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 Miracle MuckTM
 
Our multi-purpose adhesive has been used by many
thousands of Artists and Framers for over 35 years.
  
 


Since its introduction back in 1978 Miracle MuckTM has been one of the Framing Industry's most popular products.  It is an adhesive that has stood the test of time. Thousands of framers and artists use it every day as their preferred adhesive for bonding almost any type of fabric (Linen, Cotton, Silk, Suede, etc.) to almost any type of surface.  It is a fantastic all-around adhesive, great for joining corners, attaching fillets, or adhering fabric to mats, liners, or panels.  It can be used cold and wet, or on flat surfaces, applied and allowed to dry, then activated with heat.  See the FAQ section below for additional usage tips.  Muck is sold by the gallon for just $25.70 (compare with other adhesives sold by competitors for almost twice the price!) and the 1/2 gallon for $16.85. We also offer Miracle Muck in a convenient 8 oz trial size bottle  which includes a handy snout for $6.95.     Shipping for the one gallon size of Muck (10 lbs) from the West Coast to the East Coast will run about $13-$14 (to a commercial address) if you use a credit card or establish an open account with us.  Points in between will run a few dollars less.  If you have us ship COD, UPS and FedEx will charge an additional $9-$10 to pick up your check and deliver it back to us.
 
Please note that the following small order Handling Charges will be applied based on the invoice total of all orders:  Under $15.00 = $5.00,  Over $15.00 but less than $30.00 = $4.00 and Over $30.00 but less than $50.00 = $3.00.

To purchase Miracle Muck and Accessories on line please click on this link:   Raphael's AP

 
 
 
Tools for Dispensing or Distributing Miracle Muck

We also offer a selection of foam rollers and replacement heads that can make it faster and easier to apply Miracle Muck to many surfaces.  The various sizes and prices are pictured and identified below.  From left to right, the first item is our 3" big mouth roller and handle, next is a 1" roller and handle, a 2" fine foam roller (good for putting the finest coat of Muck onto a surface), a 2" regular foam roller and handle, and the last item is a 4" foam roller and handle.  The handles will last a long time, the foam rollers can all be washed out and reused many times, and when you need them, we offer replacement rollers in pairs.  
 
 
 
The Miracle Muck Starter Set
 
For just $15.95 (including shipping) you can get all the tools you need to cover your own liners and mats.  Our Starter set includes  2" and  3" foam rollers with handles, an 8 oz bottle of Muck, a  pair of 1/2" Artist's brushes, and step-by-step instructions on the various methods of creating your own fabric-covered liners.
 
 
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
 

 

Is Raphael’s Miracle Muck pH neutral?

The short answer to this question is that Miracle Muck is slightly acidic as it pours from the jug.  The more complete answer, and what really counts to most users, is a little more complicated than this adhesive’s pH in it’s liquid form.  Judging the usefulness of an adhesive based purely on its liquid pH misses the mark for a couple of reasons.  First of all, almost any adhesive can have its pH chemically raised or lowered, and in most cases this would tend to reduce its effectiveness as an adhesive.  What most people really want to know when they ask about the pH of Muck, is “what effect will this adhesive have on the other components of this framing package?”  The answer to this question is that once Muck has dried, it will be essentially inert and will have no negative impact on the other components.  But there is more to it than that, because as it dries Miracle Muck becomes an effective barrier that will serve to inhibit the migration of acidity from other components it is applied to, such as wooden liner stock , for example.  Since the most common way acidity moves within the framing package is when the components absorb moisture from the environment it is nice to know that once it has cured (48-72 hrs after application) Muck is nearly impervious to moisture.  In fact the combination of the acrylic primer we apply to most of our Liners and Panels, and Miracle Muck, is really one of the most effective barriers you could ask for to protect your art.   

Because Miracle Muck serves as a fantastic ADHESIVE , an effective BARRIER, does not OUTGAS, and is very resistant to being broken down by the primary carrier of environmental  acidity – moisture, when you use it  you get something that is a lot more than just pH neutral.    The thing that has given us the most confidence however is our own first- hand experience.  There are few adhesives that have been used for as many years by as many individuals as our Miracle Muck.  We have been working with  Muck for 35 years at this point and have numerous framed oils where the canvas was adhered to various different “hard boards”  (we couldn’t afford to be that picky back then) using Miracle Muck.  Most also included fabric-covered linen liners where the fabric had been glued to the liner stock using Muck, and where the corners of the liner and the frame had been glued with Muck (accompanied by a few straight nails).  None of our framed pieces show any sign of deterioration, discoloration or failure of the bond.  We have never heard directly or indirectly of any instance where our Miracle Muck has caused harm to a piece of art.  For the vast majority of framing situations you could not ask for a more effective, “friendly”, or stable adhesive.

