Adhesives From A to Z: History, Types of Adhesive, Best Adhesive for Crafts, How to Use, and More!

12 minute read

Glue, paste, tape, binder, sticker, epoxy, gum, and more. Whatever your term is for adhesives, they are universally known for one thing - sticking or binding things together. From simple paper crafts and bottle labels to automobiles and home appliances, you’d be hard-pressed to find a product around you that does not have at least one or two types of adhesive. As a crafter, though, do you find a simple stroll down the adhesives aisle a bit overwhelming? Are you simply looking for crafters glue, or do you perhaps need some waterproof adhesive? What exactly is a pressure sensitive adhesive? Find out everything you need to know about adhesives in this ultimate guide!

Adhesive for craft

I. Brief Introduction and History of Adhesives

Are you wondering about the earliest form and use of adhesive glue? It was back in the Middle Pleistocene era in Central Italy, in the form of birch-bark tar, which partially covered two stone flakes. Known for its sticky property, birch tar is known as a one-component adhesive and a plant-based adhesive. During the Middle Stone age, compound adhesives were believed to be used by early humans to stick stone segments into their ax hafts. Plant gum and red ochre were used since these were stronger than birch tar and other plant-based adhesives because they can withstand certain weather conditions. Recent discoveries by archaeologists proved that early civilizations were buried with their belongings and tools, which had traces of early kinds of adhesive glue.

Various kinds of glue were used throughout history, such as starch-based paste, animal and fish glue, egg-based paste, and tar and beeswax. The Greeks and the Romans contributed to the development and production of different kinds of adhesive. The starting point of modern adhesives was when natural rubber was used as an adhesive material in 1830. It wasn’t until 1876, though, when the Ross brothers were given the first US patent to produce casein glue. From rubber cement to natural rubber-based adhesive glue came pressure sensitive adhesives or PSA. Some examples of PSA are the widely popular Scotch tape and sticky notes.

II. Industry Updates and Trends

Removable adhesive, waterproof adhesive, liquid adhesive, and clear adhesive - so many glue options, so little time! The glue industry had definitely come a long way from when “Neanderthals produced tar from the dry distillation of birch bark for use in binding stone tools to wooden handles.” Thanks to modern technology, there have been plenty of developments in the production of both natural and synthetic glue. This stable and growing industry is forecasted to have “a turnover of almost US$50 billion for the global adhesives market,” according to Wikipedia. Moreover, the demand for spray adhesives is expected to rise, according to this article. The importance of spray adhesives was mentioned in the same article, “They are used across many packaging applications including cut out windows laminating, film laminating, bonding of folding boxes, etc.” Due to its permanent and reliable bond, as well as sustainability, this adhesive glue ensures food safety and energy efficiency.

Adhesive glue

3 Pack Glue Tape

The Use of Adhesives in Crafting

Crafting or DIY craft involves creating, making, or putting different materials and elements together. If you are a crafter, you probably have a few different types of adhesive in your crafting stash. Whether it’s a liquid adhesive or a solid adhesive, a removable adhesive or a permanent one, there is no denying that it is one of the essential tools when doing any kind of craft. Finding the best adhesives for your craft project will depend on various aspects and elements - from your preference to the type of surface used.

What is Crafters Glue?

From simple art projects in school to paper crafting hobbies such as card making and scrapbooking, craft glue is a regular supply in every home. But what exactly is a crafter’s glue? Basically, any adhesive that is quick-drying and non-industrial can be used for crafts. Here are some more characteristics of crafters glue:

  • Water-based
  • Quick-drying
  • Non-toxic
  • Non-industrial
  • Can be solid 
  • Can be liquid adhesive
  • Can be clear adhesive
  • Can be removable adhesive
  • Can be permanent adhesive

Crafters glue

2 in 1 Precision Glue Pen

How Do I Find the Best Crafters Glue?       

