Consumer & DIY

One of the most important things to know about the Consumer/Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market is that there is NO one adhesive that can do it all. Despite what the advertiser may say, one must be a careful consumer to select the right adhesive for the job. Several categories of adhesives exist in the marketplace today, including so-called "Multi-purpose", "Super Glue", "Wood Glue" and "Quick-Set Two-Part Epoxy".

Within this market, various applications exist, such as:

  • Decorative Films
  • Do-It-Yourself Products
  • Model & Hobby Supplies
  • School & Stationery Products


The Story of Post-It© Notes

The classic adhesive – invented in a church choir. We all know them, we all use them – Post-its in every size and color. But hardly anyone actually knows where this classic adhesive comes from.

The history of the Post-it note began in the church choir in the parish of North St. Paul in Minnesota. A member of the choir, Art Fry, had marked various places in his music score with strips of paper, but when he turned the pages the scraps of paper often fluttered out. Since Fry worked for a large company, 3M, which also produced adhesives, he remembered a colleague who had found an adhesive that hadn’t really stuck properly. It was precisely this adhesive that Fry used on his paper strips, which now stayed in exactly the right position in his music score. This was the start of the rapid career of a rather unassuming, but incredibly practical product. But what makes the notes actually stick?

A clever combination of materials, mixing speed and emulsifier creates an adhesive dispersion causing little spheres with a diameter of 30 to 50 microns to form. These balls of adhesive are anchored to the paper with a different type of adhesive. This base is a dispersion adhesive where the balls have a far smaller diameter. The combination of large balls of adhesive bedded in an adhesive layer creates the desired effect: the note sticks without damaging the surface it is stuck to because only the tops of the larger balls stick, not the broad uniform base layer.


A World in Miniature

As it brings out the kid in many adults, model-building remains a very popular hobby. Each year thousands make the pilgrimage to special model-building trade fairs and are amazed - what they find is the stuff of model-building dreams. There are cars, ships, planes, trains, steam engines, hot-air balloons and zeppelins, houses and trees, landscapes and streets – all, of course, in miniature and as true to the original as possible. A great deal of adhesive has been used in their construction.

What usually starts out with a small model ship or train, often ends in the building of great model landscapes. Model-building hobbyists dole out countless millions of dollars each year, and a great deal of this goes on the classic model – the electric railway. Most modellers are, of course, men. Many buy complete kits; others insist on making their own. The passion of some goes so far that they install machines for working metal in their garages. But whether a cheap model for beginners is being built, or the modeller has greater plans in mind, whether the project is a railway system, planes or model ships, a simple static model or a fully-functioning replica, none of this would be possible without adhesive. Classic wood adhesives and instant adhesives are very popular, which can be used to join many metals and synthetic materials.

Synthetic materials such as Plexiglas – used in model ship-building and all types of glazing – or Lexan – used in building many model cars, are often fixed with specialist synthetic adhesives. These adhesives in part rely on the principle of cold welding: the adhesive dissolves the synthetic surfaces of the parts and then fuses them together. The hulls of model ships are made of hardened glass-fiber polyester or epoxy resin. To bind these, adhesives with an epoxy resin base are needed. These can even be used to attach such tricky surfaces as polystyrene, which through its lightness is a perfect material for the fuselage and airplane wings, but is also used in building the landscapes for model railways.

Apart from the strength and the durability of the binding, the method and dose of application also plays a role in adhesives for model-building. Fine nozzles for pin-point application to tiny pieces and hard-to-reach edges make things much easier. The gluing of base coverings requires adhesives that can be applied evenly over larger surface areas: sprayable adhesives help the grass to shoot up in model railway landscapes.


For When you are in a Pinch and Need an Adhesive at Home...

You have something you want to glue? Then just heat up a few Gummi Bears. Simply place them in a double boiler at a maximum of 140 degrees F, then add a little water to the bears until you can easily apply the mixture with a paint brush and, hey presto! –- there’s your adhesive.

This is just one of over 30,000 types of adhesive and this incredible diversity of adhesives is matched only by the variety of ways they are used, which is sometimes very strange indeed.

The uses people come up with are as original as they are effective when it comes to adapting adhesive tape to their own needs. Cat and dog owners, who fight a daily battle to remove the hairs of their four-legged friends from pullovers, trousers and sofas, have come to love all types of strong, wide adhesive tape, which are ten times more effective than any regular clothes-brush. Hair, crumbs, fluff and dust are grabbed by the sticky side.

Even photographers and the fashion industry have long since discovered the usefulness of adhesive tape. The fact that the clothes in glossy magazines, advertisements and catalogs always look as if they fit the models like a glove, is not only down to their great figures, but also to the clever use of adhesive tape. Anything sticking up or out won’t be sewn, but simply stuck down. And anyone who has worn a backless evening gown knows the true value of strong tape. Even Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida Parker used tape to give themselves deep décolleté without the need for unsightly brastraps.

Photographers too make unwanted chubby rolls and wrinkles disappear just by using tape. Problem areas are simply pulled smooth and stuck down. And just by the way, even gangsters in action films are glad to have their trusty adhesive tape along. When the bad guy wants to lock his captive away in the cellar quietly, it isn’t the revolver that is his best friend; it’s the strong adhesive tape that makes sure that the captive keeps his mouth shut and draws a gasp when he rips it off again.


Tape Applications

Pressure sensitive adhesives are the proverbial glue that holds tapes together and gives them their sticking power. These pressure-sensitive tapes (or, more simply, tapes) find their way into a myriad of applications used by the consumer, contractor and assembly-line worker alike.  Applications include:

  • Consumer (such as 3M Scotch brand cellophane tape)
  • Electrical/Electronic (think black electrical tape)
  • General Industrial
  • Masking/Protective (from the omnipresent beige-colored masking tape to others)
  • Packaging
  • Surgical/Medical/First Aid

The uses people come up with are as original as they are effective when it comes to adapting adhesive tape to their own needs. Cat and dog owners, who fight a daily battle to remove the hairs of their four-legged friends from pullovers, trousers and sofas, have come to love all types of strong, wide adhesive tape, which are ten times more effective than any regular clothes-brush. Hair, crumbs, fluff and dust are grabbed by the stickyside.

Even photographers and the fashion industry have long since discovered the usefulness of adhesive tape. The fact that the clothes in glossy magazines, advertisements and catalogs always look as if they fit the models like a glove, is not only down to their great figures, but also to the clever use of adhesive tape. Anything sticking up or out won’t be sewn, but simply stuck down. And anyone who has worn a backless evening gown knows the true value of strong tape. Even Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida Parker used tape to give themselves deep décolleté without the need for unsightly brastraps.

Photographers too make unwanted chubby rolls and wrinkles disappear just by using tape. Problem areas are simply pulled smooth and stuck down. And just by the way, even gangsters in action films are glad to have their trusty adhesive tape along. When the bad guy wants to lock his captive away in the cellar quietly, it isn’t the revolver that is his best friend; it’s the strong adhesive tape that makes sure that the captive keeps his mouth shut and draws a gasp when he rips it off again.