It's so easy to take glue for granted. It's been around forever, it's cheap and it gets the job done.
But not all glues are the same — different kinds are good for different things. Some types are better for intricate beaded cards, say, while others are perfect for scrapbooking.
To make sure you've got the right glue for your paper project, I'm going to share four faves and tell you why I love 'em.
Best for... kid-friendly crafts and detailed work
If affixing teeny-tiny polka dots to a card is your idea of DIY bliss, then a glue stick is your go-to. This adhesive is water-based and dries clear, so if you make a mistake, no harm done. Glue sticks are washable, non-toxic and easy to grasp, so they're perfect for kids. They're frequently acid-free too, which makes them great for scrapbooking. The only downside: They won't stick to plastic.
Best for... attaching plastic and other materials
If you've never used glue dots before, get ready to change how you craft. These small circular adhesives come on a roll in three strengths — removable, semi-removable and permanent. Because they stick well to paper, plastic, glass, metal and vinyl, they're super versatile. If you want to add acrylic jewels to a handmade greeting card, grab some glue dots.
Tacky PVA glue
Best for... attaching small objects to paper
Tacky PVA, a thick and fast-acting glue, is great for attaching ribbon, lettering, buttons, shells or other decorations to paper — think fancy party tiaras and frilly photo collages. The best part: This glue is very easy to wash off with soap and water if you need to start over.
Best for... pretty much everything!
Glue guns are a must-have for any toolbox. They're great for home repair and for intricate paper projects like snowflakes, rosettes or jeweled swirls. Glue guns heat the sticky stuff so it's more malleable and easier to shoot into cracks and crevices. One warning: The glue can get hot, so if you're working with small kids, stick to the low-temperature kind and supervise closely. The glue can also get sticky and stringy, so keep wipes or an old towel close by to clean off your hands if necessary.
But what if you're glue-adverse? No worries, there are a ton of adhesives that work great for your paper crafts.
Best for... photos, card stock and scrapbooking
Tape runners are the stars of paper crafting —they're portable, convenient, and give you excellent control. These plastic gizmos come prefilled with a roll of adhesive tape. As you run the dispenser along your paper, the tape comes out in a smooth line. Another plus: You just snap in the refills.
Best for... items that don't need much adhesive, like small pieces of card stock
These pens work like a marker: Run it along your piece of card stock or paper, and watch the glue flow. They're great for gluing tiny die cut pieces, such as letters or thin words.
Best for... intricate die cuts
Using sheets to stick dies to your card stock is easy-peasy. Just trim a piece of the sheet so it's roughly the size of the die, place the sheet on the card stock and run it through a die cut machine. The result: An easy-to-use sticker. All you need to do is peel off the backing paper and you're done.
Best for... sticking small decorations on heavyweight card stock
Foam tapes are a great way to add dimension to any project. They're also easy to use, since they come in ready-made squares or in large rolls, which you can snip pieces from. You can also find foam adhesives in a range of heights that can help you add dimension to your project.
Best for... thin pieces of paper or card stock, like letters
Yes, it's messy, but it's a quick way to get an even coat of adhesive.
Best for... experimenting or placing photos on a page for a short time
Not everything has to be stuck on forever. That's why you need tools like painter's and washi tape when you're trying to figure out what looks good on your craft. Fasten the tape to dies as you run them through your machine to make sure you're placing them correctly. They're also great for sticking photos to a layout, since you can peel off the tape without ripping the paper.