Staples and tape and glue, oh my no!
December 20, 2007 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Alternatives to staples, paper, glue etc for paper fastening in crafts and papercraft?

I've been playing around with a little paper based crafts recently, especially structural and 3d stuff and while staples and tape have their place it's not the prettiet. I would like to do a few more "classy" versions and am looking for alternatives.

I looked at metal rivets/eyelets, but they appear to require that the tool has access to a flat surface for the punching, I haven't seen any tools that work from both sides?

I am looking for as varied options as possible, the more discreet the better, and am open to "magic" solutions like staple-free-staplers etc as long as they are strong, non-fugly and can get into nooks and crannys (unlike these giants).

I am eurobased and so don't have access to specific brick-n-mortar stores. Thanks in advance for any tips adn suggestions!
posted by Iteki to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Needle and thread.

Brads - these small ones appear to be for scrapbooking.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:32 PM on December 20, 2007

A whole world of brads - who knew?
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:34 PM on December 20, 2007

Best answer: I've got an eyelet setter which is kind of like a pair of pliers. Basically you squeeze the eyelet together using both sides of the tool. Unfortunately it only sets quite large eyelets (the kind you might use on leather, rather than say a delicate piece of card or vellum). It's also not very good - I can't seem to get sufficient pressure to set the eyelet correctly.

Have you thought about brads? They used to be known (in the UK at least) as paper fasteners which were used in an office environment, but they're pretty and cute these days. Just search for "mini-brads" or "brads for scrapbooking". The advantage with brads is that you don't need any special tools and a hole isn't usually necessary; a small slit should do it. You could always try to integrate these into your work (ie make them a design feature).

Another possibility is to try a glue gun. I've given up on mine because I ended up spraying hot glue all over my forearms, more through user kack-handedness it has to be said than product defect.

Double sided tape? Glue dots?
posted by car01 at 1:38 PM on December 20, 2007

stapleless stapler?
posted by edgeways at 1:39 PM on December 20, 2007

This probably isn't *quite* the answer you are looking for but...
Here's an art project I did in school:
Find 100 unique items, like straws, yarn, pencils etc. and fasten them together with each bond different than the others, like glue, tape, chewing gum. Somewhere around 50 you'll really be racking your brain for ways to put things together. This will get you a ton of great ideas and be good practice to get your creative juices flowing.
posted by idiotfactory at 1:43 PM on December 20, 2007

Not sure what kind of strength you need, but there's always Super 77.
posted by kpmcguire at 1:52 PM on December 20, 2007

For fairly professional-looking results, you're best off using PVA glue (aka bookbinder's glue) with cardstock or other heavy-weight paper. This is the stuff you're supposed to use if you need to repair a book and I've achieved some very professional-looking results with it. For best results, buy a set of synthetic brushes and use those to paint the glue on - but be careful to never leave the glue on, or else you've just ruined some perfectly good brushes.

...but, you didn't ask for glue, so you could purchase some awls and some linen thread. Take a look at Japanese stab binding. I'll bet you can get creative and stitch papers together to form corners and curves instead of side-binding, and you'll get some pretty nifty patterns to boot.
posted by reebear at 2:17 PM on December 20, 2007

Along the same vein as Japanese stab binding, you can use a hole punch to punch holes in the papers and then tie them together with decorative ribbon, embroidery floss (comes in all kinds of colors) or even shoelaces. Linen thread is very strong but not as decorative, though you can weave beads into the presentation for added aesthetics.
posted by misha at 2:31 PM on December 20, 2007

Response by poster: You learn so much new vocabulary when you do an askme!
Thanks everyone so far, lots of suggestions :) Feel free to keep them coming.

Needle and thread solutions sound beautiful, but more labour intensive than what I am out after here I think, and the zipties is ingenous if I am doing a large scale project at some point! I think car01 has the best idea of what I am going for here, a pliers-style eyelet setter (new word!) sounds perfect, or indeed those glue-dots (new word!) for real lazy days.
I am unfortunately terrified of brads (new word!) due to many craft related accidents with them as a child.
posted by Iteki at 3:31 PM on December 20, 2007

This is totally the question I should have asked! But if you want a list of glue and paste suggestions from 2 years ago, check this out.

To add a suggestion that might not help you in particular, but how about attaching paper to paper with sewing pins or something else that isn't obvious and so would be...interesting?
posted by bilabial at 3:45 PM on December 21, 2007

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