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.
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.
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 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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