How To Choose The Best Adhesives for Card Making

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How To Choose The Best Adhesives For Your Card Making

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In this post, I've put together a guide to different types of adhesives to help you choose the best adhesives for all your card making projects.
Picture of different types of adhesives used in card making including: liquid glue, stampin' dimensionals, mini glue dots, seal adhesive

There is ONE supply that every card maker – no matter skill level or style – uses on every single card.

Can you guess what it is?

Yep. Adhesive.

It’s the “glue” that holds it all together. Literally.

It sounds simple doesn’t it?

Just buy glue!

Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing an adhesive, it’s anything BUT simple.

All it takes is searching online, or visiting your local craft store, to see that there are about a million different adhesives to choose from!

Okay, maybe not a million, but pretty dang close 😂

So how do you know which adhesive to pick?

That my friends is why I wrote this blog post.

In this post, I’m going to introduce you to all the adhesives in my personal stash that I use day in and day out for my card making.

Types of Adhesives For Card Making

Have you ever heard the expression about “choosing the right tool for the job”?

Well, it definitely applies to adhesives.

Different adhesives have different purposes.

Unless you’re strictly a “paper-only” card maker – as in, you ONLY use paper products for your cards – you’re going to need to invest in several different types of adhesive.

Liquid Glue

Picture of Tombow Mono Multi Liquid GlueTombow Mono Multi-Liquid glue is hands-down, my MOST used glue for card making.

In fact, If I had to choose just ONE glue, it would probably be this one. Certainly, when I am packing a kit for card making “on-the-go” – this is the first, and often, only adhesive, I will grab.

It has two tip sizes – a narrow tip for detailed applications, and a wide tip that can be used to spread glue over a large area.

While this glue is fabulous for sticking paper and cardstock together, it’s also strong enough to use for some non-paper applications. For example, I have used this to stick light-weight embellishments onto my card (such as sequins).

Notice that this glue is called a “multi-liquid” glue?

That is because if you stick your paper pieces together while the glue is still wet – it creates a permanent bond.

However, if you apply the glue to your paper, and then let it dry completely, the dried glue surface becomes tacky. So it’s repositionable. This is fabulous for creating your own “masks” for stamping.

The only “con” about working with liquid glue is that it can get messy and sticky! Of course, that’s because for small pieces, I’ll often use my fingers to spread the glue around.  😂

The best way to deal with this is to keep baby wipes handy. When I’m working with liquid glue, I constantly use them to clean my hands. They’re also handy to clean the glue that dries around the tip of the applicator.

picture of adhesive removerIf you decide to give liquid glue a try then you are definitely going to want to grab yourself one of these. An adhesive remover – sometimes also called an adhesive eraser.

It’s very inexpensive, and an absolute lifesaver!

Got stray glue that squishes out from under your paper?

Let it dry and then “erase” it with your adhesive eraser.

Best of all, it works with a lot of other adhesives as well.

For example, when I get stray bits of adhesive from my tape runner onto places I don’t want it – I just erase it!

So even if you don’t end up adding liquid glue into your adhesive stash, I would still recommend you grab yourself one of these.

Double-Sided Adhesive Tape Runner

Stampin' Seal double sided adhesive tape runner by Stampin' Up!The next adhesive in my “adhesive toolbox” is a double-sided adhesive tape runner.

There are a TON of different types on the market. And I have used a number of different brands.

I have a few in my stash that I am currently using up. But once those are gone, I’ll be using my Stampin’ Seal by Stampin’ Up!

Why? Because as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator I get a discount  😂

Just kidding! That’s not the only reason.

I like it because it’s a nice strong adhesive.

Now if you live somewhere where you can’t get your hands on Stampin’ Seal, then look for therm-o-web brand adhesives. I have always had good luck with those.

So what is the advantage of a tape runner vs liquid glue?

The biggie is that it is less messy.

The disadvantage is that because the applicator is fairly broad (as compared to the fine tip of the liquid glue) – it’s hard to get into small areas with it.

Also whereas the liquid glue is strong enough to hold light embellishments. Tape runners are strictly for paper-on-paper applications.

