The best glue for card: ask our experts


Found yourself in a sticky situation with your cardmaking? We've got all the ultimate adhesive advice to help you find the best glue for your cards!

We've all been there, you've spent hours delicately crafting the most intricate embellishments for your precisely folded card, you go for the glue to attach your intricate papercraft embellishment to the card front and it won't stick. Cue the five stages of a cardmaking breakdown:

frustrated crafter

  1. Denial

    "It's okay, it's not really not sticking, I just have to keep trying. There's no problem here, everything is fine!"
     
  2. Anger

    "Stupid, useless glue, why are you sticking to me and not the card?!?!"
     
  3. Bargaining

    “Now come on glue, how about I talk to you nicely and you can try sticking properly this time?"
     
  4. Sadness

    "I'll never make another card again! Why is there glitter in my tears?"
     
  5. Acceptance

    "Perhaps it was fate. Maybe I should just start again..."

Don't worry, with MC&P's expert advice, you'll never have to go through adhesive anxiety again! 

The best glue for card

Silicone glue

This type of glue is one of the most popular adhesives used in cardmaking. Most tubes come with a fine, pointed plastic nib that's ideal for accurate application. Silicone glue dries reasonably quickly and creates a permanent adhesive bond. If you don't want to use glue that contains silicon or can't, you can get 3D glue which is silicon free.

Best glue for:

  • General adhesive needs
  • Attaching delicate embellishments that need accurate adhesive application
  • Decoupage and mosaic work

Avoid using on:

  • Projects with damp or 'dirty' surfaces (e.g. cards with distressed elements)

Tacky glue

Another very popular type of glue for card makers, tacky glue has been a staple for papercrafters for generations. If your parents and grandparents are crafters, chances are they're big fans of tacky glue too! It's a flexible adhesive once dry and it dries clear, so tacky glue is ideal for a plethora of papercraft projects. It's not the fastest drying glue for card on the market, however you can get quick-dry versions if you're in a hurry. One of the most popular brands is Collall, a solvent-based, all-purpose adhesive. 

Best glue for:

  • Paper, felt, plastic, wood, metal, glass, china, Styrofoam and fabric
  • Projects where the glue might be visible
  • Add a little water for decoupage work

Avoid using on:

  • Delicate embellishments - it's a thick glue so can be a little overwhelming

Mounting adhesive

mounting adhesive

This fairly new type of glue for card comes as a spray in a can and is really useful for large scale projects. This handy spray can be used on all kinds of surfaces from rubber to paper and even fabrics. It's also good for mounting stamps that you're not 100% sure on your positioning, as the spray is designed to allow you to move your stamps around before deciding on their final position. 

Best adhesive for:

  • Large projects with lots of matting and layering
  • Unmounted stamps that need moving around before final positioning
  • Most cardmaking materials - including fabric and even rubber

Avoid using on:

  • Large and heavy embellishments

Hot glue

hot glue gun

If you're a keen hobbyist or papercraft for a living, you will most likely own a hot glue gun. This tool is essential for using hot glue, as the gun regulates the consistency of the glue and helps guide the application of your adhesive. Hot glue is best used to adhere heavier items to your cards. It's one of the strongest types of glue on the market, as the process of the hot liquid glue cooling to a solid creates a solid bond that is difficult to break, although it can be cracked quite easily. 

Best glue for:

  • Attaching ribbon to card
  • Attaching fabric to card
  • Heavier accessories and embellishments (charms, buttons, wooden elements, artificial flowers, etc.)

Avoid using on:

  • Parts of projects that need to bend and flex, as this could crack the bond

Glue stick

glue stick

A staple element of any crafter's stash, a good old fashioned glue stick comes in handy to use across a variety of hobbies and materials. In papercrafting, a glue stick can be really useful if you're in a hurry, covering large areas with an adhesive layer for a variety of small embellishments.  A glue stick is also ideal for sticking card and paper elements together.

Best glue for:

  • Smaller embellishments (sequins, beads, glitter, etc.)
  • Fixing different bits of card and paper together
  • Children's crafts - not too messy!

Avoid using on:

  • Porous materials (e.g. acetate)
  • Area that need heavy use of adhesives - pressing a glue stick too hard can leave lumps and ruin your card

Super glue

super glue

Only use super glue on your crafts if you're feeling brave and are not prone to sticking things to yourself! If you're trying to adhere heavy elements to your card or expect your papercraft project to end up battling gravity, super glue is one step up from hot glue in terms of adhesive strength. 

Best glue for:

  • Large and heavy papercraft projects (calendars, wall art, scrapbooking, etc.)
  • Mixed media projects with heavier embellishments (charms, buttons, etc.)

Avoid using on:

  • Smaller embellishments and projects, to avoid sticking elements together that shouldn't go together, or soaking through your card
  • Yourself!

PVA glue

PVA glue

This is the most versatile type of adhesive and can be used across almost all basic crafty projects. PVA glue starts white and dries clear, so it's not the end of the world if you're a bit of a messy sticker! This type of glue is also water soluble which, if you're careful, means you can thin it out for projects that require a lighter glue.  

