4. How Do I Do That?
Now that you've decided what you want to make your panels out of, what colors you are going to make them, and what font you will use for your text and your title, and you've drawn it all out on graph paper, you are ready to do some construction.
If you are going to use power tools, make sure there's an adult with you who can operate the tools. Follow all safety rules and do everything you are suppose to do, even if you don't feel like it. It will be hard to point at things on your exhibit for the judges if you're missing fingers.
Some common questions:
Well you came to the right place. We sometimes dream at night about cutting board, we do so much of it (or is it a nightmare?) Anyway, you can cut really big pieces on a table saw if you know someone who has one and will cut it for you (see the rules above), but you can also cut it with a knife and a straightedge. Here's how.
That demonstration showed fomecore being cut, but gatorfome can be cut the same way--it's just harder to cut through it since it's stiffer. If you were cutting board for your big panels, I'd say don't worry about the bevel cut. We usually just use the bevel cut for illustrations or text that we are cutting out to attach to the panel or wall.
2. How do I..... Light my exhibit?
Some extra light is probably a good idea. There are so many lights out there to choose from. You could use a picture frame light (those brass lights that hang above paintings in art museums or fancy houses) but those can be really expensive. A cheap clamp lamp from a discount store will work just as well. Clamp one to each panel, or maybe just one would work in the center panel. It depends on your exhibit.
3. How do I.... Attach a piece of paper to fomecore or gatorfome or fomecore/gator to my panel?
There are several ways to do this. Some stick well, but can be expensive, some are cheaper, but don't work as well. Some are messy, some are not. Lots of choice!
--double sided tape. You can buy this at any discount chain like Target, Walmart, KMart etc. or any office supply store. Sometimes it looks like a roll of scotch tape, but both sides of the tape are sticky, sometimes you can buy it in different widths in bigger rolls (like the kind in the photo on the right). Put a piece between your paper and the board, pull off the backing and it sticks. If you are mounting a cutout illustration, make sure you use enough of it around the edges to keep it from lifting up. This is good for sticking paper to fomecore or gator, but it's not quite strong enough to stick gator to gator. For that I'd use foam tape, glue or velcro.
--foam tape. You can buy this in big rolls at art supply stores, but it's very expensive. You can buy little pre-cut pieces at discount stores or hardware stores or office supply stores and you won't have to invest as much money. This is more expensive than regular double sided tape, but it works much better for some things. This is also a double-face tape, but the tape itself is about 1/8" thick and made out of a soft foamy stuff. It is extremely sticky and strong. I've seen foam tape take plaster off walls when someone (I won't say who--oh, okay it was me) pulled a board attached to the wall with foam tape. I was greatly surprised that I had a chunk of plaster in my hand, but pretty impressed with the strength of this tape. Now, I wouldn't use this to tape a piece of paper to anything--which I did in the photo above. The thickness of the tape will show through the paper and it will look crummy--look how the letters on the photo up above aren't flat. I'd use this mainly for attaching fomecore or gatorfome to your panel, not under paper.
--spray adhesive. This works pretty well for attaching paper to fomecore or gator, but you have to practice. Don't spray it too much in one spot or you will have a wet spot on your paper. Do this in a well-ventilated place (preferably outside). These fumes are nasty. We speak from experience when we say don't spray it over your head, or it will fall on your face and get all over your hair and glasses (it was okay, we got the glue off Jenny's glasses with toothpaste). I'd use this for attaching paper to a board. I've not used it for putting two pieces of board together, but I suspect you'd be better off with foam tape. or glue, or velcro.
--white glue. White glue would work for most of these things, but be careful when gluing paper! If you use too much, your paper will wrinkle and look bad. I think I'd use double sided tape before I used liquid glue, but that's just my preference. If you use a very thin layer and can get it to work and look good, more power to you. I think it would be a very strong bond. And it's cheap!! I also think it would work well to stick two pieces of gator together.
--cold mount. It's quite expensive, but at art supply stores you can buy something called Scotch PMA, (PMA stands for Positionable Mounting Adhesive). It comes in rolls and works kind of like a big roll of double sided tape. It takes some work, though, because you have to rub it down to make it stick to your paper and then then rub it again once you take the backing off and have stuck it to your board. We use this quite a bit in our exhibits. It's not as messy as the spray adhesive. This is best for sticking paper to board, not board to board. Sometimes this will make your paper bubble if you don't press it down hard enough.
--velcro. Sticky backed hook and loop tape, to avoid the trademark name, is great for attaching boards to your panel, because things are removable. You can take stuff off the panel to keep them from getting banged up while you are transporting it and then put them back on once you set up your exhibit. This also works well for things that stick out from your panels--like the stacked fomecore pieces or the little 3-d objects we talked about earlier. I wouldn't use velcro for sticking paper to board. You'll have the same problem as with fometape--it will show and be bumpy.
4. How do I.... do something that I forgot to tell you about?
Drop us an e-mail if you have a specific question that we didn't address or if you have questions about what's here. We'd also like to hear from you if there's something else that worked well for your exhibit that we didn't include here.
or jump to another section by choosing one of these pages:
1. How to Relate the Topic to the Design of the Exhibit, in which we discuss the overall feel of your exhibit and how to match up the visual stuff with your topic.
2. Interesting Exhibit Design, in which we discuss all sorts of fun stuff like choosing an appropriate color, where to put stuff on your panels, photo sizes, and other things that make your exhibit go from ho-hum to KAZOWIE! There's so much info here that it takes up 2 huge pages of info.
3. Fonts and Type Faces, in which we discuss all the cool fonts in the world and how they go hand and hand with a good visual presentation and where to find them.
4. How Do I Do That? (a virtual hands-on demonstration), in which we show you with photos how to attach a photo to fomecore, how to cut fomecore with a knife and how to other stuff.
5. Sources, in which we show you that there are lots of places to find ideas and stuff to use in your exhibit. Some of it for free!
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