The Best Adhesives for Collage

Written by Claudia

One question people often ask me about collage is "what type of adhesive do you use?" When I made my first collages years ago I used rubber cement. That was a big mistake and I feel sorry for the people who bought those collages from me, because rubber cement is not acid free or permanent!   Collage and scrapbook artists should try to stay away from rubber cement, because it's not considered an archivally sound adhesive, and it will cause deterioration of photographs and papers over time.



Since my early days I’ve experimented with several types of adhesives and my all time favorite is the Uhu White Glue Stick. This is acid-free, so projects glued with this type of adhesive last for years with no loss of adhesion.  When using these glue sticks in hot and humid weather, I recommend keeping an extra one in the refrigerator.  If the one you're using gets too mushy, you can switch it out with the chilled one for a smooth application.

To keep from getting glue where you don’t want it, use an old phone book or magazine and place the item to be glued on it.  Lay it face down and apply glue to the back. Then when you need to apply glue to another item, just turn the page and apply glue to the new piece on a new clean surface.  This will really help things from getting too messy when working with this very sticky glue.


Must Have Collage Adhesive Materials: The Xyron 900


I also suggest you also try out the Xyron 900 machine. This laminator/sticker machine applies a nice adhesive to items up to 9 inches wide (or to several items at once that total 9 inches).  It works on things that are difficult to use with a glue stick, like ribbon and lacy fabric. It also has lots of other uses depending on the type of adhesive roll you buy.  I like the permanent adhesive, but you can buy the repositionable type also.

I hope this is helpful information to you- glue is a critical concern if you’re a collage artist.  There are lots of other adhesives to try like matte medium and spray adhesive, but the ones listed here are my favorites.  If any other collage artists out there have recommendations for their own favorite adhesives, please share!