Traditionally, crafters glue or craft glue is essential to have on hand, especially for paper crafters. While it is relatively easy to pick a favorite paper craft glue, you need to consider a few elements. For instance, what surface and material are you using for your craft? Is it glass, paper, plastic, fabric, or wood? Crafters glue may not be the “one glue that fits all” solution that you think it is. The different formulations of adhesives should also be considered. Do you need water-based glue, hot glue, or polyurethane glue (which is the strongest craft glue)? Certain types of glue won’t hold up in different weather situations, so this is another element to consider. While they all accomplish the same thing - bonding one surface to another - each type of craft glue has a unique property and formulation. Always remember these the next time you find the best crafters glue for your bonding needs.   

Find the Best Adhesives and Crafters Glue Here!

III. Manufacturing and Materials

Typically, adhesives are organized on their reactiveness and non-reactiveness and their origin (natural or synthetic). Non-reactive adhesives are those that chemically react to harden. Vegetable starch (dextrin), natural resins, or animals are familiar sources of natural adhesive. A few examples are the milk protein casein and hide-based animal glues. Synthetic adhesive includes elastomers, thermoplastics, emulsions, and thermosets (epoxy, polyurethane, cyanoacrylate, and acrylic polymers).

  • Drying Adhesives. There are two kinds of adhesive harden by drying. One is solvent-based adhesives, which are a mixture of polymers dissolved in solvents. Examples of these are white glue, contact adhesives, and rubber cement. This type of adhesive glue hardens as the solvent evaporates. The other type of drying adhesive is polymer dispersion adhesives or emulsion adhesives. Widely used in the woodworking and packaging industries, polymer dispersion adhesives are also essential in producing fabrics and fabric-based components. Wikipedia defines polymer dispersion adhesives as “milky-white dispersions often based on polyvinyl acetate (PVAc).” A few examples of polyvinyl acetates or PVAs are school glue, white glue, wood glue, Elmer's glue, and carpenter's glue.

Sensitive Adhesive

Double-sided Adhesives Sheets (10 sheet/set)

  • Pressure Sensitive Adhesive or PSA. This adhesive works by marrying the adhesive with the adherend through the application of light pressure. A bond is formed due to the “balance between flow and resistance to flow.” The strength of this adhesive bonding is due to the adhesive being soft enough to flow to the adherend and hard enough to resist flow when stress is applied. In layman’s terms, this adhesive is self-sticking and works even without solvents or heat to activate it. 

    There are two types of pressure sensitive adhesive: removable adhesive and permanent adhesive. Most labels, such as safety labels for power equipment, use permanent adhesive bonding. The strong bond created between the permanent adhesive and the container ensures that the container label won’t be damaged. On the other hand, removable adhesive forms a temporary bond and can be removed without leaving residue on the adherend, even months or years later. Some examples are surface protection films, masking tapes, bookmark and note papers, barcode labels, price marking labels, promotional graphics materials, and the popular post-it notes. Skin contact adhesive such as wound care dressings, EKG electrodes, athletic tape, analgesic, and transdermal drug patches is also a type of removable adhesive. The only con of using this adhesive bonding is it can’t support much weight due to its low adhesion.

  • Hot Melt Adhesives. Also known as thermoplastics or hot adhesives, these are “applied in a molten form (in the 65 to 180 degrees Celsius range) which solidify on cooling to form strong bonds between a wide range of materials.” Hot melt adhesives or HMA is often in the form of “solid cylindrical sticks of various diameters designed to be applied using a hot glue gun.” The solid adhesive melts because of the heat from the glue gun, allowing the liquid adhesive to “pass through its barrel onto the material, where it solidifies.”

    Since it is easy to use and can bond a wide variety of materials, hot melt adhesives are commonly used in arts and crafts projects.

liquid adhesive

3 Pack Glue Tape

IV. Types of Adhesives For Crafting

Every crafter knows that finding the best adhesive for their crafting and bonding needs is crucial. To ensure smooth and hassle-free DIY crafting, you need to test out a few different types of glue. Remember that not all glues are created equal. What works for some crafters might not work for you. You may need to have at least a few varieties and type in your crafting stash.

