of glue (thin, but not watery) inside that taped area. Press down your lace gently, carefully remove the tapes, and rub down as explained before.

For the above books I used methods 1 (the crescent one), 3 (first and third one, with slight modifications for the third one = it's not fully glued on, just the lacy bits) and 4 (the last one). For obvious reasons (that is, mostly out of indolence) I try to avoid method 2 unless I have a spectacular piece of fancy lace. It's actually a method I learnt at school while studying leather onlays; it's perfect for glueing teeny tiny leather letters like the ones I used for Yann. I hope these instructions are useful to someone planning on glueing lace or other fiddly bits!

*actually, the first book in which I used vintage lace I made in 2003 and it had dark brown velvet covers and gorgeous brown cardstock pages, and I've never used it for anything because I love it so much, and naturally, now that it would be appropriate to share a photo of it, it's safely stored away somewhere in my parents' home along with the rest of my "early work".

Monday, 13 April 2015

The first day of my thirty-second year

photo by Minna Vilkuna

Wednesday was my birthday. Stuff that happened:

  •  Got excellent free dessert at the fancy restaurant where V and I celebrated both my birthday and our third engagement anniversary.
  • Voted in the parliamentary election and the lovely election attendant wished me a happy birthday after checking my id.
  • Got asked whether I'd like to go from being a fiancée into being a wife, replied with a Finnish equivalent of what the heck, before ultimately saying yes and sobbing and laughing and apologising for saying what the heck. 

Back when we first got engaged no actual proposal took place, we just mutually agreed that we should probably get engaged, so, this is kind of a big deal, us two being the most cynical people we know. So, not much bookbinding has had time to happen, with me abandoning my cynicism (as well as my unfinished journals) and browsing for dresses and all things wedding related all day every day. We're getting married on August 7th, which means there's not much time to waste with grandiose wedding plans and doing everything anyone has ever seen on Pinterest. But we've got the perfect location and the perfect friends, and I think that's a damn good start.

PS. Go visit my mom's blog to see how we spent our Easter putting together her quilt show.

Monday, 30 March 2015


Organizing my buttonhole silk stash, for the next thing planned for tonight is a long session of sewing endbands for my fancy journals and notebooks.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Perhaps there are moments of awakening

vintage photo, kraft paper, wax paper, vintage book page, vintage cut-up text, vintage artificial silk thread, board, twine, glue

15,2x21,4x0,9cm  /  6"x8.4"x0.4"

I'm just in the process of listing a huge lot of mixed media pieces on Etsy, including this one, so do pop over and see if you fancy something for yourself! 

Working from the best bar in town, enjoying possibly the last day of spring weather for a while, and bursting with all sorts of ideas for future projects: bookbinding, art and poetry. There are some books and journals half-finished, but I need to take it easy with my wrists, so progress is slow. Sorry!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Sch. . . .

vintage photo (a vintage reproduction of a cut up photo), vintage book page, tissue paper, linen fabric, embroidery thread, pencil, acrylic paint, paper, board, twine, paste, glue

30,5x25,7x1,5cm  /  12"x10.1"x0.6"

Didn't mean to be gone for so long, but I got busy with procrastination as well as with planning my next poetry book. The art exhibition is now over and I'm listing pieces that didn't find a home yet in my shop in the coming weeks. First, though, I'm going to go visit my family and deliver this Sch... piece and two others to my mother.

I'll leave you now with a book recommendation: go and read Uncle Tungsten - Memories of a Chemical Childhood by the ever amazing Oliver Sacks. I was never a too big of a genius in chemistry and what I once learned at school has been wiped off my memory years ago, but this book is a gem through and through, one that made me see chemistry from a new angle. It's also a book about being somewhat obsessed, which is always a bonus, I think, and it alone is a perfectly good reason to read a book.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Never-never land

vintage photo, vintage book pages, freshwater pearls, silk thread, perforated paper, paper, board, twine, glue

16,4x14,6x3,5cm  /  6.5"x5.7"x1.4"

it began like this: 

And one of my new projects looks currently like this:


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Lovers waiting

vintage photo, vintage letters and ephemera, vintage text, handmade paper, vintage grid paper, board, twine, glue

10,9x13,1x0,8cm  /  4.3"x5.2"x0.3"

(Secretly dreaming of any kind of grass)

Monday, 16 February 2015


vintage photo, self-made paper, handmade papers, freshwater pearls, silk thread, paper, board, twine, glue

16x15x1,5cm  /  6.3"x5.9"x0.6"

The starkness of white here suits the cold winter weather we had today. I'm ready for the Föhn wind to return later this week and bring some warmer days. The little sunshine we've had has been something quite amazing regardless of the temperature. I'm sort of taking a breather after working so hard on the exhibition and my poetry book, but the sunlight sneakily encourages me to tackle new projects while it lasts. Luckily spring is unavoidable and there will be (even more) light even if I don't go ruining my wrists with a frantic book block folding session right away. Once I'm done rearranging my workspace (awesome new shelves and a new storage system for materials), I'm definitely making new books for the shop, which quite desperately needs sprucing up.

I've given a couple interviews re: the exhibition, and it's been great to be forced to verbalize my reasoning, and taste, in general. No massive realizations, more like moments of self-affirmation. I love black and white photos especially. I love how many shades of black and white there are (this piece shown above has much whiter white than my usual whites, the black is quite gray but so are most of my blacks, the photo itself is only a bit off-white and its gray is a very plain gray with no special features). I love snapshots with action more than stern portraits, but I also love photos of seemingly derelict places. I love taking things out of context as well as experiencing things out of context, hence I also love photos of complete strangers.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Opening night - part 2

In addition to the exhibition there was another big reason to celebrate: my hot-off-the-press book of poetry with dear friends to help me read some of it to our small crowd of friends and strangers. Mikado isn't a collection of separate poems but a somewhat fragmented mass of observations and bits, a collection of lines gathered over the span of eight years. Most good collections (whatever they consist of!) need plenty of time to accumulate (currently working on my button collection, again), but I do hope the next book is a bit quicker to take shape. A vague idea hovers over me, nothing definitive yet.

Also: salted caramel meringues in origami containers with snippets of poetry + sriracha popcorn in brown paper bags + punch with bilberries and lingonberries + a very Twin Peaks backdrop

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Opening night - part 1

Some more photos taken on the opening night. Everything in these photos seems to hang more wonky than they really do, but I've already decided to embrace wonky since these are such lightweight pieces it's impossible to have them hang perfectly straight and still, at least with the hanging options available. Wonky also goes with the athmosphere here. Wonky most certainly does not go with my general perfectionism, though, but one has to grow as a person every once in a while, and we had a pretty tight schedule hanging these. Some red dots on the walls already on the opening night, and some more have been added since. Yay!