With so many options, the best scrapbooking and photo book glue and adhesives can be hard to find, and if you want your photos and memories to last the test of time, it's important that you opt for the right kind of sticky substance.
Just a few years ago, the adhesive options for scrapbooking were pretty limited: you'd have to choose between cellophane tape or white glue, and neither of these were brilliant options for photos, but nowadays there are loads of reliable and safe adhesives. To help you to find the right kind of adhesive for your photo booking and scrapbooking needs, we’ve highlighted some of the best glues and adhesives currently available for you here, in this handy guide.
What glue or adhesive should you choose for your scrapbook or photo book?
It's worth considering the following points before you decide:
1. Note that acids and photographs don't mix
As you will no doubt know, photographs have acid 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 this guide are safe to use on photos.
2. Should you opt for a wet adhesive or dry adhesive?
You need to decide if you'll be using a wet adhesive – such as glue from a stick or spray (in this guide we feature one 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) – and a dry adhesive – these come in the form of tapes, dots and photo mount corners.
We would recommend that you always use dry adhesives 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.
3. Do you 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.
4. Do you need to reposition the photos?
Check whether your chosen adhesive enables you to reposition your photos, or whether it’s permanent. This is really important if you’re not quite sure what your layout is going to be when you first start your scrapbook/photo book as 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.
The best scrapbooking glue in 2021
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 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 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 are really nice. A top tip is to place these 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 that 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, and they are also available in Cream/Ivory, White, Black, Gold & Buff.
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 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. Working in this manner saves a lot of faffing around and ensures that your photos lay 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 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 glue and 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.