Pick the Best Glue For Your Handmade Cards and DIY Crafts Now!

What are the different types of adhesives for paper crafting?

Sticking something on paper is one of the most basic steps in paper crafting. Even in simple school art projects, all you need is a type of paper, a pair of scissors, and some liquid adhesive. However, if you are looking for a more reliable and durable scrapbooking glue, paper craft glue, or any kind of adhesive bonding for your card making needs, here are some great options.


Adhesive Type



2-in-1 Glue Pen

  • Liquid adhesive
  • The fine tip allows precise application of glue.
  • It can be used for a permanent bond.
  • Can be repositionable
  • Easy and comfortable grip 
  • Travel-friendly
  • Great for putting together detailed die-cuts and intricate layering dies 
  • Bonding small embellishments
  • Perfect as a scrapbooking glue
  • Great for alphabet dies
  • Glitter and sequins application

Double-Sided Adhesive

  • Pressure sensitive adhesive
  • Permanent bond
  • Peel-away backing
  • Acid-free
  • Approximately 8 ¼ by 11 ¾ 
  • Easy storage
  • Travel-friendly
  • Lightweight paper
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • It can be used as scrapbooking glue.
  • Perfect for die-cutting delicate details
  • Great for both card making and scrapbooking

Glue Tape

  • Self-sticking adhesive
  • Compact
  • Easy to apply
  • Can be removed easily
  • Mess-free application
  • Clear adhesive
  • Strong adhesive
  • Permanent bond
  • Some variety comes in a tape dispenser.
  • Travel-friendly
  • Easy storage
  • Perfect for everyday paper crafting
  • Must-have in card making
  • Great to use as scrapbooking glue
  • Best for quick and easy applications
  • Perfect for bullet journaling
  • For decorating your planners
  • Mixed media projects

Tacky Glue

  • High viscosity
  • Clear adhesive
  • Kid-friendly
  • Some versions are fast grab; others are quick dry.
  • Not acid-free, but non-toxic
  • Liquid adhesive
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be used for fabric Paper
  • Felt 
  • Plastic
  • Great paper craft glue

Glue Dots or Foam Adhesives

  • Non-toxic
  • Acid-free
  • Mess-free
  • Contact adhesive
  • Easy storage
  • Travel-friendly
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Waterproof adhesive
  • It comes in various sizes.
  • For quick and easy applications
  • Perfect for adding dimensions to handmade cards
  • Great for adding details to scrapbooking projects
  • It can be used for DIY home decor.


paper craft glue

2 in 1 Precision Glue Pen

These are some of our recommended paper craft glue or adhesives for paper crafts. With a quick Google search, you will surely find more types of glue or tape out there that can help you with your DIY arts and crafts. Just make sure to test them out first and get something high-quality, durable, and at a reasonable price.

V. How To Use Adhesives in Paper Crafting

Whether you’re a card maker, a scrapbooker, or simply someone who enjoys creating DIY crafts, using the best adhesive is essential. There are quite a few advantages of using this binding technique compared to sewing, welding, or mechanical fastenings. For instance, it is more flexible. Since adhesive bonding can be permanent, removable, or repositionable, it allows more flexibility in the application and design. You can bond various materials together. It is more efficient, easy and convenient to use, and user-friendly. It is impossible to mess up using different types of adhesive, especially kid-friendly ones like waterproof adhesive and liquid adhesive.

waterproof adhesive

Sticky Essentials Foam Tape, Masking Paper, & Adhesive Sheets Bundle

The shelf life of a glue is one of its cons. It can degrade over time when exposed to certain weather conditions and temperatures, such as heat, oxygen, water vapor, and freezing. This affects the adhesive glue from functioning properly. This is why it’s important to read the label and store them correctly.

