Sticky Situations: A Paper Crafter’s Guide to Adhesive

comments (2) April 6th, 2008     

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KhrisCochran Khris Cochran, contributor
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Glue in a can: spray adhesives are easy to use and they do the trick.

Glue in a can: spray adhesives are easy to use and they do the trick.

Photo: Scott Phillips

Nearly every paper crafter has a stash of glues, tapes, and other assorted sticky stuff. I’d wager most of it was bought out of curiosity or just blind hope that it would be the perfect bonding agent for a particular project or technique. Since I’m a betting girl, I’d also wager much of that stash goes unused.

Though I’m not keen on admitting it, I have a weakness for buying adhesives in hope of finding a better, easier, cheaper way to sticking papery things together. My own craft space has an adhesive drawer overflowing with products, most of which aren’t quite suitable for paper crafting.

To spare you the trouble (and expense) of overbuying products, here is a quick guide to help you decide which type of adhesive is right for your next paper project.

A note about archival versus non-archival adhesives: If your paper project is something you’d like to preserve for many years to come—such as a scrapbook—you’ll need to use acid-free adhesives (in addition to acid-free papers and embellishments). Acidity causes paper, photos, and adhesives to disintegrate over time. Products that are acid-free are usually marked as such. Do read product labels carefully before you buy.

While there are nearly as many types of adhesives as there are paper crafts, most fit into one of 4 categories.

Liquid Glues
Liquid adhesives are available in both permanent and repositionable types. The best uses for liquids and cements are for collage work, découpage, adhering glitter, and cardboard-to-cardboard applications. Drying time varies by type and application, anytime from instant bond to 24 hours or more.

Because liquid glues hold so much moisture, they can sometimes cause lighter-weight papers to buckle or bubble. They’re not really appropriate for scrapbooking or any archival-type projects.

Pastes & Solid Sticks
Inexpensive, non-toxic, fast-drying and easy to use, glue sticks and pastes are ideal for children’s projects, cards, and scrapbooking projects that aren’t meant to last a lifetime. These adhesives due lose their tackiness over time which will cause them to discolor and curl paper/photos.

Tape Runners, Lines, Dots & Squares

A must for any paper crafter, tape runners are one of the most efficient scrapbook adhesives. Runners are refillable cartridges that allow the user to simply roll a line of double-sided adhesive over paper in a matter of seconds

Glue Dots are little double-sided sticky dots, available in all sorts of sizes and types. They come in lines, dots and more. They work best with embellishments and are usually the choice for bulky metals and more.

These types of adhesives can be a little pricey but they’re effective, non-messy, and easy to use.

Spray Adhesives
Spray adhesives are simply glue in aerosol cans. Available in either permanent or repositionable bonds, these are fantastic all-around adhesives for most flat paper projects such as scrapbooking, cardmaking, and attaching vellum. They provide a strong bond, don’t buckle paper, and are quick and easy to apply.

The downside is that they’re usually not acid-free, need to be applied in a well-ventilated area, and can be quite messy.

posted in: adhesives

Comments (2)

sdkeywords writes: There are a vast number of glues on the market, so it could be a little bit intimidating if you're new to crafting, and need to choose a glue from the plethora of bottles, tubes and glue sticks that are on the market today. Adhesive Products
Posted: 2:12 am on September 14th
CCluvbug writes: I have seen on some sites that for making books that I should use PVA glue. When I go to buy it, no one seems to know what it is.

What do I use by a brand name if asking for a pva glue is getting me no were?
Posted: 10:17 pm on July 16th
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