The 11 Best Glues For Paper Crafts

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For quality paper crafts that are long-lasting, you need the right glue. The best glues for paper crafting projects are acid-free to prevent yellowing and create a secure adhesive bond without damaging the integrity of the paper you’re using.

The first thing you’ll want to think about is drying time, as different glues set at varying speeds. Those who use embellishments like sequins will want to use PVA or tacky glue, which takes about 35 minutes to set and leaves time to reposition elements if necessary. Avid scrapbookers might prefer an instant-dry adhesive, like glue dots, to prevent pages and paper keepsakes from warping and buckling.

If your paper crafts include heavier materials like fabric ribbon, a hot glue gun is worth keeping in your tool box, too. But whatever you do, just make sure your glue is designed for paper—adhesives are often material-specific, and the plastic glue in your utility drawer isn’t formulated for projects like birthday cards or gift tags.

You also need the correct applicator to match the size of your materials. For gluing large surfaces, consider an aerosol spray adhesive or large glue stick, which makes it easy to get even coverage without leaving a mess. Detailed work that calls for gluing lace, glitter, or tiny scraps of paper will require a dispenser with a fine tip, or a glue pen. Collage and decoupage artists will want to look for a brush-on glue that doubles as a sealer. And for many simple projects, an all-purpose glue stick is still the best choice.

Finally, you’ll want glue with the right finish. Unless you have a confident, steady hand, look for adhesives that dry clear to hide any imperfections. Glues also range from matte to glossy, which is a major consideration when making sealed collages. Think about how you want your finished project to look before you choose a glue.

If your crafting pursuits go beyond scrapbooking, check out the 11 best glues designed for all types of paper crafts.


The Best Glue Stick

This popular all-purpose glue stick, which boasts a 4.7-star overall rating on Amazon, is designed to work on paper, fabric, and photos. The adhesive creates a permanent bond for scrapbooks and art projects that will last for years. It's also acid-free, so none of the pictures or paper mementos that touch the glue will discolor or yellow over time. The glue stick takes approximately two minutes to set, and dries clear for a clean finish. Some reviewers noted that the applicator was larger than expected, which means it will make quick work of gluing paper with wide surface areas.

One fan raved: “Wow! The adhesion to paper is excellent! Swipe, stick and seconds later it’s on for good. I’m actually going to add it to my glue cache, right next to the $6 bottle, for my other craft projects, it’s that good.”


The Best All-Purpose Tacky Glue

Aleene's Tacky Glue is a popular all-purpose crafting glue, and it boasts a glowing overall rating of 4.8 stars on Amazon. The acid-free formula comes with a squeeze tip that can be cut to size based on your needs. For thin lines of glue, cut closer to the opening; for larger areas, cut the applicator closer to the base. The white liquid glue dries in approximately 35 minutes, and the finish is semi-clear and flexible.

One fan raved: “This is by far the best glue I've ever used. And I'm such an avid [maker] of paper crafts. The consistency is great, it's not runny, it dries quickly (so not good for slow makers though), and it dries clean. And my paper crafts doesn't separate after time, the glue is great quality and keeps them together.”


The Best Hot-Glue Gun

If your paper crafts are decorated with embellishments like heavy ribbon and artificial flowers, this hot-glue gun is a must-have. It’s super easy to use, since you simply set the gun's temperature and squeeze. It comes with acid-free glue sticks that set almost instantly on a wide variety of materials, from paper to fabric and metal. Fans love that the glue has a crystal-clear finish.

One fan raved: “Love everything about this! It's obviously not for industrial or commercial work, but for all the arts and crafts that require a glue gun, this one is perfect! I love how small it is and the sharp point lets out just enough hot glue. It does not drip and is very easy to use.”


The Best Repositionable Glue Stick

This acid-free glue stick is formulated for porous surfaces including photos, card stock, and stationery. The light-duty, clear-drying adhesive works as a temporary glue, making it ideal for people who are new to crafting or who like to experiment with their designs. For a bond that allows for repositioning, apply the glue and let it dry for 60 to 90 seconds before sticking it to your base. If you want to reconfigure a scrapbook or card design, gently peel off the desired piece of paper or photo from the corner and readjust it on the mounting surface.

One fan raved: “I wanted this to behave like a Post-It note on whatever I applied it to and that is exactly what it does. [...] Apply the glue and then let it dry for 90 seconds before attempting to stick it to anything. Once I did this, it worked perfectly. This does not leave any residue or sticky glue behind if peeled off and put somewhere else (repositioned).”


