Thursday, June 02, 2011

Technique Thursday: Glue Guide

by Debi Wind

Glue Guide

Card making and scrapbooking exist because of the adhesives available on the market. Each time we create a card or put together a layout we use a form of adhesive. No longer are white glue, rubber cement, scotch tape or masking tape the only adhesive options available. A new generation of acid free and reliable adhesives have come onto the market in the form of double sided tapes, tabs, and dots, liquid glues, and solid paste.

There are two types of adhesives: wet and dry adhesives. Wet adhesives come in liquid, past, stick, or spray form and dry adhesives come in tape, tabs, dots, and photo corners. Adhesives can be permanent, repositionable, or temporary.

It is important to select the right glue for your surface. There are 3 types of surfaces: non-porous (metal, glass, plastic, glossy paper) are slick, shiny, and do not absorb water, semi-porous (treated wood, coated paper, rubber, fun foam) absorb some moisture but do so unevenly and slowly, and porous (including most papers, unsized fabrics, plaster, cardboard, and untreated wood) absorb moisture quickly and evenly making the glue easier to absorb. There are different glues for different jobs so select the best glue for your needs. Read the label of the glue to see if it will meet your project needs.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions before applying glue. Test glue on a scrap to make sure the glue will work for your surface. Work in a well-ventilated area and cover your work surface. Before applying glue make sure your surface is clean, dry, and free from dust and oil. If working with a very slick surface use fine sandpaper to roughen up the surface so that the glue will adhere better. Keep bottle on its side while working as this will make the glue flow smoother. Never apply too much glue. Be prepared to use different glues for a project if you are gluing different surfaces together. Watch out for old glue; glue has a limited shelf life and will start losing its potency. Select the right method to apply the glue; brushes, spatulas, craft sticks, wooden skewers, and toothpicks are good choices. Remove excess glue with toothpicks, cotton swaps, and small old brushes for a perfect finish. Be sure to clean brushes for the next time.

Clean up excess glue while it is wet. Give glue a chance to dry…there is a difference between grab time and drying time. Grab time is how well the glue holds to the surface and the drying time is how long it takes for surfaces to permanently bond. Store glue properly; keep glue away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Be sure to replace the cap well to prevent evaporation.

Always experiment with your adhesives first before using it on your final project. Glues vary widely as to which materials they stick to, how well they bond between surfaces, how the glue bond ages in both terms durability and color. Clean off excess glue before you display or sell your project.

There are many adhesives products for paper crafts. One thing we know is that it must be acid free. Here are a few different adhesives that can be used.

Wet Adhesives:

Glue Pens:

Glue pens come in different point sizes. There is a fine ball point for writing. For drawing or coloring in areas use a broader tip. They are acid free and xylene free. Some come with the color glue that dries clear. The glue pens come with a permanent hold and a repositionable hold. Glue pens should be used sparingly so that the glue doesn’t seep out around the edges before it dries. Glue pens are designed for gluing metal, ribbon, paper to paper, glitter, embossing, masking, flocking, and for book making. Use according to the directions provided by the manufacturer.

Glue sticks:

Glue sticks are a solid adhesive in a twist or push up tube. Glue sticks are designed for gluing paper to paper, fabric to paper, and paper to metal. Glue sticks are now permanent, re-positional, washable, acid free, non-toxic, solvent free and some have a color to see where the glue is being applied. Glue sticks are easy to apply, don’t make a mess so there is very little clean up and they dry clear.

Mod Podge:

Mod Podge is an all in one glue, sealer, and finish. It is water base for easy clean up, acid free, non-toxic and comes in matte and glossy formulas. Mod Podge can be used on paper, plastic, card board, tin, canvas, paper mache, and wood. It is great for decoupage.

Glossy Accents:

It is a 3-dimensional, water-based, clear gloss medium. Glossy Accents can be used to accent, brighten, dimensionalize and magnify distinct areas. Place Glossy Accents under embellishments to make them stick or use it on top to protect and glossify! It, also, comes in Crackle Accents and Sepia Acccents.

Diamond Glaze:

It is a dimensional adhesive that dries to a clear glass-like finish. Diamond Glaze is an adhesive, glaze, medium, paint, and lacquer all in one. It will hold vellum, glitter, beads, glass, and plastic. It can be mixed with dye-based inks, watercolor, and pearlescent pigments. Use it directly over artwork, chalk, and embellishments for a glass-like finish. It can be thinned with water for a lacquer-like finish. It is, also, one of the best adhesive for gluing.

Metal Glue

Metal Glue is a liquid adhesive formulated for attaching metal embellishments. It is archival safe, non-toxic, photo safe, and come in a non-leaking bottle design for precise application.


E6000 glue works best with any type of gemstone, wood, leather, vinyl, and canvas. It is non-corrosive and self-leveling. E6000 adheres in 5 to 10 minutes; it hardens to a clear, waterproof cure in 24 hours. E6000 dries like rubber so the bond acts like a shock absorber when it is disturbed. It is flexible, non-flammable, paintable. E6000 is great for gluing stones on cloth and the bond will withstand several machine washings. Two things E6000 will not do is bond two pieces of smooth glass together and it will pull the foil back away from acrylic rhinestones.

