How to Economically Put Together a Kit of Fluid (Wet) Mounting Supplies
Fluid Mounting "kits" that supply all the components as one kit are convenient but they are expensive. Most people can obtain the individual components on their own and usually save a good amount of money. Thanks to advice from others as well as my own experimenting, here are some tips on how to assemble your own kit of fluid mounting supplies for right at $60, including the mounting fluid!
Mounting Fluid (Labeled "1" in the picture above)
Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided as a courtesy and is not complete in terms of safety warnings and procedures. Fluid mounting has risks, so proceed with caution. The suggestions are provided "as is" and without any endorsement that they are safe or accurate. You should not attempt fluid mounting unless you are comfortable that you fully understand the process and risks. You must obtain and follow the necessary instructions and precautions that the manufacturers of the following products are responsible for providing.
Many of my customers are using Gamsol odorless mineral spirits as their mounting fluid (https://www.gamblincolors.com/oil-painting/gamsol/). It is available in most art stores for a fraction of the price compared to sellers of fluid specifically labeled as "mounting fluid." Lower price, no shipping and probably local pick-up from your nearby art store.
Kami is another option. If you order a bottle of Kami mounting fluid directly through Aztek (the distributor for Kami fluid in the U.S.), a single bottle is $45-ish by itself PLUS an $10 extra for any order under $50 and shipping is $20 or more. Other fluid suppliers have a minimum charge of $75. My first suggestion is to do a search for a local printing/graphic art supply store near you and call them to see if they carry mounting fluid. If you live in a large city, I bet you can find a local source so you won't have to pay shipping. Stanley Boone sent a tip that he found a fairly reasonably priced distributor in California named GWJ Company that had 1 liter for $34.76 to $39.50 (http://www.gwjcompany.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=89) plus shipping and you also need to order at least $50 worth of total supplies to avoid the $5 service charge. They have lots of other scanning supplies so it shouldn't be hard to reach the $50 minimum.
If you live outside of the United States and Aztek won't ship to your particular location, here is a worldwide listing of Kami distributors: http://www.kami-produkte.de/en/international/dealer-overview.php. Contact the distributor nearest you and ask for a list of retailers.
Other people prefer the scanning fluids from Prazio. I do not have experience with Prazio products so I can't recommend an economically priced supplier. You can search the internet on your own though and should be able to find a source.
Dispenser Bottle (Labeled "2" in the picture above)
Mounting fluid often comes in large bottles that are not ideal for dispensing small quantities of fluid in a controlled manner. Here are some ideas for better dispensing options.
If you want to pay a higher price for a bottle similar to those included in some of the fluid/wet mounting kits, go to McMaster-Carr's site at http://www.mcmaster.com/ and put in "plastic bottle" in the search box. On the results page, you should find these:
Item G With Dropper Nozzle - $6.98 (Item 5772T32)
Item J With Straight Precision Nozzle - $6.37 (Item 1044K2)
Item K With Angled Precision Nozzle - $7.75 (Item 1044K5)
I like the: "Oval Squeeze Bottle" - $4.33 (Item 1902T17 found a little farther down the page). For very small film pieces, the extremely small 27 gauge (0.016" OD x 0.008" ID) needle is good. For larger pieces of film, the wider gauge tips dispense the fluid more rapidly. The 20 gauge (0.035" OD x 0.023" ID) is probably a good compromise if you are just going to buy one bottle.
If you have a Reece Supply warehouse located within driving distance, they carry bottles similar to the small 20 gauge oval squeeze bottle mentioned above for $2.30 (item "Hypo 35") and you can save on shipping costs.
Mylar (or equivalent) Overlay Sheet Material (Labeled "3" in the picture above)
Many good art supply stores sell this in large pre-cut sheets that you can cut down to required size. My local store sells it in 20"x25" for $1.40 or 26"x40" for $2.53. Make sure to take your sheets from the middle of the stack and check for any scratches before you leave the store. Be sure to take multiple sheets of the protective tissue paper to protect both sides of the sheet(s) before you roll it up (very loosely) so it doesn't get scratched on the journey home. Unroll it as soon as you get home to keep it from curling. Cut it down to size and store flat in a plastic bag to minimize dust (empty photo paper boxes are also great for storing this!).
There are many websites that sell this sheet material online.
Roller/Squeegee (Labeled "4" and "5" in the picture above)
Rollers (labeled "4" in the picture above) are rolled across the fluid/Mylar/film/glass sandwich to push out any pesky air bubbles from the image area. A 4" wide semi-soft rubber roller from the local high-priced art supply store was $9.31. Keep your roller free from dirt/grit and store it in a sealed plastic bag.
If you have a choice, I think the semi-soft rubber roller is slightly preferable to a super-hard acrylic roller. Apparently, now McMaster-Carr only carries the harder acrylic rollers that are priced at $10.07 (search term "brayer" or item 7533A12). I could not find either of these rollers locally at Home Depot or Lowes. They do have some dense spongy rollers in the paint brush aisle that might work OK and are very economically priced.
Some people prefer to use a squeegee/scraper that they "pull" across the film (labeled "5" in the picture above). These only cost $.92 but you must lay down a second "sacrificial" piece of Mylar on top of the first piece of Mylar so that you do not scratch the first piece of Mylar.
Fluid Mounting Tape (Labeled "6" in the picture above)
An alternative to high-priced "scanning tape" such asTessa 4104, Kami or 3M 850 is a roll of 3/4" 3M Scotch® Safe-Release™ Painters' BLUE Masking Tape. Don't try to save a few cents by purchasing a generic, just make sure to buy the genuine 3M product! This can be found at Home Depot, Lowes and most home improvement stores for around $3-ish. You may find 1/2" wide is preferable to 3/4" but 1/2" is can be difficult to find.
Microfiber Cloth (Labeled "7" in the picture above)
These cloths are great to have in addition to soft paper towel for dusting and cleanup while working. Microfiber cloths are advantageous for dusting because they don't leave fibers. This one is from 3M and cost around $3 from the optical department at Wal-Mart. Some people like to use Kimwipes for cleanup ("low-lint wipes that are soft, gentle, and absorbent") instead of paper towels. These can be ordered from McMaster-Carr for $3.98 per box of 280 (search term "kimwipes" item 7367T38)
Items That You Probably Already Have Around the House
You will also need some general supplies to clean up as
you work such as glass cleaner, paper towels (as lint-less as possible!), etc.
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