I have tried several types of glue but, have yet to find the perfect glue for my needs. For instance, I'm creating a miniature tree and need to glue multiple small leaves onto a branch.

I don't want runny or slow drying glue that the leaves slip off before the glue dries or nearly dries. I often get a few leaves on to have them all fall off as I try placing another leaf. I then wind up having to glue them all back on all over again. I don't want to have to just glue a couple on then wait anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes or more before I can glue anymore on. Sometimes I have to sit and hold on one leaf at a time until it dries enough so that it doesn't slip out of place or come off all together.

I need the glue to dry clear and matte. It will also have to work with card stock, bond paper, brown paper(such as used to wrap packages for mailing). Sometimes painted with acrylics or water color paint. Also I run into the problem of the piece I'm trying to glue sticking to my fingers or instruments as I lift of the piece.

Hot glue doesn't work because I have lots of small pieces in one area and it will accumulate to much glue not to mention other issues with it. The glue I want works like this: I put glue on a piece stick it where it goes on 3D objects and it stays put while gluing other pieces next to or on top of that piece. It seems like it would be real simple but, what it seems to be and what it is are 2 different things.

  • Welcome to Arts&Crafts.SE. It would really help to see a picture of your finished or in progress tree to get a better idea of what you are making.
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 11:56
  • I'm not sure if glue sticks can be painted on after they're set, but they meet most of your other requirements ... and if you're trying to apply it with precision, you can scrape some off and apply it with appropriately sized tools. It doesn't dry instantly (and maybe not 100% permanently), but it's tacky enough that you don't have to hold it long.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 23:40

3 Answers 3


Given your criteria the glue I would think should be tried to see if it fits your needs is cyanoacrylate glue, or CA glue. This can be commonly refereed by brand names like Super glue or Krazy glue as well. They are advertised and being very versatile when it comes to applicable mediums and have very fast drying times.

Looking at one brands technical specifications as a base line we can see that it

Dries in 10-45 seconds, no clamping required.

Most CA glues dry at or near those times as well. Careful working with the stuff as you a likely to get some on your skin and it bonds skin very easily (Recently used it to repair my glasses).

Now what you could so with this is use it as a placement glue. Using a little just to get the leaf in place so that you can continue with a longer setting glue without concern of the leaf moving.

Would clamping options apply here?

I don't know how your leaves are made nor how they touch the tree but have you tried clamping options instead of looking for a fast setting glue? Some simple like paper clips( which you can mold to conform to shape if need be) or even something like binder clips? Perhaps if you have something small and light weight to help hold the leaf in place your choice of adhesive might no longer be a concern.

  • I have considered ca glues but have worried about seapage through the paper and possibly stain it,. However, you made good points of how I could possibly use it that I have not yet considered myself. I am going to experiment using this type of glue because well, I would be an idiot to count it out without at least trying it. I suspect that in the long run a combination of glues like you suggested will probably work best. I will try this tomorrow and let you know what the results were. Thank you for inspiring me to take a second look at ca glue and the way to use it I hadn't considered. Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 8:03

FABRI-TAC Permanent Adhesive -by Beacon Adhesives has the properties you are looking for. You can find it in fabric stores.

  • 2
    Can you give some detail about the composition of the glue (e.g. its chemistry)? Not all products are available in all stores, so knowing its basic formula will let international users comparison shop in their own area :)
    – Erica
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 13:29

I find that PVA glues or Polyvinyl acetate is an all purpose, acid free adhesive for most paper projects. Also know as white glue. Quick-drying, acid-free based adhesive that keeps paper flat and dries clear. Apply with a brush.

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