Best glue for:

  • Basic papercraft projects (including paper, card, wood, fabric, etc.)
  • Children's crafts (just keep an eye on the bottle!)
  • Papermache (just be careful not to add too much water)
  • Decoupage (again, dilute with caution)

Avoid using on:

  • Projects where you need to see through the glue (although some craft shops do have clear PVA glue in its liquid form)
  • Projects that might need a lot of adhesive, as too much PVA can warp paper and card

Glue pen

glue pen

These are ideal for adding smaller embellishments with precision and come in a variety of sizes to best suit your project.

Best glue for:

  • Small papercraft projects and embellishments (glitter, sequins, etc.)
  • Projects that don't need to be mobile or flexible

Avoid using on:

  • Projects with large and heavy embellishments and elements
  • Large sections of card/paper to stick them together, as a glue pen's adhesive isn't that strong

Mod Podge

Mod podge

This delightfully named water-based sealant is lauded by many papercrafters as an ideal adhesive. It's all purpose, quick-drying and non-toxic, so perfect for crafting with the kids and easy to clean up if there are any spillages. Plus, because it's primarily a sealant, it can make colours more vibrant if painted over them like a varnish, sealing the colours onto your papercraft project at the same time. It comes in several varieties, including gloss, matte and satin, so choose carefully depending on your preferred finish.

Best glue for:

  • Wood, canvas, tin, metal, etc.
  • Decoupage, paper, card, etc.
  • Projects that will be displayed in a 'high traffic' area or handled frequently

Avoid using on:

  • Projects requiring precise adhesive application, as you will normally use a glue stick or brush to apply Mod Podge

Double-sided tape

double sided tape

We know this is not technically a glue, but if we're talking adhesives, we've got to mention this incredibly handy tool! Double-sided tape is ideal for projects where you don't want to risk making a mess and know that your elements will cover up the tape. Although it is see-through, upon close inspection any misplaced double-sided tape will be quite obvious. Look out for red-backed double-sided tape as this is ultra clear. 

Best glue for:

  • Larger, lighter embellishments (small toppers, images, paper layering, paper flowers, etc.)
  • Children's crafts - less mess!

Avoid using on:

  • Heavy embellishments and elements that don't cover up the tape (charms, buttons, etc.)
  • Any project you might want to move elements after sticking down, as adhesive tape is hard to remove subtly

Low tack tape

Low tack tape

If you're looking for an adhesive that's only semi-permanent, low-tack tape is used by quite a lot of card makers to help with sticking elements that don't need to stay in one place forever. It generally peels away gently and neatly, leaving no marks and helping you separate areas of your card art if you're embossing, spray painting etc. 

Best glue for:

  • Die-cutting projects
  • Separating areas of projects without leaving residue
  • Semi-permanent sticking

Avoid using on:

  • Anything that needs to be stuck down permanently

Double-sided sheets

These clever little creations are brilliant for creating backgrounds, embellishing your die-cutting and so much more. Easy to cut to size or use a punch to create your desired shape, simply stick down one side and embellish the other with whatever you please.

Best for:

  • Die-cutting projects with embellishments
  • Projects using glitter, small beads, etc.

Avoid using on:

  • Large and heavy embellishments as the sheets are not as strong as proper glue

Glue dots

These fabulous little adhesive dots are incredibly handy for quick crafts and smaller projects. They are normally slightly raised, so can add a small element of depth to your cards. They're so easy to apply and you don't have to wait for them to dry, the adherence is instant. Great for paper and card, they are even strong enough to hold small wooden or plastic shapes. Simple, precise and mess free!

Best glue for:

  • All types of card and paper
  • Small embellishments (wooden shapes, plastic shapes, beads, etc.)

Avoid using on:

  • Heavy embellishments
  • Papercraft projects that may be moved around a lot

Foam pads

foam pads

We love a foam pad or two here at MC&P (have you noticed?), so we just had to mention them here! Whilst we know that foam pads aren't technically a type of glue, they are an essential adhesive element to have in your craft stash, especially if you like to add depth and raised elements to your cards.

Best glue for:

  • Creating raised card elements (toppers, large flowers, sentiments, etc.)

Avoid using on:

  • Small elements and embellishments that won't hide the foam pad

Glitter glue

Glitter glue

While glitter glue is not actually an adhesive glue, it is a wonderfully versatile material to decorate cards with. Glitter glue comes in a variety of shapes and sizes for different desired effects and applications, including pens, bottles and even hot melt sticks.

Best for:

  • Decorative papercraft purposes
  • Projects with kids - lots of fun for them and you!

Avoid using on:

  • Anything large that needs adhering to a project - stick to proper glue for this

Washi tape

Washi tape

Our final entry is definitely not strictly a type of glue, however washi tape is technically an adhesive and they're just so gorgeous and on-trend, we couldn't not include them! Ideal for a huge variety of papercraft projects, washi tape lets you add perfect detailing to a huge range of projects, helping you add patterns and colour easily and instantly.

Best for:

  • Decorative papercraft purposes
  • Projects with kids - just don't expect them to stick to your ideal design!

Avoid using on:

  • Anything large that needs adhering to a project - stick to proper glue for this

Did you know there were so many different types of adhesive out there for papercraft? You should now be an expert on the best glue for cards big and small, light and intricate or heavily embellished! 

Want to learn more top tips and tricks to use when making cards? Check out our article on complementary colours and see how you can bring out the best in your papercraft!