After painting the background of this HDU sign, I cut and weeded my mask. Then I cut the mask in three sections so that I could do two 6-in. letters and remove the mask right after I applied the glue. Cut the mask into sections before application so that you don’t harm the background.
Wearing latex gloves, I mixed 4 ounces of Gorilla Glue and a couple drops of Hansa Yellow Createx Pure Pigment in a paper cup with a wooden stick. I applied the glue evenly inside of two letters, using a 2-by-4-in. piece of corrugated plastic.
I removed the mask immediately before the glue began expanding so the glue would flow out smoothly, then went on to the next pair of letters. You might notice that the glue is expanding quickly at this point, but don’t panic. Be sure to apply a small amount of glue to a scrap of HDU so that you can check it to see if the glue is ready to gild.
I added a decorative gem to each stroke while the glue has expanded and is still a bit tacky. Once the glue gets tacky, you are ready to gild the letters. Check the sample to see if it is tacky but not sticky. Drag your knuckle across the glue. Your skin should chatter on the surface, but the glue should not transfer to your skin.
I applied the gold leaf to the letter D first. As you apply the gold leaf, gently press down on areas of the glue that are puffy to flatten it slightly. After gilding the letter, I pressed the corrugated vegetable cutter gently into the soft glue to give a nice texture effect.
I used a squeegee to straighten the glue along the straight strokes.
As you can see, I got gold leaf all around the letters, even though I used a piece of paint mask to cover the bottom panel. Using a clean, damp rag, I cleaned off the gold that stuck to the background. After cleaning, I hand painted some of the areas around the lettering to clean it up and give it a sharper edge.
Here is the completed sign.

Creating textured letters with Gorilla Glue polyurethane glue

By Sal Cabrera

Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2018

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Gorilla Glue
No. 11 X-Acto knife
Paper mixing cup, stirring sticks
2-by-4-in. corrugated plastic scraps
Gold leaf
Createx Pure Pigment
Paint mask
Latex exam gloves
Some gems
Corrugated slice vegetable cutter

If you’re not familiar with Gorilla Glue, it is a water-activated polyurethane glue that is often used to laminate high-density urethane board, wood and overlaid plywood. It can also be used to add a texture effect to letters and graphics.

Gilding the surface makes this texture even more interesting. You can gild the surface of the glue without using a size, by waiting for it to get the proper tack.

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