things fall apart
November 21, 2005 12:54 PM   Subscribe

I need to be gluing paper to paper for long lasting results. Please help me find a glue that will not let go!

I have this hobby, I make greeting cards. Mostly I use scrapbook materials on prefolded cardstock (I used to cut my own card, but that is time consuming.) My problem is that after a few days/weeks/months depending on nothing that I can discern, things fall apart. My favorite so far is the Elmer's brand spray adhesive in the blue can. But even though I slap things together instantly, the pieces peel apart and leave my recipients with a piece of paper and some large confetti.

No glue stick has ever satisfied me, not even the Uhu. Bottle glue is gloopy and when it dries, boy it's hard as a rock, not at all as flexible as I need. I have glue pens that seem to be really effective for keeping the little flowers and small things in place, and I really like the foam dots that add dimension to stuff, but neither is practical for large surface area.

I've searched the website for paper to paper and wonder if I should bother with the 3M 77 or the Rhoplex or if anyone out there has had better luck with other stuff.

Oh, and double sided tape just lets go too, after a while.

I'm in Florida, so part of this might be the extreme humidity that I face here on the west coast. Part of it could be heat (we don't use the A/C at my house and I don't want to start) and maybe it's just that I've spent all this money amassing this hobby (which I've done for 5+ years and don't want to give up) and getting results that my friends find really professional, but long term disappointing.

Oh, and paste would be fine too, since the only difference between paste and glue is origin (plant vs. animal). Just help me stop sending out dweeby fall apart stuff.
posted by bilabial to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried rubber cement?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:00 PM on November 21, 2005

posted by Pollomacho at 1:08 PM on November 21, 2005

Have you tried Mod Podge?
posted by agregoli at 1:09 PM on November 21, 2005

As long as you are just attaching paper to paper and not plastic, then how about a heat mounted substrate? Typically for mounting photographic prints on mounting board I use Color Mount dry adhesive. Of course it helps to have a dry mount press, but an iron on cotton setting will work. Make sure you get some release paper to avoid problems.

Light Impressions also sells this PVA Glue which might also work for you.
posted by JJ86 at 1:11 PM on November 21, 2005

Bottle glue

Are you referring to rubber cement? If you haven't tried rubber (or paper) cement, you should. I swear by it and I use it for all my mounting. For extra stick, put rubber cement on both pieces of paper, allow to dry a little, then dry mount them. Everyone has their favorite fixative though. I know people who love this stuff, but it looks similar to double sided tape.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 1:15 PM on November 21, 2005

Seconding the rubber cement.
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:16 PM on November 21, 2005

Response by poster: I have tried mod podge and rubber cement. the problem I encountered with those was that they are so thick, they soak through the paper and leave it brittle or stiff, and they take too long to dry for my home hobby environment. The mucilage looks like it might have that problem, but I will order some. Just to be test it out.
posted by bilabial at 1:18 PM on November 21, 2005

I assume by "bottle glue" you mean regular, white Elmer's school glue, no?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:18 PM on November 21, 2005

Best answer: Mod Podge can be thinned with water, if it's thickness bothers you.
posted by agregoli at 1:19 PM on November 21, 2005

Response by poster: oh! oh! oh! A memory. Out of the blue!

When I was in 6th and/or 8th grade my english teacher had us make our very own books. We drew the illustrations and printed out the text on the computer. Then we cut all the peices out, and she put them through a machine that put hot wax on one side. Well, I think I remember her saying it was hot wax.

This was at Dumbarton Middle School in Baltimore, MD, if that makes any sense to anyone. If I could contact her directly to ask her what that great thing was (she brought it from home!) I would. But I live in Florida now and it's been 11 years.

I don't still have my book to know if it would have held up, but I suspect that it would. Any ideas in this vein?

The film from light impressions looks awesome, but that's pretty pricey. The 8 ounces of stuff looks like it's worth a shot.

Another problem I had with rubber cement, beyond it also separating after not a very long time, I can't move fast enough to spread it over the largest component of some of my cards, a rectangle of often flimsy paper that's about 4inches by 2 to 5 inches.

on preview, I haven't tried thinning the mod podge, and yes, bottle glue would be plain white (or the clear blue) school glue.
posted by bilabial at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2005

have you tried

posted by TheAnswer at 1:28 PM on November 21, 2005

Response by poster: The Answer, yes I have checked that site. The Uhu that they list does nothing for me, so I'm skeptical about the 3M 77, as I mentioned in the third paragraph.
posted by bilabial at 1:40 PM on November 21, 2005

Another nod for rubber cement here... spread it out real thin on both pieces of whatever you're sticking together, let dry, and you'll get a nice strong hold.

A rubber cement 'pickup' (or your finger for that matter) can remove any excess that seeps out or over the edges after it dries.

You can also get various spray adhesives that also work wonders, but this tends to be a bit messy if you don't have a proper space (and ventilation) to lay out some newspapers to deal with the excess spray.
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:48 PM on November 21, 2005

Oops, to clarify my answer (and to ape Uncle Glendinning), let the two sides dry a bit before sticking them together.
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:49 PM on November 21, 2005

I use rubber cement for the exact same purposes you described, bilabial. I've been making a bunch of greeting cards from scraps of paper on pre-cut and scored cardstock. At first I was using a spray equivalent to Super77 which worked fine except that if sprayed too thick would soak through certain papers and overspray on fine details. I also use Aileene's (sp?) white glue which I spread on with a brush or finger. that seems to hold just fine. Modge Podge should also work for more dimensional object. If you do go with the cement, just remember to coat both sides with it and let them dry for a bit. I have never had a problem with the bond between 2 pieces of paper with rubber cement in any environment. Just don't get some of the cheaper brands of rubber cemebt they tend to be too thick. A good rubber cement should be very thin and flexible.
posted by rodz at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2005

Have you ever tried Yes! Paste? I like it for paper crafts, and even though it is a thick paste in the jar, you can thin it to any consistancy you like. Another one I like is called Perfect Paper Adhesive, but I can't remember who makes it.

I'd have to disagree with people recommending rubber cement. It isn't meant for permanant bonding, and is horribly acidic. And Mod Podge would be a bad choice in your humid environment, as it might not dry out and cure completely. Every time I've used it the end result has always been poor, with the object sticking to everything it touches, even after several years.

One thing I do know is that for most glues, the end quality is in the method of application, not so much the glue. Despite their handy "applicator tips," liquid glues should never be applied directly from the bottle. Using a brush or a spare bit of stiff cardboard to plane it on works far better for paper to paper application. If you live anywhere near a scrapbooking shop, they are an excellent resource for glues and techniques - especially since the owners are usually crafting freaks too!

(You probably know all of this, having made cards for so long, but I thought that is all needed to be said.)
posted by monopas at 2:16 PM on November 21, 2005

Best answer: 3m 77 is good stuff, I'd give it a try. I've used it commercially for attaching felt to steel, it's essentially permanent. If not strong enough 3M 90 will do the job (I've used it to glue laminates to MDF for countertops). 90 is a pain though because you have to coat both surfaces so if 77 will work (which I think it will) your better off with it. At C$15 for a good size can it's worth a try.
posted by Mitheral at 2:20 PM on November 21, 2005

Definitely rubber cement. The 2-coat method.
Barring that, use 3M PhotoMount (not SprayMount) PhotoMount is much stronger and permanent, being formulated for mounting photos to backings.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:18 PM on November 21, 2005

Mucilage dries hard and brittle, so I don't think it's what bilabial wants.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2005

PS: Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the “craft-approach” page for the Perfect Paper Adhesive demo.
posted by dpcoffin at 11:22 PM on November 21, 2005

Response by poster: dpcoffin, have you tried that Lectrostik waxer? Or any other waxer? That doesn't ring a bell as far as looks go, but I'm glad to know that it wasn't just my imagination that a product like this had been used before.

I think I might buy that just because it looks like fun, but I'd really, really like to know if anyone here has had experience with it.

Thanks everybody for the links and suggestions.
posted by bilabial at 6:32 AM on November 22, 2005

I haven’t tried the waxer, but I’ve seen graphics folks using a bigger version; it was kinda fiddly (long warm-up times, just being electric in the first place) and the waxing station was kinda funky and wax-splashed (but this was in a high-production office setting). The biggest advantage to it as I recall is that the waxed pieces are easily repositionable until burnished down hard. But I don’t know about longevity of the bond; the purpose was for making photo-ready graphic layouts, not archival final art.
Also, this is definitely an obsolete technology, since layout is now done almost exclusively by computer. So I’d hate to discover I loved it, only to have all the suppliers stop making the wax...
posted by dpcoffin at 11:23 AM on November 22, 2005

Rubber cement is not archival friendly. If you specifically want archival qualities then do not use it.
posted by JJ86 at 2:03 PM on November 22, 2005

Response by poster: Coming back to the game a little late, but I've since talked to a friend who is a scrapbooker. She says it's a pretty common problem, these papers separating from each other and that she hasn't been able to get a scrapbook page to have a super longevity.

Thanks all for the suggestions.
posted by bilabial at 5:17 AM on December 10, 2005

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