A Look Into The World of Adhesives

Are you confused when it comes to choosing adhesives? Today there is such a wide variety of adhesives, unlike the days of choosing tape squares or glue. This post will provide you with information to help you chose what works best for you.


Nowadays the “rage” is the ATG gun as seen in this photo. The ATG gun that crafters are now using is the same ATG that framing companies use–believe it or not. Knowing this gives me a sense of security because if it holds professional pictures together, than I know it will hold my cards and scrapbook layouts together.

I recently purchased this item and now I wonder how in the world I ever did without it–but not everyone would agree. This item is bulky, and many find it too heavy and cumbersome. In other words, a nuisance. I held off purchasing this item because I read that it was too bulky. When my girlfriend was ordering her refills, she asked if I want to order a tape gun, so I caved in. This is why I like my ATG gun:

  • Bond gives a professional finish.
  • The bond is permanent and will not unglued like tape squares.
  • Tape guns and rolls come in a variety of sizes. I use the 1/4″ tape refill.
  • Cost effective. Refills are as cheap as $2 (and as high as $5-$7).
  • Rolls of tape are large, thus refilling is not as regular as with smaller hand held dispensers.
  • Tape runs over top of bulky items and adheres without trouble. Brads no longer cause a problem.
  • Refills come in archival quality.

To see the ATG gun in action, watch this You Tube video. There are many places to purchase the ATG gun and refills. Here is where I purchased mine.

Tape Squares

One of the original methods of adhering photos and paper in scrapbook layouts is still around and shows no signs of going away. Prior to my ATG gun purchase, this is what I used. Tape squares are quick and easy to use. The downside is that over time the tape squares come apart on cards (albeit a long time down the road, but if you are creating cards and know someone is holding onto them this can be a disadvantage). Tape squares work beautifully with scrapbook layouts and offer a life-time adhesive bond. They are archival safe.

Tape Runners

This hand held adhesive is loved by so many. It is not bulky and gives a beautiful permanent bond. Personally, I have a hard time using the tape runner because I run the tape off the track and end up throwing out the runner after only one or two uses. Apparently there is a trick to the way you have to hold this gun. Aside from my problems, many use it and love it.

Glue Stick

Personally, I see no advantage to using a glue stick. Items eventually come unglued. Items do not have a professional finish. Once the glue has dried, cardstock bends and buckles, and images fall off of the cardstock.

Double-Sided Glue Pen

This a fabulous way to glue small pieces together. The glue goes on blue and dries clear. If you adhere when the glue is still blue, than it offers a permanent bond. If you wait for the glue to turn clear, or white, then you can move your piece around until you are happy with the placement. I keep one of these on hand at all times.

Glue Pen

Glue pens are pens that have a clear glue in them. These pens are fabulous to have on hand for the teeny tiny items that need glue. My girlfriend introduced them to me (thanks Christie) and I know wonder how I ever did without it.

There are other adhesives around, but these are the main ones that card makers and scrapbookers use. Each one has their advantages and disadvantages. You will find what works best for you.

Questions you want me to answer? Let me know and I will help you out.

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Posted on : Aug 02 2008
Posted under Tips & Tricks |

8 People have left comments on this post

Aug 2, 2008 - 07:08:47
CraftyLyra said:

Great post! I have to defend the glue stick, however, LOL. I LURVED my 3M craft stick (large size), because I could take a strip of paper and rub it over the top (I’m using past tense because I used it up!). I haven’t had any problems with curling or unsticking (yet…), and usually if I don’t get a professional finish it is ALL user error (sometimes I am not a very good perfectionist).

I also love scrapbooking tape. That’s probably my favorite (partially because it is the least messy). I haven’t checked the toxicity of it though, so I may have to stop using it. 🙁

I hear you about the tape runners. I THINK I’ve finally got the hang of it, but my problem is that the adhesive tends to gunk around the edges of the applier.

Again, thanks for the wonderful post!

Aug 2, 2008 - 07:08:32
Kim H said:

I :heart: my ATG gun too! I think it is a must have! For vintage papers though you need a glue pen or glue stick since the paper is so thin! Most of the time though I use gel medium with my vintage papers!

Aug 2, 2008 - 08:08:46
Velta said:

Hey Beth ~ I have this ATC glue gun and it is the “MAC DADDY” of all glue guns…I am with you, it is one of my favorites for all of the reasons you stated!

Aug 2, 2008 - 08:08:16
Velta said:


Aug 2, 2008 - 11:08:26
Laurie Hunt said:

Hi Beth, Just wanted to chime in on the ATG. I too resisted it because I couldn’t figure out how something so ginormous could be easy to use especially on small items. How wrong was I to wait! I love this gun. I agree with all of your reasons and just wanted to add one more. For me I can’t believe how well balanced this tool is. I thought it would be hard to control around tight corners and such, but it isn’t. It is so easy to use. Love it (did I already say that?) I do especially like how long the adhesive lasts without having to be changed.

Aug 3, 2008 - 05:08:12
Stacy A said:

I actually use the ATG tape without the gun. I read somewhere awhile back (maybe on Scrapjazz?) about someone who did that because they couldn’t afford the gun, and it actually works! Took me a little while to get the hang of it, but it’s super easy … a little more time consuming than using the gun, I’m sure, but since I just keep spending money on rubber stamps and paper and never seem to have enough money for the practical things like tape guns, it’ll do for now.

I totally agree that it is AWESOME adhesive. Sticks like crazy (so you’d better be sure of what you’re adhering!), even heavy layers made with thick techniques. I sell my cards, so I don’t want them falling apart on the people who buy them. I have no worries with the ATC tape!

Jul 25, 2009 - 06:07:04
Sueann said:

I used to love my atg gun; now, I like it; when using it, the tape constantly rolls off the little white wheel, so I have to stop, open the gun, fiddle & away I go, for a few more feet of rolling, then I repeat the first steps, *again, & again*! Oh how frustrated I get—-any suggestions, by anyone? I’ve made numerous emails to where I purchased it; NO reply…HHHMMM…

{ Mar 2, 2010 - 09:03:31 } glue dispensers - StartTags.com

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