Scrapbook Adhesive: This Ain't your Elmer's Glue Baby!

As you stand in the scrapbook adhesive aisle of your local craft store wondering where to begin, it's easy to think back to those arts & crafts classes from elementary school. A big ol' bottle of Elmer's was fine then...why not now? Don't be tempted to regress back to those simpler childhood days when trying to choose from the myriad of scrapbook adhesive options. Instead, use our list of Do's and Don'ts to help guide your decision.

  • Don't even think about using the glue that you used in elementary school or that you happen to have lying around the house. Adhesives need to be specifically labeled as safe for scrapbooking - or acid free - in order to be appropriate for use on your layouts. Besides, if your house is anything like mine, you will want to purchase adhesives that you (and only you) are allowed to use.

  • Don'tuse rubber cement. It falls under the category of "things you used in elementary school." While many rubber cements are now acid free, it is still a messy, time consuming way to assemble your scrapbook. Do yourself a favor - avoid all those annoying glue strings by avoiding rubber cement altogether.

  • Don't use permanent adhesive on photos that you may need to remove in the future. If there is any chance that you may need to remove photos from your album in the future for copying or reprinting, you will want to use an adhesive that allows you to pop the photos off the page. If you don't want to purchase removable adhesive, try photo corners.

  • Don't use a glue stick. There are scrapbook-specific glue sticks on the market; however they do not compare with some of the other options out there. When stick glue dries, it tends to become brittle and lose a little of it's adhering strength, and you run the risk of items falling off your page. Glue sticks can also be messy and you may end up with glue marks on the fronts of your photos. Lastly, glue sticks really only work with paper, so if you'll be adhering anything else to your page (fiber, ribbon, metal, etc.), you'll need a different adhesive anyway.

  • Do try out a few different types of adhesive. Try a tape runner, photo tabs, dots, double-sided tape, glue pens and more until you find the combination that works best for you. Again, just be sure that any adhesive you use is acid free.

  • Do invest in an easy-to-use adhesive. When it comes to scrapbooking, the dispenser can be just as important as the adhesive itself. Many adhesives today come in easy-to-use dispensers like photo tab dispensing boxes or tape runners. You'll save a ton of time and energy using one of these products instead of fighting with the traditional role of double-sided tape!

Adhesive Options

Smart scrapbookers always keep lots of scrapbook adhesive on hand. Different scrapbooking projects require specific adhesives and it's important to be prepared. Below you'll find a description of the various types of adhesives as well as our recommendations for quality products in each category. Look for our staff favorites marked A Scrapbooks By Design Favorite!

Tape Runners

Tape runners are the most time efficient scrapbook adhesive. Many different company manufacture runners and each has its own pro's and con's. Some are refillable and some are disposable. Some dispense a clear adhesive strip, some little light blue dots, and some white tiny strips of double stick tape. You can also choose between repositionable and permanent adhesives. When deciding on a tape runner, check to make sure that refills are available at a local scrapbook or hobby store. You don't want to run out of tape and have to wait for your online order to keep scrapping!

Herma Dotto Dots Dispenser - Temporary - $ 10.80
A Scrapbooks By Design Favorite!The EK Success Dotto Dots Removable Scrapbook Adhesive is an essential tool for all your projects. This convenient dispenser enables you to apply tiny removable strips of dots of any length. With the removable bond, adhered items can be moved if needed. Self-adhesive, removable dots Easy-to-replace roll Comes with 49 feet of adhesive dots Easy, lift-it-up and rub-away, tiny dots No more adhesive sticking out of the edges of letters or small paper pieces Great bond for paper, cardstock and photos Ideal for repositioning elements on scrapbook pages, cards and other paper crafting. projects

3L Scrapbook Adhesive - E-Z Dispensers - Three Pack - $ 13.49
Different adhesive needs call for different tools. Scrapbook Adhesive by 3L has made gathering these tools and keeping them handy super easy with their E-Z Dispensers Three Pack. Each pack includes 1 E-Z Squares, a pink translucent dispenser with 650 white square tabs 1 EZ Runner Vellum, a purple translucent dispenser with 49 feet of adhesive 1 E Z Runner, a red translucent dispenser with 28 feet of pre-cut ½” adhesive strips. This pack also comes with a convenient docking station for each dispenser. The docking stations connect magnetically, making it easy to keep your adhesives organized and accessible when scrapping. Disposable dispensers - no difficult refills. Scrapbook Adhesive is acid free, archival safe, and PAT approved

Glue and Tape Rollers

Also known as Tape Runners...Glue and tape rollers adhere paper and photos without wrinkling them or making a sticky mess. Rollers are a good investment since you can purchase refills and continue using them for as long as you like. When deciding on a roller, check to make sure that refills are available at a local scrapbook or hobby store. You don't want to run out of scrapbook adhesive and have to wait for your online order to keep scrapping!

