Your Complete Guide to the Best Card Making Glue!

9 minute read
Altenew glue pen being used in die-cuts and ephemera

Crafting is a delightful realm where imagination meets creation, and glue is the unsung hero that holds it all together. For crafters, especially beginners, it’s important to remember that the right glue can make or break your project.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll unravel the mysteries of crafting glue, focusing on beginners who are just stepping into the colorful world of crafting.

  • FAQs About Crafting Glue for Beginners
    • How to choose the right glue for my project?
    • Can I use crafting glue for different materials?
    • How to remove excess glue?
    • What if I make a mistake while gluing?

What Is Crafting Glue?

A crafting project made of various embellishments and die-cuts adhered by glue tape

Crafting glue, simply put, is an adhesive created for various crafting projects. Unlike industrial adhesives designed for heavy-duty applications, crafting glue is versatile, user-friendly, and tailored to the needs of crafters.

From bonding paper and fabric to wood and metal, crafting glue comes in a myriad of types and formulations, each with its unique properties and applications.

Top Crafting Glue Picks for Beginners

Altenew's 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen in sky-blue background

Crafting glue is an important piece of any crafting project, but for beginners, the array of options can be overwhelming. It’s also not one-size-fits-all—understanding the different types available and their unique properties is crucial for choosing the right one for your project. 

Here's a breakdown of the best crafting glue for beginners to simplify your crafting journey:

White Craft Glue

White craft glue is a water-based adhesive suitable for paper, cardboard, and other porous materials. It dries clear, which makes it an ideal adhesive for transparent or translucent projects. And it also offers a strong bond when fully dried.

  • Pros: Non-toxic, easy to clean up with water, and affordable.
  • Cons: Longer drying time compared to other types of glue, not suitable for non-porous materials.
A mountain scenery with a die-cut bear design, adhered using Altenew's 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen

Hot Glue

It’s a thermoplastic adhesive, which means that it melts when heated and solidifies when cooled. Hot glue provides a quick bond, which makes it suitable for various materials such as fabric, wood, and plastic. You can find hot glue in low- and high-temperature options depending on what your project needs.

  • Pros: Fast-drying, strong bond, versatile, and suitable for three-dimensional projects.
  • Cons: Not ideal for heat-sensitive materials, can cause burns if mishandled.

Glue Pen

This type of glue is extremely handy for paper crafters, especially when you need a more precise way to apply glue to your crafts! For example, Altenew’s 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen is designed to become your go-to liquid adhesive.

Altenew's 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen in white background

With its fine tip, it enables accurate application of glue, making it ideal for intricate die-cuts, small embellishments, and other detailed tasks.

  • Pros: Precise application, handy, portable. Allows repositioning of materials.
  • Cons: The container only carries a small amount of glue at a time.

Pro tip: For a permanent bond, apply and adhere while the glue is still wet. For a repositionable bond, apply on one side and wait until the glue becomes tacky before adhering.

A greeting card with a colorful background created with Altenew's dye inks and adhered with Altenew's 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen

Super Glue

Super glue is a handy adhesive, but it needs careful handling. This type of adhesive forms an instant bond when it comes into contact with moisture and is suitable for bonding various materials, including metal, plastic, and ceramics. It often comes in liquid or gel form for different application needs.

  • Pros: Quick-drying, strong bond, and suitable for small, precise projects.
  • Cons: Not ideal for porous materials, can bond skin quickly if not handled with care.

Some pro tips for handling super glue:

  1. To prevent super glue from sticking to your skin, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or lotion to your fingers before handling the glue. 
  2. Wear nitrile gloves when working with super glue to protect your hands from skin irritation or bonding
  3. If super glue gets on your skin, do not attempt to remove the glue immediately. Soak the area in warm, soapy water for 5 minutes to loosen the bond and remove the glue. You can also use petroleum jelly, hand lotion, or vegetable oils
A card with a black background and a floral focal point, adhered with Altenew's adhesive sheets

Fabric Glue

As the name suggests, this type of glue is specifically designed for bonding fabric and other textiles. It’s flexible and washable, which makes it ideal for fabric-based crafts and clothing repairs. You can find fabric glues in either permanent or temporary formulas.