Adhesives in Card Making

Craft glue or paper craft glue is widely used in the world of card making and scrapbooking. From the simple act of bonding paper and cardstock together to adding die-cuts, stickers, and other embellishments on the card front - the use of glue is necessary.

handmade card

Source: Altenew Card Blog

In this handmade card, Altenew’s design team member Erum used the 2-in Precision Glue Pen to adhere fine die-cuts onto her card front. Since she used vellum paper for her floral images, she decided to use a hot glue gun to ensure that they stick properly onto the Kraft cardstock.

Floral Doodles Die Set

Source: Altenew Card Blog

For this card, Jen used a combination of the glue pen, glue tape, and foam tape to adhere the intricate die-cuts from Floral Doodles Die Set together. 

What is the best adhesive to use for card making?

In a world where everything is digital, automatic, or multi-purpose, we always seek that one thing that can do it all. If you are looking for “the one glue that fits all,” then we’re sorry for bursting your bubble. There is no such thing. Of course, you can use a glue tape or a double sided adhesive for everything. That’s up to you. However, specific surfaces and DIY projects need specific adhesive types. For instance, if you are a card maker, then it’s important to know what is the best adhesive for card making.

Foam tape adhesives for card making

Instant Dimension Foam Tape

Here are 3 of our recommended adhesives for card making:
  1. Glue tapes or tape runner - This is the best adhesive for paper crafts because it’s simply perfect for paper on paper adhesion. It can be either permanent or removable, and refillable or disposable. Most glue tapes come in their own compact dispense in varying sizes. These are one of the best and simplest adhesives for card making that you’ll find in the market today.
  2. Double sided adhesives - These come in different forms and sizes. Some companies and brands sell it in the form of a tape roll while others offer it in sheets. It is acid-free and more permanent than glue tapes. Most card makers use it for layered die-cutting, especially for sticking intricate and detailed die-cuts. These are quite sticky, especially once the backing sheet has been removed.
  3. Foam tapes (foam dots or foam squares) - If you’re a card maker who loves adding dimensions to your handmade cards, then this is for you! It comes in a variety of sizes and can either be a square or a circle. The foam dots or foam squares come in a plastic sheet and are adhered to a piece of backing sheet. It can also come in a tape roll like THIS ONE. This is perfect for achieving instant 3D or pop-up effects on cards. It’s a favorite among card makers and scrapbookers because it is super easy and convenient to use.


VI. Finding the Best Adhesives For Your Bonding Needs

With the wide variety of options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your bonding needs. Now that you’ve learned a few facts, pros, and cons about various kinds of glue, you can easily decide which ones to get the next time you go shopping for crafting supplies. Whether you need one for some simple bonding around your home or the strongest craft glue for your DIY crafts, any type of adhesive will always come in handy.

Try Adhesives On Your Paper Crafts Today!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Adhesives are widely used in almost every product around us, from simple labels, DIY crafts, school art projects, window frames, automobiles, and even medical supplies. Adhesives are also commonly used in paper crafting hobbies like card making, scrapbooking, journaling, and other DIY arts and crafts.
The best adhesives for card making are either liquid adhesive, removable adhesive, or waterproof adhesive. Pressure sensitive adhesives are also very useful and convenient to use in card making. A 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen is perfect for adding fine and intricate die-cuts and embellishments to handmade cards. 
The most common types of adhesive are liquid adhesive, clear adhesive, pressure sensitive adhesive, waterproof adhesive, removable adhesive, and crafters glue or paper craft glue.
When it comes to paper crafts, it depends on the project you’re working on. If you want quick and easy bonding, glue tapes are the best adhesives. Using a 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen is perfect for adding those delicate and subtle details for card making. While for scrapbooking, many opt for double-sided adhesives because they add dimension and are super easy to use!
The best adhesives for scrapbooking are double-sided adhesives, glue pens, and glue dots. A combination of these adhesives will make scrapbooking a breeze. The double-sided adhesives and glue dots will add dimension to your scrapbook elements. The glue pen will make attaching small embellishments and intricate die-cuts easy peasy!

Your Ultimate Guide to Paper Crafting

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