Review | Scrapbooking and Papercrafting Adhesives

Reported by Susan Reidy

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During a recent scrapbook room reorganization, I was alarmed to find my adhesive storage had overflowed. I clearly needed to purge what wasn’t being used.

But as I emptied my basket, I realized I used nearly every item in it, depending on the project. Some adhesives were meant for paper, some for ribbon, some for fabric, others to provide dimension, and still others that would act as a sealer, either glossy or matte. I needed them all.

So while I searched for a bigger storage basket, I thought it would be the perfect time for an article on some adhesive basics for scrapbookers, and papercrafters in general.


Tape for me is by far the go-to adhesive. If I was trapped on a desert island with my scrapbook supplies, I would want a never ending supply of permanent Tombow Mono Adhesive at my side. It took a little trial and error, but I finally found the perfect tape runner in this little blue package.

In all my years of using it, I’ve only had one refill break on me before the tape ran out. The runner is easy to use, the adhesive comes out smoothly, it holds well (kind of important in an adhesive), it’s easy to refill, and it’s relatively inexpensive, especially in larger packs and with a coupon. It’s also readily available at big box craft stores.  I use it for basic scrapbooking, like adhering paper, photos, some embellishments, and occasionally ribbon.

My only issue is the little boogers of adhesive that build up in the corners. They can impact the smoothness of application, if you don’t do a little pickin’. You can see them here.

Annoying, and a little sticky, but no big deal.

A new love of mine also comes from the Tombow people — the Stamp Runner Dot Pattern Adhesive. This is a tape runner, but you can also apply just a stamp of adhesive, kind of like those old-school adhesive tabs that used to annoy me with their tiny little paper tabs.

When you turn it on end and push down on the pink part, it makes a little square of adhesive in a dot pattern. The blue version makes a solid square, no dots. Awesome.

I did find that after using it as a tape runner for awhile, it took a few pushes to get a nice even adhesive square. On a side note, this type of dispenser was  indispensable when crafting after breaking my shoulder blade. I couldn’t seem to master the pulling motion of a tape runner (without denting my photos), but I could easily use the stamp function.

Like the Mono, it is easy to use and refill, and readily available. It’s also good for basic scrapbooking uses, paper, photos, etc.

When I really want things to stick, whether in scrapbooking or on an altered project, my go-to adhesive is Scor-Tape. You can read a review comparing it to redline adhesive here.


It comes in several different widths as well as sheets, but I use the 1/4 inch the most often. It’s super simple to use, and I love that you can tear it instead of having to use scissors. I use it most often when covering chipboard sheets with patterned paper, or creating a mini book or other 3-D project from scratch. I know everything is going to stay stuck.

I love how it works with glitter, and that I can also pour on embossing powder and heat it up. It even works great on ribbon.

Foam adhesive

Through the years, I’ve used several different brands of foam adhesives to add some dimension to my projects. A few years ago, I finally settled on my favorite, Stampin’ Up’s dimensionals. What I like most about them is the lack of waste; there’s only a tiny border around the edge of the backing sheet, which you can cut up and use.

With other types, like pop dots, there’s all that extra foam. Now, I know you can cut that up and use it, but it still annoyed me that one sheet contained so few actual dots.

The down side of Stampin’ Up is that you have to order from a demonstrator or online; they’re not available in a store.

I recently bought my first box of American Crafts This To That Foam Adhesive. These little guys have no waste at all. They’re also more readily available, and come in circle and squares.

Wet glue

Wet glue is a category that I could write six articles about. But I’m only going to highlight my top three, go-to, must have at least two bottles of, in this category.

The first, I think is safe to say, is a favorite of many crafters:  Glossy Accents. It is super sticky, has a fine tip applicator, and dries to a nice, shiny clear finish. I like that I can use it as a glue, but also use it to add shiny dimension to stamped images, die cuts and more.

One drawback, and one that frustrates me constantly, is the clogging of the tip. I have one bottle that drove me so batty, I cut off that fine point tip. I use that one when I want to fill in a large area. I’ve since learned that keeping a pin in the top will help eliminate the clogging issue.

You should also avoid shaking the bottle because that will create bubbles, and bubbles on your project are bad, unless that’s the look you’re going for.

Another liquid glue that I always keep nearby is the Tombow Mono Aqua Liquid Glue. I use this as my multipurpose glue when papercrafting. It works great with paper, ribbon, buttons, paper flowers, chipboard and more.

I love that it has a precision tip (which I use the most) and a round tip, if you need to apply glue to a larger area. It dries clear, and has a super strong hold. I’ve heard that the Aqua is just like the Mono Multi Liquid Glue, except the Multi Liquid can also be used as a repositionable adhesive.

I’ve used both, and tend to favor the Aqua. I don’t need a lot of temporary adhesive, and I’ve found that when the Multi gets low, it’s hard to squeeze out the last few bits. I’ve not had that packaging problem with the Aqua.

