Scrapbook Adhesive 101

rukristin Adhesive 101

‘What type of adhesive do you use? Which adhesive should I use for this project? What does this adhesive work best with?’

rukristin Adhesive 101

Adhesive — boring, yet necessary. After pictures, paper, and a pen — adhesive comes next on my list of must-have items to scrapbook. Knowing where to start with adhesive can be overwhelming, especially when there’s like fifty different types of products to choose from, all seemingly with a different purpose.

I use tape runners 90% of the time. My current favorite is the Tombow Mono-Dots. If I had to pick one single scrapbook adhesive to use, it would be a tape runner, hands down.   I love the ease and control. I love that there is no mess to clean up, and I love that I can just pop in a refill when I run out. One of the best things about owning your own scrapbook store, is being able to run in there in the middle of a project and pick up the extra adhesive you need to finish up.

Even though I’m in love with tape runners, they aren’t the only scrapbook adhesive I use — along with my go-to tape runner, I also use a heavy-duty tape runner, liquid glue, glue dots, foam pop dots, stapler, sewing machine, and red liner tape. The following is a rundown on the various types of scrapbook adhesives as well as knowing when to best use a specific type of adhesive.

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Tape Runner

Tape runners are a dry double-sided tape like adhesive encased in a plastic dispenser, usually refillable. They are easy to use, convenient, travel well, and they work perfectly for sticking photos to paper and paper to paper. They can’t do the heavy duty stuff, but they can do the day-in/day-out stuff no problem.

rukristin favorite adhesives

You don’t have to go overboard with the tape runner. Adhesive in each corner and a dab in the middle should be enough to adhere any two sheets of paper together.  If I only had to choose one adhesive, it would be a good tape runner. Pick up my favorite tape runner (and refills) in the shop.

If you’re looking for a more powerful dry adhesive, for mini-albums, heavy-duty paper, or embellishments, I highly recommend the Tombow Xtreme High Performance Adhesive. Tombow sent me a sample of this adhesive and I used it to put together my DIY Kara Walker mini-album. The Xtreme tape runner is one of the biggest reasons I decided to go with Tombow when choosing an adhesive company to stock in the shop. I use it on all my DIY Binder Ring albums and any other project where I need a little bit of extra strength.

rukristin favorite scrapbook adhesives

Favorite Uses: Paper, Photos, Vellum, Anything with a flat surface

Recommendation: Tombow Mono Dots (everyday use) and Tombow Xtreme High Performance Adhesive (heavy duty)

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Liquid Glue

Great for embellishments, especially wood veneer. There are a lot of positives to liquid adhesive — it’s inexpensive, it’s very easy to use, it goes where you want it to go, and it works on a variety of different surfaces. Unfortunately, it can take a little while to dry — making it personally a bit annoying to use as my main adhesive.

rukristin favorite scrapbook adhesives

Favorite Uses: Wood Veneer, Small Embellishments, N0n-flat Embellishments, Mixed-Media Projects

Recommendation: Tombow Aqua Liquid Glue

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Glue Dots

Glue dots are exactly what they sound like, little drops of glue-like adhesive. They peel off a wax paper or plastic backing and stick onto whatever you want to adhere. They are perfect for small embellishments and a little bit more heavy duty than a tape runner.  I use glue dots for flair, buttons, ribbon, wood chips, any random 3-d embellishments. These come in several different sizes (width and depth), I keep a variety on hand, but I find that I use the smallest ones the most often.

Favorite Uses: Paper, Plastic Embellishments, Metal Embellishments, Flair, Chipboard

Recommendation: Glue Dots Various Sizes (I love the mini and the scrapbook varieties)

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Foam Squares

Also known as ‘pop-dots’; foam squares are three-dimensional adhesive designed to elevate and create vertical dimension within a project. They usually come in two different sizes, 1/2 sq and 1/4 sq, both about 1/8 high. I use a lot of foam squares in mini-books and projects that don’t go inside page protectors.

rukristin favorite scrapbook adhesives

Favorite Uses: Paper, Plastic Embellishments, Metal Embellishments, Flair, Chipboard

Recommendation: Glue Dots Various Sizes (I love the mini and the scrapbook varieties)

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Sewing Machine

My sewing machine is my new favorite scrapbooking tool. I like making pockets. I like putting little embellishments inside and letting them float around. I like being able to see through page protectors, so closing them at the top can be vital. Sewing adds texture and is perfect for adhering ribbon, fabric, and other paper to your scrapbook pages.

Favorite Uses: Paper (and layering of paper), Plastic Page Protectors, Ribbon, Fabric

Recommendation: Brother C6000i (this is the one that I have and it has done everything I could have asked and more).

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Just a regular office stapler. Versatile and industrious. Perfect for quickly pulling things together. I love using my stapler on tags, journaling spots, ribbon, and other small embellishments. Add some color with different colored staples or by using a sharpie to color the staple when you’re done.

Favorite Uses: Paper (and layering of paper), Plastic Embellishments, Ribbon, anything with a industrious look

Recommendation: Steal one from your office (or your mom).

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Stock up on adhesive in the rukristin shop. 

Adhesive Questions? Leave them in the comments below!