Glue. You heard me correctly, glue. Not just any run-of-the-mill, namby pamby, generic old glue but a fantastic answer-to-a-prayer & fairly cheap kind of glue! I found it at WalMart of all places and bought a bottle on a hunch.
A little background is necessary here, I think. I have been art journaling for quite some time now. Before art journaling I crafted since childhood. Scrapbooking was a passion for nearly fifteen years. I have tried ALL the glues and adhesives known to man; from the expensive & budget-breaking to practically free. Art journaling presented its own unique challenges: A lot of glue/adhesive is needed = cheap is necessary. Buckling of magazine papers is an issue. The current options; i.e. gel medium, Mod Podge, spray adhesive, etc., all have a tendency to cause facing pages to stick together which makes it necessary to purchase a clear acrylic sealer = added expense.
The answer, for me, has arrived!
TAA DAA!!! Presented here by the lovely Babs, (one of my Muses), is the one, the only...(drumroll, please)...Elmer's Washable CLEAR School Glue. I am in love! I brush this on just as I do gel medium, adhere and seal my images. There has been a minimal amount of buckling, (I just rub out the ripples while still wet.), and the finish is perfect! If I apply a thin coat of glue and brush until nearly dry I achieve a matte finish. By applying a thicker coat and allowing, (with my handy-dandy-yard-sale-find hair dryer, of course), the glue to dry I can achieve a finish that is glass-like. YEAH!!! And the greatest test of all is no matter how I apply this glue, once dry the pages DO NOT stick together in any shape, form or fashion! It is quite a miraculous thing. I have had some very ugly moments with gel medium...until recently I was unaware that even once dried and cured - if you heat gel medium, (remember my handy-dandy hair dryer?), it melts and re-adheres. (I learned this by hands on experience. I did not enjoy the lesson.)
Added bonus - this glue comes in a handy squeeze dispenser. No need to stick my hand or brushes into a sticky container. No mess, no muss, no fuss. The price is not too bad either, I paid $1.70 for this container and it has managed to cover quite a number of journal pages and is still going strong.
In the interest of keeping it real, the packaging does not state that it is archivally safe. So for all you archivers out there - this may not be the thing for you. For me, this is THE STUFF! I journal for me, & me alone. It restores my sanity, (and believe me this is in rather short supply to begin with!). So, this is the ideal product for my brand of art journaling. If you think it could be for you - don't just sit there - go get you some!