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Monday, December 31, 2012

The best glue for your dollhouse wallpapering needs

Grandmother Stover's Glue

These two glues have been around forever (I consider anything around before I started miniatures 5 yrs ago "forever").

Yes glue can be found at Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
Grandmother Stover's is at Hobby Builders Supply.
Same glue, different names.

I came across this glue when I took a class with Sally Manwell in Chicago 2010. Sally provided us with a tiny paint pot of Yes glue. I had seen Yes at Michaels, but always shied away from the glue because it costs $12 a pot, and I couldn't see what the glue contents were like.

In case you are curious, Yes and Grandma Stover both look like a pot of petroleum jelly or wax.

It is a PASTE rather than a liquid form of glue most of us are familiar with.

The reason it works so well for wallpapering dollhouses is because both glues have very low to non-existent water content. That's why they do not create the bubbles that can occur if you try to use regular tacky glue on wallpaper---it may look fine at first, but when completely dry, you can see the glue lines or bubbles .

Another advantage of YES and Grandma Stover glue is when you apply the paste, you can reposition the paper as needed. Some people like to print their wallpaper pattern on self-adhesive paper, which will also not create glue line or air bubbles, but you have to be very precise. I've noticed that if I did not position self-adhesive paper just right, and try to reposition, I end up tearing the paper or creating a crease in the paper that is  hard to get rid of without tearing the paper or smearing the print in some way. YES is more forgiving in this regard.

If you use YES or Grandma Stover, make sure you apply the paste to cover the ENTIRE area to be covered by wallpaper. Easier said than done, because the paste is almost translucent and it can be difficult to see when you are spreading it. If you miss a spot, the paper will not adhere and seem to come off the wall, but usually easily remedied by adding a dot of regular tacky glue.

For quarter scale projects, one pot of YES will last you a very, very long time. It goes a lot faster if you have mostly 1" scale projects, but well worth the cost.

The GLUE STICKS works in a similar fashion, because it is essentially a paste rather than wet glue. I've had similar results to YES when using glue sticks on small scale wallpaper projects. I do think that YES is a stronger adhesive than the glue sticks. If you decide to use glue sticks, pick the ones designated as PERMANENT. I find the glue sticks that aren't designated "permanent" over time loses its adhesiveness, which is a pain to remedy after all the trouble you've gone through.

To use YES, just scoop out some paste with a credit card or plastic knife and spread the paste like you would for cake frosting. Apply an even layer to the entire area to be covered by wallpaper and make sure the EDGES get good coverage.

You will find that YES is extremely sticky if you happen to get some on your fingers, but you can wash off easily with warm water immediately or you can scrape off the unwanted glue when dry.

A final advantage of YES, you can easily transport when traveling to long distance workshops. You can transfer a small amount in a disposable paint pot and not have to worry about glue leakage.


  1. I just gave away a huge vat of this glue. I can't stand it. I found that once it dries--sometimes it "cracks" under the wallpaper and you have bumps. No I didn't put it on thick, no I didn't use old stuff, it just seems to happen 1 out of 10 times. One time too many. I use tacky glue--squeeze it on, spread it with an old credit card and slap the wallpaper to the wall. You have about 4 to 5 seconds to move the wallpaper and then forget it.

  2. Darn it Jene, you crushed my illusions about Yes glue.
    I guess nothing in life is completely foolproof (except taxes and death).

    I haven't had anything bubble with YES, but I've only used for a yr now. I have noticed that if I miss a spot that lacks glue (not hard to do since YES when spread on paper is almost transparent)then that spot will bubble. If I can get to it, I add a dot of tacky glue and press the bubble away.

    I've had no luck with tacky glue, so I just stick to YES or glue stick.Thanks for sharing your experience though.