Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Product Review: ATG / Adhesives

A couple of months ago, I convinced myself to invest in an ATG (adhesive transfer gun). The link provided will take you to the online store where I bought mine from, (Excellent customer service, extremely fast shipping, highly recommended.) I bought the 714 model, which uses 1/4" tape (the 908 Gold is acid-free).

Many who read this may wonder if I'm insane for spending $40 for a tape dispenser and another $40 for 12 rolls of tape. I know. I was once a skeptic myself. Perhaps a little background may help.

I formerly used photo splits like this or a similar kind to work on my scrapbooks. Like many other scrapbookers know, they have a layer that peels off to reveal the double-sided tape. Those little pesky squares would end up all over the place! However, the mess of the photo squares would never be enough to convince me to purchase the ATG. Sometimes the size of the splits was wrong for my project. I would find myself cutting these little squares in half or even into fourths to accommodate my craft. Or, being cheap, I would try to double my investment by cutting each square in half, using half as much. However, the inconvenience of cutting the photo squares would never be enough to convince me to purchase the ATG. Then, to my dismay, I would find my pictures eventually falling off the page. more cutting them in half. While some brands were better than others, I became increasingly disappointed in the "long-term stick" of the photo splits. I knew I had to find a way to adhere my pictures and other embellishments to my pages that would hold over time. The search for the perfect adhesive was on.

I tried glue sticks which were okay for the lighter stuff (like letters) but wouldn't hold the heavier stuff (like, say, pictures) very well. I then tried tape runners. I had steered clear of them before, as they were pricier, but I figured it would be worth it if I didn't have to keep re-doing my pages. However, at the rate I was going, I was using them faster than I had 40% off coupons to buy refills. And, even one brand of tape runner did not hold well.

Enter the ATG. My mom has had one for a few years. Though I had never used hers, I thought it looked to bulky to comfortably use. But, I would hear her say how she had to make sure she had her placement right the 1st time--because it sticks so well that there's no re-doing it. There's also no mess to clean up. You just press the trigger while dragging the dispenser where you want the tape, release the trigger, and you're done.

At this point, I was convinced of the quality and the convenience, but the price was still prohibitive...that is, until I pulled out my calculator and let the numbers do the talking. For the price I was paying for the refills for my tape runner, it came to anywhere between 13 and 16 cents per foot of adhesive. Refills for the ATG (I bought in bulk to reduce the price per refill) came to (drum roll please)...less than 3 cents per foot! The ATG will pay for itself in less than 4 refills.

There is another site,, that sells a 12-pack refill of the ATG 7502 for only $18. There is some conflicting information over whether this particular model number is acid-free, but that would bring the price per foot down to about 1.4 cents. Bargain!

To get an idea of how long a refill may last, I have had my ATG for about 2 months and I try to craft at least a little bit each day. More realistically, I get 1-2 projects done 3-4 times per week. I am almost halfway finished with my second roll of tape.

So, my husband was happy that it would save money over the long run. I was happy because I found an adhesive that would stick over the long run. A quality adhesive at an economical price? That's what we call a win-win!

*Photo Splits:
Convenience: C-
Quality: C
Price: C- (15.6 cents per foot)
Overall: C-

*Tape Runners:
Convenience: A
Quality: B
Price: C (13-16 cents per foot)
Price: C
Overall: B

Convenience: A- (the bulk takes some getting used to, but it's not heavy)
Quality: A
Price: A+ (over the long-run)
Overall: A
The ATG is very highly recommended for crafters who use adhesive on a regular basis. Only buy if you will use it enough to justify the cost over the long run.

Disclaimer: I am not associated in any way with Scotch ATG, nor do I receive any benefit from them or anyone else for a favorable review. I'm just sharing my experience with other crafters who will hopefully benefit.

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!

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