I have been paper quilling since I was ten years old, so have tried LOTS of different glues! I thought it’d be great to condense some of my experiences into a blog post to help out some fellow crafters. I’ll mention the glues that I’ve tried and used and describe some of the pros and cons.
When I first started quilling there were two glues at home to choose from. Regular Elmer’s school glue, and mucilage (which I think is pretty uncommon now). Both worked fine, but I did use mucilage more often than the school glue. It was thicker and it dried faster. The only downside was that it was quite goopy. It had a funny top on it that is great for smearing glue, but not great for quilling. But I liked it so much anyway that I’d just squeeze the top at the right angle to let the glue drip onto a piece of cardboard. I then used a toothpick to apply the glue to my quilling. It didn’t dry out as quickly as Elmer’s either, so that was another benefit.
For readers not familiar with Elmer’s school glue it is basically like white PVA glue as far as I can tell.
After awhile I actually switched back to usually using Elmer’s glue, I think I got tired of the gooeyness of the mucilage. Also, I found that Elmer’s all purpose glue was a little thicker than the school glue, so I liked that.
Honestly, any glue you find for paper and/or crafts will work for paper quilling. It’s all about your particular preferences.
I would occasionally use tacky glue for quilling (there are many brands of tacky glue), but it was more expensive than Elmer’s and that was back when I lived at home, so I didn’t want to use up my mom’s supply of tacky glue! It did work well, though! It dried quickly and held the paper together really well. The downside to tacky glue is that some brands are still tacky even after they are dry. That can be a pain with paper quilling if any of the glue is showing since dust can stick to the tacky glue.
Because I like to experiment and love buying craft supplies, I tried several more glues in the past ten years or so.
One that I found was great is Crafter’s Pick the Ultimate. It says it is a water based super glue. I really like this glue because it is nice and tacky, so it holds the paper quickly and dries quickly. It dries pretty quickly if you squeeze a bit out on paper to use, so I like to use it directly from the bottle instead. It would also work well in a fine tip bottle I’m sure, though I haven’t tried it. Although it claims to be a super glue, I find that it doesn’t work for everything. If you are gluing something to a shiny smooth surface it comes off easily. But for paper and porous surfaces it works great! The other benefit of this glue is that it is water resistant when dry.
I didn’t use The Ultimate for most of my paper quilling, though, because I only had one bottle that I had bought when I was in the US. I wanted to find something available locally that I could use. One local craft store suggested their glue, it’s a polystyrene glue, so I used that for several years. It was nice because it dried quickly and it was tacky, so you don’t have to hold the paper very long before it sticks together. I liked putting it into a little bottle with a needle tip applicator. Less glue wastage. The downside was that this glue was still tacky even when dry. Not usually a big deal for paper quilling, but for some certain projects it was not desired. Also, it easily plugged up the little glue bottle and was a pain to clean. My fingers would get quite sticky while using this glue. But it was the best I could find for a decent price, so I stuck with it.
Another glue I tried was the new Elmer’s craft bond glue. I like this for traveling and for classes. The bottle size is handy and it sticks well. You do have to be careful how you tip the bottle when it is new or you can accidentally squirt out too much glue. It is not as thick as the polysterene glue, so you have to hold the scroll a few seconds longer until the glue sets, but that’s no big deal.
I was still on the lookout for the perfect glue. I decided to try another glue out and stock it in my store as well. It’s called PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive). I gave it a trial run before offering it in my store, and it became my number one glue choice! The most amazing thing about this glue is that it does not feel sticky on the fingers! Even when it is wet, it is just smooth feeling. No more sticky messy fingers!!! It takes slightly longer to dry compared to tacky glues, but it’s no big deal, that just means I have to hold the paper scroll a few seconds longer than with tacky glue. I use it in a fine tip dispensing bottle and I have only had to clean out the tip once. This was because I left the top off by accident so the glue dried in the tip. But it was SO easy to clean it out! I just had to pop off the top, stick a quilling needle tool into the tip and pop out the dried bit. Finished! This glue is water soluble when wet, so when I use the metal tip on this fine tip bottle (optional, I only use it when I need a super tiny long tip like when making roses) all I do to clean it out is rinse it and then place it in a little cup with water. The next day I shake it out and let it dry out. The bottle itself has a fine plastic tip that has never clogged with this glue. (You can find the exact bottle that I use here on Amazon as well as many other styles.)
When this glue dries it is not tacky. Plus it is water resistant! In fact, it’s not only a glue, it’s an awesome sealant and topcoat! Perfect for coating your finished paper quilling projects if you want them to be water resistant (such as jewelry, accessories, and even magnets). Just use a tiny paintbrush to apply for using as a sealant. I’m so glad I found this glue as it is my absolute favorite so far! It comes in both matte and gloss. Both perform the same, but the gloss will give a shiny finish to your art if used as a sealant, quite a nice touch! And the matte is perfectly matte when dry, not shiny at all, which is also great when you want your protected paper to just look like paper! This glue has a shelf life of more than 10 years, so it’s great not to worry about it drying out in the bottle! A little goes a long way as well. I seem to use about 1/2 to 1 ounce each month, and I do paper quilling almost every day and sometimes use it as a sealant as well. (Click here to read an entire post about using PPA as a sealant!)
As I said, just about any glue will work for paper quilling. If you are an avid quiller, however, it’s great to have a glue that you love! Have you used any glues not mentioned here? Feel free to leave your experiences and tips in the comments!
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*All products and supplies mentioned in this post I purchased myself.
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