A Rant: Caution, Falling Letter Stickers

by Lain Ehmann on November 19, 2011

I’ve been going through my old layouts, looking for scrapbook pages to feature for a few upcoming projects. For the most part, this process brought tons of joy and more than a few smiles! It’s a cool thing to realize that not only do my scrapbooks hold memories I may have forgotten, it also includes layouts I may have forgotten making!


There were more than a few times when I saw something that turned my stomach. It looked something like this:

And let me note — this layout has been in its page protector, stored out of heat and direct sunlight, in a climate-controlled room — for only a few months. And this was not the only page suffering alopecia of the letter variety.

I’m sorry, but falling letters stickers are SO NOT ACCEPTABLE.

I call “foul” on the manufacturers of scrapbooking supplies who sell us products that are labeled “self-adhesive,” and maybe they stick for a week or in some cases they don’t stick at all. Of course, by the time you realize there’s a problem, you either are in the middle of a project and don’t want to take them back to the store, or it’s months (or years) later and you’d look like an idiot, going back to Suzy Q’s Scrapbooking and saying, “I bought these last December and they don’t stick.” So we consumers are left holding the bag.

The worst offenders, in my opinion are American Crafts Thickers and chipboard letters from Heidi Swapp/Advantus, which are no longer made. I know, I know, you love your Thickers. I do, too. But wouldn’t you love them even more if you didn’t have to add extra adhesive on the back before using them, for fear that otherwise your scrapbook titles would look like the marquee at an abandoned drive in?

It’s just wrong — and so easily fixed. Manufacturers, you could:

-Use a stronger adhesive (if you need some suggestions, please google “Superglue” or “Elmers.”

-Present your stickers as “repositionable,” which as we experienced folk know to translate to “will fall off the page if breathed upon.”

-Don’t bother with the adhesive at all, and let us add our own. You could even hawk a special “Adhesive – for Thickers!” or “Adhesive – for Chipboard Letters!” and you know we’d buy it. Especially if it works.

Any of these options would be an improvement, and I’d be satisfied with any of the three. Just stop selling me something that doesn’t work.

  • http://twitter.com/MonicaScraplift Monica Bradford

    I just wrote a rant about this same thing last night (hasn’t posted yet though). I had the same problem just the other day only it was when I was putting on the stickers. They wouldnt’ stick at all. I was SO annoyed! Totally agree Lain! You tell em!

  • Anonymous

    I’m always a little hesitant to say anything negative but this REALLY bothered me! When you post your post, make sure to link up over here… we’ll get a movement started! :)

  • Rosann517

    Amen Sister!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, R!

  • Ruth Bonser

    You are right though I think i love my thickers too much to complain, afterall they might stop making them if it seems to be hard work, and then I might cry ;-)

  • Anonymous

    But could it really be that much tougher to use some good adhesive??? I mean, UGH. I went to the store the other day, and I saw some cool glitter Thickers… but half the packages had letters that had ALREADY fallen off. Bleh.

  • Marina D-K

    You Go Lain! Thanks for speaking up for the rights of scrapbookers everywhere! =)

  • Jennifer Grace

    Yep, this drives me mad too. I love the look of thickers but have stopped buying them now as always had to add so much extra adhesive!

  • http://twitter.com/MonicaScraplift Monica Bradford

    Will do! I’m all for getting a movement started to stop the movement of letter stickers! ;)

  • Christina Clouse

    So happy you posted this. All of my foam thickers have become dislodged after a year, even the ones still untouched in their packaging! Booo.

  • mhestir

    Yep, I’ve had this problem, too. It was even the topic of a pretty big post over at the CK message board for a while. And I own some of those Heidi Swapp letters, too. (I automatically reach for my Zig 2-way on those. Love ya Heidi!) Adhesive is a BIG DEAL in the scrapbooking world. I mean, I think I have a brand for every letter of the alphabet, and every possible application! (AdTech, Beacon’s, Crafter’s Companion, etc….). But I notice, they didn’t name them “FOREVER THICKERS”. I would like to see American Crafts address this publicly. Because I really like the look of Thickers and I own a ton of them.