Kokuyo Permanent Tape-N-Roller Dispenser - $ 8.09
Kokuyo Permanent scrapbook adhesive is acid free double-stick tape enclosed in a roller cartridge. Features include: Easy to use with one hand Because it’s in a dispenser, there’s no backing to peel off Easy to use on curved materials and surfaces Grooved tape prevents wrinkles and leaves a smooth edge Refills are available

Photo Corners and Tabs

Photo corners can be very time consuming to use in comparison with tab dispensers and tape runners. However, if you are reluctant to use any other scrapbook adhesive on a photo (for example, heritage photos), photo corners can be a great non-permanent option. In general, using the least amount of adhesive necessary to hold items on your page is the best rule of thumb. Small amounts of tape or just a few photo tabs can allow you to remove items at a later date if needed.

Photo tabs are small squares of double sided tape that work especially well with photos. You only need a few per photo (one in each corner is sufficient). By adhering your photos with limited amounts of a good scrapbook adhesive you will be able to remove them later if needed. Photo tab dispensers allow you to apply the adhesive squares with a rolling tool which makes using them quick and easy. Mounting tabs and photo stickers are perfect for adhering photos—they’re easy to apply and you don’t have to worry about getting glue on your prints. Many come in a repositionable form so you can move photos around if you change your mind or need to take them out of your album.

Herma Vario Tab Dispenser - $ 12.59
Speed up the creative process by letting Herma do the work. This convenient, easy-to-use, quick application dispenser lays out 1000 double-sided scrapbook adhesive squares, one at a time, or in evenly spaced rows. Self-adhesive tabs. Tabs measure approx. ½” Great bond for paper, cardstock and photos Ideal for all your scrapbooking, card making and other paper crafting projects

3L Scrapbook Adhesive - Photo Corners - Black (250 per box)r - $ 3.59
Use 3L Scrapbook Adhesives photo corners to add a quick, easy and cheap way to display your valuable photos without damaging or altering them in the process. Use color Photo Corners to add class and variety to your layouts. These black photo corners are made of conservation-quality, clear, polypropylene and come in quantities of 250. Great for wedding, engagement, family, and heirloom photographs No mess, self-adhesive Archival safe 3/8" in size PVC free

Adhesive Dots

Scrapbook adhesive dots are small, clear sticky dots that you simply peel from a roll and use for just about anything from jewels and buttons to fibers and fabric. They come in different sizes, including pop-up for dimension.

Glue Dots - Memory Book - $ 4.95
A Scrapbooks By Design Favorite! GlueDots for Memory Books are a double-sided, pressure sensitive scrapbook adhesive specially formulated for permanently mounting photographs, cards, keepsakes, and other special scrapbook treasures. Faster and easier to use than dispenser-type adhesives Ideal for all your scrapbooking, card making and other paper crafting projects

Glue Dots - Craft Glue Dot Sheets, BRAND NEWGlue Dots - Craft Glue Dot Sheets, BRAND NEW - $ 3.59
Craft Glue Dots are double-sided scrapbook adhesive dots for art projects, candle making, framing/matting, home décor, scrapbooking and woodworking. Glue Dots bond to most surfaces including paper, plastic, metal, wood, foam, textiles and more. Use for crafts of all kinds, school projects, around the house, in the office or anywhere you want a quick, strong bond. Package contains 144 clear ½ inch glue dots Resealable Pouch Bonds Instantly Super-Strength Multi-Use Acid-Free Non-Toxic Archival Quality

Glue Pens

Glue pens also work well for mixed media like fibers, etc. While I wouldn't depend on a glue pen for all your scrapbook adhesive needs, it's just what you need for applying glue to tiny accents and hard-to-reach places since many of them have a chisel or fine tip.

ZIG - 2 way glue pen - Squeeze and Roll - 7 grams - $ 2.69
Squeeze the Bubble Grip to dispense a thin line of 2-way glue while rolling on any surface. For a permanent bond apply adhesive to project while liquid is blue. For temporary bond, apply lightly and wait for adhesive to dry clear (like a Post-It-Note). Acid free and xylene free Glue is blue when wet but turns clear when dry Use for glitter, embossing, masking, flocking and more Great for positioning stencils, gift wrapping, scrapbooking, and other projects. A must for serious scrapbookers!

