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Hi there, I was just wondering if anyone knows where to buy CMC in Australia. Is wallpaper paste the same thing or similiar. I know where to get wallpaper paste, but can't seem to track down CMC. I would like to give it a try as I watched a vid on youtube and it looked to stick the paper down really well without being too sticky on hands. I have also read about it on this site and it sounds like a better glue for this climate than flour paste or PVA which I use now. I did see one Australian site had a price of $35 AU a 1/2 kilo but didn't say where to buy it.
Thanks for any replies.
Wallpaper paste is normally based on potato starch and has fungicide incorporated. CMC (Carboxy Methyl(ated) Cellulose) or SCMC (Sodium etc.) comes in a number of forms for different purposes, one of which is used for archival paper work so must be very good for our purposes. I never use it just on its own but add about 25% PVA to give more strength.
I am hoping to update the article I wrote on this site but meanwhile I am looking for other sources. I am making enquiries with some Indian producers who export to Australia.
The material seems very expensive but it does go a long way. 16gms will make 1.2 litres of gel, which will keep for a very long time if refrigerated.
As you have seen from my article, I strongly advise against flour paste.
Thank you, I will keep an eye out for an update of the article and news of your source from India.
Yea I fully agree about flour paste. Although it is wonderful to work with, it just doesn't stand up to the humidity and insects here in Australia. This is my opinion of course, I have read of many people (not in Aus) who recommend it wholeheartedly, and very successful PM people they are too.
I put bleach in the paste I make and Eucalyptus oil as well to stop insects munching on it and it works for about 6 months then suddenly the piece becomes dinner.
Mould is another problem and humidity makes a rock hard piece soft in no time. However it could be that I don't take enough time to finish my work off with varnish, shellac etc, I simply paint it thickly and thoroughly with acrylic paint, but that is a whole new topic for discussion. lol
Anyway I will continue to try to source it here as well as watching this space for updates. Thanks again.
I am also in touch with cpKelco. I mention them in my article but, again, it needs updating and they have a paper specialist who I have written to. Their production is in Finland and they export over most of the world. The problem with these manufacturers is that they only sell in large quantities so it is a case of tracking down the particular form of CMC that is best for us and then their sales chain.
Onwards and upwards.
Thanks again, I will keep looking too, hopefully we will find a decent source, for everyone.
I found a couple of things, not sure if they'll be helpful.
The CMC I use is a Dow product called Methocel A4M. I buy it from a book conservation supplier (bookmakerscatalog.com), but it's actually a food grade product as well. I found a food supplier that has it in Australia, but it seems very expensive to me. http://www.mfcd.net/store/product.asp?pID=1443 for a 40g bag, and http://www.mfcd.net/store/product.asp?p … amp;cID=81 for an 800g pail.
The product itself is very lightweight, so if it's 40g by weight that might be different than 40g by volume. But the pricing still seems kind of expensive.
I also found an Australian conservation supply website called Conservation Resources. They have a product called Ethulose, which seems similar (forms a tough flexible film when dry -- which is how conservation sites describe CMC as well).
http://www.conservationresources.com.au … php?pid=61
Lastly I found an old threaded discussion of methyl cellulose from a conservation list-serv.
http://cool.conservation-us.org/byform/ … 00068.html
There was a man from Australia in the discussion named Peter Krantz, who still appears to run http://www.bookrestorations.com.au/. He might actually know of a local distributor of CMC.
I then went looking for a comparison of methyl cellulose and ethulose and came up book preservation wiki chapter that is a bit above my head (to say the least) ... but it does seems to be a fairly comprehensive list of the kinds of cellulose-based adhesives (as well as many other kinds) and suggestions on how to mix them, how they're used and how stable they are.
http://www.conservation-wiki.com/index. … _Adhesives
The brand names of methyl cellulose listed are:
Methocel A4M, A15C, A4C, A15 (Dow Chemical Co., USA); Culminal (Henkel, Germany, was available through Talas in 1982 and from Process Materials as Process Materials or Archivart Methyl Cellulose, also available in the U.S. from Aqualon); Methofas (Imperial Chemical Industries, England); other brands from unspecified manufacturers are available; Light Impressions Methyl Cellulose.
Perhaps one of these other names might help as well.
Thanks so much Beth, I have been working and haven't really had the time to look into it too much yet but now I have a few leads I will check it out over the weekend. I will post again on Monday with my findings.
I found a site that said how much it costs too, and it seemed pretty rich (expensive) but apparently a little goes a long way.
Anyway I will re post on Monday. Thanks again for all the help so far.
I have looked up the Dow Chemical company and they are also in Australia. They sell the product as Clear+Stable Carboxymethyl Cellulose. I have emailed them for information of price and shipping, but as it is Sunday here, I am not expecting a reply till Tuesday or later. Will post when I do.
I have also just emailed Peter Krantz, so am hoping to get at least one reply.
Well Peter replied quicker than i thought he would, and with some very interesting information. Here is his email..
CMC was once used by bookbinders and conservators as a mild adhesive
for Japanese paper and other paper repairs requiring a mild adhesive,
as a sizing agent, and for mixing with the white synthetic adhesives
to dilute it. It lost favour because it didn't meet the stringent
tests for archival quality. Methyl Cellulose then took over, after
the conservation industry did their various tests on it. MC has
become the preferred mild adhesive and sizing agent for use in this
Unless your paper mache colleagues have advised otherwise, we would
venture to suggest that Methyl Cellulose might be a suitable
alternative as an adhesive for use in PM.
Notwithstanding, CMC has been traditionally available in Australia
from Hercules. http://www.herculeschem.com.au.
Methyl Cellulose, under the trade name Methocel, has been
traditionally available in Australia from Dow Chemicals and/or their
sister company, Rohm and Haas. It may also be available from
re-packaging distributors in smaller quantities, such as Preservation
Australia and Archival Survival.
I hope that this has been helpful for you.
I will look into this information today to see if I can source both products. I somehow thought CMC and MC were the same thing, please let me know what you think of Peter"s comments about the two.
Well I think I have found what I am looking for thanks to all your help here and from Peter. Below is the costs of the methyl cellulose from two sources that sell small amounts.
Archival Survival--- Methyl Cellulose, 500g $45.0
Preservation Australia-- Methyl Cellulose, 500g $35.00 1kg $60.00
To me, this is quite expensive, unless I am right in thinking that a little bit goes a long way.( I think I read it somewhere). Please let me know what you think?
Well I just reread David's article, and his comments above and it answers quite a few of my questions. A little does go a long way, so it may well be worth the money. I am a bit confused about the difference between CMC and MC. It seems MC is archival quality and CMC is not as archival. I wonder if CMC is any cheaper than MC, but I can't seem to find small quantities of CMC. I also wonder if it is worth having archival quality adhesive for the standard of my work, after all PM is hobby to me, not a business. Also would wallpaper paste do the job just as well with no postage and high expense?? Anyway, I have run away at the keyboard long enough I am off now and await any further input.
Those are closer to the prices I pay, tho where I buy it they only sell it in 8oz / ~200 gram containers.
I buy the higher viscosity because I'm using it as an adhesive, and I can water it down if I want less -- somewhere between egg whites and honey.
Again, I'm using the Dow Methocel A4M -- which according to the bookmakers catalog website is a 4000 viscosity (perhaps its the same or similar to the preservation australia 4000 one?). Here's how the cost breaks down for me (and how I justify it. : ) ).
I make it in a 1/2 gallon (2 liter) container. I use 24 teaspoons to 8 cups of water. I can get 5 + 1/2 gallon batches from one 8oz container, which costs me ~$14. So each batch costs me $2.80 or $1.40 per liter. That's cheaper than the PVA glue I buy.