  • Anonymous

    I am waving the flag high! ;)

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, what a pain…

  • Anonymous

    “Forever Thickers…” See, there’s a market opportunity there!

  • Anonymous

    I love the alphabetical rundown! Too funny!

  • Lzepponi

    Here! Here!  I agree completely!  Thickers are the biggest offenders!  When “showing” off my albums this summer to my mom, to my horror, I found several of my pages (which I had just completed) with missing letters.  The letters were at the bottom of the page protector.  I now immediately reach for the mini glue dots to adhere my letters to the page!  Thanks for writing about this!  I still am a Thickers lover, but they should just keep the adhesive.  Maybe the price would go down.

  • Carmel Keane

    I totally agree Lain – and Thickers are the worst offenders – and the really annoying thing is that they are not cheap to buy here in NZ! I love the look of them but have become seriously frustrated and won’t waste my money any longer. Often you even see them in the unopened packets in the store and half of them have already fallen to bottom of packet!

  • Anonymous

    Exactly – I love Thickers, but don’t love the non-adhesive part of it. Easier to just admit it’s not working and stop trying to convince us they’re adhesive. ;)

  • Anonymous

    YES! I saw some cute glitter ones at the store but that was exactly the case – they need to store them flat. ;)

  • Carla Rausin

    I completely agree.  I have pages upon pages that I have to go back and fix.  I have started adding my own adhesive to the Thickers and letters that I use.  I shouldn’t have to do that!

  • http://twitter.com/spinstertales Diane Curry


  • Barb in AK

    Lain, You know you have problems when you pick up a pack of letters at, let’s say, Michaels, Hobby Lobby or such, and they are falling to the bottom of the package before you even get to the checkout!!! 
    Yup!  I had the problem with chipboard letters this past summer– Nearly lost the “E”  from the title and I didn’t even have the page protector on it yet!!!
    Loved your post— You are SO real!!! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Glad you liked the rant- I don’t do it often but when I do…!!! ;)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Diane!

  • Anonymous

    I need to start adding it as I create the page instead of assuming they’re going to stick… I hate going back and fixing!

  • Jodie Mcnally

    Yet another reason why I love you, dude. You are able to be witty and hilarious even while ranting. :) I would say even the maker of the crappy adhesive on the back of those Thickers would be laughing after reading this. Ok, that might be a stretch, but….maybe. LOL! I feel myself being pulled to the paper side of scrapping again, so I’ve been stalking around your blog for a while, trying to get motivated. :) We’ll see….

  • Anonymous

    I miss you! Sorry my texts weren’t going through. Would love to connect – email me!

  • Ginny

    I agree.  If someone were to “invent” letters that stay stuck, scrapbookers would be all over them!  I’ve also had trouble with some KI felt letter stickers and chipboard alphas from BasicGrey and Pink Paisley. 

    I think part of the problem is the method used for cutting the letters out in the first place.  It kind of warps the material so it doesn’t lay flat and make contact with the paper you’re sticking it to. Sometimes for me when they are really warped, even glue dots don’t fix the problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512700994 Gaynol Flora

    So true!  I was on a thickers kick last time I was scrapbooking, and now every time I open my books, there are several letters that need to be restuck. Sooooo annoying! 

  • Anonymous

    That is so true – I’ve seen that with the chipboard sheets.. I forgot about those KI felt stickers — those were BAD. (But so cute!)

  • Anonymous

    It makes my stomach hurt!

  • bethannstamps

    oh so right.  it makes me crazy that i add adhesive to all my “self adhesive” embellies.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently, you are not alone!

  • Iceteeeeee

    Much to my dismay I discovered the same disassembling of some of my layouts. I need to take a day and go back to reglue them…..so not fun and so not fair. Thanks for the post.

