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Stuck on you: A sticky guide to Adhesives

Updated on March 23, 2012

For the next part in my series of “Ten Favorite Scrapbooking Products” (Not the original title, but who wants to get into trouble with Goggle), I want to focus on adhesives. For the those scratching their heads, it is just a simple way of saying “glue”. In order to have nice layouts, and other papercrafting projects, you do have to use the that makes it stick down. This is a short article, for there is nothing much to say about adhesives. I will break this down into several parts:

*  Know your product

*  The different types of glues.

* A review of my favorites.

Know your product.

When we were children (about Pre-K or Kindergarten), there was good old Elmer’s Glue. There was nothing like it. I remember the first time I played with the stuff. I put more on my hands than on the paper. And when it dried, I pretended like my skin was peeling. I even went into the fake cry. We all know the fake cry. Well enough with that, I might to deep, throwing me off-topic. Well, you can still use Elmer’s, but it is not safe for photos, if you want to preserve them. (Elmer’s now also come in a gel, what that all about?) Yes, like all other scrapbooking products, it has to be acid-free. I have not read the back of the bottle lately, so if it says that a glue is safe to use for photos, it means that it is safe. This leads me to the next item on the list of know your product…Read the label. All glues and adhesives have instructions. These instructions tell you how to use the product in your hand. Not all glues and adhesives are the same. There are different dry times, what glue works best for which products, and what works for your specific project. Did you know that there is another reason for not using white glue on a photo? Elmer’s is a liquid glue. What is liquid made of? Water. Water and water-type products will warp your photos. If this photo you are about to glue down on the paper the only photo of you and Grandma Jane when you were 2. You will have a big issue, when you show the layout to someone, because it will look like a hot mess. You do not want that to happen, now do you? When using liquid glues on anything, less is best. Put on a little bit, and spread the stuff around with the tip, or a brush of some type. It will stick, trust me.

Luckily for you, there are some tape runners out there that will do the trick, and your photos will not look bad at all. They are called dry glue, but to warn you, they are a little more expensive. Again, less is best, but the good thing with most tape runners, are you can refill them. But that gets a little expensive as well. Your average refill will cost you around $10 or more. It is also best to have some backup glue, just in case you do not have the money to spend on adhesive. If you do not want warped photos, and you do not have enough money, you can always go with a glue stick. If you have not picked up some in a while, the formula has changed in most glue stick, where they are acid free, and they work just as well as tape runners.

Reading the label also helps you to know what strength the glue has once it dries (if it is a liquid glue), or the project may just fall apart. There have been times, when my project would be just perfect, and come back the next day, and it comes unglued. Defiantly read the labels of liquid glues, especially ones that come with washing instructions with them.

Types of Adhesives

First of all, glue and adhesive has been used interchangeably throughout this article. It is basically two different words for the same type of product.

  • Liquid glues are your Elmer’s, gel glues, glitter glues (glue with glitter mixed in), and rubber cement (which I personally do not recommend for scrapbooking projects at all of any type. To me, they are toxic, no matter how they are formulated now. )
  • Dry glues (adhesives) include tape runners, scotch tape, and double sided tape. They are perfect for any project. They come in removable and permanent tapes. Be careful if you accidently put the piece you are gluing down in the wrong place on your project. Permanent tape may tear your project while you are trying to pull it up, while it take 24 hours for removable tape to become permanent. It gives you time to move things around. Tip: place items on the page before gluing it down, and move them around. Once you have them in place, pick each piece up, put adhesive on the back, and then return them back into position. Do not move the other pieces, or you may not remember where you had the others.
  • Other glues: There are glue sheets, glue dots, and pop dots. Glue sheets are just that. Just lay the piece on the sheet, which is double-sided, pull back the bottom layer and place. No mess. Glue dots, and pop dots pops up a small item, like a flower, to give a 3-d effect to the project. Still there are others that contain paint it them, holds glitter in place (do not use on embossing power, which when heated when melted. The brand might not recommend that on the label)

My favorites….

The brands I like for my adhesive are very simple. I tried all kinds of adhesives while I was working in a scrapbook store, and for the most part I like Tombow mono , which in made in both the tape runner and glue. There is nothing more to say about it. They hold great, and the mono ready holds the big heavy stuff. I recently had a project that required me to use the Tombow mono with a combination of a metal tag and a paper tag. Perfect for metal projects. I use it all the time for my paper projects. In the last couple of years, the top scrapbookers have been talking about an ATG adhesive gun. It is long lasting for big project, and you do not have to change it as much as the smaller tape runners. I have not tried it yet, but I plan on getting one in the near future. There is one that I do use that it close to the ATG adhesive, and it is called the glue pro adhesive. Same purpose as the ATG one, but it does not have the same amount of tape. The cartridges are easy to install.

Whichever type of adhesive or glue you decide to use in your projects, just remember to know your project, know the adhesive, and when all else fails, you can always run down to your corner grocery store to get some good old Elmer’s Glue and some Scotch Tape.


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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Good Hub you wrote on adhesives. Check out my Hub. Thanks

    • plogan721 profile imageAUTHOR

      Patricia Logan 

      7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      You're welcome, Jeff

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a really good overview about adhesives. I learned a lot by reading it. Thanks!


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