  • Pros: Washable, flexible, and suitable for delicate fabrics.
  • Cons: May not provide as strong of a bond as sewing for heavy fabrics, and can leave a residue if not applied properly.

Check Out Different Types of Craft Adhesives Here!

Multi-Purpose Craft Glue

This is a versatile adhesive suitable for various materials, including paper, wood, metal, and plastic. It offers a strong bond and can be used for both indoor and outdoor projects. It also comes in different formulations—waterproof, fast-drying, and clear-drying.

  • Pros: Versatile, strong bond, and suitable for a wide range of materials.
  • Cons: May have a strong odor, and some formulas may require ventilation during use.
Altenew's 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen being used on floral die-cuts

Glue Tape

Did you know that Altenew also has a glue tape option for your adhesive needs?

The Altenew Glue Tape Set provides a convenient and efficient adhesive solution for all your paper crafting needs. They are clear, strong, and permanent adhesives in tape form, with a compact, refillable applicator. The set also comes with 3 tape refills, so you won’t have to worry about immediately running out!

Altenew's Glue Tape with refills, beside various card samples and designs

Simply pull the desired length of adhesive from the roll for quick and easy application. The strong and durable glue securely holds items in place, and it can also be used as a repositionable bond if not pressed down firmly. Even Jennifer McGuire herself loves these! Here’s a pro tip from her:

Pro Tip from Jennifer McGuire: Accidentally put the adhesive tape in the wrong spot? No worries! Effortlessly take it off by rubbing it with your hand or using an adhesive eraser.

Other Beginner-Friendly Adhesives

Sometimes, glue may not be enough. So here are some choice adhesives that you can also use:

A floral well-wishes card adhered with Ultra Sticky Double-Sided Tape

Looking for a convenient adhesive solution for your projects? Ultra Sticky Double-Sided tapes are a craft room essential for an effortless and long-lasting way to attach cardstock, embellishments, and other materials to your projects. Just cut or tear the desired length, apply it to your surface, and then remove the floral release paper!

A nature-themed thank-you card with elements adhered using Altenew's adhesive sheets

These double-sided adhesive sheets are a must-have for your craft room!

The acid-free adhesive is ideal for die-cutting and creates a permanent bond. Struggling with adding adhesives to intricate die-cuts? Simply apply the sheet before you die cut, and voila, your die-cuts have a matching adhesive backing! The whole crafting process becomes quick and effortless! 

They're also great for glitter and other embellishments, especially when you're working with a large area. Quick cards, scrapbook pages, and more with these user-friendly and cost-effective craft adhesive sheets!

A pastel-colored floral card with elevated elements courtesy of Instant Dimension Foam Tape

Say goodbye to flat, one-dimensional projects, and elevate your creations with Instant Dimension Foam Tape!

This double-sided adhesive tape has a foam layer that adds just the right amount of dimension to make your focal points stand out! Whether you’re crafting handmade cards, scrapbook layouts, journal pages, or home decor pieces, your paper crafting projects will feel more interactive and visually pleasing.

A "You are loved" floral card with elevated elements courtesy of Instant Dimension Foam Tape

Which Glue Is Best for DIY?

Tips for Using Crafting Glue Effectively

Crafting glue is a powerful tool in any crafter's arsenal, but using it effectively requires some know-how. Here are some tips to help beginners make the most of their crafting glue:

Proper surface preparation

  1. Clean the surfaces: Before applying glue, ensure that the surfaces to be bonded are clean and free from dust, dirt, and grease. This will help the glue adhere better and form a stronger bond.
  2. Roughen smooth surfaces: For smooth or non-porous materials like glass or metal, lightly sanding or roughening the surface with sandpaper can improve adhesion.
  3. Test compatibility: Before applying glue to the entire project, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure compatibility and avoid any unexpected reactions or damage.
Altenew's 2-in-1 Precision Glue Pen being used on a blue circular die-cut with the word "Winter" in flowing script