Why Don't You Call Miracle Muck "Archival "?

We are very comfortable with saying that our adhesive is safe to use and that it will not harm any of the other components in the framing package, but the other key feature of a truly "Archival" adhesive is that it be "reversible" without damaging the object it was adhering.  We created Muck to be an adhesive that would stand up over time without breaking down, but its bond is permanent .  If you are planning to adhere a canvas to a Panel, glue a Fabric to:  a Liner, a Mat, a Cork or Metal surface, or even Plexiglass, if you need to join Mouldings, install Fillets,  or apply Velcro to your walls, Muck is just what you need.  For temporary bonds Muck is NOT what you need. 

 


How Does Miracle Muck compare with a spray adhesive like Spray 77 ?

The table below compares the two adhesives in terms of some key properties:

 

Spray 77

Miracle Muck

Ease of Use


 Cost for Equivalent Coverage


  Clean Up.

With a clean new spray nozzle Spray 77 can be applied easily to most surfaces, the only problem being that it can be difficult to avoid the also having it land on other areas around what is being sprayed..  Some nozzles will “spit” globs of adhesive that can cause bleed thru if not cleaned properly between uses.  Although said to be “convenient” when you take into consideration the cleaning up of overspray, the unpleasant fumes and restrictions on use in many locations it is hardly so.  The cost per an equivalent amount of coverage of a spray adhesive is roughly double that of Muck.  Removing residue from fingers requires solvent or extreme scrubbing.

With appropriate width fine foam roller and Muck in squeeze bottle can be applied quickly to precise areas on almost any type of surface without having to deal with fumes or possible overspray problems.  Muck washes out of rollers with warm water or rollers can be placed in baggie where there is no air flow and then re-used for several days before washing out.  When used to bond fabric to mat board Muck can be applied and used wet or allowed to dry and reactivated.  One of the benefits of using an adhesive like Muck that can be heat activated is that it allows you to “touch up” areas where you didn’t get a good bond initially through the use of a heat gun, or iron, to apply some heat to the area and activate the adhesive.  No spray booth is required for use

Permanence of Bond When Used on Porous or Uneven Surfaces such as Wood

While spray adhesives appear to go on non-flat surfaces like wood very easily, the durability of their bond to such surfaces is very limited.  If you wish to see how limited, do this quick test.  Take a piece of a wood liner to your spray area and give it a good coating with the spray adhesive then leave it there for about a week.  Chances are the adhesive will already be turning into dust by the end of just one week, in two weeks you will probably not even be able to find any sign of the adhesive remaining on the stick. No spray adhesive we have ever tried has the durability of  Miracle Muck, especially when used on anything other than the very smooth surface of mat board.  If you really need to use a spray adhesive on a liner you should order the liner primed or take the time to prime it yourself to get the best possible bond.

Miracle Muck can be rollered or brushed onto virtually any surface and used to permanently adhere almost any fabric to any of the substrates commonly used in Framing.  When first applying fabric to wet Muck surface work gently taking care not to apply too much direct pressure to fabric and making sure to push fabric down into coves first.  Increase pressure using a smooth folded piece of fabric to gently burnish the fabric down onto adhesive.  In most cases you can generate enough heat through burnishing with a cloth to activate adhesive that is partially dry.  A coat of Scotchguard applied to back of sheer fabrics can also be used to reduce potential for bleed thru.  Muck dries to the touch within fifteen minutes and  ‘cures’ in about 72 hours.  Liners that have cured for 72 hours or more will cut much cleaner with less fraying of the fabric

Other Usage Considerations

Items bonded with spray adhesives need to be allowed to “breathe” for at least 24 hours before enclosing with glass to avoid problem of “outgassing” where gaseous residue fogs inside of glass.  Spray adhesives are not a good choice for use with foam core and will cause deterioration of the core. 

Use of a wet adhesive like Miracle Muck requires care to avoid warping of covered surface as the moisture evaporates from the board.  Usually best to cover with a sheet of craft paper and place under a piece of glass overnight while evaporation takes place.  Once board has dried it will not tend to want to warp. 

Shipping Considerations

It is illegal to ship spray adhesives via air

Miracle Muck should not be shipped to areas where the temperature is consistently below freezing because it can be spoiled if it is allowed to freeze.  For best performance and longest shelf life store Muck in area with temperature between 50-75 degrees.

 

I just discovered a gallon of Muck that was purchased four years ago.  Is it still good?