I'm thinking if it's the same stuff, you'll be able to get 12-13 batches from 500 grams, maybe more. That's somewhere between $2.70-2.90 a batch. Still way under $2 a liter.
Also, it's non-toxic, and has nothing in it to grow mold -- so a batch should last a long time. And I don't think the powder has a shelf life either. I started out using powder I'd bought 15 years ago, and it was fine.
I use this paste in a bunch of ways. 1) as a base for my strip mache glue (6 parts MC: 1 part PVA : 1 part laundry starch). 2) as part of the binder for my pulp mache clay (6 parts of #1 above to 1 part joint compound, plus paper pulp). 3) by itself for a quick, non-sticky inner layer when I'm copying a plastic form. 4) by itself on paper strips to quickly 'round out' a cardboard armature form -- in this way it replaces masking tape for me -- another cost savings. 5) as a light adhesive for scrunching paper and/or folding / stripping paper to create an armature and details. 6) It can also be used to strengthen paper pulp casts, but I haven't done that in a while.
It's actually one of the more versatile items in my studio. : )
I hope this helps.
Maybe one of the preservation sites would be willing to sell a smaller amount, or send you a sample if you asked?
All this is tremendously helpful and adds a great deal to the knowledge. Yes it is expensive but, as we have noted, a little goes a long way.
P.S. It's also good as a laxative (a little goes a long way!!??)
So Beth, am I right in saying you don't use the MC alone as an adhesive, that it has PVA and laundry starch added. I see that Peter says it is a "mild" adhesive. And if it is not sticky, is it a strong adhesive with the additives? I try to use glues that are real sticky so the paper doesn't peel off or separate when dry. ( Can't get my head around, adhesive without being sticky, but then I think of wallpaper paste and that seems similar)
I have read your uses for it and don't quite get number 3 or 4. Please correct me if I am wrong but I think 3 means you use it as the first layer of paper so it can be removed without sticking to the mould, I just use wet strips for this, and do you mean in 4 that you scrunch up the MC soaked paper and "fill out" your armature and don't have to tape the scrunches onto it to keep them from falling off? Wow this would be a great advantage, I hate mucking around with masking tape which doesn't seem to last long before it continuously rips as you try to peel it from the roll. I know I am hard work to get through too but I just want to make sure I understand CM's value in PM, and you have been so helpful and patient.
I think I am going to try it out as so many PM artists use it, and after your and David's advice and help I think it is a good thing and worth the initial layout which as you point out is cheaper in the long run anyway. Thank you again.
Don't worry about the questions ... it helps me clarify, actually.
I think of MC's stickiness as the equivalent of a mild magnet -- think refrigerator magnet. Strong enough to hold something light, like a piece of paper, to the fridge. It's definitely sticky enough to hold 2 (or more) strips of paper together. You still have to make sure to get good contact between the 2 -- edges will always peel up, regardless of stickiness, if the contact isn't good. Also, MC connects with the paper in a way that other pastes don't. I don't really know of another way to say this. But as David has pointed out in his stuff, when I let a piece of newsprint sit with CMC on it (or my combo) the newsprint 'softens' -- so it's a little like leather. I find it's actually easier with the 'softened' paper to get good contact between the layers. (It can get too soft.)
I do think MC is very likely good enough to use by itself. I like to add the PVA Glue (White glue) and starch because it adds a little strength, so I don't need to use quite as many layers to build something that will hold it's shape. I'm usually going to put a (thin) layer of paper mache pulp clay on the top of the piece, so with my strip mache I'm going for shape and strength vs. detail.
I also use a wallpaper roller (brayer?) to paste my paper, and I lay 2-3 pieces together at a time -- so I make sure the contact is there, between the layers, before I put it on my piece. Does that make sense? So when I say the newsprint is sitting in CMC I'm not immersing it. I've spread a thin layer of paste on it, then I squeegee most of it off.
