Paper 101 - Adhesives
Choosing the right adhesive for your paper project is almost as important as choosing the right paper. Are you gluing a large area or a small area? Are you gluing something flat or 3D? Will whatever you are gluing be kept for a long time or thrown away after a short time? Do you need your glue to dry tacky or hard? Use the guidelines below to figure out exactly what you need for your project!
There is no one adhesive that works for all projects. Most experienced crafters have a handful of go-to products they switch between depending on their needs for a specific gluing task. Look at the chart below to determine which one or combination fits your needs. Scroll down for more detailed descriptions of each variety of glue and their purposes.
GLUING LARGE SECTIONS OF PAPER
examples: card panels, invitations with mats, card backs, etc.
When gluing large sections of paper, you want to choose a dry adhesive so that your paper doesn’t wrinkle or ripple. Most liquid paper crafting glues will cause at least mild rippling on large sections of paper. The one exception to this rule is Zip Dry Glue, which can be used on large sections of paper without any rippling. We recommend this glue for brides making DIY invitations as it is cost effective and fast to work with.
GLUING SMALL PIECES OF PAPER (PERMANENT)
examples: paper die cuts and other small paper embellishments
There are many glues on the market that are advertised as “paper crafting glue.” We have found that the best ones to work with are Tombow Mono Liquid, Zig 2-Way Glue Pens, Bearly Arts Precision Glue, and Nuvo Glue. All of these glues have slightly different properties, so consult the chart above to determine which one will be best for your project.
GLUING SMALL PIECES OF PAPER (TEMPORARY)
examples: homemade stickers, removable labels, etc.
Dual purpose glues like Tombow Mono Liquid and Zig 2-Way can be used for a permanent bond or a removable bond. To create a permanent bond, simple apply the glue and attach the pieces while the glue is wet. To achieve a removable bond, apply the glue to the back of your paper piece, let it dry completely, and then attach it to your project. You can read more about this process in our DIY Sticker Blog. One note of caution- dual purpose glues do not dry hard, so if any extra squeezes out around the edges, it will stay tacking forever. A little bit goes a long way with these glues.
GLUING NON-PAPER/3D EMBELLISHMENTS
examples: rhinestones, sequins, wood pieces, embellishments, etc.
When gluing non-paper embellishments, you want to choose a strong liquid glue or glue dots. Our favorites for embellishments are Glue Dots, Zots, Zig 2-Way, Tombow Mono Liquid, Bearly Arts, and Nuvo glue. All of these are robust enough to hold on to just about any kind of embellishment you can think of!
OUR FAVORITE ADHESIVES
Now that you have a better idea of what type of glue you need for your project, let’s explore some specific brands we like.
Pros: Scor-Tape offers an affordable and permanent bond. The rolls are also easy to transport and travel with.
Cons: Scor-Tape can be time consuming to work with since you have to cut the pieces of adhesive, attach them, then peel the backing off.
Advanced Tape Glider/E-Z Runner Grand
Pros: Tape runners are super quick and easy to use. They come in Permanent Archival Bond and General Purpose options.
Cons: Tape runners can be expensive depending on the brand.
Pros: Foam tape adds wonderful dimension to any project, and is great for creating shaker cards.
Cons: Not all brands are created equal when it comes to foam adhesive. Make sure you choose a high-quality brand that says “archival quality” on the package or your project may fall apart after a few months.
Pros: Glue Dots are strong and easy to use and work especially well for non-paper embellishments such as rhinestones, buttons, ribbon, etc.
Cons: Some brands dry out over time and your pieces may fall off. Make sure you choose a brand that says “archival quality” on the package.
Pros: Zip Dry Glue is an affordable and easy way to assemble lots of paper products in a short time. Perfect for invitations with a mat. We love that this glue doesn’t ripple the paper when you use it on large areas. Another great feature of this glue is that you can easily rub off any excess with your fingers if it seeps out around the edge without damaging the paper.
Cons: This glue is a bit smelly, reminiscent of Rubber Cement. Make sure you are using it in a well-ventilated area.
Zig 2-Way Glue
Pros: Zig Glue Pens are compact and easy to transport for crafting on the go. The smallest glue pen is also very nice for small detail work.
Cons: Zig Glue Pens dry tacky, so be careful not to use more than you need to avoid it seeping out around the edges.
Tombow Mono Liquid
Pros: We love how quickly Mono Liquid glue adheres two pieces. No need to hold your finger on it for a long time to make sure it sticks. This glue works well for paper and all non-paper embellishments, and is super strong.
Cons: Mono Liquid Glue dries tacky, so be careful not
Bearly Arts Precision Glue
Pros: Bearly Arts Precision Glue comes with multiple sizes of applicator tips. This allows you to place glue in extremely small and precise areas. It also dries hard and clear.
Cons: This glue is a bit runny, so work quickly and use sparingly.
Pros: Nuvo Glue has a strong, permanent bond and works especially well on die cuts.
Cons: The application tip is a bit wide on this one, so don’t squeeze too hard!
Pros: Hot Glue is inexpensive, dries quickly, can be used to add dimension between layers, and has a strong hold for larger or heavier projects like paper flowers.
Cons: Besides the obvious of burning yourself, hot glue tends to leave little spider-web-like strings coming from the place where the glue tip was pulled away.
For your convenience we make some of our favorite adhesives available here - Shop Adhesives