Temporary Adhesives

I was looking for a way to cut paper, cardstock, crepe paper on the laser. I used Krylon Easy Tack on a piece of 1/16" acrylic and it did great. But lately I have had a hard time re-tacking it. So I thought I would try a liquid tack. I have painted on a layer of Aleene’s Tack-it glue which gave it a nice tack. But now I’m afraid that because it most likely has a PVA base, that I shouldn’t use it. I’m not cutting through it - just slightly into it - and it is a very thin layer. Does anyone have more chemical knowledge as to whether I can use this or not?
Thanks, Mags

Like you want to cut the paper and then separate it from the substrate? So you’re left with just the paper?


I don’t have a direct answer about the Aleene’s stuff.

There has been a lot of discussion of paper hold-down, though. You can find much of it by searching on things like “cutting paper.”

There is thing called a Seklema mat that works well for this but, is expensive. I have also used the spray adhesive made to hold t-shirts down temporarily while screen printing, applying it to a waste board. Some forum members have even built their own vacuum table trays for this. I think those are the methods most commonly in use.

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exactly. just to keep the cutouts for flying away

I’ve been using the same can of Krylon “easy tack” for about a decade - long before I got the Glowforge even, for re-tacking the mats for my vinyl cutter. I use a piece of MDF on the laser. Just need to occasionally clean off the surface with alcohol, or for the cutting mats (NOT the MDF), even dish-washing liquid under hot water, then a light dusting of the spray. I’ve cut regular paper, and a bunch of those decorative/printed sheets you see at Michaels/Hobby Lobby. Also gift-wrap. You need a very light coat of the spray so it doesn’t grab the paper too much, it works great once you get the hang of it.


Check out this post:

And this one:

And look into seklema mats:


Personally I don’t like mats but they are a simple solution. The vacuum tray is worth the effort if you plan to cut lots of paper.

The manual fan adjustment is also simple and very effective but requires that you watch things closely.

Try the Krylon on a porous subtrate instead of the acrylic.
I’ve been using the same of draftboard with masking as my Easy Tac board for about 3 years and not had any problem with it not working. Lightly respraying it every 3-4 jobs or if it’s sat for a long time unused seems to maintain the right tackiness.


Yes, I liked the Easy Tack. But I’m was looking to an alternative for the winter, We live in VT and I don’t really want to spray it in the studio.

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Thanks, I’ll give it a try on another substrate.

Trying not to have to buy a seklema mat and wouldn’t want to try a vacuum tray.
Thanks for your input,

Then you’re left with reducing the fan power or trying some sort of inconsistent spray adhesive system.

It all comes down to how important this is to you and how much effort you want to put in to the project. These are the best techniques I’ve seen on the forum. Maybe someone else will chime in with a better set of alternatives.


You can put a dusting of the spray down anywhere. I generally walk out onto my deck as long as it’s above freezing.

As stated above, if you’re cutting a lot of paper/paper-like material, a vacuum setup might be worth the effort. When I said “a bunch”, however, I’ve probably not cut more than 40-50 sheets. It was usually for decoration inside a box, or a layered “mandala”-style piece. I like using heavy paper for those, as it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than sheets of wood!

you might consider spraying the EasyTack on cardboard (amazon box) for a single use. I have found that the spray never gets tacky again on acrylic (I tried that same method before). I also use the seklema mat occasionally, but honestly think that the easy tack and cardboard trick works better.

I didn’t want additional wear and tear on my laser cutting stuff like paper, card stock, etc. so I spent $400 on a Cricut Maker 3. There are cheaper models tho’. Sure beats unnecessary wear on a $500 laser and the down time. A replacement blade for a Cricut is about $20.
It cuts great. Fast and super easy, and can use .svg files as well.


it’s the
‘as long as it is above freezing’ that is the issue. I’m in northern VT. During Jan/Feb those days above freezing can be in short supply. lol

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Thanks John. I think that is my issue. I removed the masking from the acrylic after it got gnarly from lots of use.

yes, I have many digital cutters. it’s just so much quicker to do on the laser. Especially the crepe paper.

I didn’t think about the crepe paper. That looks too delicate to cut with the Cricut.

actually you can cut with the rotary blade on the Cricut Maker. This is high quality German crepe so thicker than what you might be thinking about.

Wait, what’s wrong with that? As far as I know polyvinyl acetate is a benign glue for lasering. Polyvinyl chloride is the big no-no. PVA ≠ PVC

If I’m wrong about that, someone please correct me!