Card Making Adhesives and Glues

You will find, or already know, how important an item adhesive or glue is in your card making kit. However, you will probably also know how many different glues there are out there. Finding an adhesive you are comfortable with and that works best for the projects you are undertaking can be a long process. Just knowing what glue is suitable or what it is designed for can be tricky.  So this guide should go a long way to helping you understand all the different types of glue and adhesives and their applications. 

Choosing a Glue

  • PVA – is the most well known and probably most versatile adhesive available. Also know as white glue, which may ring bells from your time at school. It’s name comes from its colour, white, which then dries to become transparent. PVA forms the basis of many other glues, including wood and washable fabric glues. When using PVA for card glueing you may finding applying it with a cotton bud or small wooden stick easier. Pouring some of the PVA onto some scrap card first makes this even simpler. PVA is almost certainly the most useful glue you can have for both card making and general crafting. It is by far and away the best glue for paper to cardboard and paper to paper.
  • Glue Sticks – everyone will have used one of these at some point. Although you may think of them as a child’s tool they are actually perfect for card making projects. They work brilliantly for sticking paper, embossing powder and glitter to card or paper. You can even get fine tipped glue sticks for the more intricate glueing – beads and sequins for example.
  • Glitter Glue – clear glue that contains coloured glitter. Can be used to attach acetate decoratively and are great for kids to use. Very easy to use. Make sure to use thin coats though to avoid any paper crinkling.
  • Spray Glues & Adhesives – be careful with spray adhesive as you will want to avoid and cut down on any inhalation. It is useful for attaching tissue paper and fabrics though. Follow the instructions carefully and fully when using it and keep the area well ventilated.
  • Silicone Glue – used in 3D decoupage. Helps to create the layered look. A very durable and solid glue but will not run off card so be careful not to spill any.
  • Sticky tape – very basic but easy to use. Available as double sided as well as in different widths.
  • Glue dots – self explanatory really. Small dots of glue that you use to stick down small items such as ribbons or bows. They come in pretty much every size you could want.
  • Foam Pads/Squares – these are perfect for layering, matting and decoupage. They come in double sided and are self adhesive and in every shape or size you could want.
  • Glue Pens – not to be confused with glue guns. These are smaller, less powerful glue pens designed to be perfect for crafting and card making. They tend to be best for heavier/3d embellishments such as plastic charms and artificial flowers.
  • Fabric Glue – as the name suggests this is the best fabric glue and holds fabric to fabric together with a very strong bond. It can even withstand being washed!

Tips and Using Glues

PVA: has a tendency to pucker the paper, so keep that in mind when using it. You will also have to give it some time to fully dry before you can carry on making. Some of the disadvantages of PVA glue are that it isn’t water resistant, plus it will struggle under more extreme temperatures. It is also a little limited in the materials it can be used with.

Sticky tape: Double sided tape offers good options because of the different range of sizes it comes in and the fact that there is no mess from it. However you need to be mindful of the fact that once you’ve stuck your paper down, that’s it. Theres no coming back! So you better make sure you get it just right the first time.

Quick Tip!

If you are worried about making a mistake and it being permanent, use a wet glue as it will be much easier to re-position any of those mistakes or mishaps.

Spray adhesives can also sometimes allow you to remove the paper you have stuck down and reposition it if you aren’t happy. This will depend on which spray glue you are using though.

Foam Pads: Use these to give each layer or mat a separate level. You can also use the pads to create 3D effects by raising your toppers or in decoupage.

Glue Pens: some people swear by them for all their card making whereas others prefer to use them for specific parts. Card making glue pensThey are great for making words all glittery (just go over the outline and then sprinkle on the glitter) or adding gemstones.

The best thing to do though is try out the different glues and adhesives and find which one suits you most. You’ll find most crafter’s and card makers have an entire room full of adhesives!


Always consult the instructions or guidelines provided on the packaging or bottle of the glue you choose to use. Not doing so could result in damage or injury to yourself. Never let children glue unsupervised and ensure that the glue they are using is considered suitable for them. 

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