  • Dramaqueensmum

    I’ve had that happen many times too.

  • Deb-a

    Well said! I just add extra glue but we shouldn’t have to.

  • Weaver

    I thought it was just me-that there was something I was supposed to have done but hadn’t.

  • Anonymous

    I thought that way with rubons too, but a couple years ago there was a big uproar about rubons not rubbing on. I’m glad I can help people feel less alone up with blog post like this one!

  • Keely

    I sooooo agree!! Drives me nuts when I go to use a package of Thickers and they’ve lost their adhesive before I’ve even used them. Who knew scrapbooking supplies had a shelf life???

  • Sandra

    amen sister. amen.

  • http://whatsupwithcathy.blogspot.com Cathy Sanders

    SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO agree with you on this…. have so many “self adhesive” stickers that DON’T!  I just make it part of my routine now to add glue to all stickers.

  • Elbornstein

    Here is something else to rant about.  I bought packs of Hermafix on sale a long while back so I still have a good stash, well stash anyway as they also seem to have lost some of their tackiness.  Wonder if I had put them in a plastic bag or maybe the frig, or maybe…..! I love to “stock up” on basics but not so happy when the shelf life is so short that you can’t use them.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/yvette.odowd Yvette Jenkins O’Dowd

    Me too! I have even had to rummage through packs of Thickers in the storebecause some are falling off in the pack! If I didn’t love the look of them, I would stop buying them. I am also disappointed with rub-ons that don’t. And it isn’t the cheapies that are the culprits, often the high end stuff is the worst offenders.

  • tonysfrenchgirl

    I thought i was the only one with this problem. One page was so bad that it took me a while to figure out what my title had originally been. I vote to send this post and the supporting comments to the manufacturer.

  • Anonymous

    Yes! you can find the $1 a pack ones that look like they’re sticking better than the $5 a pack Thickers!

  • Anonymous

    This happens with rub-ons. I think it depends on the humidity of where you are, but they either need to put an expiry date on the packages, or package them better!!!!

  • Krystyna Salvetta

    I was so afraid I was the only one cussing out AC Thickers…  I LOVE THEM!  But if I go back in time, there’s ALWAYS a layout or two that have mysteriously turned into alphabet soup…  I guess I just need to automatically add some glue to the back, but you’re right:  I shouldn’t have to!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, we always think it’s US. Nice to know that others are in the same boat – though I do wish it were an easy fix. Like, “Oh, I blew it because I breathed on them.” Or something like that. ;)

  • Michelle

    I have the same issue with the Thickers. Also rub ons.. they rub on ok. But, even after being in a page protector, they have flaked off. I need to clean a few LO’s up and add sticker letters or something. I think these were some Heidi Swapp rub ons?

  • Anonymous

    Those HS rub-ons were notoriously awful. It’s too bad – -when I think of the money I spent…!!!!

  • Pingback: I remember… | ScrapInspired.com()

  • Zaira Ivette Sierra

    I am NOT into dimensional letter stickers (or dimensional anything, on that matter; I love flat!), and I got proof of it when I got a pack of them to nicely match a page about my newborn nephew… and the started jumping off ship, I mean, page, les than 30 minutes later. Yep, those were Thickers… But my pet peeve is the amount of actual letters in each pack. Would it hour to much to make independent sheets of vowels and consonants, so we could get what we need in amounts that match our particular needs. I usually need to get at least 2 packs of any given alpha sticker set if I want to have enough vowels…

  • canyonjoy

    Ya know, I don’t mind the lack of adhesive on the back of my Thickers. There’s just enough for me to work with positioning them but not enough that I’m stuck (pun intended) on their first placement as I never stop there. MY biggest peeve is kind of related: No one makes a good repositionable tape runner any longer. There once was a good one but it’s been so long ago I can’t remember the brand! I am the kind of scrapper that moves things around and around and around until I’m absolutely sure and then I can still move something. I like repositiionable tape runners that let me work this way. Sigh.

Previous post:

Next post: