Hide Glue is a 40-mesh granular animal collagen glue that's easy to dissolve in water. Its lower bloom strength (lower than Rabbit Skin Glue) gives it a longer setting time, making it ideal for use in gesso and size.
High-grade glue made in the U.S. of pure bovine hides. The glue is manufactured from the protein collagen found in skin, connective tissue and bones of animals. It is a 40-mesh (U.S. Standard Sieve) granular protein glue that is easy to dissolve in water. Its low bloom value gives it a longer setting time, making it ideal for use in gesso and for sizes.
Hide glue is graded and sold by its Bloom Value. Bloom value is a measurement of the strength of a gel formed by a 6 and 2/3% solution of the glue that has been kept in a constant temperature bath at 10° C for 18 hours. A device called a Texture Analyzer is then used to measure the weight in grams required to depress a standard plunger 4 millimeters into the gel. If this procedure requires 200 grams, then the glue is a 200-bloom value glue. Glue is also tested for its viscosity at this same 6 and 2/3% concentration. A standard viscosity range is associated with each bloom level.
First soak in water for 30 minutes and then heat gently in a water bath until completely dissolved. Apply with a brush while warm or with a spatula when allowed to cool to room temperature (it will gel when cool). For gilding, use as an adhesive for metal leaf, such as gold leaf. Mix with gilder's clay or whiting to make a base for gilding. Add calcium carbonate (calcite, chalk or marble dust) for chalk grounds or calcium sulfate (gypsum) for gesso grounds. Always make the minimum concentration required; as a guide, a set gel should be somewhere between hard set and liquid–about the consistency of jelly. For gilding size, use 40 grams for every liter (quart) of water.
Bloom: 200 grams
The bloom value refers to the strength of a gel formed by a 6 and 2/3% solution of the glue kept at a constant temperature. The higher the number the greater the strength of the glue.
Viscosity: 140–160 millipascal seconds
Millipascal seconds is the measurement of viscosity which is measured by the flow velocity of the glue solution through a funnel.
Distemper Paint Recipe
Hide glue and gelatin both provide a low cost, easily formulated paint that is called distemper. Diluted with water, it is good for color sketching, as well as for painting. Distemper paintings have lasted for centuries without change.
1 part hide glue (dry)
10 parts water
Soak the glue in water for 30 minutes to one hour.
Warm this swollen glue by placing the container in another vessel filled with hot tap water. This will cause the glue to completely dissolve. Never heat collagen glue over 60° C (140° F).
How to Use
Work dry pigments with water into a heavy paste using a palette knife. Then grind the pigment paste into the warm solution of glue. Keep the paints warm enough to remain in solution while painting with them, and use warm water to dilute them. Use a bristle brush for painting, applying the paint in thin layers to glue-sized paper, cardboard, wood panel or canvas. This method is excellent for alla prima painting and for thin underpainting. To harden and preserve the paint film, spray the dried painting with a 10% solution of water and alum.
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