The best scrapbooking glue can be hard to find. An quick internet search brings up so many different adhesive options, but if you want your photos and memories to last the test of time you need to choose carefully. Not so long ago the adhesive options for scrapbooking were limited to cellophane tape or white glue, which weren't the best options for photos, but now there are many reliable and safe adhesives. To help you to find the right scrapbooking glue and photo corners that will safely hold your personal and family memories together, we’ve made a selection of the best ones...
What glue should you choose for your scrapbook?
Before you make a purchase it's worth considering the following points:
1. Remember that acids and photographs don't mix
Photographs have acid in them from processing. When those acids are combined with acidic paper, adhesives, memorabilia and page protectors a chemical reaction can occur. Over time the acid can start to seep into the memories that you hold within your album leaving you with photos and layouts that are discolored or in some cases ruined.
Look for these words on product labels before you consider using them on your precious photos and memories: Acid-free, pH neutral and Archival Safe. All the adhesives featured in this guide are safe to use on photos.
2. Wet adhesive or dry adhesive?
You’ll have to choose between using a wet adhesive – such as glue from a stick or spray (in this guide we feature two acid-free sprays, as we simply don’t trust other wet adhesives not to ruin snaps by creating wrinkles or drying clear) – and a dry adhesive – these come in the form of tapes, dots and photo mount corners.
We recommend using dry adhesives for sticking in your photos to a scrapbook, unless you have a particularly large print, in which case you may like to opt for one of the sprays as they cover the area more easily.
3. Want your scrapbook to be archival?
If you want your scrapbooks to be archival, we would recommend using photo corners so that you can easily take out any photos as needed. If you don't mind your photos being stuck to your layouts, then you might like to consider photos dots and double-sided adhesive rolls, as well as sprays.
4. Will you need to position the photos?
Check whether your chosen adhesive allows you to reposition your photos, or whether it’s permanent. This is really important if you’re not entirely sure of the layout when you first start your scrapbook as many adhesives are permanent. However, don’t worry, all is not lost if you do get it wrong; there are ways to remove photos carefully from a page after it's stuck down, such as slipping dental floss in behind the photo and carefully teasing it loose.
5. Avoid tape guns
You might be tempted to use a tape gun in your scrapbooking project as they look like they are easy to use and contain strong glue, but bear in mind that sticking your photos into your scrapbook using tape guns can go wrong easily: the tape in the guns tends to clump together, and the adhesive in them can be really strong making it difficult to remove any tape that goes wrong.
The best scrapbooking glue in 2020
With each dot measuring just 2mm in diameter, these adhesive double-sided photo dots by Polaroid are mini. The dots are fairly easy to peel off but could be fiddly depending on your dexterity. The adhesive is double sided so you can apply them to the photo and then stick it onto the surface. Being a Polaroid product you can be assured that they are safe to use on your precious photos and these little dots have lots of other uses too. A top tip is to attach two dots to the top edges, then pop the photo in place, then attach the remaining two dots at the bottom edge.
These dots from Glue Dots International are acid- and lignin-free and non-toxic. They bond easily once you apply some pressure and can attach to almost any surface –they even work on glitter card! There are three dispensers and each one holds 200 adhesives that are 3/8 inch diameter (9.53mm), so they are a little less fiddly to use than the Polaroid dots featured above. Make sure you use the correct one for your scrapbooking project as the dispensers contain permanent, removable and poster adhesives (you can buy individual dispensers too).
These white, repositionable mounting squares measure 1/2-inch and are double sided. When applying them be sure to fix two edges first, and then add in the other two once the photo is in place to avoid crimping your snaps. What's handy about these mounting squares is that they can be easily repositioned in first five minutes of application, so if you make a mistake you can easily fix it.
As with the mounting squares from 3L featured above, these mounting squares from JourneyCraft are easy to reposition within the first five minutes of application: this can be essential if you've not got a steady hand or if you're unsure of your layout. After the five minutes is up they will hold things permanently in place. They are archive safe, meaning that they are acid- and lignin-free so you can be sure that your memories will last forever.
