One of the best things about paper crafting is that all you need is paper, scissors and glue. Yet of those three things, adhesive seems to be (literally) a sticky situation for many paper crafters!

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing adhesive. And sometimes those options can seem mind-boggling! Let's take a look at some of your options and some basics of adhesive application.

Adhesive Options

While there are lots of choices out there, we've found a few types of adhesive we use constantly and recommend to paper crafters.

Photo Tabs

Photo tabs (sometimes called “tape tabs”) come in a cardboard box dispenser; inside the box is a roll of double-sided square tabs. Most have a liner on each tab; simply place the tab on your paper and lift off the liner.

Photo tabs are great for attaching photos to photo mats: Put one square at each corner of the photo, then mat your photo onto a coordinating paper. We like these because they hold photos securely, yet you can still lift the photo off the mat whenever you want to remove the picture to make copies. When you’re done, just reattach the photo using new tabs.

Glue Stick

Inexpensive and easy to use, the glue stick is a must-have. Use it to attach papers together, to glue paper to metal or to glue clear vinyl or transparencies to paper.

When gluing a matted photo to background paper, put a dab of glue stick on the back of the mat at each corner and dab a little in the middle. Then place it on the background paper and press it to secure.

You can also use glue stick for attaching things like a paper border to a background page. Apply a dab of glue at each corner of the border, then every few inches along the long edges. Position the border on the background paper, smooth it down and you’re done. Glue stick also works well on clear materials like transparent Overlays and vinyl. If there’s printing on the clear vinyl or Overlay, dab a little (just a little) glue stick behind the darkest printed areas, then secure.

Some people have a tendency to apply too much stick glue, feeling they need to use a lot for the paper to hold. The big reasons to avoid overusing glue stick? Besides wasting glue, over-application will cause your paper will warp and buckle. A little bit goes a long way—so use it sparingly and you’ll be fine!


We love Small Zots™ (3/16”) for securing beads, buttons and other 3-D embellishments to a page. Zots™ come on a roll inside a square box. Pull out the whole roll and unroll the liner to find the first dot on the roll. Look closely–the dots are clear and the roll is white, so they can be tricky to find in poor lighting! Now firmly press your embellishment onto the dot, then lift. The embellishment will have picked up the dot and it's ready to attach to your page. One thing to remember: Zots™ are very sticky, so your embellishment is pretty much attached when you press it down on your page. It can be pulled back up but your paper will probably tear. (And you might want to keep these away from small children, too!)

Zots™ are an indispensable adhesive and pretty inexpensive. You can pick up a box of 300 dots for under $5.00. They're also available in Medium (3/8") and Large (1/2").

Zips™ for Ribbon and Twill

Want to attach ribbon and twill to your page? Try Zips™, which are flat and thin adhesive strips designed for attaching ribbon. The come in a box like Zots™ and you simply cut the 1/8”-wide lines to any length.

Foam Mounting Tape

Foam mounting tape is a double-sided adhesive that's about 1/8" thick. You can use it in strips or cut it into pieces for small embellishments. We love using it to attach paper embellishments to paper to give them a little dimension. It gives just enough lift to make a flat paper embellishment really stand out. As with a glue stick, you don't need to use a lot of foam tape. For example, when attaching journaling to a page, cut a few pieces, each about 1/4" wide, and put one piece in each corner and another one in the center so it doesn't cave in the middle. If the piece you’re attaching is larger, simply add more pieces in the center area.

Vellum Adhesive

The trick with vellum is that it’s transparent—but there is an adhesive that doesn’t show through! It’s called Vellum Tape and it’s invisible under vellum.

Do I need more than one kind of adhesive?

If you’re just beginning paper crafting, start with a glue stick. As you get more involved with paper crafting, or want to add different types of embellishments to your page, try Zots™ and foam tape. A whole new world will open up!