I get this question ALL the time. I still remember my first time stamping. My demonstrator showed me how to use SNAIL. I was amazed that I could make cards without getting my hands dirty!! Nowadays I don’t limit myself to just one type of adhesive. I use them all! They all have some advantages and since I don’t want my special cards or paper crafts to fall apart, it’s important to use the best tool for the job.
SNAIL Permanent Adhesive. This is the standard adhesive used for general card making. As mentioned above, it isn’t liquid so your hands stay nice and clean when using it. It is also strong enough to keep paper together. A little while back, Stampin’ Up! improved this great product. I love the new version. It flows effortlessly and the adhesive seems even stronger to me. Refills are available, which saves $$$ and our environment.
Tombow Liquid Multipurpose Glue. I loooove this glue. My 6 year old loves this glue. My customers love this glue. It is STRONG. If you use it with a light hand, it is one of the cheapest adhesives available. Most papercrafters use this glue when they need an extra strong bond. It is great adhering 3-D projects and all kinds of little embellishments such as buttons or tiny paper flowers. However, if you are like me, you can also use it in place of SNAIL as a general adhesive. The advantages are that 1) it can be cheaper if you use it sparingly (which you want to do. You don’t want gobs of glue on your card, 2) it is a very strong adhesive, 3) if you glue something down and need to shimmy it around a bit, you can do so. This glue has a fine tip and a large tip. I recommend using the fine tip so you can control how much you use.
2-Way Glue Pen. 2-way glue is an unsung hero in the world of adhesive. I am ALWAYS using it. This is probably because it is great for glitter and y’all know, I can’t create a card without sparkle. The other BIG advantage of this glue is that once it dries, it is repositionable. This feature is ideal for clear mount stamps. Before I discovered this trick, my clear mount stamps used to fall off the acrylic blocks. Now I put some 2-way glue on the stamps, let them dry for about 15 minutes, and then forever more, they mount perfectly. I also use this glue to adhere small, light objects to cards, such as flowers. I am still on the same 2-way pen I bought years ago. I will let you know if it ever dries out . . . but don’t hold your breath.
Glue dots. Glue dots are VERY sticky. They are ideal for adhering buttons or other heavier objects to a card. They aren’t wet so unlike Tombow, you won’t get your hands sticky. I use them for 3-D projects, too. The drawback is that they are small, so on larger items you may need more then one. These are definitely a must-have in your arsenal.
Sticky Strip. Sticky Strip is great for making 3-D items since it is a STRONG adhesive. If you use this product, your project will not fall apart. The advantage of Sticky Strip over Tombow is that 1) your hands won’t get dirty, and 2) you don’t need to wait for it to dry. Tombow holds 3-D projects together nicely, but I find that I have to hold the project in place while it dries, which can be time consuming. The only drawback of sticky strip is that it can be difficult to take off the backing. For that reason, if drying time isn’t an issue, I use Tombow. Otherwise, I turn to my trusted Sticky Strip.
Note that Stampin’ Up! now offers a new product called Fast Fuse. I am excited to try it! It seems as easy to use as SNAIL, yet it is a stronger adhesive. Must remember to add it to my next order.
I hope this post helped clear up the adhesive mystery. Each adhesive has its place and purpose. If you are just starting out, I recommend starting with Tombow because it can do everything.