This is a re-post (with updates) of an adhesive review from Sandy's blog, 2007.
Can you guess which adhesive is which, before scrolling down?
While it's tacky to be stuck to one definitive answer about the best adhesive for OWH cards, there are some basic truths to stick to. (Couldn't resist the puns!) Glue is important.
It doesn't do much good to create a beautiful card if it won't last through mailing to the shipper, over to a battlefield, and back home again. And our shippers do find that many cards don't even last making one leg of the journey—through domestic mail. The card hospital sees many cards with a lost googly eye, peeling off papers, or cards stuck to the back of the card on top of them.
Following is a review of a few of the many adhesives out there, and some notes about what we've seen in the cards arriving at OWH.
- Double stick tape. A little awkward to use, since it sticks to your fingers! It doesn't hold up all that well, but if it's fairly fresh (ie hasn't been in your craft drawer for months), it can work. Just be sure to really press papers down really really really well.
- Tape runners. There are a few brands of these. . . they're nice and thin, and they lay down a good sticky line of adhesive that's a perfect width for ribbons. A little more expensive than you might like if you go through a quantity of adhesive on a regular basis, but with a 40% off coupon, they're not too bad! Look online and you can find the refills fairly inexpensively.
- Foam squares. Great for dimensional elements! They're cut into squares already, and are simply peeled off to stick to the back of the piece you want to pop off the card. Each package of the brand shown (available at Joanns among other places) comes with a sheet each of teensy and middle-sized squares. There's also doublestick dimensional on rolls; beware that some brands of that type are difficult to cut without getting stuck to your scissors!
- Aleene's tacky glue. It's good and tacky! Great for lumpy embellishments that don't stick to tapes—things like buttons, and ribbon that's too thin for tape runners. It comes in all sorts of types—clear, white, etc. Beware of any liquid adhesives, since they can warp and warble paper. (A good alternative, discovered by me after these photos were taken, is Glossy Accents or Diamond Glaze — they is completely clear, and has a lot of craft applications as well. Works great for googlie eyes, since it is so much clearer than other glues.)
- Glue sticks. The quality depends on the brand; almost all of the falling-apart cards we receive had been adhered with glue sticks, but we have no way to know what brand the cardmaker used. One use that is perfect for gluesticks is sticking text-weight paper into dark cards as a liner; the light paper is thin enough that the gluestick holds very well.
We know that glue sticks are most affordable for some cardmakers; if gluesticks are your only choice, be very sure to use enough glue, and press it down really securely to be sure it stays put!
- ATG gun. Shown in the photo here next to a tape runner, for scale. It's by far the best purchase I have ever made in my years of crafting. It lays down a line of adhesive—somewhat repositionable if you remove the item quickly and before pressing it down. It takes a little time to get used to the large gun, but once you get the hang of it, you will love it. I recently got one on eBay for $20, and the 36-yard tape rolls are incredibly cheap if you purchase them in enough quantity! Tapes come in 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch rolls. If you want to see what one "feels" like before purchasing, stop by your local frame shop and ask to see theirs.
- Rubber cement. Used on very rare occasions. I get the most use out of it when altering 3D items; it works great to cover curved surfaces and adhering around corners. There are two kinds: one you put only on one surface, and stick the other to it; the other, you paint both surfaces, let them dry, and they reallllly stick well. I didn't show it in the samples on black paper, because once it dries you really can't see it anyway.
- Glue dots. A late addition (this tutorial was created a while ago, before I discovered the joy of glue dots!), these are a great adhesive for lumpy items. They come in several sizes, many brands, and usually on rolls. Some are really thick, others thin, and all are VERY sticky. One caution: use a glue dot smaller than the item you're securing, or your card will become useless as it sticks to the back of a card in front of it! If you want an inexpensive option for gluedots, you can make your own—Seongsook posted a tutorial during our March 2010 bloghop!
So there you have it. The glues I choose! What other adhesives are out there that I missed? -Sandy