8 Adhesives That Make Your Mixed Media Artwork so Easy

womans hand with adhesives for mixed media artwork

Today we’re going to cover all things adhesives for mixed-media artwork.

Creating mixed media artwork is so good for the soul. We can express ourselves, let go of perfection, forget about our hard days, and enjoy the process.

But it can be challenging to figure out how to attach all of the juicy mixed media finds we want to add to our work, from wispy delicate rice papers to heavy chunky cardstock to every little teensy glimmer of glitter to soft fabrics, to shiny photos, and more.

We need those things to stick! We don’t want things to fall apart, slide off the page, or change the colors or textures of our work.

No worries! Here are eight adhesives for mixed media artwork you can try next time you create.

Adhesives for mixed media

Tip #1 Get to Know Them

Get ready to get your hands dirty because we’ll play around in the glue. Why? Because they don’t all work in the same way.⁣ And it’s hard to know their qualities unless you actually touch them.

So, play around with them. Mush them around. Feel them with your hands so you can get to know the viscosity and how sticky they are.

Once you’ve done that, try using a paintbrush or a plastic room key to apply.

The name of the game here is to experiment.

You want to understand how they help to adhere to heavy things like cardboard or metal. And, in contrast, how does adhesive help our superfine stuff like beads, thread, or vellum paper stick and yet not be damaged?

Tip #2 Stock up Your Art Adhesive Arsenal

The more varieties you have, the more you can do and attach with finesse.⁣ So stock up!

Get yourself ready so that when the time comes, you’re got everything you need right at your fingertips, suitable for every project under the sun you can imagine making. Whatever you need to attach, you want to be ready.

Tip #3 Does Quality Matter?

What are you creating? Are you casually creating in your art journal just for you, and you don’t care what happens to it in the long run? Or are you making a painting for your favorite friend and want that thing to last? This will help you determine, does quality matter?

Here are some considerations.

Take a look to see if your adhesive is archivable. This will be important if you are selling your work or want your work to last a long time. Not as much if you are casually creating in your art journal and aren’t as attached to the work.

Suppose you are going for experimentation and just looking to play around. In that case, you can get away with a cheaper non-professional quality adhesive. Still, if you want it to last or sell, professional grade and/or archival will be important.

mixed media adhesives

Here are Eight Adhesives I Have in my Art Arsenal That You Should Have Too:⁣

Keep in mind this list is not exhaustive. There are loads of adhesives out there! But these eight will keep you going for all kinds of mixed media art creations.

1. Liquitex Matte Medium

This glue is runny and thin⁣. This is a popular adhesive that can be used to attach paper, fabric, and other materials to your artwork and to seal your finished piece.

2. Golden Gel Medium

Gloss or matte. Soft, regular, and heavy, so many different types. These mediums work for many other purposes in the artmaking process, which we won’t talk about here, but as far as an adhesive ⁣-this adhesive can be used to create texture and depth in your artwork, and it dries clear.

3. Yasutomo Nori Paste

I use this adhesive for collage. Apparently, this is a starch-based adhesive! Weird but true. It has the coolest texture that’s a bit hard to explain. It dries clear. Reverses with water (what??!!), is archival and non-toxic. Yay for this Adhesive. I love it and recommend it! ⁣

4. Yes! Paste

I use this adhesive for college as well. It’s uber sticky, which I don’t love when it gets on my hands. But it does make for an excellent glue for paper. It’s flat, smooth, and doesn’t buckle paper or leave bubbles. A perfect addition to your arsenal.⁣

5. Adhesive Runner

This tape is a handheld tape runner. Quick, easy, and transportable. ⁣

6. Double Sided Tape

Hello Red Line Tape! This tape is STRONG. It comes in different widths, which is awesome. It’s permanent and can be used in a lot of applications. This versatile adhesive can be used to attach papers, fabrics, and other materials to your artwork.

7. Stapler

Standard, you know what this is, but I do have a fondness for the Tim Holtz Tiny Attatcher because it’s so cute, and its’ small staples are nearly undetectable in your artwork. I also like a long-armed stapler to reach far out if my paper project is large and won’t fit with a regular stapler.

8. Glue Stick

These are great for attaching paper and cardstock to your artwork and dry quickly.

Which Adhesive for Mixed Media Artwork Will You Try?

So, this looks like a lot of adhesives. But I love having all of these choices depending on how delicate (like rice paper) or heavy (like metal)the materials I use are. Having these adhesives ready helps you plow ahead and avoid getting stuck or frustrated in the artmaking process.⁣

Try them out. Stock up slowly if this feels overwhelming. But know that this will make your artmaking session so much easier and enjoyable. It’ll help you get into your zen place to find peace through making art, especially if you’re not fussing about with adhesives. The more barriers you can remove to creativity, the more ease you will find.

Enjoy these helpful tips on 8 great adhesives for mixed media artwork to add to your art arsenal.

Let me know in the comments which ones are your favorite or which I left out that you love. All the best, and take a spa day for your creative soul!

If you’d like to learn more about how to set up your mixed media art travel kit using one of your new journal friends, grab your guide HERE!

Take care,


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some or all of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission and we are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.  I only share the links to products that I actually use and love.

3 thoughts on “8 Adhesives That Make Your Mixed Media Artwork so Easy

  1. Jakki says:

    Thanks for this run down, it was very helpful. I have a question though: when using rice papers or very thin paper like tissue, which adhesive do you use?
    Yes paste and Nori seem like a good choice, but the stickiness makes me think the paper would be hard to handle when you try to adhere it.
    Any thoughts?

  2. Shay Kent says:

    I like the Yes Paste and Nori Paste because they aren’t wet or runny, which seems to tear up the delicate rice papers. I don’t recall the papers being hard to handle with stickiness. And they lay super flat and smooth. Both are very pleasant adhesives to use with paper. They are designed to work specifically with papers which is excellent.

  3. Marilyn says:

    I think UHU is the best glue stick. It seems to hold paper better than most.
    I have a jar of Yes adhesive and I had a terrible time trying to use it and I haven’t tried it again. It was so thick and sticky. You make it sound easier to use. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *