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Craft Adhesives -Tips And Ideas

Updated on July 31, 2015
linfcor profile image

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Craft Adhesives-The Basics

I remember when I was a child, more than a few years ago, all we had for gluing anything was a jar of paste with a brush attached to the lid. It was gloppy but we used it for all of our art projects. I remember making scrapbooks out of pictures cut from magazines and photos taken from my Brownie camera. That's how I started in scrapbooking as a hobby-some 50 years ago.

Then came Elmer's liquid glue and we were all excited. It was a big step up from the old paste jar. Magnetic albums became the rage until everyone saw how their pictures yellowed and got ruined. By then Polaroid pictures were the big rage. Even the new liquid glue had it's problems. It was messy for one thing. And really didn't do much for adding embellishments.

Now we have all kinds of choices in glues and adhesives. It's exciting for those of us who have seen the products evolve.

One of the most basic supplies beyond scrapbook albums and paper is the adhesives that you will need. What a joy it is to have the right adhesive for your scrapbook pages. It really makes everything so much easier to have the right product for the technique or project that you are working on.

Paper Crafting has caught on and has become so popular that companies have been trying to keep up with demand. People are making cards, quilling, making paper flowers, banners, décor items.The old adhesives just don't work anymore.

Using the wrong adhesives is a disaster in the making. Learning which adhesive is right for the job will make your scrapbooking and paper crafting time way more enjoyable, productive and rewarding. Let's get started

3L Scrapbook Adhesives E-Z Runner Permanent Adhesive Dispenser, 33 Feet
3L Scrapbook Adhesives E-Z Runner Permanent Adhesive Dispenser, 33 Feet

The alternative to the tape glider is the smaller runner. You want one that refills. It's great for the environment and easier on your budget


Let's Start With Tape Runners

They are your all purpose "go to"adhesive

Tape runners are your basic go to adhesive for scrapbook projects and making greeting cards. You can use them on cardstock, to mount your photos and to add on frames, mats and embellishments. One word of caution that you will hear me say over and over again is this. Make sure to buy a reasonable quality tape runner. Cheap ones will not word well, or permanently and you will get frustrated. Cheap is not always better when it comes to adhesives. Basically a tape runner is a thin double sided tape. It is in a dispenser that allows you to run the tape. It can be permanent or repositionable. Some types of dispensers are refillable. These are great because the refills are generally more economical and better for the environment.

Scotch 3M Permanent Glue Sticks, Clear, Non-toxic, Acid-free, Each 0.28 oz, 6...
Scotch 3M Permanent Glue Sticks, Clear, Non-toxic, Acid-free, Each 0.28 oz, 6...

Totally safe for your scrapbooks. Plus you can't beat the quality.


Glue Sticks-Another Basic Scrapbook Adhesive

Very Economical Adhesive

You need some glue sticks in your adhesives. They are used in both scrapbooking , collages, art journals and paper crafting. They have an appearance like a creamy lip balm. Many of them come in a purple color when applied that dries white. The come in larger sticks and little glue sticks. Most are round, but some come in triangular shape that is perfect to get those corners that never want to stick down.Simply rub the stick over the area to be adhered to leave an even coat of stickiness. Try to buy them in multiples and you will find the cost very reasonable

Glue sticks are considered permanent . They dry clear. They are acid free and non-toxic.

My first tip to share is one that I have learned from experience. You see, it's natural to want to save money where you can. And I am all for that. Any of the craft stores know that I don't shop without at least one coupon. But when it comes to adhesives, it is always best to buy better, not cheap. I have learned this from experience for sure. About 8 months ago I purchased some tape runners on Ebay. I needed a lot of them, so I purchased in bulk at a price that I thought was really good. All I

Photo Tape Or Double Sided Tape

Tackier than a tape runner

That's what it's called, but most scrapbook artists never use it for that. Usually we use the tape runners to attach photos.

You can use it to apply glitter on a scrapbook page or card. You can also use it to apply ribbon to a paper craft project.

This type of tape is better for paper projects like brag books and mini albums on chipboard. It's also good for adhering heavier items and a must for adhering glitter

Double Sided Foam Tapes

Foam tapes are perfect when you want to add dimension to a project. There is no mess and no drying time. It's so easy to use foam tape ! You can add more dimension by adding several layers. It's usually available in black and white. It's acid free, permanent and can be cut to size Double sided adhesive foam tape can be used to bond paper, glass, metal and acrylic surfaces. My personal favorite use is to adhere ribbon on a card or scrapbook page.

Glue Dots -Everyone Needs Them

Very handy in different sizes

Glue dots and foam tape act pretty much the same way. They are very small bits of double sided adhesives that are perfect for adhering all kinds of buttons, bows and embellishments. They come in rolls, runners and sheets. And if you are careful nothing is wasted. After you remove the glue dots, you can cut up the remains and use them as well. They are very sticky and will last. Both of them add some dimension to your pages

Martha Stewart Crafts Ball Point Glue Pen
Martha Stewart Crafts Ball Point Glue Pen

Perfect for very fine work and small detail items


Glue Pens

These are especially handy to adhere all those letters and small things that we like to add to our projects. They are handy for making small flowers and anywhere where you have to get in close

A liquid adhesive in a handy pen format, this is ideal for detail work and for sticking small pieces of paper and cardstock with a little more control than a glue stick.

Vellum Tape

Vellum tape is strictly designed for one purpose-to attach vellum paper to a surface. Vellum is a very sheer thin paper. This tape is made to give minimal visibility through the paper.

Photo Corners - A Form Of Scrapbook Adhesive

While photo corners are not really scrapbook adhesives per se, I put them in here because they do adhere your pictures or other elements to a page and do have adhesive on them. I always add a bit of adhesive onto photo corners, especially the ones that you lick yourself, I generally find that they don't have enough adhesive on them. Photo corners used to be popular, then they faded from the scene. But they have become popular again. They now come in all kinds of colors. I prefer to buy the white or crème color ones and then add my own color with my ink pads. You could distress or age them by adding brown distress inks along the sides of them

Pioneer Photo Corners Self Adhesive, Clear, 250-Pack
Pioneer Photo Corners Self Adhesive, Clear, 250-Pack

Self Adhesive means that there is no licking or gluing. Makes for a much easier and neater project


Always be sure that the adhesive that you are using is acid and lignin free as well as archival safe !

Liquid Adhesives

An alternative adhesive

While you will want to use liquid glue sparingly, they are still handy to have in your craft area. They are good for gluing metals, papers and ribbons. But you will want to be careful because they can make a bit of a mess if you are not careful. Always follow the manufacturers directions

Xyron Adhesive Machine

Everyone who is serious about paper crafts and scrapbooking should have at least one Xyron machine. They add adhesive to the backs of just about anything that you might want to adhere. You can make stickers out of anything you can imagine. They are great for small letters and eliminates the glue mess. You either use a crank or pull them through and they come in different sizes. There are no batteries and the adhesive refills are easy to set in. They are also economical on your craft budget

When you use pop dots, don't throw the area out around the dots once you use them ! They can still be cut up and used as easily as the dots themselves. Don't waste your money

PVA (White Glue)

This is a water-based liquid glue that dries clear. It's a good, general purpose glue suitable for most materials, and diluted with water, it's essential for papier mâché techniques.

Glue Guns

The adhesive is supplied in the form of glue sticks. These are inserted into the gun, where they are heated up to release a hot, runny adhesive at the press of the trigger. It provides a strong, fast-tack bond and is useful for working with foam board and for sticking plastic to paper. Always have a tile or coaster to rest your glue gun on when it's hot

Craft Adhesives- Uses

(click column header to sort results)
Type Of Adhesive  
Permanent Or Temporary  
Glue Stiick
Paper projects like collages, art journaling, and photos
Glue Dots
Paper, embellishments, acrylics
Glue Pens
Permanent Or Repositionable
Paper and light embellsihments
Tape Runners
Can be either permanent or repositional
Bond paper to paper
Double Sided Tape
Paper, cardstock, chipboard, wood, glass, metal and acrylic
Double Sided Foam Tape
Paper, cradstock, wood, glass, metal and acrylic
Adhesive Sheets And Strips
Bonds paper, chipboard, wood, glass, foam, acrylic, canvas
Vellum Tape
Used to adhere vellum to paper
Zyron Tape
Paper, metal, chipboard

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    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 3 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      You are so welcome. Yes, I remember those gloppy jars too. Now there glues for just about every task you can think of. I received a free glue from Aileen's, one of my favorite glue companies. It's for fabric. Since I can cut fabric with my Cricut Exlore, I am really looking forward to experimenting with it !

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 3 years ago from Missouri

      I remember the gloppy glue jar with a brush! We even used a mixture of flour and water when I was very little and there was no money for extravagances like glue. There are so many choices now. Thanks for the list. I found some I had not tried.

    • linfcor profile image

      Linda F Correa 3 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      @julieannbrady: Thank you for your kind comments. I agree, adhesives have really improved over the years. Do you remember the paste we used to use ? It came in a jor and the top had a brush attached. Would never be used now, but I know exactly what you mean

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 3 years ago

      You know something? When I was much younger, I put together my scrapbooks that today I wished we had better glue! Some of the glued items are one with the paper ... I would have loved a glue stick back then. Lovely presentation!