My last, but not least, in my top three liquid glues is the Inkssentials Glue N’ Seal in matte. I started using this several months ago, instead of Mod Podge, and I have to admit that I like the Glue N’ Seal. It’s not that I don’t like Mod Podge, because I do, but I’ve just had better success with the Glue N’ Seal.

For one, it has a thicker texture, which makes it easy for me to apply an even coat. The 1 oz. size has a built in brush, which means less mess. In fact, I now fill my smaller one from the larger 4 oz. size so I can keep using that brush. It comes in matte or glossy.

I like to use it for adhering patterned paper to chipboard. I find I have much fewer air bubbles using the Glue N’ Seal then when I use Mod Podge, and better adhesion overall. It’s also great for attaching doilies, which seem to be all the rage now.

One more often-used adhesive for me, that isn’t really a tape, a wet glue or dimensional (although it can be) is Glue Dots. These little gooey drops of goodness are great for bulky stuff, like buttons or metal, and they stick right away, no need to wait for glue to dry. I’ve seen some people use them for photos on layouts, but that’s too rich for my blood.

They come in a range of sizes from micro to mini, some are dimensional, some are removable — there’s tons of choices. You can get them on a roll, on a sheet or even in a dispenser. I’ve used both the roll and sheet varieties, and find I prefer the sheet method. Somehow, my rolls always seem to come undone, and I have a hard time seeing the adhesive dot. Plus, with the sheets, you can tear them into individual dots, say if you’re doing a craft project with your Girl Scout troop.

After assessing my stash, I feel confident I have the right adhesive for just about any job. But I still have a storage problem.

What are your go-to adhesives for papercrafting? What can’t you go without?

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28 Responses to Review | Scrapbooking and Papercrafting Adhesives

  1. Avatar
    Laura/Pet Scribbles March 14, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    What an excellent article! I also love the Tombo tape runner and Glossy Accents, however I have not yet tried the others you mention but definitely will now. Thanks for explaining what they do.

  2. Avatar
    Patchi March 14, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    great review! I have a full drawer too 🙂

    My favorites:
    1) Glossy Accents
    2) Therm-o-web XL runner (50 ft!)
    3) Sticky Thumb foam adhesive (multiple sizes in one package)
    4) GlueArts ribbon adhesive

    I need to buy some score-tape, I tried it yesterday at someone’s house and loved it! I should also get the Tombow Aqua you mentioned, as I get frustrated with the tackiness of the Multi if I have residual glue leaking out.

  3. Avatar
    Bunnyfreak March 14, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Tape- ATG Gun
    Wet – Scotch quick Dry
    Strong – Score Tape

  4. Avatar
    Julie March 14, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    This is a great overview of adhesive choices for papercrafting.

    My single most favorite adhesive is my ATG gun – I buy acid-free tape in bulk online and it comes out more economical than a tape runner.

  5. Avatar
    Cathy T March 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    I had resisted the trend for a long time, but was so happy when I finally got one. My go to adhesive for paper/photos is my ATG. It is the best! I had tried some of the smaller taper runners and my layouts fell apart, as the adhesive dried out! So now I stick with ATG.

    I also use the Zig Glue – in three different tips for different jobs.

    Score tape is great for mini gift boxes

  6. Avatar
    Scrapycandy March 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Totally agree. Have to try glue n seal. Thank you!

  7. Avatar
    Scrapycandy March 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Totally agree. Have to try glue n seal. Thank you!

  8. Avatar
    Jill March 15, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    My list & container are about like yours. I have several for several different purposes. I prefer dot runner (scotch) to tape runner. I love that you can ‘rub off’ and extra around your shape (kind of like rubber cement when you used to play with it 🙂 I also buy from a cropping host that sells CM–ONLY because I think I need to buy stuff from her occasionally. It works fine, just crazy expensive. I just wish ANY tape runner would try to get more on the roll. . .hate throwing any plastic away even if it’s just the roll holder.

  9. Avatar
    Molly Smith March 15, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Great review! I didn’t know about some of these adhesives. Must haves 🙂

  10. Avatar
    Pat March 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I loved this review! Thank you! I want to try that Glue and Seal as I haven’t even seen it in our stores.

  11. Avatar
    Peggy in Mentone March 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    My second favorite to SU dementionals is Candi fix. (dimentional squares)I like that they are tiny squares and I cut them in half to mount buterflies (on the body. There is no waste at all and they are reasonably priced.

  12. Avatar
    buddz March 16, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Don’t glue sticks count as adhesives? I’ve gotta have my good ole’ Elmer’s glue sticks, the washable school glue variety with the disappearing purple tint. For paper to paper projects, they are indispensable, AND, they’re cheap and available everywhere!

  13. Avatar
    Anonymous March 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I love my scotch wrinkle free glue stick the best and I really love my beacon’s 3-1 craft glue I make cards and these products I could not do without. I have tried everything on the market and still use other types, but neither of these wrinkle your paper or card stock.

