Aug 302012

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-TapeJ&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 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 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 Zots™, acid-free clear dots of adhesive that come on a roll. You press your embellishment against the roll where a Zot™ is located, and it comes right off the non-stick roll. You get a lot of adhesive in a small box, and the Zots™ are easy to apply and adhere well. Generally, you’ll find Zots™ in scrapbooking and craft stores, and sometimes at fabric stores. The only drawback that accompanies Zots™ 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 Zot™ 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.

Aug 202012

Last week I began a new project, a gardening journal, so I did less blogging and more creating. It’s not easy finding a balance sometimes! The journal is not yet finished, but I’ll post photos of it when it is completed. Meanwhile, I have been using a new paper crafting tool from Fiskars that I have to tell you about. If you have been reading my posts for a while, then you know that I am a big Fiskars fan (see The cutting edge of paper crafting tools). A week ago I used a 43% off discount coupon at Archiver’s to purchase a Fiskars® ProCision™ Paper Trimmer that is apparently the newest paper trimmer on the block. It is so new, in fact, that I could not find a Web site (including Fiskars) that advertises it.

What’s so special, you ask, about a paper trimmer? After all, I have 4 other ones that do a perfectly good job. The ProCision™ is a deluxe tool that cuts thicker materials including multiple layers of card stock and lightweight chipboard, and it uses a spring-loaded rotary bypass blade that never needs sharpening. It features a dual-rail system made from steel that eliminates blade wiggle, which means more accurate cutting.  And better yet, the ProCision™ slices so precisely that you can do cuts up to 1/16th of an inch and barely blink. (Yes, the paper trimmer has a metric ruler, too.)

The rubberized feet on the bottom of the paper trimmer keep it stable, preventing it from slipping. You can cut paper up to 13 inches on one side, and up to 2-1/2 inches on the other side of the blade. A paper guard prevents you from getting fingerprints on your photos when you trim them. When the paper guard is raised, the blade does not operate; when it swings down, it activates the blade. Best of all, the ProCision™ folds flat for storage or travel.

So, what am I going to do with my other Fiskars paper trimmers? Fortunately, some of them have already found new homes—specifically, in my husband’s and son’s home offices. I will likely keep my SureCut™ Deluxe Craft Paper Trimmer because it allows me to score in 1/16th inch increments, and it has grid lines for standard envelope measurements.

Visit your local Archiver’s today to get your own ProCision™ paper trimmer. (And no, I wasn’t paid to say that! If you know of another source, I’d love to hear about it.) The normal retail price is $119.99, but if you use a discount coupon, you can buy it for less. (Note: On 8/25/12, I discovered that sells the trimmer for $119.99, so if you don’t have an Archiver’s near you, you can order the tool online.)

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Aug 132012

Although I no longer have a child of school age, I treasure memories of the time our son started school each fall. I remember shopping during August for classroom supplies, taking advantage of a tax-free summer weekend when you could save on new school clothing, and scheduling our son for a visit to the doctor for his annual physical. Many of those memories are compressed among photos in shoe boxes, waiting to be systematically organized and transferred to photo album pages. The thought of filling heavy binders with them, though, is daunting and—thankfully—unnecessary to do. The best albums, I think, are the small ones that tell a story. I have decided it’s time to tell a few stories, and to pass them on, little by little, in small albums. So, when Erika of Artful Rising on Etsy suggested a “Back to School” theme for this month’s Blogging Business Artisans Challenge, I knew what I was going to do.

First I had to decide what format my small album would take. Since I’ve been playing around lately with books whose pages are made from envelopes, I decided my pages would form a “Z-fold” created by joining 6-inch x 9-inch envelopes to 3-1/2 inch by 6-1/2 inch coin envelopes. I got this idea after I watched a 2010 YouTube tutorial titled “Z-Fold Envelope Mini Album” by Laura of Following the Paper Trail. I liked the clever way her Z-fold method formed pocket pages—perfect for small photos and memorabilia. Laura spiral binds her pages into a book using her Bind-it-All, but I was concerned about the covers splaying open like a V with all of the tags, photos and embellishments I planned to add. After all, the widest owire I have is only 1-1/4 inches! I decided instead to make a hard cover for the album, and to sew the pages in place.  But I’ll get to that later. Here is what a Z-fold page looks like when you adhere two envelopes together.

The papers I used in my album came primarily from two different paper collections, “Makin’ the Grade” by Little Yellow Bicycle, and “The Grade School Stack by Die Cuts With a View (DCWV)™. I thought the colors and patterns meshed pretty well. I discovered, by the way, that Little Yellow Bicycle has a blog with lots of inspirational ideas you’ll want to check out. The DCWV site also has an Idea Gallery that will get your creative juices flowing.

Makin’ the Grade papers by Little Yellow Bicycle

Once the individual pages were covered with paper, I dug into my embellishments stash. I found a place for my “Playground” adhesive accents from Paper Bliss™, some of the Sticko copper-rimmed circle tags to which I adhered matching Rebecca Sower Nostalgiques™ typewriter-style letters, and several Teri Martin “Martinscript” scrapbook stickers from Creative Imaginations. These were all items I had purchased years ago, with great intentions of incorporating them in scrapbook albums that never materialized. I confess that I did buy some canvas stickers from Little Yellow Bicycle that matched the paper; I just couldn’t resist!

Following a tip from Kathy of Paper Phenomenon, I reinforced the spine of the book with difficult-to-tear Tyvek® (available from office supply stores in envelope form).

I covered the chipboard covers with navy blue card stock, and decorated them—front, back and spine—with Little Yellow Bicycle paper. For a final touch, I punched holes in my cover with my Crop-A-Dile™, and then used my Zutter hammer and Pound-it-All (marble slab) to insert a Zutter leather strap and closure. You can dye the leather, but I prefer the natural color.

If you look at the spine of the book, you’ll see how I continued the back-to-school theme with an image of a locker. In my embellishments stash I located a packet of Karen Foster Metals Mini School Tools that included a combination lock. Perfect! But my biggest challenge was finding a way to attach it. I’m sure there is a better way to do this, but I had some split rings that I thought I could join to the combination lock. I riveted the combination (pardon the pun) to the album’s spine, but those little rings nearly made a trip around the world before I got them joined! They kept jumping out of my fingers (is that why they are considered to be a variety of “jump ring?”). In desperation, I enlisted my husband’s help. He has a lot of patience with tiny items, and was able to join the two split rings. Guess I’m not destined to be a jewelry-maker.

The final step of my album involved sewing the individual pages of the album to a pre-punched piece of paper-covered chipboard, leaving 1/4 inch between pages to allow for the fact that the pages are dimensional.

The skeleton of my back-to-school envelope album is now finished, but obviously will be fleshed out with photos, journal tags and bits of memorabilia. Like most moms, I have saved all those wallet-size school photos, the lists of books read over summer vacation, scraps of paper celebrating first attempts at printing, early drawings, and more. It’s nice to know all of these, with the help of a photo scanner, have a life beyond the shoe box!

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.