Today I am going to be talking about the sticky stuff. Let’s face it every crafter needs glue and probably, like many of you, I have quite a lot of it. Some of it I use all the time and others, sounded fantastic when they were advertised but I hardly ever reach for them.
The average cardmaker is likely to own a variety of different adhesives. Not all craft glues are created equally. Furthermore, several of these adhesives are not actually glues. Therefore, I will break them down into categories and let you know how I got on with each of them. The starred items are affiliate links.
Wet glues come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from the most basic (like the PVA you used at Primary School) to some specialist products. Manufacturers may create these specialist craft adhesives to do one job in particular. Here are some of the wet glues that I have used.
Collall All Purpose Glue
I reach for Collall All Purpose Glue from Crafter’s Companion* more often than any other wet glue. Why I love it? It takes a few moment to dry so it gives you “wiggle room.” As someone with Fibro, I have my clumsy moments. I have even been known to drop the item I am trying to still, glue side down. With this All purpose glue I can pick the element up, wipe away the glue and stick it where I meant to put it. It is fantastic with Hunkydory Cardstock! My best tip for this glue is to twist the lid shut before lifting it off the page, I managed to make various unwanted pools of glue in the early days before I discovered this method. This glue is one of my recommended best adhesives for a papercrafter.
I don’t choose All Purpose Glue if I am working with lightweight paper because it can cause the paper to wrinkle. (I know it states on the website that this doesn’t happen.) It is called All Purpose, but sometimes you can make a better choice. I also advice to be careful using it with Mirri Card, it won’t rub off without leaving a mark, in the same way it does on a matt surface.
Collall Tacky Glue
Collall Tacky Glue from Crafter’s Companion * is, on the other hand, a craft glue I have not got to grips with. In my experience, the glue comes out and it is quite watery. I hold the items together I am trying to stick and when I release them, they come apart. In have tried it with cardstock and embellishments like mini wooden pegs with no success. I also attempted to glue a ribbon bow onto a card. All that happened was, I stained the ribbon and it fell off the card. The website says it is great for non-porous finishes like Centura Pearl cardstock. I should try it with this and see if I get on better with this glue.
3D Glue Gel
Collall 3D Gel Glue from Crafter’s Companion* and Pinflair Glue Gel from Create and Craft* are I’ll be honest, completely interchangeable. I have a supply of both which I stock up on when it goes on offer. These gels are fantastic for creating the decoupaged look. Although I still sometimes use foam pads, which I will mention later; they are not a patch on glue gels when it comes to building 3D shaped layers. When I purchase a Hunkydory Deco-large collection I ensure I have a supply of glue gel available.
Glue Gel Best Use Policy
Although Glue Gel’s sometimes come with a syringe, if you are a fellow Spoonie and you have periods of time when you are not well enough to craft. I recommend not using the syringe because the gel can set within it. This has happened to me at least twice before. I now use the Tattered Lace Glue Applicators to apply mine, of if I don’t have any of these a cocktail stick can do the job. Remember, glue gel needs at least an hour to dry!
Again Collall from Crafter’s Companion* and Pinflair at Create and Craft* both offer a version of Photo Glue (or Foto Glue as it is called by Pinflair) I have tried both of these and can find nothing between them. I may even go as far as suggesting they are the same product in different packaging? We know Supermarket ranges do this in the Grocery sector so there is a good chance I am right! These papercraft adhesives are repositionable meaning you can remove the photo or paperlayer without damaging anything. If you are a Scrapbooker I would recommend investing in one or the other.
Cosmic Shimmer Acrylic Glue
I have some Cosmic Shimmer Specialist Acrylic Glue from Amazon* and the container has a very fine point, so I have used this for precision sticking. Usually when I am working with fiddly embellishments and the Collall All Purpose is not precise enough. I really like this papercraft glue, but because I reach for it occasionally rather than daily, the nozzle has got clogged, I always put the lid straight back on, in case you were thinking this was my own fault…
Hunkydory Sticky Mitts
I wanted to love this because I am a huge fan of Hunkydory but I don’t. When it arrived the pin in the anti-clogging lid had turned the top of the glue brown. Sorry, but it did clog. I occasionally reach for it and remove the lid to use it. I see Hunkydory no longer list it on their website, instead they have launched the Premier Craft Tools White Craft Glue which looks to have a better lid. Even the biggest brands on the earth release the odd dud in amongst their spectacular products. For the price of it, I forgive them for this one.
