While the heart of scrapbooking may be paper, the soul of scrapbooking could indeed be adhesive. —from  How to Choose Scrapbook Adhesive

One of the most expensive supplies for paper crafters, after they have purchased paper, is adhesives. Thanks to a recommendation from a fellow Blogging Business Artisans member, I am now ordering both items from a wholesaler at a much reduced cost. However, that doesn’t mean I have stocked up on every brand known to woman. Because there are so many adhesives to choose from, it is important to make sure that the adhesive you use really fits the job you want it to do, and also that the costs won’t run you into the ground.

Paper crafters usually use dry adhesives–tape runners, double-sided tape, adhesive dots and stick glue–for porous materials like paper, card stock and chipboard. They use liquid adhesives for non-porous items made of plastic or metal, although liquid PVA glue is recommended for bookmaking, which involves the use of porous paper products. I have my favorites among both dry and wet adhesives, but this post is mainly about my recommendations for the dry adhesives I prefer, based on my personal experiences.

One of my favorite dry adhesives comes in the form of tape runners, also known as mono adhesives. Obviously, not all tape runners are equal. I have thrown away most of the smaller mono adhesive dispensers I have purchased, mostly because I have had bad experiences with them. The tape has broken easily (rendering the roll useless), the applicator tip has gummed up, and the holding power has been poor. If you see that paper is pulling away from chipboard, that photos are lifting from card stock, or that embellishments are not adhering very well, the wrong adhesive was likely used. Matching your adhesives to the permanence of the project you are crafting means you will select different degrees of tackiness in your adhesives. A less tacky (but not necessarily cheaper!) mono adhesive may be absolutely perfect for a project that is not destined to be kept very long.

My favorite double-sided tape for paper, card stock or chipboard is distributed by different companies: Scor-Pal’s branded double-sided tape is Scor-Tape, J&V Enterprises sells Tacky Tear Tape, but both are made by Sookwang, a Korean company that specializes in this premium double-sided tape with superior adhering qualities. The tapes come in paper-backed rolls of 27 yards that measure 1/8 inch wide to 6 inches wide. You can also buy the tape in sheet form; the sheets measure approximately 6 inches by 6 inches and 8-1/2 by 11 inches. What makes this tape so great is its ease of application (you tear off what you need and stick it down), its superior (permanent) holding power, its acid-free quality, and its resistance to heat. This means paper is not going to come unstuck if you use a heat gun on your project, which is common if you do any embossing at all, or if you use a heat gun to speed up the drying process for stamping inks. You can find the narrower widths on Etsy by searching for “sookwang” or “scor-tape.” I found the wider varieties at Scrapbooking.com and 7 Kids College Fund, but you can find the tapes and sheets in the full range at Scor-Pal. “We often have it on sale,” says Diana Crick of Scor-Pal. If you have a re-sale certificate, she points out, you can register to purchase wholesale. “Send an e-mail to info@scor-pal.com telling us about your business. Also fax a copy of your re-sale certificate to 604-635-3086. Minimum order is $50.00.” Likely you’ll find the tape at your local scrapbooking store, too.

If there is any drawback at all to Sookwang tape, it is the fact that once you stick something down, you cannot reposition it easily.

Another dry adhesive whose strong bonding qualities I appreciate is Therm-o-Web Supertape. The tape comes in rolls of 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch widths, and is available at most scrapbook or craft stores. Supertape is a strong, clear and acid-free double-sided adhesive. It is also heat-resistant, but less so than Sookwang tape. If anything, it may actually be stronger that Sookwang tape, so for extra holding power, or for adhering micro-beads, metal, rubber charms, glitter, sand and more, it can be the perfect choice. Its two drawbacks, in my opinion, are that it is a little difficult to remove the red liner before sticking it down (you have to use scissors or a craft knife), and it is impossible to remove once you adhere anything. Therm-o-Web Supertape belongs to a category of tapes called “redline adhesives.” Some similar products that look and act pretty much the same are Terrifically Tacky Tape by ProvoCraft and Sticky Strip by Stampin’ Up. In her post, Scor-Tape vs. Redline adhesive, Susan Reidy does a great job comparing these two tapes. I think she summarizes pretty well why I prefer Scor-Tape over Supertape.