If it comes down to choosing one or the other – liquid glue OR a tape runner…

Then I would choose the liquid glue.

However, if your budget allows for both – then I would suggest you keep both in your stash.

Why? Because a tape runner is convenient and clean.

One last thing before we move on… if you do happen to get stray bits of adhesive on your paper – use the adhesive eraser to remove it.

Herma Dotto Repositionable Adhesive

Picture of Herma Dotto Repositionable AdhesiveAfter liquid glue, I would say that the Herma Dotto Repositionable Adhesive is my most used adhesive (you’ll hear me refer to this simply as dotto).

There is nothing I hate more than when my card pieces slide around while I am working.

A little bit of this adhesive on my grid paper will hold my cardstock pieces in place temporarily.

Or, let’s say I am arranging a bunch of different elements onto my card, but I’m not sure where I want to place them? A little dotto on the back, and I can temporarily stick it down onto my card.

I stocked up on dotto years ago – so I have a LOT left. And a little goes a long way. Nowadays though, it seems to be a little harder to get your hands on. And I haven’t yet found a good replacement (if you know of one, let me know).

So, unfortunately, I can’t recommend a good source. It’s one of those things you’ll have to Google. Just make sure that it’s the repositionable kind!

Dimensional Foam Adhesive

Picture of Stampin' Dimensionals - Stampin' Up!'s brand of dimensional foam adhesiveNext on the list is dimensional foam adhesive in different sizes.

Sometimes you’ll hear this referred to as foam squares.

Self-adhesive dimensional foam is used to give your card elements a little dimension.

If you watch my video tutorials, you’ll often hear me talk about “popping up” a piece. THAT is what I use dimensional foam for.

My go-to brand has always been Stampin’ Up!’s Stampin’ Dimensionals. I have tried a lot of different brands, but these are my favorite.

Why?

One of the reasons is their thickness. They are 1/16″ thick – which is the PERFECT thickness to give your card elements just enough (but not too much) height.

I also like that they come in different sizes – the regular size (it’s about 1/4″ wide) and the mini size (about 1/8″ wide).

They also come in either white or black.

Now I’ve always used the white. But Stampin’ Up! recently came out with black Stampin’ Dimensionals, so I decided to give them a try. Specifically for when I want to pop up card elements created out of black or dark cardstock.

Picture of Stampin' Up! Foam Adhesive SheetsAlthough most dimensional foam is pre-cut into pieces, you can also get it in sheets.

Once again, this is a recent addition to Stampin’ Up!’s line of adhesives.

And I got it for ONE reason, and one reason, only.

👉 To add dimension to my die-cut letters.

When you die cut letters it can be super hard (sometimes impossible) to put dimensional foam pieces onto the back of your letters.

If you first stick your cardstock to your foam adhesive sheets and then die cut your letters, you will have dimensional foam perfectly applied to the entire surface of your entire die-cut letters.

One of these days I’ll film a quick video showing you how I do this.

Mini Glue Dots

Picture of Stampin' Up! Mini Glue DotsIf you enjoy adding dimensional embellishments to your cards (like charms, sequins, buttons, wood pieces, ribbon etc) – then Mini Glue Dots are a must-have.

They look exactly as they sound. A strong adhesive that is cut into the shape of a small circle (about 1/8″ in diameter).

The glue dots come on a roll (sometimes on a sheet).

Using them for your embellishments is easy.

You simply press your embellishment onto a glue dot, pull it off the backing paper, and then stick it to your card.

I also rely on glue dots when I am creating “fancy” ribbon treatments on my cards. For example, if I am creating a ruffled ribbon border. The mini glue dots will hold the ribbon folds in place.

Fine Tipped Glue Pen

Picture of Stampin' Up! Fine Tipped Glue PenThe next adhesive I have in my stash is this fine-tipped glue pen from Stampin’ Up!.

It has a super fine metal applicator at the end (about the thickness of a toothpick). On the inside of the cap, there is a thin metal needle. So when you screw the cap closed, the needle slides into the metal applicator. This keeps the applicator from getting clogged with dried glue.

The glue in the fine-tip glue pen is a clear, super-strong glue. Like Crystal Effects (if you remember that glue that Stampin’ Up! used to carry).

