Nine Ways to Adhere Paper Together (226 Days of VSN #3)

Oct and Nov 94 VSN

226 Days of VSN: Day 3: Today is my third “226 Days of VSN post. This time, I dipped into the Oct and Nov ’94 VSNs where we looked at “Tissue Envelopes”.

Sometimes in stamping, there are many ways to accomplish the same thing. The way you go about it is often driven by the tools and supplies you have and the methods you happen to know. Sometimes it is really cool to learn a new way to do something, whether or not it is the quickest way or the cheapest way or the easiest way. Sometimes it’s just fun to learn a new way to do things.

I think this delight in clever new ways to do things was at least part of the reason that “tissue envelopes” became so very popular among stampers back in the mid 1990’s. The More Tips section of the Oct ’94 VSN section reported:

“The hottest stamping topic these days is making tissue envelopes. Suze Weinberg reports that ‘Draggin’ Ink showed how to make fabulous paper out of tissue paper and ordinary computer paper’ at last summer’s Carson convention.”

This method relies on plastic wrap to fuse two pieces of paper back to back. The plastic wrap, sandwiched between the two pieces of paper, is melted using an iron, making the join, so it is important that the plastic wrap NOT be microwave safe. (Otherwise it won’t melt.) The original layering order was:

  • A brown paper bag opened flat on an ironing board.
  • A piece of computer or photocopy paper on top of this. (Optional).
  • A piece of crumpled then smoothed out printed tissue paper face down on top of this.
  • A piece of inexpensive (non microwave safe) plastic wrap on top of this.
  • Another piece of computer paper on top of this.

Make sure that the plastic wrap isn’t peeking out beyond the edges because you don’t want it to melt onto the iron. Or, optionally, cover it all with a piece of scrap paper to keep your iron clean. Carol Getman of Mineral Point Wisconsin’s Oh So Much Fun! (Paper Arts and Rubber Stamps) suggests that you could use a piece of parchment baking paper, folded in half instead of the brown paper bag and this optional extra cover layer. Carol notes, cutting “the plastic wrap about 1/2″ wider all around, as it shrinks when you iron the sandwich.” (See the 6/1/13 “Parchment Baking Paper Uses For Stampers” blog post for more ideas for using this product.)

Smoothly iron the stack with a very hot iron for a minute or two until the plastic melts, fusing the tissue paper to the computer paper on top. The result: the thin tissue paper is now reinforced by the computer paper beneath it, so you can use it where you need a thicker piece of paper, for example, to create envelopes, cards or card layers.

Using plain white computer paper creates a white background and back for the tissue paper. You could alternatively try using colored paper instead of the white computer paper. The colored paper is likely to show through some thinner papers, which can be a good effect in some cases.

We touched on alternate methods to adhere two pieces of paper in the following issue (Nov ’94 VSN):

1) Instead of plastic wrap, try fusible web products like Heat N Bond or Wonder Under. (This is a sewing product suggested by Nancy Ward in her “Stamping Made Easy” book.)

2) Instead of plastic wrap, sprinkle embossing powder over the tissue. Then put the computer paper on top and iron. The embossing powder melts and fuses the papers together. Colored embossing powders will show through thinner papers. (Suze Weinberg credited this idea to Karen Vail.)

3) Maria Dovellos alternatively used dry cleaner bags instead of plastic wrap.

4) Lynn Mohr alternatively used freezer paper instead of the computer paper and plastic wrap. (Freezer paper has a plastic coating on one side that will melt.)

5) Amy Sonnemann suggested alternatively using spray adhesive.

One important caution with most of these techniques: Plastic wrap, dry cleaner bags and freezer paper are products that were not really designed to be used in this way. Heated plastic can give off toxic fumes and if a product is not designed for a particular use, you have no real way of knowing whether or not fumes are an issue. So if you do use one of these techniques, be sure to do it in a well-ventilated area. And really, any time you use spray adhesive or melt large amounts of embossing powder, you ought be in a well ventilated area too! (See Aug ’08 VSN for more on “Stamp Room Safety”.)

There are some other options that you might consider for gluing two pieces of paper together that don’t require heating up an iron or melting plastic:

1) Liquid glues, applied thinly, can be used to layer paper. See my “Choosing the Right Glue: Sticky solutions to Your Adhesive Problems” article in the Summer 2013 issue of Rubberstampmadness for more on choosing liquid glues. I also cover how to use an acrylic brayer to apply liquid glue to paper in the VSN “Brayer Techniques for Stampers” eArticle.

2) One very easy way to adhere two pieces of paper together completely is wide sheets of double-faced tape. Wide pieces used to be hard to find, but with the continued popularity of paper crafts, you can usually find even full 8 1/2″ x 11″ ‘red-liner’ type double-faced tape sheets online that can be cut down to whatever size you need.

3) Alternatively, a Xyron machine is my own personal go-to method of applying adhesive completely over a sheet of paper so I can attach it to another piece. You simply hand crank what you want to coat with adhesive through the machine, burnish it (especially the edges) and peel off the protective plastic and stick it wherever you like. (See Sept ’03 VSN for more on Xyron machines.)

There are all kinds of ways to attach a thin piece of paper, like tissue paper, single layers of printed napkins, rice paper, hand-dyed papers, etc., to a heavier base piece of paper. Which is the best method? It depends on the supplies and tools you have, how much time you have to do the job, whether you have time to let something dry and/or whether you have a well-ventilated work space. All of them will work, so it is up to you!


PS. If you enjoy VSN’s blog posts and want to be sure not to miss future posts, you can subscribe via the link in the right column. When you subscribe by email, you’ll get an email each time a new post goes up on the blog.

If you like birds, be sure to also check out VSN’s other blog, Birdseed & Binoculars.

2 thoughts on “Nine Ways to Adhere Paper Together (226 Days of VSN #3)

  1. I want to adhere two A4 sheets by one long edge of each, so effectively making nearly one A3 sized piece. I say ‘nearly’ because it’s fine if they overlap and so lose maybe an inch in the total width. Double-faced tape would do it but I have to do about 200 of these and the join has to be tough enough to take repeated handling. This is for choral music that will go in a folder. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Jerry,
      I think what I might suggest is a really heavy-duty double-faced tape rather than the business supply store regular lighter version. In the craft world, it is often nicknamed “red-liner tape” but it has all kinds of different brand names. Ranger’s Wonder Tape is one brand. . It comes in a variety of widths and is strong stuff. I think it would work for your music. You’d have to place the tape and peel off the red-liner before joining the two pieces of paper, but the liner usually comes off pretty easily, so I don’t think it would be a bad way to go, even having to do 200 of them. As with any time that you adhere things like this together, it is a good idea to burnish down the joined area with a bone folder or the back of a spoon or something similar to make sure that you’ve made good contact all along the adhesive and paper join, but the tape is pretty strong.
      Good luck!
      Nancie, VSN

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.