Speciality Wet Glues
Cosmic Shimmer Flake & Flitter Glue
The Cosmic Shimmer Flake & Flitter Glue from Amazon* is one of those craft glues that the manufacturer has created for a specific purpose. In this case it is to work with there Gilding Flakes or Glitters. I bought some of their gilding flakes after attending a workshop where we used them. Even though the workshop impressed me, I have only used the gilding flakes and this Glue once since. I really should get them out again soon. Amazon also sell a Flitter Glue by Indigo Blu* I have not tried it so I can’t compare the two products.
Tattered Lace Parchment Glue
Is my go to product for sticking vellum. I also use it on this paper. With Vellum I would still fasten an embellishment on top of the sticking point. It is not completely invisible. I can’t seem to find any for sale at the moment. However, Vellum Bond from Crafter’s Companion is likely to be very similar.
Pinflair Stencil Glue
The Pinflair Stencil Glue from Create and Craft* is as the name suggests, created for temporarily sticking down stencils. I got some to use with my Hunkydory Stencils. You apply it with a damp sponge and wait for it to go tacky. The stencil lifts away from the paper cleanly and it is easy to wash the stencil afterwards. Pinflair created it for a specific purpose and it does the job well.
Glue pens are quick and easy to use, they are excellent for sticking down intricate die cuts, although there is a product that does this even better which I will come on to. Here are some of the glue pens I have experimented with.
Nuvo Glue Pen
The Nuvo Glue Pens from Tonic Studies come in three thicknesses. I have all three of them. I don’t think these are designed to be put down and not used for long stretches of time. The medium and wide pens have “nibs” that looks like it can dry out. The fine topped pen literally looks like a biro when you take the cap off. Having not used these for probably a year or more I picked them up to see how they have survived. Interestingly, the medium and large pens have not dried out as I expected. However, after scribbling with the thin pen for several minutes I conclude it has given up the ghost.
Dreamees Fine Tipped Glue Pens
The Dreamees Fine Tipped Glue Pen is certainly budget friendly, as are most of their products. I had a set of three of these. When I came to check them out two were still working, the glue is about as tacky as post it note level. Sadly, the third one which was no doubt the one I have used before, was dried up and gone.
Tonic Studios Funky Glue Pen
The Tonic Studios Funky Glue Pen from Amazon*, impresses me. I confess I don’t reach for it very often compared to papercraft adhesives. However, when I do reach for it, it flows straight away. There is no need to play with it until it works, like with some pens. This is one of those adhesives which is better with thicker cardstock. I had wrinkles when I used it with paper.
Zig 2 Way Glue Pen
The Zig 2 Way Glue Pen from Amazon* also comes in different sizes. It comes out blue, at which point it will produce a permanent bond. Once it has dried to clear it creates a temporary fix. This makes it a good alternative to stencil glues. I have also created impromptu post it notes with this. The larger barrel pen copes better with being left on the side part used. When I came to test my fine tip it just produced white glue, neither blue or clear.
Sakura Quickie Glue Pen
The Sakura Quickie Glue Pen from Amazon* has an excellent reputation. So, even though I had other glue pens at my disposal I made sure I got one of these to see how it measures up. If you want to stick lightweight papers together (tiny die cuts, not large sheets) this performs well. It is also great for writing and covering in glitter. The only occasion I found it struggled was when I tried sticking a 350GSM die cut to a card front. This needed a stronger adhesive to hold it in place.
Glue Tape Pens
I find these incredibly useful, it is very rare that I complete a card without using one. I have experience of two brands.
Create and Craft Glue Tape Pens
They often have BOGOF deals on the Create and Craft Tape Pens* as they do at the time of writing. It is incredibly good value to get 12 tape pens for the price of 6. Every time I want to fasten an insert into a card, which is pretty much every card I make. I reach for one of these to do it. My top tip is to put the card face down, line the insert up on top of the front, then fold the back down over the glued insert. I have never had a wonky insert since I started doing this. Before, however careful I was there was the odd rouge insert that moved as I tried to stick it to the back of the card.
Crafter’s Companion Extra Strong Tape Pens
Occasionally I need a fast way to neatly stick two pieces of heavy weight cardstock together. At those times I reach for the Crafter’s Companion Extra Strong Tape Pen*. The clue is in the name, it is extra strong. You don’t want to get this in the wrong place, because cardstock will not peel apart without ripping. Although I use the Crafter’s Companion ones most of the time because they are cheaper, I like to have at least one of these kicking around.