If you are familiar with Ranger’s Glossy Accents – then this glue is pretty much the same. Except that the tip of the bottle is even finer.

I use this glue for sticking super tiny embellishments to my cards. Small sequins, epoxy or resin drops, and small rhinestones can all be stuck to your cards using this glue. Basically any type of dimensional embellishment that is too small for a glue dot.

Tear and Tape Double-Sided Adhesive on a Roll

Stampin' Up! Tear and Tape AdhesiveTear and Tape adhesive is a thin, strong double-sided adhesive that is on a roll, with tearable paper.

This is a great tape to use if you like creating 3-D paper projects (like boxes).

These days I don’t create many boxes. So my number one use for it is to stick craft foam to my cards.

Huh?????

Remember the dimensional foam I introduced you to above?

Well, sometimes I like to “pop up” an entire cardstock panel on my card. Using small dimensional foam pieces for this is super tedious.

But…using the adhesive foam sheets can get kind of costly.

So my alternative is to use craft foam. Yep, the kind you get in sheets at your local big-box craft store.

I cut the foam to size and I stick it to the back of my cardstock panel using Tear and Tape adhesive. I then stick the panel onto my card.

Why use Tear and Tape adhesive instead of liquid glue or a tape runner?

Simply because I find that Tear and Tape will really stick to the craft foam and hold it onto the card. Whereas the other two adhesives don’t work as well.

Scotch Tape

Picture of Scotch TapeThe very last adhesive that I use on a fairly regular basis is Scotch Tape.

Yep!

Good old Scotch Tape.

I actually keep two types of Scotch tape in my stash.

The regular Scotch tape and Scotch Removable Tape.

The regular scotch tape I use when I am adding ribbon or twine to my cards and I want to stick the ends down.

I’ll either tape the ends to the back of a cardstock panel, or I’ll hide the taped ends under another element.

The Scotch Removable tape I use when I am die-cutting. Specifically, I use it to hold my dies in place on my cardstock piece before running it through my die cutting machine.

I’ve seen a lot of people use a new brand of tape from therm-o-web called purple tape – but I actually find that tape not tacky enough. With the Scotch repositionable tape, it’s sticky enough to hold my die in place, but not so sticky that it rips my cardstock when I take it off.

How To Decide on Which Adhesives To Buy For Your Card Making?

Well friends, those are all the adhesives that I use in my own card making.

And I know, that is a LOT of adhesive!

So how do you decide what to buy?

Start with looking at what you want to do with your cards.

When you are just starting out card making, and all you have is stamps, ink, paper and cardstock – then all you need is either liquid glue or a tape runner. Of the two, my personal preference is liquid glue (for the reasons I talked about earlier).

If you like the look of “popped up” elements on your cards, then grab some dimensional foam.

If you plan on adding dimensional embellishments to your cards then you’ll want to add mini glue dots or a fine-tipped glue pen.

From there I would suggest taking a look over the different adhesives I introduced you to, and choose based on what you want to do!

I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions about these or any other adhesives, pop them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to respond!

3 thoughts on “How To Choose The Best Adhesives For Your Card Making”

  1. Andrea, my very favorite glue that I use instead of the Tombo is made by 3M. It’s Scotch quick-drying tacky glue. It’s white, dries clear, and doesn’t make your fingers sticky like the Tombo. It holds everything I’ve ever used and doesn’t wrinkle paper if a lot of it is used. Sometimes I need to hold the item in place as I count to 30 (usually it’s 10). I transfer the adhesive to a needle-tipped applicator bottle and keep a stainless steel pin in the tip to keep the adhesive from drying out. If I forget, then all I need to do is rinse it under hot water as I use the pin to reopen the tip if it clogged. It has been my favorite for 20 years or more! Tombo always makes my fingers sticky no matter how careful I am! It’s good and I still use it, but it is messy.

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Hey there! Welcome to my blog! My name is Andrea Walford. I’m an artist and maker, mom of 5, caregiver to my 99 1/2 year old grandpa and a proud 1/2 Mexican 1/2 Hungarian “woman of color.” 

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