These photo corners are great to mount photos into scrapbooks, picture frames, photo albums, memory books, personal journals and diaries. They are really easy to use, you simply peel the photo corner off from sheet and stick them to two edges of your photo, then once you've worked out where you want to position the snap, apply the other two mounts and stick your photo in place. As with all the options in this guide, these mounts are acid-free so you can enjoy your memories forever knowing that they won't discolor or become brittle over time.
Pioneer Photo Ltd is the respected name in the photo album industry. It uses only quality, archival materials in manufacturing, ensuring its products are photo safe: for instance, these photo corners are acid-, lignin- and PVC-emission free. This pack contains two hundred and fifty clear adhesive photo corners. They come in an easy to use dispenser box and are pressure sensitive, so – as long as you haven't pressed down hard – it's easy to reposition these photo corners.
These self-adhesive, acid-free photo corners from Pulaisen are great for scrapbooks. This pack contains 250 adhesive corners that come in an easy to use dispenser box. To apply them, you simply peel the photo corner off from sheet and pop it directly into album pages, or you can slip these over the corner of a photo and position them onto an album page. The photo corners are pressure sensitive, and so there's a degree of repositioning that you can do with these too.
These black, plastic, self-adhesive, acid-free photo corners from Pioneer are great for scrapbooks and all sorts of art projects. This pack contains 250 self-adhesive corners that are pressure sensitive. To apply them, just peel the photo corner off from sheet and pop it directly onto the album page, or you can slip these over the corner of a photo and position them onto an album page. As the corners are pressure sensitive, you can reposition your snaps until you press down hard, which will fix them in place permanently.
These clear photo corners are great for all your scrapbooking and photo album-making needs. The Forever In Time clear photo mounts are self-adhesive and easy to use. The pack contains 180 acid-free and photo-safe mounts that will show off your snaps and memories beautifully. Just a little handy hint: put them on two corners of your photo first, then pop your photo in place and add the other two corners. This saves a lot of faffing around and ensures that your photos pay flat on the page.
These clear, plastic, self-adhesive, acid-free photo corners from Canson are great for scrapbooking projects. The pack contains 250 self-adhesive corners. To apply them, just peel the photo corner off from sheet and pop it directly onto the album page, or you can slip these over the corner of a photo and position them onto an album page. It's best not to move these around once you adhere them, so if you're not sure of your layout, or like to option to reposition things, you're best off going for another product.
These white 3D foam squares from 3L Scrapbook Adhesives are made with high-density foam meaning that you can create depth and dimension quickly and easily. They're easy to remove from the sheet and the top liners are incredibly easy to peel. The foam squares are available in black and white, regular and small size. We would recommend that you use them carefully on any photos you choose to pop into your scrapbook, as they are not acid-free and therefore you might see a deterioration in your snaps over time. However, these are great for adding height and interest to your scrapbooks, as the foam can be stacked so that different levels can be attained.
This spray adhesive has been formulated for mounting items to a wide variety of surfaces. The spray canister has been designed to spray at a wide angle to cover large areas so it's perfect for bigger photos and art projects. You don't need to use a lot of spray to adhere photos to a scrapbook page, in fact we recommend that you use it very sparingly. You might want to buy some white cotton gloves too, as otherwise you may find yourself sticking to everything! It's acid-free and photo-safe. It dries permanently from the get-go despite the labelling saying that you can reposition things. As is usual with glue and art sprays, please only use this in a well-ventilated area.
If you're after a product that sticks really well then look no further than this spray adhesive for photos, illustrations and more. As the adhesive is PH-neutral, it's photo safe clear and non-yellowing. Once dry it makes a strong, permanent bond so you can rest assured that your memories aren't going anywhere! Just one word of warning: When you apply the spray don’t go testing it to see if it's sticky, trust that it is. You'll definitely need white gloves to handle your photos and ensure they get stuck in place correctly without leaving gluey finger prints all over the place. As with all art sprays and in particular spray glue, be sure to use this in a well-ventilated area.
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