MAU Art & Design Glossary

Paper Cement


Paper Cement

Paper cement is an adhesive whose primary components are latex and a solvent, and is used in the creation of designs, layouts, and presentation boards in order to attach paper to paper. Because it is not only easy to bond materials, but also to peel them apart later without damaging the items that were attached, materials may be relocated even after having been initially glued together. At the time of purchase, paper cement will be viscous and sticky. By putting an appropriate amount into a dispenser (which is available separately) and adjusting the thickness using solvent until it becomes fluid, paper cement becomes easy to use. The cement may be applied to both surfaces being bonded, or to only one of the surfaces. In either case, the cement should be spread broadly and evenly on the surface.

When one uses glue stick or starch paste to bond paper to paper, the water from those glues will be absorbed by the paper and may cause shrinkage or warping; it is also difficult to detach the paper once it has been bonded. With paper cement, paper will not wrinkle, and it is easy to detach paper after it has been attached; for these reasons, it is used for intricate jobs such as layering graph paper, as the grid needs to align, and presentation board creation, which has to look precise. Paper cement is also well suited for the temporary adhesion necessary in the layout process. However, please note that while paper cement is appropriate for temporary adhesion, it is not particularly well suited for permanent adhesion.

In order to detach something that has already been affixed without damaging it, use solvent. The corner of the item attached should be peeled up slightly, and the solvent then applied under that corner. This process is then repeated until the item can be fully peeled off. Any paper cement left on the item may be completely removed by applying rubber cleaner and then gently rubbing off any remaining cement.

When using either paper cement or solvent, be sure to work in a well ventilated space, and to follow the directions on the container closely. Because they are both highly volatile and flammable, be sure to seal the containers tightly after use. Paper cement and solvent are available at art supply stores and hardware stores.



  • From left to right: paper cement dispenser, solvent, rubber cleanerFrom left to right: paper cement dispenser, solvent, rubber cleaner