With the MC+PVA+starch combination I can usually get away with 4-5 layers of paper (on a beach ball or cylinder, say) being strong enough to hold it's shape when I start putting on the clay layer.
Pieces usually dry within 12 hours. (Or if they're on a plastic armature -- like a beach ball -- they're dry enough for me to remove the armature and let the insides dry a bit more.
I don't have the patience it takes to do individual layers of strips, let them dry, and then add another individual layer. : )
As for the uses ... for use #3, you're right -- wet strips work fine as well. I find sometimes they don't stick together enough for me -- so I use plain MC instead. For the scrunched paper ... use #5 -- it's not soaked in MC ... in fact it works best with a little less than a full coat of MC -- (this is sometimes how I use up the left over paste on the tray when I finish -- I lay a piece of paper on the leftover paste, scrunch it into a shape (ball, moon shape, whatever -- and these are scrunches, so it's a loose, general shape.) After it dries it'll hold it shape. Before it dries it'll mostly hold it's shape and I can attach it using more MC and/or an MC pasted strip to hold it down.
It also works to soak strips and build them up -- the dark blue gargoyle's head in the links below was done that way. But I ended up using more paper than I needed to, which added a bit of weight. Fine for a gargoyle ... but I'm usually trying to make my pieces as light as possible.
For use #4 ... I'm using MC strips to cover gaps in a cardboard armature. So I've got basically a cardboard skeleton underneath ... and I use 1 layer of MC strips to 'skin' the piece. They're sticky enough to adhere to the cardboard. Light enough to mostly hold up on top of the gaps. And one layer dries really quickly. Once dry, it's solid enough to hold up to my multiple layer strip technique. Before this I was using oodles of masking tape.
To be fair, I do still use masking tape if I need to hold something 'against it's will' -- so if I curve a piece of cardboard, I'll anchor it down with either hot glue or masking tape. And then use strips to build it up / flesh it out, whatever.
Maybe pictures would help?
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/X … directlink
https://picasaweb.google.com/1162906120 … 1283849890
Here's the full album (with dark blue gargoyle too) if you're interested ...
https://picasaweb.google.com/1162906120 … loween2011
If you've got more questions ... I'm happy to share. This is fun. : )
Gee Beth, what an awesome display, and what a great sense of humour you have. I love your pumpkins and gargoyles, the signs and the feet, lol. Thank you so much for sharing all this with me/us, it is so helpful. I am reading it over and over to absorb the content. If that work of yours incorporates the use of MC, then I am definitely getting some and trying your methods. Thank you so much, it all seems pretty clear, but no doubt I will find some questions tonight while I go over it all again, I will post tomorrow. Once again I thank you for your generosity in sharing.
Wow, this is running and running . . and very helpful. My method is very similar to Beth's (bmaskmaker) but I use the paste, slightly thinned down, in Nives method as well when I want silken smooth finish.
Looking at my supplies I see that one is labelled 'Methyl Cellulose' and at the moment, quite honestly, I don't know the difference between this and CMC or SCMC but I'm chasing that one.
I never use starch, just MC and PVA (25%) and this gives me (or least the artefact) great strength. I get 1.2 litres from 30gm of powder. The viscosity is such that it almost dries on my fingers as I apply it and I only smear the surface of the newsprint, though not leaving gaps. This softens the paper sufficiently to lay very smoothly.
Sometime, if I want something a bit more sculptural, I roll the pulp I make to very thin between two plastic sheets and apply it to the laminated surface.
A very interesting bunch of pumpkin characters - what a change from the usual humdrum ones. The blue gargoyle is great too - I am a fan of gargoyles. I think this is the first blue one I've seen!
Good work Beth.
I got an email from Preservation Australia saying I can buy 250grams for $18 plus a massive $12 postage, (can't figure out why it is so expensive, unless it takes into account handling etc which is fair enough but too dear for my liking) so I am going to ask for the postage on the 500gram and 1kg lots. It might be cheaper to get that amount. It's funny you can send 3kg in a plastic bag like envelope for $11 in Australia, but I don't know how the MC is packaged so this way may not be an option. Anyway it certainly bumps up the price of MC. Oh the hassles of it all.
