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Getting Stuck into Adhesives Part 1

10 Comments25 February 2015  |  Admin

Do you ever get confused by all the different adhesives that are available?  Well there are lots of different types and brands out there, so I have a couple of posts for you which I hope will de-mystify things a little. There’re two basic types of adhesive, wet and dry. Dry adhesives include things like double sided tape, glue dots, contact sheets, foam pads and tape runners and  wet adhesives are glues, gels, glazes and mediums.

This week I am starting with a look at dry adhesives.

Dry Adhesives

Double Sided Tape

Double sided tape and sheets comes in a variety of formats.  Some tape is made of thin tissue with a layer of adhesive on both sides; others are made from a very thin plastic film and some lay down a strip of rubbery or silicone type adhesive with no core material.  The plastic film type cannot be torn and must be cut with scissors, whereas the tissue based tape tears easily. 

Tapes with no core can be tricky to handle on a roll as it does not always transfer evenly off the carrier paper.  It tends to work best in tape runners where a roller is used to apply pressure and transfer the tape evenly.  Even then, this type of tape runner is notorious for getting clogged up around the dispensing point, so don’t buy a job lot until you have tested one out.  The good quality ones can be great on translucent vellum as they leave hardly any trace showing through.

Some tape is made up of tiny little dots, which can work well for tissue or lightweight papers and can be great for translucent layers such as vellum or sheer ribbons, but it will not hold anything too heavy.  Fine dot adhesive is available in sheets, rolls of tape and tape runners.

Heavier cardstock needs a better quality adhesive as lightweight tape may hold at first but overtime the bond is not strong enough and the card can fall apart. Some heavyweight adhesive tape comes on a red plastic liner and is often known as red liner tape, though there are several different  brands of this specific material.  Red liner tape cannot be torn and must be cut with scissors.


My favourite heavyweight tape is Sookwang, also sold as Scor Tape.  This can be torn as well as cut and forms an instant bond the minute it touches, so you need to be careful when placing your layers.  On card that has buckled or warped a lot, I put quite a lot of tape on (as you can see in this photo) and stick it to a piece of heavy cardstock which sorts out all the buckling and ensures the piece lies perfectly flat on the card.

Both red liner tape and Scor Tape have enough ‘tack’ to hold items like glitter, micro beads and mica powders.  They will also withstand heat that can melt some adhesives, which means you can apply embossing powder to the tape and heat emboss it.

Easy lift tape

If you have ever struggled to get the backing off your double sided tape, then you may want to investigate easy lift tape.  This is usually a tissue based double sided tape, where the backing sheet is wider than the tape, which means there is a strip either side of the adhesive that does not get stuck down, allowing you to easily slide a fingernail or tweezers underneath to peel it back.

Foam Tape

Foam tape or foam pads are a great way to add dimension to your papercrafts, as well as being useful for holding small embellishments.  Sometimes referred to as sticky fixers, this type of adhesive is made up of a thin layer of foam with adhesive both sides.  Available in a tape format on a roll, foam pads also come die cut into circles and even fancy shapes such as snowflakes.  Foam pads are great for giving height to 3D decoupage and the tape is a must have when creating shaker cards.

You can also now get clear sticky fixers which are made from a semi rigid clear material (probably photopolymer or silicone) with clear adhesive both sides.

Tape sheets

Double sided adhesive sheets can be cut to any size or shape and can be very useful when you need complete edge to edge adhesion on a shaped item.  You can stick it to cardstock before die cutting and you effectively create a die cut sticker.  This can be particularly useful when sticking items onto a cylinder or other curved shape.

Tape sheets can also be very useful for sticking down clear materials such as polyester, acetate or vellum as you can cover the entire surface and not see the lines that you would get with tape.

Tape sheets can also be fun to use with glitters, beads, embossing powders, etc.  Cut a shape (eg, fairy wings), peel off the backing and stick down, then peel off the front liner and dust with glitter.

Glue Dots

Glue dots come in a range of sizes and are useful for adding lightweight embellishments such as flowers, ribbons or charms, to a card.  They are available in sheets or on a roll and provide instant adhesion.  They won't hold very heavy items, so if your charm keeps dropping off, you may need to use a wet glue to hold it firmly.


Tape runners and products like the Xyron adhesive machines can be more expensive to start with, but save lots of time if you are doing batch work such as wedding stationery or christmas cards. 

Over the years I have tried lots of different tape runners, some disposable and some that can be refilled with rolls of tape or cartridges.  They all have their quirks so it's worth trying out a few to see what suits you. I now have a favourite tape runner that I buy  in bulk for my card making and use all the time for regular weight card and paper.


My favourite tape runner (EZ Runner) lays down little thin lines of adhesive which means that it can be used on curved shapes. 

Decorative Tape

I have talked mainly about adhesives that are designed to be invisible and hidden from view, but there's nothing to say you can't use straight forward sticky tape, masking tape, pretty washi tape or even parcel tape to stick your items together.  Decorative tape can be used to great effect on cards and in scrapbooking it is a fantastic way to stick down photos.  How about a journal card that you can flip up, revealing both the reverse and the page beneath?


There is no single 'one size fits all' magic solution with adhesives, so you will probably need to have space in your craft room for a selection of different types that do different jobs.  Click here to visit our Adhesives department and see what we have in stock.

In part 2 I will be looking at a selection of wet adhesives which will take us into the world of collage and mixed media.

Happy sticking!

Margaret Iddon
27 February 2015  |  9:41

Thanks Glenda, great article, always wondered what Scor Tape was

Barbara Ann Kelly
27 February 2015  |  10:50

Thank you Glenda for clearing up a few sticky points (excuse the pun) but I have a drawer full of glues and tapes and sometimes I still can't find one that works. This has been a great help for future purchases. I'm looking forward to the wet glue explanation.
Ann x

Gillian Edmonds
27 February 2015  |  11:47

Many thanks for this, always useful to have a re-cap.

Kate Currie
27 February 2015  |  11:52

Thank you Glenda, I had never heard of Scor Tape, all very helpful Kate x

Christine Thrall
27 February 2015  |  15:13

Thanks Glenda...a few new brands for me to try 😊

Peter Stone
27 February 2015  |  17:20

Thanks Glenda always wondered like Margaret what Scor Tape was.\

Corinne Rollet
02 March 2015  |  13:11

Thank you Glenda for this very interesting post on dry adhesives, your experience and feedback are precious. Coco xx

Carole Clark
15 May 2015  |  8:36

I would like to know how people stick complicated fine die cuts? I have tried many different types of stick but could not say one was better than another. I have 2 die cutting machines and a silhouette so can cut lovely complicated dies but sticking them is a real headache.

15 May 2015  |  8:56

Carole - I use a tape runner on the bigger parts where I can, then I use a Zig glue pen on fine details. I often use an old magazine as a 'glue pad' so I can scribble or dot the pen all over the back of the delicate pieces, going right over the edges if I need to.

When I then stick the die cut down, I might put an acrylic block over the top to weight it down for 5-10 minutes and ensure the whole thing is making contact.

Hope that helps,

15 May 2015  |  8:59

Carole - I use a tape runner on the bigger parts where I can, then I use a Zig glue pen on fine details. I often use an old magazine as a 'glue pad' so I can scribble or dot the pen all over the back of the delicate pieces.

When I then stick the die cut down, I might put an acrylic block over the top to weight it down for 5-10 minutes and ensure the whole thing is making contact.

Hope that helps,