  14. Avatar
    Robyn L. Coburn March 17, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    I love Scraperfect’s Best Glue Ever. It is a fast drying two way glue for paper, card, fabric, plastic, and even metal. You can make your own custom sized tacky glue dots or strips. It is one way to reduce the number of glues containers to store.

  15. Avatar
    Cynthia Lloréns March 17, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    For me the most and great glue is the Scraperfct Best Glue Ever it´s my favorite for sure !!
    She makes my work so easy and she glue everything!!
    I love to work with that…it´s fantastic!!!
    Big huges and kisses from Brazil

  16. Avatar
    Susie Bentz March 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    I use Scor-Tape and I love my ATG, but my favorite wet glue by far is The Best Glue Ever by ScraPerfect. It is a fast drying glue that doesn’t wrinkle paper…a problem a lot of glues have. I also like it because I can make my own glue spots and I can make them any size I need because when it “dries” it is clear and tacky to the touch so it grabs and holds onto things like ribbon and rhinestones. You mentioned your frustration with the tip of one glue getting clogged all the time. I never have that problem with The Best Glue Ever…maybe it is the way they have designed the cap. It makes it a lot easier to pack my crop bag!

  17. Avatar
    Savannah O'Gwynn March 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    OH! I just love this article–I used to love Tombow but I find it isn’t as permanent as I’d like. I think I might switch to Helmar for paper. I love love love glossy accents.

  18. Avatar
    Becky Conley March 19, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    I used to use dry adhesives for paper crafting mostly cards and scrapbook pages, but I have scrapbooks that are over 10 years old and all of those dry adhesives have not held up well. And it seems that paper crafting is the only purpose for those dry adhesives. I needed something more versatile to hold paper, ribbon, chipboard and other embellishments. I prefer using a small amount of liquid glue. It’s stronger, fast and will pass the test of time (and cards going postal :o). The Best Glue Ever! does it all.

  19. Avatar
    RedGem March 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Great article, and like you I also have many adhesives mostly because of such reviews. I love to try them all! you mentioned the Tombow tape runner and I wonder if its anything like the SU snail adhesive because at first I used to have alot of the remanants of glue left on the side of the runner. Then I realized that I was moving the runner on the paper too fast where the adhesive on the paper had ‘gapes’ so I started slowing down as I was running the adhesive and now I rarely have that problem.

  20. Avatar
    Kathy March 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    GREAT article….but goes to show that we each are likely to find our own fave products which work for our scrappin’ style! I love:
    Tape: Scotch ATG…although I am currently switching from the 712 to the newer Pink one, because the replacement tapes are much cheaper
    Liquid: I really like the Scotch Tacky glue. I am going to try the mono again because of your article.
    Glue dots: I love Glue Dots because they hold, as do the AC ones.
    I hear you about the Glossy Accents clog problem~will try the pin.
    And Score-Tape is definitely my fave for border strips and ribbon, and other things I really want to stay stuck!
    Going to look for the glue and seal…sounds like a great product!

  21. Avatar
    fiber to the home construction March 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    I really have the perfect time with my children doing all these scrapbook things. I am very amused how the materials of today really has a twist of art.

  22. Avatar
    Margaret March 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    The best foam tape I’ve used is 3M. I make a lot of mandalas that are papers stacked upon papers and I found them all to lose adhesion…except 3M. The mandalas made with those have never fallen apart.

  23. Avatar
    Maree April 29, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Only thing about putting a pin in the top of your glossy accents bottle is to make sure it is stainless steel so it doesn’t rust because believe me a normal one does. Still like it as a glue though.

  24. Avatar
    Krissy June 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    Everyone seems to swear by Glossy Accents. This article might’ve sealed the deal for me purchasing it.

  25. Avatar
    Karen November 13, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    WOW! thanks for the detailed review of adhesives!

  26. Avatar
    Frances sim January 4, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    The tape on my atg gun keeps breaking. I have to remove thebused tape and startbagain

  27. Avatar
    Linda Adkins January 4, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    I love my ATG gun (have 2 – 1 for home and 1 for go). I also love my glossy accents. I have a few of the tiny bottles (stickle size) that are great! I have cut n seal but haven’t used it much yet. Have several sized zig pens for various things like regluing my cricut mats or those really tiny paper piecings. Great article!!!

  28. Avatar
    Barbara January 5, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    I think I own just about every glue out there. My go to glue for layers on cards is my pink ATG gun. It is easy to work with. I like the new Tombow multi liquid for smaller areas. Glossy accents is a must for adding embellishments! I do not like Tombow mono adhesive because I have found that it does not last very long. Things fall apart a lot!. I also have the Pro Glider and it is horrible. I have so much trouble getting it to move at all! I use any kind of pop dots that are not too thick. As far as glue dots are concerned, I like the way they work, but I do not like them on rolls. When they are gone (maybe in a couple more years), I will try to get the ones that are individual. For something that I really need to stay stuck but not add bulk, I go to my Score Tape. Also, if I need to do tiny areas, like die cuts, I use my Quickie glue pen. HTH…