This is may be a mundane blog topic, but I hope some find it useful as well. On the rare occasions when I’ve used full-size patterns to cut out my furniture parts, I’ve typically relied on good ol’ spray adhesive to stick the patterns to the wood. It works, but it also sucks, for many reasons:
- You only get one chance to orient the pattern properly. Don’t you dare try to slide it around or remove a wrinkle after it’s stuck.
- It’s expensive.
- Removing the pattern is a messy process that usually involves soaking the paper with mineral spirits and waiting a few minutes to peel it off. Then you have the pleasure of wiping off the adhesive gunk.
- Do we really need another disposable aerosol canister in our lives? No, we do not.
Fortunately, there is a better way, and it’s already in your kitchen cabinet:
That’s right, all-purpose flour. Dump a handful into a bowl, mix it with water until you have a soupy consistency (it should be thinner than white glue), and brush a generous quantity onto the pattern with a paint brush.
Apply the pattern to the wood, remove any wrinkles, and re-position it if need be. It’s very forgiving, and you have a few minutes to work with it. I found that applying a coat of water to the pattern after it’s in place helps it adhere completely. Now just wait a half hour until the pattern is completely dry, and it’s ready to cut. To remove the pattern, brush it with water and it comes off easily after a minute or two, and the flour paste wipes off with a wet cloth.
Cheap, simple, effective, non-toxic, and you already have the materials in your home. Seriously, what’s not to love?
One final tip: I bought a huge roll of kraft paper from the hardware store a few years ago. I use it for everything: the kids color on it, it makes a snazzy heavy-duty gift wrapping, you can roll out a layer as a drop cloth for painting, and it of course it is excellent for making full-size furniture drawings and patterns. And I still have another five years to go before it’s all used up.