I'm making a globe of Mars. I've obtained a "sliced" map of Mars that I will print. Then I'll need to cut the slices and glue them onto the globe of Earth.
The slices won't align perfectly; I can pinch or stretch each a little bit (they do have a bit of overlap) but I don't want to have the last connection off by too much - and my errors will accumulate if I just progress around the globe. How can I avoid it? A glue that allows sliding them around? Some kind of 'hint grid' for pasting them?
They are still somewhat wide; won't align with the spherical surface perfectly. A hint to make the paper more stretchy, or some other medium than paper? or some other tricks to avoid wrinkling along the edges?
How to finish it? Protect the print from dust and environment. Some kind of lacquer?
I hope the surface that you're sticking them on, is smooth and not absorbing all the glue.
In that case, I'd do it the same way as applying wallpaper.
- paper that is wet, is a bit stretchy, so it can follow the curves a bit.
- wallpaper glue doesn't 'set' immediately, you can still move the pieces around for a while, this allows for better manipulation.
- where parts of the map overlap, you could glue them overlapping, take a very sharp knife and cut through the two layers of paper. Be sure not to cut through the surface underneath (though a shallow scratch should not be a problem).
Since you haven't yet printed the map, I can still make my suggestion: have you thought of printing it onto fabric, instead of paper? Fabric, depending on what type you choose, has a certain amount of stretch, and is far less likely to tear when wet and being handled, than paper. I wouldn't go so far as to print it onto a knit fabric, but perhaps a lightweight woven cotton. It would likely involve quite a bit experimentation before committing, but fabric for a craft such as this should not be expensive.
I can give two tips, but I don't know how well they'll apply to working with a curved surface.
When dealing with contact cement, you'll often place dowels or similar down between the items being glued, so they can't make contact until you're ready. You can then more easily re-position the top item until you stick them together. You then pull out the sticks one by one, burnishing the surface as you go to make sure you don't end up with bubbles or such.
When applying vinyl decals, you'll often use a craft knife to transfer the decal to the item it's going on. You get the tip of the knife under the vinyl to lift it up, and then hold the handle of the knife to align the sticker before burnishing it down with your off hand. (and in this case, if you get bubbles, you poke them with the knife and squeeze the air out). It might take some practice, but you get much better results than trying to use your hands directly on the stickers.
update: I should've mentioned for #2 -- the sticker needs to be relatively stiff for this one to work -- if it's too floppy, it's still a bit of a pain. In those cases, you're often better off positioning it without adhesive, then lifting up one side to apply it, burnish that side down, then lift the other & repeat.