Use As Much As You Need!

I have a friend who is very artsy, and her daughter, who is Shane’s age, is also an artist. Last year, the daughter entered her art into the county fair competition.

So Shane decided he wanted to enter the competition, too. He is a very skilled photographer.

Shane chose four photos to put on display at the fair. The rules are very strict, as to sizing, matting and overlays. Participants must follow the guidelines, or photos will be disqualified.

I am not an artist, but I am a skilled shopper. To mat Shane’s four photos, I bought 50 mat boards, 25 white overlay mats, 10 black overlay mats, and a can of spray adhesive.

Then we went to work. With Shane’s gorgeously enlarged photos, we spread out our supplies on the table.

Let me backtrack a moment to say that my friend – the one with the artsy daughter – has the best parenting style of anyone I’ve ever met. She is positive and encouraging, and allows her kids to actually do whatever they can do. As a result, they do a lot, quite independently and very well.

So, wanting to imitate her awesome parenting, I put Shane in charge. He chose the mat boards and the appropriately colored mat overlays. He figured out where he wanted to place the photos and marked the mat boards with pencil.

He read the directions on the spray adhesive. Then, with carte blanche from me, Shane opened the can of adhesive, held it six-to-eight inches from the mat board, and started to spray.

Within two seconds, it looked like a smoke bomb had exploded. We could barely see the mat board under the flying spray. Shane kept stopping and starting, afraid that he was doing something wrong, but I encouraged him to keep going.

“Use as much as you need,” I told him with a shaky smile, wiping the flying glue from my hair. “Just make sure you do the edges, too.”

Big blobs of white goo formed on the mat board, while an aerosol-rubber smell filled the room. He sprayed and sprayed and sprayed, but the top left corner was still completely empty.

“Don’t miss the top right corner,” I said, forgetting that my right was his left.

Shane sprayed more blobs on the left side. “Oh sorry,” I said. “I meant the left side.” He caked the left side in glue.

Finally, the spray stopped.

“Okay,” I said calmly. “Put the photo by the pencil marks you made.” I looked at the board, where the pencil marks had been devoured by spray adhesive.

Shane dropped the photo in the mess. He slid it around as much as he could in the glue, trying to place it correctly. The adhesive had started to dry, and nothing was moving easily. His hands were covered in glue. My hands were covered in glue.

I handed the mat overlay it to Shane, and he shoved it down on top of the photo. There was glue on the photo, glue on the mat, and nearly a full inch of glue on the table, two square feet around the finished project.

I grabbed a wet paper towel and wiped some of the glue off the photo, while Shane got more wet paper towels. My hands were nearly embedded in all the glue on the table. We tried to save the photo, the table, the chairs, our hands, our clothes, our hair.

Five minutes later, the area was as clean as it was going to get.

“Okay,” I said to Shane. “Which one do you want to do next?”

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