As a papercrafter, I go through an obscene amount of liquid adhesive. Mini albums, scrapbook layouts, cards, home decor projects, mixed media art, canvas art… the list goes on and on. And even if the project I am working on uses mainly a double-sided tape, I still use liquid adhesive for embellishments and to help secure the taped areas. And papercrafters generally have lots of variety when it comes to basically everything in their craft space – lots of brands of paper, lots of brands of punches, stamps, storage containers… we love it all.
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After many years of papercrafting, I have found several favorite brands of liquid adhesive, ones I use often. Art Glitter Glue and Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive by Tonic in my opinion, are outstanding brands. The Art Glitter Glue comes in a variety of sizes and even has a giant refill bottle. It dries fast and strong. I tend to reach for this glue when I am scrapbooking or making mini-albums. I also like the tiny pin-hole nozzle tip that you can buy for the top of the bottle.
Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive by Tonic is also a super-strong liquid glue, and it’s a little thicker than the Art Glitter Glue. I tend to reach for this more when I am cardmaking; one little dot is perfect for a paper accent, a sequin, a button, or something like that. One bottle lasts a long time, too.
For one-layer cards and general cardmaking, I really like the Wendy Vecchi Cardmaking Adhesive by Ranger. It dries relatively fast and tends to warp much less than generic brand all-purpose liquid adhesives or craft glues. Also, it dries clear.
Ranger Ink – Wendy Vecchi – Perfect Card Adhesive – $4.49
Now given all my favorites, why would I ever need a DIY recipe for liquid adhesive? The answer is that I just go through so much glue. Sometimes, I need an “everyday” glue, kind of like the equivalent of sweatpants. The “everyday glue” (for me) is for projects that nobody else will see, especially when I’m trying something with scrap paper first. And even though I could stock up on my favorite brands any time I want, it’s much more cost-effective for ME to make my own strong, multi-purpose liquid adhesive for the tons of experimental projects I create every single day. And I should mention that my little DIY recipe happened sort of by accident (when I had a liquid glue emergency one day). So, here’s how I make it:
I had a few little disposable plastic glue bottles on hand. They were really cheap when I got them, so when they get gunky beyond repair I just toss them out (meaning I put them in the recycle bin). I filled one about halfway with basic Elmer’s School Glue. Mind you, my husband had bought me an industrial-sized jug of this stuff months before. At the time, he paid under $15 for the entire jug. It was when all the kids were buying jugs of glue to make “slime”, so it was cheap and readily available. As a crafter, I know that Elmer’s Glue is good for school, but I can’t use that on a mini-album, for heaven’s sake. My husband doesn’t know this. He thinks “glue is glue”. It’s not.
It can be a little challenging to get the glue from the giant jug into the little disposable glue bottle. So, I keep a regular, school-glue sized bottle nearby. I fill that from the big jug, and then I fill the small bottle from the regular-sized bottle. I can squeeze it right into the small bottle with the school-glue tip with no mess.
Then, I add a few big globs of matte gel medium. Now, matte gel medium is what I use for mixed media projects, home decor projects, canvas art, trinket tins, and that kind of thing. It’s really thick and strong and holds metal to metal without a problem. I keep matte gel medium on hand all the time, and I realize that this isn’t a “common” staple in the craft rooms of scrapbookers and cardmakers, necessarily. But matte gel medium is really REALLY nice to have in your stash and I recommend getting yourself a jar.
Heavy Matte Gel by Liquitex runs about $11 and up to $15 or so (retail) for a 8 ounce jar. I usually use a 40% coupon and get a jar for almost half price.
3D Matte Gel by Prima runs a little more, about $15 retail for an 8 ounce jar. You can use a gift card or coupon code to save money. I usually add a jar with my online orders to make the minimum cutoff price for free shipping. Scrapbook.com often has sales and deals, and they tend to keep 3D Matte Gel Medium on hand. If you do a lot of mixed media projects, this is definitely the one to have.
After filling up the little disposable bottle halfway with Elmer’s and adding two or three big blobs of matte gel medium, then I fill the remaining space with Mod Podge. Are you surprised? Like I said, this “recipe” happened during a “glue emergency” when I was mid-project and ran out of my Art Glitter Glue. I truly thought I had a spare bottle in my drawer, but I didn’t. And although I like using Mod Podge for decoupage, I really don’t use it otherwise. The water content is in Mod Podge is higher than I like, and it warps my papercraft projects. BUT the sealant properties in Mod Podge are perfect in my DIY recipe blend and I am guessing the heavy body of the matte gel medium balances out the high water content of the Mod Podge. Not a chemist… just guessing.
I shake up the bottle really well and that’s it! I really could make life easy on myself and mix up a larger batch in a disposable cup or something, instead of trying to blend and mix in a tiny squeeze bottle. But, I always think of that after the fact.
So, give it a try! You might have a few of these items on hand already! Thanks for looking! And don’t forget to follow the Sandpaper Road blog so you never miss a dose of crafty inspiration!