Miracle Muck is guaranteed to have a shelf life of at least 6 months if stored in a fairly temperate environment (55-75 degrees Fahrenheit).  We often hear from customers who tell us their gallon is still good as much as 3-4 years after they purchased it.  One thing we can tell you for sure is that if you take the top off the jug and it smells like rotten eggs then the Muck is no good.  Muck will spoil if frozen and extended exposure to temperatures above 75 degrees is likely to reduce its shelf life.  

Are there situations where Miracle Muck would not be your first choice?

There haven’t been many situations where we weren’t happy with using Miracle Muck but here are a couple:

  1. Muck is not well suited for use in adhering very thin pieces of paper (such as newsprint, for example).  The moisture content of Muck will cause puckering in paper that is very thin.  This moisture can also result in even heavier sheets of mat board wanting to bow in the direction that adhesive was applied if they are not placed under some weight while drying.  For best results after adhering your fabric to the board  place the mat fabric side down onto a piece of heavy craft paper and then place a sheet of glass on top of the mat.  The paper will help to absorb the moisture and the glass will keep the board flat.  Once the excess moisture has evaporated (usually by the following morning) the board will remain flat.  

  2. Although we have been happy with using Muck to adhere something porous (like Fabric) to something that is non-porous (metal, plexiglass, plastic) it really does not work well to bond two non-porous surfaces.  When we used it to glue two sheets of Coroplast together, we were not happy with the results as the glue never seemed to dry.  Miracle Muck TM needs air to evaporate the liquid that carries the polymer.  

 

I Have Heard That Miracle Muck is Heat Re-Activatible.  How Exactly Does This Work?

Muck is really not meant to be heat “re-activated” so much as it can be heat activated.  Once it has bonded two materials it is very difficult to separate them with or without heat.  There have been many occasions when we have tried to remove a fabric from a liner profile.  If the Muck had already dried for more than an hour or two and we tried to tear it off, we would often end up tear off some of the wood from the liner along with the fabric.  On the other hand when using Muck to cover Mats or Liners it is not unheard of to have the glue dry in some area before you have had a chance to burnish the fabric down onto it.  So long as you made sure to cover the entire surface with Muck you can always use a heat gun or tacking iron to “activate” the glue in the non-stuck area and allow it to bond the two materials.  If using an iron or tacking iron, be sure to place a piece of smooth clean material over your fabric before applying the heat.  If you place the iron directly onto the fabric you wish to adhere it may “scald” the fabric leaving a shiny mark on its surface that is difficult to eliminate.  To make sure that you have applied Muck to the entire top of a Liner profile or Mat just hold the material up so that you can look across it into a light.  Areas without any adhesive will be fairly easy to spot as they will appear dull compared to the glistening of the wet adhesive on the rest of the surface.  As a general rule it is better to apply a bit too much glue to a surface and have to wait a bit for it to “set up” before placing your fabric onto the adhesive, than to try and go too easy in your coverage and have insufficient glue to be able to create the bond.  One of the things we like best about working with Miracle Muck is having the ability to activate it with heat.  It has saved our butts on many occasions when were wrapping up a mat or liner and noticed a “bubble.”  This property can also be very handy when working with fabrics that are very sheer such as many of our Silks.  The next section will talk about a method of “heat-activating” Muck that will reduce the possibility of a bleed through on these sheer fabrics. 

 

I Worry About Using A “Wet” Adhesive Like Miracle Muck to Bond Very Sheer Fabrics – Is There a Way To Reduce The Risk of A Bleed-Thru in These Situations? 

It seems like the primary reason some people still deal with the mess of using Spray Adhesives is because they are afraid to use a wet adhesive like Miracle Muck on very sheer fabrics.  Well there is another way to use Muck that doesn’t involve placing a very thin material onto a wet glue.  If you have a heat press available then you will never have to worry about seeing a bleed thru ever again.  Here are the key steps in the “heat-activated” approach to covering Mats with Fabric.

Step 1.  Cut your mat as usual but be sure to save the dropout from the center of the board.  Turn on your heat press and set temp to about 140-160 degrees.

Step 2.  Take the piece of Fabric you will be using to cover the Mat and lay it on top of the cut Mat.  Check to make sure that there are no flaws in the area that will cover your Mat.  If you make it a habit to order 2-3 inches more Fabric than the outside size of your Mat you will almost always be able to move the fabric up or over to avoid the minor irregularities that are simply a part of most fabric yardage.

Step 3.  Before lifting the fabric away from the Mat place small pieces of masking tape on the fabric just outside each of the four corners of the Mat.  This will help you to make sure you get the fabric exactly where you want it once you have applied the glue to the top of the board.  Apply Muck to the Mat using your foam roller and check to make sure coverage is good.

