The Guide to Using Spray Adhesive
1. There's alot of different brands, and most likely there's different availability depending on where you're from. I've used Super77, Krylon, and 3M.
**2/26: I've done some research since I first wrote this... I don't like 3M spray adhesive (blue can) at all. Even after it's properly dried it's still prone to leave residue- much more than other brands I've used.
The brand I prefer most is Krylon Spray Adhesive. When used as described in this tut, I've never had any residue left behind.
There's also specialty types of spray adhesive: re-positionable, photo-mount , etc (specially formulated to stick to photo papers). Since you're not using the adhesive for it's permanence, you might try experimenting with other brands.
2. Shake it for at least a minute if you use the can regularly, longer if it's the first use, or you haven't used it in awhile and it's been sitting around.
3. Spray outdoors, wearing a respirator is ideal. Inhaling this stuff is far worse for you than spray paint even. It's a super-fine mist of liquid glue and it's toxic. Remember high-school biology and diagrams of your lungs? If you continually inhale this stuff into your lungs when you use it, it gets into your lungs, it adheres, and you're gonna have major health problems later on.
4. So again, spray outdoors, and wear a respirator if you've got one. Oh, and a bit more common sense: if it's windy, don't get it in your eyes, that'd be very, very bad, too.
5. If you have to lay your stencil down on something to spray the adhesive, don't get the adhesive overspray on anything around it. Why? Because you'd be getting glue on whatever else is around your stencil (which usually isn't a good thing if it's your patio, carpet, a table, furniture or whatever.)
If you have to lay your stencil down to spray it, do it on a large piece of cardboard or something else that you can throw away.
6. I hold my stencil up in the air in one hand (gloved) and spray the adhesive with the other over the edge of my balcony. The overspray mist floats away and disperses in the air.
Again, I don't do this when it's windy.
7. Don't hold the can close to the stencil. You want a good amount of the mist to hit it, so estimate about 12 inches from the stencil.
>>A good amount of mist<< Not gobs of the stuff, not a thick, goo-ey layer: that's WAY too much.
8. Lay the stencil down (adhesive side up) and let it dry for at least 4-5 minutes before you try and paint the stencil. This may vary based on how much glue you sprayed onto the stencil, the temperature and humidity, and the brand of glue you've got.
If the glue is still wet and you try to paint with it, you'll get get glue residue on the surface of whatever you're painting. After letting it dry the 4-5 minutes, touch it and see if it feels wet. If it is, it still needs to dry for a bit. If it's tacky / sticky, but not wet, it's OK to use.
9. While it's drying, you should be shaking up the paint that you're going to use so that it's ready.
10. Once the glue has dried and has become tacky, put it on the surface you're gonna paint and press it down (just like you're putting up a sticker). Rub your finger along all of the of the cut-out areas of stencil to prevent underspray.
Grab the paint, spray the stencil, and peel it off.
11. Store your stencils with a layer of wax paper in between them so they don't stick. Again if the adhesive is still wet it's gonna stick to the wax paper. Remember = the adhesive should be tacky and sticky, not wet.
The "I still don't get it, I have some questions" section:
-Why do you wear a glove on the hand your holding a the stencil with?
So I don't get glue on my hand.
-How do I know when the adhesive is dry enough to use?
You were skimming weren't you, did you read #8?? After letting it dry the 4-5 minutes, touch it and see if it feels wet. If it is, it still needs to dry for a bit.
If it's tacky / sticky, but not wet, it's OK to use.
-Why do you hold the stencil in the air when spraying the adhesive on it?
Because I work on my back porch and I don't want glue overspray all over it.
-What's 'wax paper' and where can I get it?
It's usually in the baking aisle along with / near the aluminum foil at any grocery store.
-Can you use it when you're doing work "on the streets"?
That's not as practical as using it for "off the streets" work, but hey whatever works for you.
So what if I get some adhesive residue on the surface?
If it's a flat non-porous surface like an LP, vinyl sticker sheet, wood, I've used this trick: tear a small piece of artist's (or masking tape) and touch the the sticky side of the tape to the glue residue, peel it off. This should pick it up from the surface if the glue hasn't been on the surface long.
I don't work on fabric, so I've no idea if it will work on a shirt or whatever. If you're working on paper, you may risk pulling the paper up. Experiment cautiously.
If you try this to get residue off your painting, be careful if the paint hasn't dried yet. If you get the tape on the paint it will obviously pull that from the surface, too!