Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to become a shippers pet! Non-fail adhesives!

    So...in my quest for the best adhesive for Operation Write Home...I have decided to extensively review here all of the adhesives I have used so far including their good and bad qualities. It seems as though I've tried them all but there are so many brands it can be really confusing for the newer OWH card maker. Operation Write Home cards obviously are going overseas where temperatures are extreme and require adhesives that will not dry out and cause our cards to lose their pieces or pop layers with a slight bend. In effort to not  have my cards be patients in the shippers triage (card hospital) I store and test my cards before shipment. I have stages my cards go through...

Stage one - Card front creation, I usually use glue stick for patterned (thin) paper to card stock adhesion - glue stick usually allows for easier repositioning than tape so that is the advantage and why I usually prefer it. However glue sticks are almost always the culprits in card triage. But -the BY FAR BEST glue ~stick~ I've found so far is POINEER Embellishment glue stick - it goes on very sticky and gummy and does tend to gum around the neck of the tube and makes for a hard to remove cap after a few uses (at which point teeth help) but this is a good sign -if your glue stick glides on very smoothly and easily I have found those are usually the worst culprits for popping up layered card-stock once its dry. PIONEER does not warp up the paper like some liquid adhesives I've used  and it is easily found at Walmart. I made all 20 of my recent Halloween cards with it and they have sat for three weeks and still seem to be adhered very well given the slight "bend" test. Speaking of 20 cards - you will get about 20 cards out of this stick. The price of one stick is $2.00 so that's about .10 per card.This product works well for card-stock to card-stock adherence as well as thin paper adherence such as liners or designer papers and also it claims embellishments so do give it a try if you are a new card-maker looking for a good glue stick -don't waste your money on the school glue stick varieties or even the Aleenes tacky glue stick-I have found all of these to be a "temporary hold" that will probably not survive shipping to A-Stan!.

     Another glue/ adhesive I have used with success is Beacons 3 in 1. This is a liquid initially re-positionable  fast drying tacky glue that is good for EVERYTHING from adhering paper to card-stock to adhering buttons, metal embellishments, buttons to buttons, ribbon, the kitchen sink - you get the idea. You can find it at any craft store. This glue IMO is a must have for certain embellishments because it is the only thing I've found that holds over time on the bulkier embellishments like buttons -it seems to remain somewhat flexible like rubber so this allows your card to still flex without popping parts. The drawbacks to it are; its slow as molasses to come out of the bottle,  so I store it upside down but immediately upon removing the cap it begins to bubble up more product than I can use...  as it has been stored upside down; (stored upright you'll have to wait for it like pouring ketchup)... so I have to wipe the nozzle of excess with a baby wipe and re-screw the cap quickly which can be time consuming when your glueing/stopping/glueing etc... - perhaps if I store it on its side it would ooze somewhere in between too fast and too slow (ill have to try that) but it is a definite MUST HAVE for repairs of pop offs from other faulty glues and embellishments. Also Beacon's only causes minimal warping on the card-stock -barely noticeable if any - unlike Aleenes which I find causes warping. The cost of Beacon's is around 3.95, however I have had one bottle last me months - if you used only "Beacon's" product (a little goes a long way with this) I estimate you could get between 40-60 cards + embellishments so that's a cost of  around .07 per card. If I were new to scrapping cards for OWH and my funds were limited and I could only have one glue for every purpose this would be the one I'd recommend -it will get you through until you can add to your adhesive (s) collection and your shipper will smile big every time they think of you because your cards will not need repairs.

     The next adhesive I use with success and mainly for those tiny pieces of paper embellishments such as sizzlits, die cuts with intricate lines etc... that need adhered without a huge blob of glue is "ZIG" pen, I always use it blue/wet and adhere quickly; as opposed to clear/dry which is a temporary hold according to the directions. I would not use it for large areas because the pen I have is the very small chisel tip variety - I have not tried the other ZIG products so I can not review them but the zig pen does work for small pieces when used in the blue/wet (permanent) method. I forget how much I paid for this product but it is a must have if you adhere the sizes of paper as described above.

    Up next: Stage two - Card liner creation. Lately I have been creating decorative, yet simple liners for the insides of most of my cards. I just think it adds a little more hand-made quality and weight to the cards. Usually if the card is any color other than white I will add a liner (ink-jet weight paper -the kind found at Walmart) of a complimentary pastel color. If the card is already pastel I will add a liner of white. I use the little 1/4 strips that get cut off of my card-stock to create a little interest line to the right of the fold then I punch out a flower or two and adhere in the corners or to the edge. I usually do this in stage 2 because I like to pick a day to do only liners and inside card embellishments, usually this is when I think I have enough cards to create a shipment. I go into my scrap box to find scrap pieces to use -it seems to go faster than if I were trying to create card fronts and do liners at the same time plus I like to revisit the cards I've previously made and assure my glues are holding strong before shipping - Next step- Labeling and Shipping!