Gel Medium:

Soft (gloss) gel is excellent glue for collage. It works with various sizes and thickness of elements. It can, also, be mixed with small amount of color to create a glaze. Soft gel is the medium using for photocopy transfer technique and gel transfer skins. Regular (matte) gel is an all-purpose glue to use in any collage or assemblage work. It can be used to extend the life of paint too. It can be used to create texture, too.

PVA glue:

PVA glue stands for Polyvinyl Adhesive. It is a professional adhesive that dries acid-free, solvent-free, and water soluble. It can be used for paper, board, collage work, and bookbinding.


Weldbond glue is a universal glue. It will glue anything to anything. It dries clear and is great for industrial strength gluing. It can be found in craft stores and home improvement stores. It is fantastic for gluing heavy embellishments and wood.

YES Glue:

This glue is used worldwide by paper artists. It is known for giving a secure bond without wrinkles. It is an all-purpose transparent glue that won't curl or discolor the surface being used on. It is ideal for paper, glass, metal, cloth, leather, tin, and wood.

Money Saving Tip: Use wet adhesives sparingly. A little dot or daub will go a long way.

Dry Adhesives:

Glue Dots

Glue Dots are flat round clear dots of glue that are instant-bonding. Glue Dots come in a roll that you unroll, stick to your item, and peel off. Glue dots come in thicker sizes for a 3D effect. They bond most materials such as paper, plastic, wood, metal, glass, foam, fibers, and more. For card making and other paper projects they allow you to add detail and visual interest with items such as rhinestones, buttons, sequins, vellum, transparencies, clear embellishments, ribbons, and fibers.

Red Liner Tape

Red liner tape is wonderful for scrapbooking, card making, and more. It is a heavy duty tape that is great for wood, ribbon, metal, paper, beads, glitter, and glass. It comes in a variety of widths on 5 yard rolls. The widths available are 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", 1", and 1 1/16".

Foam Tapes

Foam squares, circles, dots, and tape are used to pop items up off the surface of your project. They are a double-sided and acid-free adhesive that can be used to add depth and dimension to a paper crafting project. They can be used to create pockets, hold tags, photos, or hidden journaling.

Adhesive and Tape Runners:

Tape runners are equipped with a cartridge that runs a double sided sticky strip on the back of the item you want to adhere. They come either with permanent or repositionable tape. They are fairly inexpensive and for scrapbooking are a must have product. One tip for those not use to using a tape runner is to use the tape runner sparingly. They are efficient, easy to use, and do not make a mess. They are acid-free, archival safe, and will not harden. They are easy to refill and use a snap in cartridge.

Photo Corners:

Photo corners add a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to adhere images to your project without damaging or altering them in the process. They comes in many colors, add class and variety to your project. They are not messy, self-adhesive, and archival safe.

Vellum tape:

This specialized tape adheres vellum to cardstock without the tape being visible. Unroll the amount you need, apply stick side to vellum, rub and remove paper covering tape. Vellum tape can be used with other textures. Vellum tape is specifically formulated to disappear on most vellums. It is wonderful for making invitations and envelopes, apply die cuts, and adhering titles or journal entries to scrapbook pages. Can be used on solid color and patterned vellum.

Adhesive Machines:

Xyron has a variety of adhesive runners, sticker machines, creative stations, laminators, design runners, and the Wishblade. Cartridges come in permanent, repositionable, magnet, and lamination style. To use a Xyron, feed the image, photo, cardstock, or embellishment such as ribbon or lace into the machine and turn the handle. It will come out of the machine with an even layer of adhesive attached to the paper. Remove the protective coating and press item onto project. Use a brayer or bone folder to create a firm, smooth bond.

Removing Adhesive

You may find it necessary to remove adhesive from a card or project. The following products can be used to do so.


Un-du is a card maker's or scrapper's product to remove adhesive and a sticky residue. It will safely remove stickers for reuse, tape runners, and photo squares. Is will, also, remove the adhesive residue from scissors and punches. It is photo safe, acid free, and will not bleed inks.

Glue Eraser:

This compact eraser is rubber-based and excellent for removing glue from places it isn't supposed to be. It is great for working in a tight spot and is easy to store. It is known as a "Glue Pick Up Square.

In closing, two items to remember:

Choose the correct adhesive for your project.

Remember to experiment with your adhesive of choice on scrap paper before using it on your final project. Adhesive is what holds together your project and you do not want your beautifully finished piece to fall apart!


  1. Great review!
    I love my adhesive pick up square! Did you know that it will also take off rub ons? If you don't like how it looks once you put it on the page or whatever, just use the pick up square and it comes right off.

  2. Superb Review on adhesives!

  3. Wow, probably the most comprehensive review / tutorial on types of glue I've seen!! Bravo!!

  4. Anonymous4:03 AM

    Thank you this has saved me a lot time & money .

  5. Thank you.This helped make sense out of the many choices out there.