Sailor 2 in 1 Glue Pen, 3.5 gram - $ 2.69
With the ease of a writing pen, this ball-point glue pen gives either a temporary or permanent bond to small punches and decorative trims. Allow liquid to dry completely for a REPOSITIONABLE BOND, or position while adhesive is wet for a PERMANENT BOND. Please read instructions carefully to activate your pen. Precision gluing for all kinds of arts, crafts, scrapbooks and more Acid Free and photo safe Safe and non-toxic Dries Clear

3D Adhesive

Three dimensional scrapbook adhesive options include pop-up adhesive dots, foam tape, foam strips, and more. They come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Using these adhesives are a great way to add that extra dimension and spice to your pages.

Glue Dots - Pop Up Glue Dot Sheets - $ 3.15
A Scrapbooks By Design Favorite! Pop Up Glue Dots are double-sided, thick adhesive dots for adding dimension to cards, scrapbook pages, dioramas and more. Glue Dots always keep their shape and bond to most surfaces including paper, plastic, metal, wood, foam, textiles and more. Use for crafts of all kinds, school projects, around the house, in the office or anywhere you want a quick, strong bond. Package contains 72 clear ½ inch glue dots Resealable Pouch Bonds Instantly Super-Strength 3-D Acid-Free Non-Toxic Archival Quality

3-D-Dots - Adhesive Foam Discs - White - 1/8" Thick - $ 2.15
Create dramatic 3-dimensional accents for your scrapbook pages and cards with EK Success 3D Foam Discs. Use these double-sided scrapbook adhesive discs with stickers, punch shapes, die cuts and other embellishments to add depth and dimension to any paper crafting project. Can also be used to create pockets to hold tags, photos or hidden journaling by attaching 3D-Dots to three sides of the pocket while leaving one side open to slip item into. To use, simply peel foam circle from sheet, remove liner and press into position. White - 1/8” thick foam discs (circles) 2 Sheets of large and small discs 48 large and 78 small foam discs per pack Discs measure approx. ½” and ¼” Works on most paper, plastic, fabric, metal, wood, and glass Double sided and acid free; provides permanent bond with pop-up dot perfection

3-D Dots Adhesive Foam Strips - White - 1/8" Thick - $ 1.99
Create dramatic 3-dimensional accents for your scrapbook pages and cards with EK Success 3D Foam Strips. The wide and narrow strips will give you the freedom to work with a variety of surfaces. Use these double-sided adhesive strips with stickers, punch shapes, die cuts and other embellishments to add depth and dimension to any paper crafting project. Can also be used to create pockets to hold tags, photos or hidden journaling by attaching 3D-Dots to three sides of the pocket while leaving one side open to slip item into. To use, simply peel foam strip from sheet, remove liner and press into position. White - 1/8” thick foam strips 2 Sheets of wide and narrow strips 6 wide and 8 narrow foam strips per pack Strips measure approx. 1 mm and 1/2 mm wide, and are approx. 4” long Works on most paper, plastic, fabric, metal, wood, and glass Double sided and acid free; provides permanent bond with pop-up dot perfection

Vellum Adhesive

Vellum scrapbook adhesive is a wonderful creation that allows you to adhere all types of vellum without the adhesive showing through. No more secretly positioning the glue behind a sticker or other embellishment to tack down vellum!

Therm O Web - Vellum Adhesive Runner - $ 5.69
A Scrapbooks By Design Favorite! Therm O Web Vellum Adhesive Runner permanently bonds most vellums and transparencies instantly, neatly, and securely. Virtually invisible adhesive, for most vellum and transparency projects. Contains 45 feet of scrapbook adhesive. Clear - No Waste - Photo Safe - Convenient - Easy to Use - Strong, instant bond Patented pivoting head Invisible bond

Glue Dots - Vellum Glue Dot Sheets, BRAND NEW - $ 5.39
Vellum Glue Dots are double-sided, transparent adhesive dots for bonding vellum, transparencies, skeleton leaves, glass, and acrylic embellishments. Vellum Glue Dots are transparent even on dark backgrounds. Finally, a superior transparent adhesive! Package contains 10 sheets of transparent glue dots Resealable Pouch Truly Transparent Bonds Instantly Easy to Use Acid-Free Non-Toxic

Scotch Vellum Adhesive - $ 5.85
Get to know the joys of Vellum Tape. Adhere vellum to cardstock and watch the glue disappear leaving no messy marks or discoloration. Once you try Scotch Vellum Adhesive on your vellum creations, you'll never use anything else again! Specially formulated to disappear on most vellums Great for making invitations and envelopes, applying die cuts and borders, creating mattes for scrapbook pages, and mounting titles and journal entries Excellent for most solid colored and patterned vellums


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Now that you've got your necessary tape runners, tab dispensers, and glue pens where will you keep them all?
Check out our Organization pages and let us help you create a system to store all those scrapbook adhesive tools!


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