Step 4.  Allow the Muck to dry on the top of the Mat then place the mat onto another larger piece of mat board.  Lay the Fabric piece back on top of the Mat using your tape markers to keep it properly aligned.  You can move the four pieces of tape from where they marked the perimeter of the mat board to where they hold the four corners of the piece of fabric in place against the larger piece of mat board.  This will reduce the risk that your fabric will shift and get creased or become misaligned inside the heat press. Place the dropout of the mat board on top of the fabric in the mat opening.  This will help to make sure the fabric is well adhered to the bevel of the mat and will give your corners better definition.  Place the whole package into your heat press and cover with release paper.    

Step 5.  Once the heat press has reached roughly 140 degrees it will only require 2-3 minutes inside the press for the Muck to be activated and the fabric adhered to the board.  When you open the press you should see the drop out pressed into the opening perfectly and if you give a little tug on the extra fabric outside each of the four corners you should find it well bonded to the cut mat.  If not, return mat to the heat press, raise heat 10 degrees and close press for another couple of minutes.  This should secure bond.

Step 6.  Now that the fabric is adhered to the top of your mat we can proceed with “wrapping” the inner edges of the opening.  To do this you will want to cut away the extra fabric covering the opening so that there is only about ¾” of fabric extending beyond the edge of the board.  Carefully make 45 degree cuts back into the corners of the opening making sure to stop your cut about 1/8” short of the actual corner.  You don’t want to overcut into the corners as this will expose the edge of the mat.  If you make sure to stop just short of the corner you can always cut an extra thread or two later if you need to.

Step 7.  Turn the mat face down on your work table and use your foam roller to run a line of glue that is just slightly less wide than the fabric flaps that you will be wrapping around the inner edge of the mat.  Then using an old scrap of a piece of 8-ply board that is about 3-4 inches long and 2-3 inches wide, slide under each of the flaps and drag them back over onto the glue.  Once you have turned the fabric in this way and adhered it around all four sides of the opening then we will “wrap” things up by finishing off each of the corners.

Step 8.  The sharpness of the corners is what distinguishes high quality fabric-wraps from the also rans.  Now is when you cut that last thread or two so that your corner comes to a nice 90 degree angle.  To keep any threads from working loose put a tiny spot of glue on the tip of your forefinger and with the corner facing AWAY from you reach up under the corner and drag the glue back toward you into the corner.  This final touch will keep your corners clean and sharp.

 

Special Fabric-Covering Tip courtesy of Raphael’s

Obviously the heat activated method for covering mats takes a little more time to complete.  It may also be the case that you do not own a heat press.  If you do not have the time, the equipment, or perhaps the patience to go this route there is one final alternative that will be our little secret.  It is a method that we discovered accidentally about 15 years ago and continue to use frequently even today.  To make your fabric a bit more resistant to having the wet glue bleed thru you can apply one or two coats of Scotchguard to the side of the fabric that will facing the glue.  I’ll warn you that it says right on the label of the can that Scotchguard is not intended for use with Silks, but we have continued to use it primarily on our Silk fabrics through about three different formulation changes over the past 15 years and it continues to work very well.  You will probably see some darkening in the fabric as it absorbs the Teflon of the Scotchguard.  Don’t be overly concerned so long as you have applied the spray in even light coats that do not “foam up” on the surface of the fabric.  Let the piece dry for about half an hour and repeat the spraying so that you have two coats of the Scotchguard on your fabric piece.  Its probably a good idea to mark the side you sprayed since you may not be able to tell it just from looking at it.  The Scotchguard coating gives the fabric just enough additional resistance to bleeding through without interfering with the bonding of the fabric.

Avoiding Fraying When You Cut a Fabric-Covered Liner

 

My Liner Corners are Fraying - What is the Best Way to Keep This From Happening?

There are several things that Framers can do to make sure they never have to ‘touch up’ another fraying edge on their Fabric-Covered liners.  Of course the two simple answers are to either do your Liners in the seamless or continuous-covered style, or do them as end-wraps.  But I’m going to assume you are aware of these choices but feel they are not appropriate for your situation.  So first, for those who like to do the cutting of Fabric-Covered Liners themselves, I’ll tell you the things you can do to make sure you have the best possible set-up to do the job right.  Then I’d like to tell you about a great new alternative that is changing the whole definition of the Fabric-Covered Liner.  No matter which path you prefer to follow, fraying edges can be a thing of the past.

