Buying the best scrapbooking glue and photo book adhesive is vital if you want your printed photos to last the test of time. Choosing the right adhesive is a serious matter, as it must be strong enough to hold photos and other embellishments in place, yet gentle enough to avoid damaging the delicate paper and decorative elements. Make the right choice, and your personal scrapbook will preserve those precious memories for decades to come.
Just a few years ago, the options were pretty limited, with neither cellophane tape or white glue being brilliant choices for photo albums. But nowadays there are loads of reliable, safe adhesives to choose from.
To help you to find the right kind of adhesive for your needs, we’ve highlighted some of the best scrapbooking glues, photo corners and adhesives on the market today. We also highlight their strengths and weaknesses, to help you select the perfect adhesive for your next scrapbooking project. If you need extra guidance, though, jump ahead to How to choose the best scrapbooking glue.
The best scrapbooking glue in 2023
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This spray adhesive has been formulated for mounting items to a wide variety of surfaces and is ideal for sticking lightweight materials like photos, paper and card into scrapbooks and photo albums. The spray canister has been designed to spray at a wide angle to cover large areas so it's great 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. One light spray is enough to mount pictures or drawings in a scrapbook or photo book, but you can also reposition an photo, should you need to: you can simply peel it off and stick it down again up to 12 hours later (two hours when two surfaces are sprayed).
When the adhesive dries, it forms a secure bond that doesn't go brittle over time. As is usual with art sprays, you should only use this spray in a well-ventilated area, but it's worth noting that this isn't as noxious as other sprays we've tested in the past.
Elmer’s Rubber Cement is a strong adhesive that's acid-free and great for sticking prints to scrapbooks and photo albums. At the same time, it's very flexible because if you only apply it to one surface, it can easily be peeled off and reapplied. Once you've decided to make it permanent, you just have to apply it to both pieces of paper. This makes it ideal for projects that require accurate placement. It also doesn't wrinkle paper and is nice and affordable 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.
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).
With each piece measuring 12mm x 17mm, these adhesive double-sided photo stickers by German manufacturer Herma are a nice size. The stickers 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. The stickers are solvent-free and so they are safe to use on your precious photos and these little stickers have lots of other uses too.
What's great is that one side is ready for use, the other covered by the backing paper with a pull tab. You want to be sure of your positioning of your photos before you stick them down, though, as these are for permanent mounting of photos, receipts, cuttings and so on.
Measuring just 0.07 x 0.07 x 0.02 cm, these self-adhesive, transparent photo corners can be easily removed from the dispenser. We really like that they are almost invisible and have very good adhesion. We found these a little fiddly to use at first, but once you get the hang of them, they're really nice. A top tip is to place them on the top corners of your photo first, and then stick on the album page. If you've got a slightly thicker photo, like a Polaroid, then stick them onto the opposite corners first – it just makes them a little easier to manage. They are archive-safe, meaning that they are acid- and lignin-free so you can be sure your memories will last forever.
These superior-quality self-adhesive photo corners are made from
acrylic and measure 12mm. Being slightly larger in size than some other photo corners in this guide might suit you if you find using them quite fiddly, and these are ideal for sticking in larger photos into your scrapbook or photo book. They are conveniently packaged and the sheet contains a total of 108 corners. These photo corners are silver and help to give a professional finish to your project. They're also available in Cream/Ivory, White, Black, Gold & Buff.
Pioneer Photo Ltd is a respected name in the photo album industry. It uses only quality, archival materials in manufacturing, ensuring its products are photo safe. These photo corners are acid-, lignin- and PVC-emission free, and the pack contains 250 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 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 the sheet and pop it directly onto the album page. Alternatively, 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 white 3D foam squares from 3L Scrapbook Adhesives are made with high-density foam, allowing you to create depth and dimension. It's simple 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'd recommend that you use them carefully on any photos you choose to pop into your scrapbook, as they're not acid-free and so you might see a deterioration in your snaps over time. However, they're great for adding height and interest to your scrapbooks, as the foam can be stacked so that different levels can be attained.
How to choose the best scrapbooking glue:
What glue should you choose for your scrapbook or photo book?
When choosing the right glue or adhesive for your scrapbook or photo book, note that acids and photographs don't mix. Photographs have chemicals in them from processing, and 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 photos, leaving you with snaps and layouts that are discolored, or in some cases ruined.
To avoid this mishap, you should look for these words on product labels: Acid-free, pH neutral and Archival Safe. All the adhesives featured in our guide are safe to use on photos.
Also consider whether you want your scrapbook to be archival? If you do, we'd 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.
Finally, will you need to reposition your photos? If so, check whether your chosen adhesive enables you to do so, or whether it’s permanent. This is really important if you’re not quite sure of your layout when you start your scrapbook/photo book, because many adhesives are permanent.
Don't worry, though: all is not lost if you do get it wrong. There are tricks you can use 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.
Is a a wet or dry adhesive best for scrapbooking?
We would recommend that you always use a dry adhesive for sticking your photos into a scrapbook, unless you have a particularly large print, in which case you may like to opt for a spray as they cover a larger area more easily. Dry adhesive comes in the form of tapes, dots and photo mount corners.
If you do use a spray, we recommend acid-free sprays, as we simply don’t trust other wet adhesives not to ruin snaps by creating wrinkles or drying in a way that makes the glue brittle.
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