Application techniques

  1. Use the right amount: Apply the glue sparingly, using just enough to create a thin, even layer. Using too much glue can result in messy, uneven bonds and longer drying times.
  2. Work quickly: Some types of glue, such as super glue or hot glue, dry very quickly once applied. Work swiftly and confidently, ensuring that the surfaces are properly aligned before the glue sets.
  3. Consider tack time: Tack time refers to the time it takes for the glue to become sticky or tacky before bonding. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended tack time to achieve the best results.
Various card projects and designs created with die-cuts adhered by Altenew's Glue Tape

Safety precautions

  1. Use in a well-ventilated area: Some types of crafting glue emit fumes that can be harmful if inhaled. Work in a well-ventilated area or use a respirator mask to protect yourself from exposure.
  2. Avoid skin contact: Certain types of glue, such as super glue, can bond skin quickly and may cause irritation or burns. Wear gloves when handling glue and avoid touching your skin until the glue has fully cured.
  3. Clean up spills immediately: Accidents happen, but it's important to clean up glue spills promptly to prevent them from drying and causing damage to surfaces or clothing.

Cleaning and maintenance tips

  1. Clean tools and surfaces: After using glue, wipe any excess off tools and surfaces with a damp cloth to prevent buildup and ensure proper functionality.
  2. Store glue properly: Keep crafting glue tightly sealed and stored in a cool, dry place to prevent it from drying out or deteriorating prematurely.
  3. Check expiration dates: Like any other product, crafting glue has a shelf life. Check the expiration date before using old glue to ensure optimal performance and reliability.
A "Hug Me" card created with Altenew's Glue Tape

Frequently Asked Questions About Crafting Glue

1. How do I choose the right glue for my project?

First, you have to consider the materials. Different types of glue are suitable for bonding different items. Assess the materials you're working with and choose a glue that is compatible with them. The next thing to consider is the application – think about whether you need a quick-drying adhesive, a flexible bond, or a waterproof seal, and choose a glue that meets those requirements.

Finally, experiment and test. If you're unsure which glue to use, experiment with small samples or test pieces to see how different adhesives perform on your materials.

2. Can I use crafting glue for different materials?

Yes, crafting glue is designed to bond a wide range of materials, including paper, fabric, wood, metal, plastic, and more. However, it's essential to choose the right type of glue for the specific materials you're working with to ensure a strong and durable bond.

A floral greeting card adhered with Ultra Sticky Double-Sided Tape

3. How can I remove excess glue?

Depending on the type of glue used and the surfaces involved, there are several methods for removing excess glue.

  • For water-based glues like white craft glue, gently wipe away excess glue with a damp cloth before it dries completely.
  • For hot glue, carefully peel away any excess while it's still warm using a pair of tweezers or a craft knife.
  • For super glue or other cyanoacrylate adhesives, use acetone (found in nail polish remover) or a specialized adhesive remover to dissolve the glue.
A lovely "proud of you" card with a bird focal point and elevated elements courtesy of Instant Dimension Foam Tape

4. What if I make a mistake while gluing?

Mistakes happen, but there are ways to rectify them. For minor errors, such as misalignment or excess glue, carefully remove the excess with a damp cloth or scrape it away with a craft knife. 

If the bond has already been set, consider using a debonding agent or solvent specifically designed to dissolve the glue without damaging the materials. In some cases, it may be necessary to reapply the glue and adjust the positioning of the materials before allowing it to dry again.

A scrapbook page with floral designs and die cuts adhered by Altenew's Glue Pen

Discover the Best Crafting Glue for You!

Crafting glue may seem like a small item for crafting, but its significance cannot be overstated. It's the invisible bond that brings your vision to life, holding together every piece of your masterpiece with precision and care.

Adhesives from Altenew, like the Glue Pen, and the Adhesive Sheets

Remember that crafting is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Embrace the joy of experimentation, the thrill of discovery, and the satisfaction of bringing your ideas to fruition. Hopefully, this guide has equipped you with the knowledge you need to choose the right glue for any project, tackle challenges with confidence, and elevate your crafting experience to new heights

So, go forth and create with passion and purpose. Let your imagination soar, guided by the adhesive magic of crafting glue. And remember, the only limit to what you can achieve is your own creativity. Happy crafting!

Discover Where to Buy Quality Adhesives for Card Making Here!

Bonus Video: Unique Paper Crafting Ideas Using 5 Different Adhesives!


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