     Now as for adhesive tape(s) I have used Ad-tech (permanent) variety, they also sell re-positionable but in making cards for OWH I stay away from anything that is not permanent for obvious reasons. The advantages to "tape" are mainly that you get no warping no matter how many layers of paper/card-stock you end up using and it is fast, easy, and the least-messy option, your creativity flows because you are not constantly having to stop and clean glue off your fingers, or tabletop or cap and un-cap adhesives which can be appreciated best when the creative mojo is flowing freely. The main problem I personally have with  permanent tape including ad-tech is once you've adhered it (even if crooked as mine often is) you've adhered it! You can "try" to quickly pull your pieces apart but sometimes it will warble your paper or rip and make it look like you used recycled paper to create your card - not a good look for our soldiers! Also I have noticed that cards adhered with tape may still pop up a little on the edges but seem to still stay adhered in the middle and tapes have not been accused of losing their parts as often as glues if at all. One trick I use for getting a straight layer is to use a generous line of glue stick in the middle of my paper in a line to be adhered/ position it down onto my card front pressing firmly so it will not move -then lift each of the individual sides/ apply tape runner/and press the sides down working from the middle out. 
     Stage three-labeling and shipping. This is the final card-check-through for shipping to my OWH "shipper". I first check the cards for any glue failures, loose embellishments etc...I fix those usually with Aleenes Tacky glue hopefully saving my shipper from a triage nightmare. At this point it is the only repair glue that will adhere peeling edges without making a huge mess of your card... due to the tip being very narrow, you can easily squeeze it under your papers and button up any glue failures you may have. Aleene's is very cheap-a huge bottle for a dollar and change, adhesion is very good however I do not like the warping you get if using it to create the cards. Next I adhere my OWH and handmade labels to the backs of my cards and pair them with their envelopes by sticking the back of the card into the envelope pouch and folding the envelope flap backwards. I sort my cards into categories such as Love/Miss you, Everyday/No Sentiment, Child, Man, or other Occasion categories. I then bundle with paper straps (liner scraps taped together) all of my cards so my shipper doesn't have the extra chore of sorting -it also keeps my cards compacted for easier packing.  I turn cards any way needed to offset embellishments to fit the most cards in a box. I label the bundles with post it's so she can open my box and know at an instant what kinds of cards are there in case she has a need for one particular type, she can quickly access it and then get to the rest later.

Now here are a few glues i've tried that will not hold up to OWH shipping conditions!
And "Terrifically Tacky Tape" is an excellent tape for those who make their own envelopes and need a super sticky "flap" tape adhesive. Now I have purchased an ATG gun from an online vendor at the beginning of this month.I got a great price at 30.00 with shipping - however I am currently holding my breath because it is a pre-order and I still have yet to receive it & I am told it could be months! I also found an off brand of tape that will work in the ATG for a fraction of what other tapes/glues cost! I hope I receive it soon though!


rbbrrmqn said...

Oh, thanks so much! I am new to OWH and do worry about if my adhesives are up to snuff, as they say! Looks like I'm safe for now, I think, fingers crossed. Thanks again for a great post!

Anonymous said...

This is great information, so many different products out there. Thank you for sharing .CindyB

Karen Howard said...


This is an excellent post on adhesives. I recently got an ATG glue gun myself and love it! I'm sure you will too.

I get my refills at Crop and Stick.


Dixie Cochran said...

Wow, Cheryl! This is a great post! I need to send some people to this post!!

Rhonda said...

This is great, thanks. Although we have shipped a good bit already it's a great reminder that these cards really need extra "sticky" for the long trips they make.

I'll try to direct new OWH-ers here for guidance too.

Christine said...

Thank you for this post it really helps me as I am planning a OWH party for September and we are all new to this!

I am extremely exited and it never crossed my mind the card may need triage if we don't use the correct adhesive!


Hugs from NY!


Rachel said...

This is an EXCELLENT post! I've been using the Ad Tech glue runners but when I found myself running to Walmart every weekend to pick up $10 worth of refills, I finally invested in an ATG gun and am so glad I did.

Sherry Hickey said...

This is so informative! I've been using Elmer's Craft Bond Ex. Strength Glue Stick since I started sending cards in late June. Dixie hasn't complained but I will try to find the Pioneer stick! Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

Dolores A. said...

Thank you for sharing this info as being rather new to OWH, I haven't tried all these products as yet and I know it's important that the shippers don't have more work repairing our cards before sending them onward.

grandmalee said...

Fabulous work on all of this glue info! You've put a lot of time & effort into this that will make the rest of our jobs easier! I'm tired of buying stuff that doesn't work and costs a small fortune!

Amylucimar said...

one of the most informative posts i have ever read. what is the off brand of ATG tape?

i am on the same boat i pre ordered but it hasn't arrived. good news though, it has shipped!!!

thanks for caring for the troops. I'm a former Soldier and current Army wife. My father still serves and my brother does too. so thank you thank you thank you.


Yolanda said...

I finally got an ATG gun too, and I LOVE it. Lasts so much longer and that glue isn't going anywhere. I find it very easy to use even though it looks bulky.

Shelly said...

Thanks so much for the fabulous tutorial. I especially appreciated the fact that the products you recommended are affordable.

mumgranny said...

Adding my thanks to all the rest. Great information. I have an ATG gun which I have used for several years now. Interested in knowing where you got a cheaper brand of tape. I'd like to try it.

Linda Grady said...

Great info. Just wanted to add that I use the Terrifically Tacky tape to add ribbons, too. It is very strong. Or thin strips of dec. paper, like on the inside.

Thanks for what you do in OWH - sent 3 pkgs. already and it gives me such a good feeling knowing the cards are appreciated. Have a nephew who just went overseas for the first time in Dec.

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