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I frequently make cards for my friends and family instead of purchasing them, which I very much enjoy, but the bane of my existence is gluing all the pieces together. It is always a struggle to decide which glue to use.

Note: in this context, thin paper means sketching or drawing paper, construction paper and tissue paper.

A synopsis of my glue usage:

Glue sticks leave awkward bumps unless they go on perfectly smooth (which they never do) and they eventually dry up ad stop adhering, so I don't really like using them.

Basic white craft glue is what I use the most often and I spread it thin with a popsicle stick to eliminate big soggy patches. This works really well for thicker paper like cardstock, but cannot be used for anything lighter weight

Spray glue is something I love in concept, but hate in actual applications. I find that spraying for even a second longer than you should causes the glue to soak through the paper so both sides end up super sticky... which sucks. And there is a lot of prep work (laying down newspaper or standing outside in the cold)

Hot glue does not work well when making cards because the card gets too lumpy and thick, so they don't fit well inside envelopes.

The Question:

Is there a glue that is best suited for thin paper so that it does not get soggy or lumpy?

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To be honest it sounds like you might be being a bit heavy handed with all of the adhesives you mention it is often the case with adhesives that less is more.

White glue : you will get the most control if you apply it with a brush, if you just squirt it onto the paper and then spread it around it will soak though. You could try getting some cheap nylon brushes (the flat type are best) and use the glue from a small pot rather then direct from the tube and keep a piece of scrap card to make a few strokes with the brush onto to make sure that the glue is evenly distributed on the brush and take off any excess. You only need a really thin film to get a good joint, ideally it should be thin enough to look transparent rather than white.

Spray Mount : again you only need a very light mist for it to work, try spraying from further away and just use one quick pass over the paper.

Another option is double sided tape, this tends to be a very neat and clean solution although there is a bit more effort involved in cutting it to the right shape. Usually the best approach for complex shapes is to apply it to what you want to stick before you cut it out so you cut the cutout and the tape at the same time (obviously leave the backing on the reverse side while you do this.

  • You are probably right about me being heavy handed, I always just poor it onto the paper! I had honestly never had anyone tell me not to, so thank you for the honest and easy advice! – EmRoBeau Oct 27 '16 at 17:15
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I like to use permanent photo mounts. You can cut them in half or thirds, use tweezers to apply. They are very clean and easy to use when making cards. Still looking for a glue that doesn’t bubble lightweight paper for glitter for gift tags.

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Using a brush gives you a lot of control on coverage and thickness. Using a roller(brayer) works well for thin application on large areas. It is possible to thin glue out as well. Trial and error is a great way to figure out what will work best, always have test pieces. It took me a long time to figure that out and now it saves so much time. Good luck

  • That's a really good answer for how to apply any adhesive, but doesn't help much with which adhesive to use. Do you have more specific recommendations about that? – Erica Dec 31 '18 at 23:23
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I like using the mini (3/16 in) Glue Dots from the craft store. I tried all sorts of glues and tapes and these are working fine for me attaching photos printed on thin glossy paper onto card stock. I make greeting cards this way now.

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