I really appreciate the ease of application that comes with the GlueArts® GlueGlider Pro. This is a replaceable cartridge glue that you insert in a very comfortable adhesive tape gun (ATG) dispenser. You roll a wheel that dispenses clear adhesive on your surface. I have not had any problems with the tape breaking. The cartridges come in Perma Tac (general purpose), High Tac (embellishments and Grunge Board), Repositionable Tac (paper and photos), and Extreme Tac (anything except paper, photos, plastic and Styrofoam). To change glues, just change the cartridge. Drawbacks are that the glue is expensive at the $8.99 retail price, it comes only in 40 to 58 feet rolls, and when the plastic cartridge is empty, you discard it—which ecologically isn’t very friendly. I would like to see if my local recycling program will accept these empty cartridges, but I suspect they do not. If you need a fast, strong tape runner tool and are looking for convenience, this is your adhesive. But be prepared to pay for convenience!

When I need to make stickers, I look no further than Xyron®. Their repositionable and permanent adhesives come in a clear roll that you insert cartridge-style in a plastic dispensing case. The smallest case is the Xyron® Create-a-Sticker Model 150; this is the one I use most often. Also available are wider cases accompanied by wider rolls of adhesive. The main drawback of a Xyron® refill cartridge is that it disappears too quickly; you only get 18-20 feet of adhesive. If you have a big and/or detailed project, plan ahead and have a refill handy. Xyron® refill cartridges are readily available at craft stores and “big box” discount chains, so they are convenient to find, and if you shop carefully you can get a good price.

When it comes to adhering small embellishments to paper, card stock or chipboard, I prefer to use Therm-0-Web Zotsâ„¢, acid-free clear dots of adhesive that come on a roll. You press your embellishment against the roll where a Zotâ„¢ is located, and it comes right off the non-stick roll. You get a lot of adhesive in a small box, and the Zotsâ„¢ are easy to apply and adhere well. Generally, you’ll find Zotsâ„¢ in scrapbooking and craft stores, and sometimes at fabric stores. The only drawback that accompanies Zotsâ„¢ is that these paper-thin dots are so tiny that they are difficult to see on the roll, and difficult to find if you drop them. I suppose that is why it’s recommended that you place your embellishment against the roll, rather than removing a Zotâ„¢ from the roll and adhering it to your item!

There are many stick adhesives on the market, but my favorite one is the UHU® stic. Acid-free and permanent, one of its strengths is that paper adhered with it never wrinkles. Its drawback is that it can be messy to use (at least that’s true for me!). The easy solution is wet wipes, which work well to remove glue anywhere it doesn’t belong. You’ll find the UHU® stic in craft and hobby stores, fabric stores and office supply stores.

There are, of course, many more adhesive brands on the market than I can describe in this post. 3M has its own adhesive tape gun (larger than the GlueArts® GlueGlider Pro), and recently Xyron® came out with its own version of the same. I haven’t used every product that’s out there, but I can tell you that the ones I’ve described here are the ones that have worked well for me. If you have a favorite dry adhesive, be sure to let me know about it in the comments below.

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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15 thoughts on “Choosing the best dry adhesives for paper crafting”

  1. I thought it was only me having those tape runners break. I haven’t made cards in a long time, but remember I’ve tried 2 different brands with the same results. I also use Zots.

    Thanks for the information.

  2. I love the SuperTape for adhering heavy objects…they don’t move an inch! And I use my Xyron and glue sticks for word albums and adhesive tabs and zots for general scrapbooking. There are so many wonderful adhesives out there…it’s hard to choose!

  3. Thanks for all of the resources! Right now I order Scotch double sided tape in bulk, but I know that there are other alternatives out there. It’s just a matter of finding a good price. I’ll have to look into some of these options.

  4. Do you know where I can get SookWang dbl sided sheets of tape for cheaper..I am disabled and just can’t spend $55 on a 4′ wide roll? I need to use it for holiday cards, and I was told this is the best to use with micro fine glitter….I don’t know which one to use…but I am leaning towards the SookWang if I can find it for less than the place I looked…thank you so much…I just happened to have found your site, and am now subsribed…thank you very much…blessings, victoria

  5. Great info but which is your favorite tape runner these days? They are my preferred product for a lot of my paper crafting, but I haven’t done much in the past year and now the selection of runners has changed. Used to love Duck, but hate it now since then changed it. I’ve heard tombow runners aren’t as good either any more.

