Beacon’s Liquid Glues

Reported by Peggy Marsh

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A while back, a card-making friend introduced me to Zip Dry Paper Glue manufactured by Beacon Adhesives. Until that time, I only used mono tape dispenser adhesives and found that once I placed my paper on my project, I couldn’t reposition it for perfect alignment. Needless to say, I immediately fell in love with Zip Dry because it was forgiving, and allowed me to move the paper around ’til it was in the perfect spot. I was also able to use it for adhering ribbons, buttons and other embellishments. Since I was creating a lot of cards, I was using Zip at lightning speed. Zip sells for $6.50 – 7.50 for a 2.0 fluid ounce bottle at my local stamp stores. Yikes!

While searching for alternate places to purchase Zip at a better price, I came across Beacon’s 3-in-1 glue. It definitely looked interesting! It was the same manufacturer, the same crystal clear appearance, and at a fraction of the cost. In this economy that meant a lot! So off I went to give it a try.

My biggest concerns: having the ability to reposition my paper for a few seconds before the liquid dried, and ensuring embellishments would stay in place. It was perfect! It performed just like Zip Dry, allowing me the needed time to set my paper and embellishments in proper alignment.


  • Cost of 3-in-1 is a fraction of Zip Dry. Beacon’s 3-in-1 is a 4 fluid ounce bottle (retails for $3.99) and sells for approximately 57% of the cost of a 2.0 fluid ounce $7.00 bottle of Zip Dry, and twice the amount of glue. Half the price… and twice the glue! That’s a huge difference.
  • It ‘grabs’ instantly, but is re-positionable for a few seconds.
  • It works well even in damp areas. With good coverage, the paper will not lift off the project.
  • 3-in-1 is readily available and found in most craft stores (Michael’s, Joann’s, Hobby Lobby). Zip dry is a little bit harder to find.
  • Excess glue is quickly cleaned up using a rubber adhesive remover.
  • 3-in-1 is recommended for: ceramics, fabric, glitter, leather, papers, stone and wood.


  • 3-in-1 glue will ooze out through the tip in warmer weather even when upright and with the cap in place, probably due to expansion. It just seems to bubble up a bit at the nozzle. I haven’t had it spill over to my work surface, though.
  • It’s not archival (lignin-free), so it’s not recommended for items such as scrapbooking. Don’t use it on those precious family photos.
  • When the bottle of 3-in-1 is half full it’s much slower to come through the applicator tip. I use a second bottle to keep refilling.

Have you tried Zip Dry or Beacon 3-in-1 craft glue? How do you think it compares? Leave us a comment at let us know!

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11 Responses to Beacon’s Liquid Glues

  1. Avatar
    Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} March 26, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    These are my two absolute FAVORITE adhesives. The Zip is awesome for scrapbooking, and I use the 3-in-1 for all of my other craft projects involving fabric, felt, or whatever else. Sometime I sneak it in for scrapbooking, too.

    Beacon gives out tips about their adhesives on their Facebook page and one of them recently was how to prevent the tip from bubbling up glue. Apparently you are not suppose to turn the bottle upside down; keep it at an angle. I’ve been doing that and it seems to help.

    Great post!

  2. Avatar
    Denise ~ Paper Ponderings March 26, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    I do use the 3-in-1. I use a tiny bottle as my one to keep refilled because I’m very impatient and don’t like the long wait time when the bottle gets low.

  3. Avatar
    Cindy March 26, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    Great review… says exactly what my findings are, too. I find that ‘volcanic’ aspect of 3 in 1 oozing out the top quite annoying and I do like the Zip Dry better because of it and I like the bottle shape of Zip Dry. FYI I also use Beacon’s Fabri Tac and it’s identical to 3 in 1 as far as I’m concerned and comes in a larger bottle.

  4. Avatar
    Kim @ March 26, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Just found your blog! Fantastic!!! I can’t wait to poke around, thanks for the glue recommendation! I have been trying out new ones!

    Kim @
    party inspiration

  5. Avatar
    Christi March 26, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    how does the Beacon 3 in 1 work with thin patterned paper? the thing I like best about the Zip Paper Dry is that it doesn’t buckle or wrinkle paper or ooze though and cause a bump

  6. Avatar
    Vel March 26, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Ditto! 3 in 1 is definitely my fav glue and yes I do use it for scrapbooking despite it not being lignin free. (Since all my photos are stored in two places digitally I’m not as concerned about archival quality as others might be) I do find the bubbling at the tip once you get a third or more of the way through the bottle VERY annoying but not enough to go searching for a replacement. At the price (remember, you can use a coupon too!) you just really can’t beat it. Also, I recently discovered some of Beacon’s other products like Liquid Laminate (great for sealing chipboard buttons and clay etc.) and Fabri-Tac (wonderful for fabric, ribbon, felt etc.). Love me my Beacon!

  7. Avatar
    Debbie H March 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    I love the Beacon adhesives, and they are made in the USA which is a double bonus in my book!

  8. Avatar
    gobarb26 March 26, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    I have been using 3-in-1 for some time now. I always seem to go back to it when I make my cards. It seems to work better than mono adhesive and definitely better than glue stick which I find doesn’t stay on. The thing I like best about it is that you can get to the corners of the paper. If it oozes out, I just rub it with my adhesive eraser and it is fine! I also love to use it on embellishments and ribbon.

  9. Avatar
    Haidee March 27, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    3 in 1 wow!!!!

  10. Avatar
    Mike March 29, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Hi everyone. I just found your blog and want to thank you very much for reviewing my glue. Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Mike Assile AKA “Mike The Beacon Glue Guy” I’m happy to answer any glue questions-even if the glue is not mine. What comes around goes around, If I can help you with a problem, I’m happy to do it.

    The difference between Zip Dry and 3 in 1 glue.

    These two are very different formulas. Both are Acid Free and Lignin Free, both have been used with Scrap Booking, photos etc. Neither will wrinkle paper and both dry quickly and have a fast grab.

    The major differences between the two is:

    Zip Dry has a higher % of solids, so it is a bit thicker and therefore stronger (Stronger because of the solids NOT the thickness)

    Zip Dry also will allow you to bond a wider variety of surfaces because of its solvent. I’ve been told that for acrylics, it’s the only glue to use.

    Zip Dry will also rub off, whereas 3 in 1 will not do that easily and is more apt to dry and leave a mess

    Zip dry will also bond acrylic rhinestones without attacking the back, 3 in
    1 eats the foil on the back pretty good.

    Zip Dry is also more expensive because of the packaging it requires. I can’t fill that on an automated line like I can with 3 in 1. It requires two labels to be applied by hand and two caps. This is all because of the chemistry. Also putting blister carding anything adds cost. We’re trying to address all that , but changing a formula and lessening it’s quality is just not something we do!

    Having said all that, it comes down to personal preference.

    Both products are available in Michaels, ( Regular Glue dept) Hobby lobby ( Scrap book dept), Jo-Ann Stores ( Regular Glue Dept), Archivers, and a whole slew of great independent stores who I really thank for supporting our products they are the best! If you are in the area check out one of my favorites Scrapping Girlfriends in Idaho.
    Zip Dry will be in AC Moore and Hancock Fabric soon. If you all make a lot of noise, maybe we can get it back in Meijers in MI.

    Hope this helps everyone. I’ll try to do a video on the differences so they are a bit more clear.

    Thanks, Mike

  11. Avatar
    Diana Chalfant January 31, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Can Beacon 3 in 1 be thinned down when it becomes too thick?