Wet or Dry? Tips for Using Adhesives in Papercrafts

Posted by on Oct 12, 2014

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Adhesives can be a sticky situation, but they’re an integral part of crafting — if we didn't have them, then everything would literally fall apart! There are so many different adhesives used in crafting for so many different purposes that it can become confusing. Here I'm going to explain the differences between various types of adhesives and their best applications. The Halloween Medallion that I created for this post uses five different adhesives, which are outlined below along with some additional information that I learned through trial and a lot of error over the years.

glue tulle to paper rosette

Liquid Adhesives

Brand names such as Aleene's Original Tacky Glue and Tombow's Mono Glue are ideal for heavier and bulkier items like wood, metal, buttons, fabric, chipboard and other embellishments. Liquid adhesives generally do not work well with paper, cardstock or other light weight paper crafting supplies because they can cause wrinkling and bubbling across large surface areas.

For this Halloween medallion however, liquid glue worked well to adhere the paper rosette to the chipboard, due to the minimal surface area. Liquid adhesives are also ideal for securing bulky items, such as the layers of tulle between the medallion and the rosette. Since the drying time is a bit longer, I normally place something heavy on top to hold everything in place as it dries. The bond is permanent.

glitter paper with tape

Double-Sided Lined Tape

Brand names such as Ranger's Wonder Tape and Score-Tape are ideal for paper, cardstock, chipboard and light to medium weight embellishments. Double-sided tape for crafting comes with a paper liner and creates an instant and permanent bond between surfaces. You can make the bond even stronger by applying the tape to both sides and then joining. I used it to hold sprinkled glitter on the patterned paper edges like stripes. Double-sided tape also works well with ribbons and other fibers, but does not work well with vellum or other super smooth surfaces. You can find double-sided lined tape designed specifically for use with fabric.
glitter edge paper
tape runner rosette

Tape Runners

Brands names such as Xyron Mega Runner and Tombow Xtreme are ideal for projects like scrapbook layouts and cards that use papers, chipboard and other flat embellishments. I used tape runner to secure the ends of the paper rosette and to attach the paper tails to the back of the rosette. General double-sided office tape is also fine for paper-to-paper applications, but it can be more difficult to handle and place right where you want it. Tape runners are available in permanent and non-permanent. Non-permanent applications would include applying a mask when stamping or using spray inks.

foam pad adhesive

Dimensional Adhesives

Brand names such as Tombow Power Tabs and Scrapbook Adhesives 3D Foam Squares are ideal for adding dimension to otherwise flat projects that have die cuts and lighter chipboard and embellishments. I use it to create dimension between the layers of the medallion and it helps pop up the owl die-cut to make it the focal point of the project. Foam squares or thick glue dots are excellent for creating depth in a card, scrapbook layout or mixed media project, but are not recommended for heavy embellishments or fabric. The bond is semi-permanent.
owl pop up embellishment
glue stick on paper

Glue Stick

Brand names such as Inkscentials by Ranger and UHU Stic are ideal for most paper to paper applications. I used a glue stick to create a bond over the whole surface of odd-shaped paper embellishments such as die-cuts, letters and numbers. Glue sticks are also perfect for adding light layers like stamped tissue paper to mixed media projects, but are not effective on heavy embellishments or larger surfaces. Wrinkling and bubbling can occur if the glue stick adhesive is applied too heavily and the bond is semi-permanent.

happy halloween medallion paper rosette owl
There are many more adhesives available for papercrafting — the ones I explored today are just a sample. I encourage you to read the information above and then select your adhesives based upon the types of projects and surfaces that you use the most.

Visit my blog for lots more inspiration on how and when to use which kind of adhesives:

-  Mixed media collage (glue stick)
-  Candle holder wraps (dimensional adhesive)
-  Papercraft sculpture (tape runner)
-  Paper balloons (double-sided lined tape)
-  Art panel (liquid glue)

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