    1. My favorite taperunner is GlueArts® GlueGlider Pro, but I wish the cartridge were more eco friendly. I really do not care for smaller tape runners, although I suspect the Xyron one has good adhesive qualities.

  6. Please help!! I am currently using Xyron permanent adhesive, and although it’s great it’s just not strong enough. I also want to find a stronger adhesive that comes with the plastic paper backing, but it’s seems impossible to find both. I should mention that I’m using the adhesive on fabric. It’s sticks for a day or two but then it falls apart. Does anyone know of an alternative to Xyron? Thank you soo much for your help.

    1. Erin, I have two suggestions for you. GlueGlider carries adhesive cartridges for different kinds of materials, each with different strengths. The different versions are: Perma Tac, High Tac, Respositonable and Extreme Tac. Extreme Tac is the only one of these adhesives that is rated to work on canvas and fabric. So, that’s the first suggestion.

      The second suggestion is for you to use a fusible interfacing called MistyFuse that you iron onto your surface. You’ll find it at quilt shops or online. It is NOT paper-backed, but you can fuse fabric to paper or chipboard using this with no problem at all. You do need to use parchment paper or a Teflon sheet to protect your iron when you apply it. And it’s not as neat as a dry adhesive cartridge, but it does work!

      Hope this helps. Good luck with your project!

  7. I googled to see if there were any adhesives better than sookwang and your article came up. Very well done and extremely informative. Do you have any updates? Thank you soo much!

  8. Scor-Tape besides the usual sizes is also available in 6″ x 6″ sheets and 8 1/2 x 11″ which is sold in single sheets. Both are available, excellent prices at Scor-Pal.com. We often have it on sale. We have branded it as Scor-Tape.

  9. It’s hard to find a superbly written comparison article like this. What I was actually looking for though, is a comparison to 3L Scrapbook Adhesive’s Crafty Power Tape to Scor-Tape. One of my favorite crafting bloggers, Damask Love, says she prefers it over Scor-Tape, but I can’t find anyone else talking about it at all. Have you used it and have an opinion on it?

    1. Tessa, I have no experience at all with Crafty Power Tape, but from the package description and appearance, both tapes seem to share the same functionality. They are both super high tack permanent adhesives, which means you can use them on heavier-weight materials like chipboard and acrylic gems. Both are acid free, too. A significant difference is pricing. Crafty Power Tape comes in 81-foot rolls with a price tag ranging from 8.99 to 10.99 for the 1/4 inch variety, while Scor-Tape comes in 27-yard rolls for the same width, with a price tag ranging from 2.99 to 4.99, depending on where you buy it. Also, Crafty Power Tape appears to come in only 1/4 and 1/2 inch varieties, while Scor-Tape comes in a broad range of widths. It would be really interesting to see the inside of the cardboard roll to see if “Sookwang” is printed on the inside. If so, that would mean the two tapes are exactly the same, since that is the manufacturer for Scor-Tape; Scor-Tape is distributed by Scor-Pal in the U.S., but I would lay bets that other U.S. companies have similar distribution agreements with Sookwang.

      Great question, but I can’t honestly say I have used Crafty Power Tape.

      I visited the Web site of Damask Love, by the way, and it appears to be a lovely site. Thanks for the recommendation!

      1. Thanks for responding! I’ve used Crafty Power Tape and recently switched to Scor-Tape. I’m not able to tell a difference, which is why I asked. I didn’t even think of the price factor originally, but you’re right, for the same length – both equalling 27 yards total, Scor-Tape is definitely a steal! Plus the variety is always nice, even though I honestly haven’t used anything other than 1/4″ or 1/2″!

        Thanks again for responding, and thanks again for the comparison. Very helpful!

  10. Hello, any recommendations for book art? I often cut out words from books with my xacto knife to make my own poetry and haiku onto another piece of handmade paper or card stock. I do know the power of double stick tape, and some other crafting roll on adhesives, but the words are too small (and sometimes too delicate) for the tape.. I’ve read your words on the UHU stic.. do you think it would be too wide/messy for what I’m using it for? Right now I just mod podge… but sometimes I like a cleaner look. Any suggestions would be most appreciated! Thanks!

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