Cutting Fabric-Covered Liners

If you are cutting your own Fabric-Covered Liners, you are using either some sort of guillotine cutter, often called a “chopper”, or you are using a saw.  In terms of what each will do to the fabric, the Chopper will cause less fraying of the fabric, but can take longer to do the cutting and often won’t cut the wood quite as cleanly as most saws.  If you are going to use a chopper, ideally you should equip it with blades that are hollow ground. 

The picture above shows a slightly exaggerated view of the difference between “hollow ground” blades and “regular” blades.  The concave shape of a hollow ground blade allows it to cut more cleanly because there is room for the material to exit the cut.  They do a much better job cutting liners and will tend to retain their sharpness longer.  The one potential downside of going with hollow ground blades is that for those who use their choppers to cut mouldings, in particular very hard mouldings such as Oak or Maple, this blade can be more fragile, or prone to chipping. 

 

It is much more common these days to see Framers cutting their Fabric-Covered Liners with their miter saw.  Here again the right blade can make a big difference in the quality of the cut. While I certainly wouldn’t expect Framers to change blades each time they wish to cut a Fabric-Covered Liner there is no doubt that one of the most common blade configurations used by Framers, the so called “triple chip grind” is exactly the opposite of what you would want to use to make the cleanest cuts on your fabric-covered liners.  Unfortunately this particular grind is what many of the companies that do “general sharpening” consider to be the “default” choice for blades coming from a Frame Shop.  Even blades that come in with a different grind will often come back to you with this grind.  They do this I believe because for those who really do use just one type of blade for all their cutting, including metal mouldings, the triple chip is a sort of “lowest common denominator” that will tolerate cutting even very hard materials without chipping.  No sharpener wants to be blamed for a chipped or broken tooth so they tend to lean toward this grind from a defensive standpoint. 

A few years back the people who make Tenryu blades were nice enough to provide us with sets of their blades sharpened in a number of different grinds for testing purposes.  We used these blades to do extensive cutting of every different fabric type we offered on both our Basswood and Ultralight liner stock.  The clear winner in this experiment was the configuration referred to as the HATB (high alternating top bevel) grind.  As you can see in the drawings below the HATB blade has teeth that are more pointed at their tips, which would not be as durable if used to cut the hardest woods or metals, but these teeth are far superior in their ability to shear the fabric more cleanly at the cut.  The blades which performed the task the worst were the triple chip blades, which even when brand new, left fabric that was usually ragged or frayed.  

 

For those who wish to get the best cuts on their fabric-covered liners, blades with the HATB grind will certainly do the best job.  This grind will also cut most mouldings very nicely, but if you are regularly cutting metals or a lot of oak or maple frames it will not be as durable as the triple chip set up. I guess you will have to weigh the trade-offs on that one.  There are a few additional factors that can influence the quality of your cuts that I will touch on below, but there is no doubt that using the HATB set up will deliver the cleanest cuts, and using triple chip blades with the will do the worst. 

 

Here are a couple of other things that can have an effect on how cleanly your liners will cut:

  • Clean Your Blades Between Sharpenings – often blades will begin to accumulate a mix of resins and debris that will result in a deterioration of the cut quality.  You can remove your blades and spray them with “Easy Off” oven cleaner to remove this debris.  Easy Off is a very caustic material so it’s a good idea to wear gloves and eye protection but if you spray the blades and wait about 5 minutes you will be able to easily remove this accumulation with a soft bristle brush.  Dry them well and give them a quick wipe with WD40 before reinstalling.  This will extend the amount of time between sharpenings.

  • Has the Glue Cured? -  adhesives like our Miracle Muck (PVA type adhesives) dry fairly quickly, often within minutes, but they don’t cure, achieving their ultimate bond, for several days.  You can usually cut a liner that has been covered today to its final size as soon as 24 hours later and get a good result, but whenever possible letting it cure several days before re-cutting will give you the best results.

  • I can’t speak about how other companies prepare the fabrics they use for covering their liners, but for us there is a whole process that takes place before a fabric is used to cover a liner. We often receive bolts from the mills that show a curving of the grain as you move across the bolt, typically because of either careless winding or uneven tension along the selvedge edges. This curving must be eliminated before the bolt is slit or else the ribbon of fabric applied to the stick will show this bias.  We also have found it useful to apply a special finish to the back of the fabric that enhances its ability to bond with our Muck and also reduces potential fraying when the liner is cut.  This is not to say that you cannot buy a yard of fabric and create liners yourself by cutting strips of the fabric and adhering them to liner stock, but if you are going to cover liners yourself, you may be better off either covering them in the “seamless” style  or as “end-wraps”, neither of which requires further cutting of the fabric covered liner.  If that is not an option then at least allow the liner to dry for a couple of days after you cover it so the adhesive can cure before doing your final re-cutting.