Scotch Advanced Glider
I have not actually used a Scotch Advanced Glider from Amazon* however I have included it because I know they are popular. They are a considered purchase compared to the two previously mentioned pens and I would love to try one at some point and see if they are superior. The only thing that worries me, is the thought that they may be quite heavy. If you have Fibro or a Chronic Pain condition and you have tried one of these, please let me know how you got on!
This is a small category really. In fact i have only used one brand, although there are various products in the range.
Crafter’s Companion Spray Glues
From the Crafter’s Companion Range of Spray Adhesives* I have used Stick and Spray for paper crafts, which creates a repositionable fix. I first used this as a way of fastening non cling stamps to a stamping block. Then there is stick and spray for paper crafts, this forms a permanent bond. They also have a version of both of these for fabric use. Finally the last spray is not actually an adhesive, it is Stick Away which is used to remove the residue from sticky messes. This has been a great help outside of crafting too, when a retailer has stuck a label on a product with a bad glue which leaves a residue. This spray has saved the day.
Sticky Foam Pads
Sticky foam pads are useful for various cardmaking projects. I used to use them exclusively for decoupage projects, before I started using 3D Glue Gel. I still reach for foam pads instead of gel if I want to fasten something flat, like a sentiment. Or if I need the project to dry in a hurry. There are many versions out there, including really cheap ones for less than a £1 (which I have bought out of necessity in the past, when the timeframe has not allowed me to find an alternative). In my opinion they are just not worth it, they are problematic to peel of the backing sheet and to peel the top sheet off too, here are a few higher quality ones I trust.
Hunkydory Foam Pads
The Hunkydory Foam Pads are some of the best I have used. They come in a selection of sizes and a choice of 1mm or 2mm deep. I have used several of the sizes for different projects and I have never had a problem with them. I highly recommend them.
Stix2 Foam Pads
Amazon has a selection of Stix2 Foam Pads*. These are pretty near the quality of the Hunkydory ones, but they have the advantage of having a clear version. This means that the rear of the layers can barely be seen, much like with Glue Gel.
Other Adhesives for Papercrafters
Extra Strong Liner Tape
Liner Tape is made by various brands and it usually has an easy lift edge on the backing. This one from Amazon* is great value, you get well over double what comes on other rolls, for less that half the price. I use liner tape when I need a really firm hold that also lies perfectly flat.
I currently own three of these. This Cute Pink One from Hobbycraft is very affordable. I am actually on my second because I forgot the last one was plugged in and when I came to look at it some time later. Much of the pink had turned to a tan brown shade and it was dead, thank goodness for safety cut offs! When I came to replace it, if this Glue Gun from Crafter’s Companion* was on the market I would have purchased that, the built in stand and off switch on the gun make it very user friendly.
My second Glue Gun is the We R Memory Keepers USB Powered one* I purchased this more for the purpose of small DIY projects than papercrafting. The fact you can use it with a powerpack and not need the mains makes it outdoor friendly too. Quick Tip – if you choose to not buy the We R Memory Keepers power pack make sure the one you choose is powerful enough. I bought a pink one from Amazon and it isn’t! All is not lost I can use that for other gadgets.
My final Glue Gun is a Cool Melt one by Uhu. It has been sat in my draw with some Cool Melt Glitter Sticks for probably over a decade. As I haven’t used it again in all that period, I really should liberate it!
Glossy Accents & Stickles
Although we are straying away from basic adhesives, Glossy Accents and Stickles are really more for decoration, they are still adhesives so I thought they deserved an honorary mention.
Die Cut Adhesive Sheets
Finally these Stick It Die Cut Adhesive Sheets from Crafter’s Companion* are the product I mentioned earlier that I use to stick down intricate die cuts. You cut a piece to a similar size to the area of the die and stick it onto the back of the material to be cut. Once you have passed it through the die cutting machine, it peels away like a sticker. In case you are interested, my Die Cutting Machine of choice is the Gemini. In this post I explain why it is the perfect one for a Spoonie.
The best adhesive for a Papercrafter
So, that comes to the end of my roundup of the best adhesives for papercrafters. Have I missed anything out that you think I should have covered? Drop me a comment below and I will look into it, it may make it into the next edit.