Best glue for paper to gold for piercing?

What’s the best glue for sticking paper to gold or silver for saw piercing? I have used super glue in the past but it never stayed put long enough to complete the sawing. Is there a better alternative, plus method of removal afterwards? Thank you.


Print with laser printer and transfer with hot iron.

Hi Helen,

We use Elmer’s extra strength office glue sticks in the studio and they work well.

Apply glue to back of paper and to the metal. Let glue set for a minute or so then apply the paper to metal and let sit another minute of two to allow the glue to set. The glue is water soluble so paper is easily removed under running water.


rubber cement

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I use 4 x 6” white address labels. Allows me to layout on metal, change lines (ie erase). After cutting, peel off paper. Do a little goo be, gone as necessary and go on.

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I print with a laser printer and use Pritt Power stick to glue it to whatever. Let it dry for a few minutes and the job’s done. The glue is easy to apply because it’s rather like a tube of lipstick, and, since its water soluble, its easy to remove.
Works for me.

Elmer’s makes a water soluble spray which I have used to some success. I have never used the stick on labels but I think that should work fine.
In my experience the best glue has been rubber cement. I would thin it out a bit with some solvent.

Don Meixner

Shelf paper the sticky back,used it for years and you can cut to sze.

I find that contact cement works better than rubber cement. There are a couple tricks to this. First give your metal some tooth by a light very fine grit sanding or using fine pumice or Bon Ami on the surface you want to glue. Do not get fingerprints on the surface. Make sure it is clean and dry. This hold true for whatever adhesive you use. Then use a VERY thin film of contact cement on both the paper and the metal. let is dry for a few moments until the gloss is gone and it dulls out a little. You cannot move the paper after it is in place so be sure to have an extra xerox copy of your design if you get it on wrong on the first try. Trust me on this. I’ve f****d this up a time or two:-) Then place your image on and rub with a burnisher or place some heavy flat bench blocks on it for a few mins.
When saw piercing I find that the back of my freshly milled and nice clean shiny metal gets scuffed and scratched from my bench pin. I hate having to remove scratches and after sanding and polishing the metal never looks as crisp as it did when it was fresh from the supplier. So I always cover the back with clear packing tape. I cover all of my fresh sheet for storage on both sides if it’s going to be kicking around on my bench for awhile before I use it. Contact cement and the clear packing tape can be removed with acetone.
-Jo Haemer

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Here’s my 2 cent’s worth of advice (and 30 years of teaching sawing to my students): use rubber cement.

Same application as Jo mentioned with contact cement 1) clean metal surface 2) apply a thin film of cement on both the metal and the paper. 3) let the glue get tacky (about 15-20 seconds). 4) carefully position the paper on the metal. 5) rub all the air pockets out from between the paper and the metal. 6) saw out your design. 7) peel the remaining paper from the metal.

The biggest advantage of this method, IMHO, is the clean-up after sawing. All you have to do to get rid of the remaining glue is rub it with your thumb/fingers. No acetone.

If you are doing two identical pieces - say for earrings - I use the method described in Alan Revere’s instructional videos. Glue a piece of paper between the two sheets of metal. In this case I will use an adhesive that has a stronger bond like the contact cement metioned.

Good luck,


I actually use my thermal printer labels (for shipping) for this, and before I had the label printer, just plain sticker paper. Good adhesion and any of the above solvents remove the residue.

One more vote for rubber cement. And ditto again on the application method that Jo and Mike describe, but one more thing: I give the paper/metal a solid squish in my planishing press to make sure I have a good bond.


Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.



Rubber cement. Put a thin layer on the paper and a thin layer on the metal. Allow to dry completely, then press together. Rubber cement also works to glue pieces of metal together for sawing like when you’re making earrings and want them the same. Saves time.

I’ve used UHU stick glue since college. works well for me and easy to get the residual off after your done.

I use double stick tape right off the Scotch tape roll. One side of the tape is pressed down on the back of the design covering the entire piece. The other sticky side is placed against the metal. it is very secure and easy to remove once the sawing is done. This easy method needs very little prep and or clean up or drying time.

I use plain old elmers white glue. However,I don’t let it dry completly before I start sawing.

Look here Laser Transfers by Powderhorn | The Engraver's Cafe I use this transfer method for engraving and piercing. After the transfer I spray lightly with hair spray to prevent chipping.
You an get very fine lines this way.

Hi Helen,

We use rubber cement here at Halstead during our classes. When I’m really prepared for class, I’ll rubber cement them the night before so that they’re not sticky while we are sawing/piercing. Just add rubber cement to both the paper and the metal. The cleanup is quick and easy, that’s why we prefer it. Hope that helps!

When I’m doing really fine piercing, I use 2 part epoxy on a thin paper The reason being when using Rubber cement, it will shift occasionally. Epoxy gives an excellent surface over the metal and doesn’t shift. Also, the artwork doesn’t ware away from delicate piercing work… After, I just burn off the remaining paper.