The Best For Glitter, Sequins, And Other Embellishments

With its 4.8-star overall rating on Amazon, Art Glitter Glue is unquestionably the top pick for card makers who apply embellishments to their designs. It can also be used on textiles, ceramics, polymer clay, glass, and even rocks or concrete. The liquid glue comes with an ultra-fine metal tip for precise application, so it’s it ideal for delicate materials like lace and objects with small surface areas like beads. The formula is acid-free and creates a permanent bond, so you won’t be able to reposition items once you’ve glued them. Some reviewers mention that it has a watery consistency and to apply it sparingly, as any excess glue will dry to a noticeable semi-gloss finish.

One fan raved: “I absolutely love this liquid adhesive! It dries quickly and clearly and does an excellent job holding paper, sequins, glitter, die cuts, jewels, and other embellishments. I only wish I’d tried this sooner!”


The Best Adhesive For Photographs

If you're using cherished photos for paper crafts, these clever mounting squares will keep them in perfect condition. The double-sided stickers can be repositioned for up to five minutes, giving you plenty of time to adjust your design. They're also acid-free, so they won't discolor your pictures. The squares are less messy than traditional glues, and since they're dry, you don't run the risk of having photos buckle or warp. Use them for photo albums, card making, and more.

One fan raved: “Works very well for adhering photographs to cardstock in greeting card projects. Also easy to use with layering paper in paper crafts. So thin, they [add] virtually no thickness, which is a benefit. [...] Highly recommended.”


The Best Glue Dots For Scrapbooking

Glue dots are the perfect solution for a mess-free scrapbooking experience. Much like mounting squares, these acid-free, double-sided stickers neatly bind photos, paper cutouts, and other mementos without leaking, running, or smudging. The dots adhere to paper, foam board, plastic, metal, glass, and more. This three-pack conveniently includes a mix of removable, poster grade, and permanent dots. Simply roll your dispenser of choice along your scrapbook page and affix your paper to the exposed adhesive. There's no drying time involved, and the removable dots can be peeled off without leaving a sticky residue behind.

One fan raved: “I absolutely love these glue dots - poster, permanent, and removable all did the trick. Very helpful to have a dispenser, as I was able to position dots exactly where I needed them in my scrapbook.”


The Best For Collages

This three-in-one sealer, glue, and finish by Mod Podge is the ideal gluing medium for collage art. Use a foam brush to apply the glue in even strokes, then carefully lay your images down on paper, smoothing the surface to minimize wrinkles. The glue dries clear with a matte finish in approximately 15 to 20 minutes, then you can reapply the glue over the finished collage as a sealer. For a textured finish, continue to brush glue on the image after each layer dries. Mod Podge is acid-free and can also be used on fabric and wood for mixed media projects.

One fan raved: “Worked great for the project I had in mind. Super sealer and collage glue. Worked SO much better than the one I tried to make homemade from Pinterest. Worth the money, in my opinion.”


The Best Glue For Large Surfaces

Krylon spray adhesive is designed for paper crafts that call for gluing vast surface areas like posters and large scrapbooks. The aerosol applicator requires you to use it in a well-ventilated area, but the result is a bond that's smooth, flexible, and evenly distributed. The adhesive is dry to touch in 30 minutes and dry to handle in three hours, giving you plenty of time to work with design elements that need to be repositioned. It's also acid-free, making it photo-safe, and it dries clear for a neat presentation.

One fan raved: “Superior holding power and enough time for you to reposition your work if you apply an item slightly off it's mark.”


The Best For Cardmaking

This dual-applicator liquid glue by Tombow is a favorite among card makers for its strength and resistance to warping. The acid-free glue has a broad tip for large pieces of paper and a pen tip for smaller scraps and cutouts. It's white when applied and dries to a clear, semi-gloss finish within two to three minutes. For a temporary bond, spread a thin layer on paper and let it dry completely before applying to a surface, and the paper can then be peeled off and repositioned as needed. For a permanent bond, apply paper to card stock while the glue is still wet.

One fan raved: “I use this glue to make cards for family members of mine. It’s the only glue I’ve used that doesn’t wrinkle the paper or leave a mess if I don’t get it perfect. A toddler got a hold of one of the cards and was bending it and squeezing it but when I looked at the details of the card it still stayed together after taking quite the beating.”


The Best For Detailed Work

For paper crafts that require precision, this fine-tip liquid glue pen is a must-have. The acid-free glue goes on white and dries clear. Use it to write on greeting cards, place cards, or other paper crafts, then embellish the hand lettering with glitter or foil. It also works for adding tiny drops of glue to charms and intricate cutouts. The glue dries clear with a semi-gloss sheen within minutes. If you’ve used too much, users say any excess can easily be removed with a glue eraser.

One fan raved: “I can't believe how well this glue works ... And how easy it is ... I was worried that it wasn't going to hold real well but I was wrong it works amazing ... I going to be buying the big one next .... So worth it.”