Back to the replys above now..Thanks David, all this information and the MC is certain to improve my mouldy, insect chewed efforts of late. I love to hear other artists techniques, especially the artists like you and Beth that are good at it.lol And I agree Jackie, those pumpkins are different, loosely based on Scott Stoll's idea. (Maybe not, sorry Beth if I am wrong). There must have been millions of those characters made but Beth has put her own ideas into it and created a patch of very appealing individuals.
Will let you know about larger amount postage costs asap in what is becoming a marathon topic, I love it. lol
Thanks David & Jackie. I love seeing and hearing other people's methods as well. I incorporated a bunch of Wendy's techniques too. http://www.papiermache.co.uk/tutorials/wendys-way/ The gargoyles fingers started out as twists of paper (she calls them twigs). It's also how I did the fingers on the hands of the Big Heads.
And yes, Lesley -- well spotted -- my pumpkin (and Gargoyle, actually) guru is Scott Stoll (Stolloween.com). I started using his techniques and then branched off a bit. And I'm still learning. Actually I came back to paper mache because I wanted to play more with sculpture.
And just to clarify -- Scott uses a flour-based paste. In fact my ratios for glue and clay mentioned above are his recipes with MC substituted where he uses flour and water. So the methyl cellulose isn't strictly necessary to get these kind of results. But I (and clearly others) prefer it. Also much better non-moldy / non-insect eaten results too.
Shipping costs are often a drag. I have that challenge when I buy plaster. I couldn't find a local supplier for hydrostone, so I ended up paying as much for shipping (if not more) than the actual cost of the plaster. That had to do with the weight of shipping. For MC, I suspect it's more the handling, as the MC itself is a very lightweight powder. The place where I buy it (even tho it's online) is local to me, so I drive over and pick it up.
Any chance any of these places are more local to you?
And I love the way this thread is running too. : )
CMC (Carboxymethyl Cellulose) is really the product that is best for us. It derives from waste cellulose - plant fibres, wood etc - and is treated first with Sodium Hydroxide, Monochloroacetic acid, an inert solvent (like alcohol), purified by washing to extract the solvent, dried, ground to a very fine powder and then packaged. There are many varieties, suitable for varying purposes and the product from each manufacturer will be identifiably different to an expert.
I am advised by a paper expert that for our purposes the combination of 25% PVA is sensible to achieve the strength of adhesion we need.
It's good that we are all still researching this.
I'm curious ... Why do you think CMC is better? Isn't Methyl Cellulose derived from the same sources (plant fibers, wood, etc.) ... just treated differently?
Honestly, the reason I'm using the Dow A4M product is that it was what I could find easily, consistently and reasonably priced. I actually was looking for the Metylan brand cellulose adhesive -- but could only find it online for $35/lb plus shipping. The listing said it yields 2 gallons of paste (currently, consistently, out of stock). My 1/2 lb container of A4M yields more paste, for less cost.
The main difference that I'm aware of (via Lesley's post above) is that the Methyl Cellulose (vs. the Carboxymethyl Cellulose) performs a bit better on archival tests. It's more stable as it ages. That may be more than people need, so would make CMC a viable (comparable) alternative. But I'm not sure why that makes CMC better. ??
Is it easier to find in Australia or Europe? (Lesley -- is CMC (or powdered cellulose wallpaper adhesive) easier (and cheaper) for you to find in Australia? )
What else am I missing? : )
MC v. CMC? To be honest, it's not from my experience. I was told it by an industry specialist. I still haven't found what the difference is between the two in manufacturing/chemical terms but I'm working at it, as I'm sure you are too. Ultimately, for us, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. YOUR EXPERIENCE COUNTS.