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Getting Started: Adhesives for Scrapbooking

Choosing the Correct Adhesive for Your Scrapbooking Project
by Rebecca Ludens

Question: What glue should I use for scrapbooking?

Answer: Many people who try scrapbooking for the first time make a mistake when it comes to choosing an adhesive. Here is a simple list of do's and don't when it comes to picking which adhesive is right for you.

  • Don't even think about any glue that you bought for your child's school box. Adhesives need to be specifically labeled as safe for scrapbooking (acid-free) in order to be appropriate for use on your layouts. You will want to purchase adhesives that you use only for scrapbooking.
  • Don't use a glue stick. Glue sticks are inexpensive and some are even acid-free. They still do not, however, make the best adhesive for scrapbooking. As the glue dries it tends to become brittle and some items even fall off of your pages. Spend the extra money and get good quality adhesives for use with your photos.
  • Do use a photo tab dispenser. 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 good adhesive you will be able to remove them later if needed. Photo tab dispenser allow you to apply the adhesive squares with a rolling tool which makes using them quick and easy. Herma has a refillable photo tab dispenser, while 3L offers an inexpensive tab dispensing box that you simply throw away when it is empty.
  • Do try out a few different 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. Some popular choices are: EZ Runner by 3L (shown here), Herma Dotto Removable Dispenser, Xyron's Solutions, and Tombow Mono-Adhesive.
  • Don't use rubber cement. See the first point above. While some rubber cements state that they are now acid-free, this is still a messy, time consuming way to assemble your scrapbook.
  • 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. Old fashioned photo corners were designed for this purpose, and are great for heritage albums. Photo corners are very time consuming to use in comparison with tab dispensers and tape runners. 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 will allow you to remove items at a later date if needed.

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