Creative bindery Q&A

The following question and answer section focuses on creative bindery techniques, tips and ideas that can help make your business more competitive and profitable.

E-Z Release Glue Application

ez-releaseWhat can E-z release glue be used for?

-It’s an economical and attractive substitute for wafer/clip sealing. (Properly manufactured products work great in the U.S./Canadian mail stream.)

-It keeps fold-outs and gatefolds from unraveling during binding operations

-It holds products together so they can be automatically inserted (i.e. consumer product instruction sheets into bottles or boxes).

It’s great for pharmaceutical and/or miniature folded products.

E-z release glue performs best on penetration-resistant, highly calendered, dense paper with heavily inked and coated surfaces. Matte and other lightly calendered enamel stock, offset paper or sheets with a heavy clay fill are susceptible to delamination and fibre tearing when trying to achieve an E-z release effect.

Managing variable adhesion and chemical reactions is important. Some E-z release glue solvents, such as ammonia, dissolve aqueous and other coatings and result in permanent adhesion.

Solving the Glue Puzzle

Remoistenable Glue (Remoist)

Remoist glue is what’s found on the inside edge of an envelope. It is moistened and affixed by the end user, making envelopes and other return mail pieces the exclusive application for this glue. Cold and hot melt remoist application methods offer distinct advantages based on specific production needs. Since cold remoist application isn’t heat activated, it is ideal for pieces that will subsequently be sent through a laser printer. However, hot melt remoist dries much faster than cold application, which helps speed the project through subsequent production stages.

Many remoistenable glue jobs are done inline with other binding processes. For example, you may apply remoist glue, stop-perforate the sheet, apply seam glue to form a pocket, fold it (barrel folds, accordions and gatefolds), apply wafer/ clip seals, slit it and keep the job in mail-sort order…all inline.

Common applications: envelopes, direct mail response vehicles (2-ply business reply cards or BRCs).


Retack glue is a relatively new form of glue that allows users to remove glued pieces and re-stick them several times before the adhesive properties fade.

Common applications: interactive consumer promotions, adjustable point-of-purchase (POP) displays.

Seam (Permanent)

Permanent glue which is designed to keep two panels together indefinitely. There are several common applications for permanent glue, such as paste binding or affixing easels to create point-of-purchase displays. It’s also used to tack two pieces together during subsequent finishing operations, such as die cutting. The glue is placed on extra material that will be trimmed off once the “tack” has served its purpose.

Resin-based permanent glue are applied cold and provide a good bond with a relatively small amount of residue. Hot melt glues set nearly instantaneously. Permanent glue needs to bite into the paper, so the harder the surface, the more difficult it is to penetrate the sheet and create good adhesion.

Common applications: envelopes, direct mail response vehicles.

E-Z Release

Latex E-z release glues require long setup times (three or four minutes) and tend to spread when the opposing sheet is tightly squeezed. Their curing period is really 24-hours even though they appear to be dry after 10 minutes. Oil-based E-z release glues have a shorter curing time.

Common applications: Self-mailers, wafer/ clip sealing substitute, temporarily hold forms together for other operations (i.e. saddle stitching).

Fugitive Glue

Fugitive glue, also known to some as removable glue, is ideal for direct mail applications. It’s designed to hold tow panels together until they are separated by the end user, making it a suitable closure for a self-mailer. Fugitive glue can be removed without tearing paper fibre and can be rubbed away easily after use. This makes it a good choice for applications that require glue to be placed in a visible location on the piece.

Spot Gluing in Trim-Off Areas

Why Spot Glue in Trim-Off Margin Areas?

Most gate folds, over and over folds and accordion folds will unravel during the saddle stitching or perfect binding processes unless they are held together by glue. However, products often need to be glue-free when they reach the end-user. Spot glue, properly engineered and applied in trim-off margin areas, will accommodate production efficiency needs, yet be completely removed after downstream operations.

Spot glues can be applied using either a “cold” water-soluble formula or a hot melt process. Since hot melt is the more common production method for most spot-gluing applications, we’ll stick to that as our basis for glue comparison. Spot gluing offers its own set of production challenges distinct from those associated with adhesive binding. Whereas adhesive binding is the placement of a glue on a specific location – namely, the edge of a book block – spot glues are placed anywhere and everywhere on a printed sheet.

Production on the spot

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when designing a piece that will receive spot gluing:

Make it laser-friendly. Glues must be chosen carefully for pieces that will be sent through a laser printer for personalization. Many hot-melt glue will cause the sheet to pucker and curl when run through a laser printer. Occasionally, “re-melted” glue will seep from the edges of the piece, making a mess both inside the printer and on sheets that pass through it.

Test it when necessary. There are a myriad of production and end use factors that come into play when selecting spot glue. Warehouse, shipping and destination climate; packing details; ink and paper chemistry; size and weight of the finished project; and even government regulations all need to be considered before placing glue on paper.

The Ugly Truth…

A glue dot will spread, no matter how small it is. Practically speaking, glue usually spreads more than 1/8th. Therefore, if paper efficiency is a major concern, and it almost always is on long run jobs, the most efficient printing layout may not be good for spot gluing. If the glue dot is too close to the edge of the sheet, it will spread beyond the paper causing individual sheets to stitch together in a “brick.” If the dot is too close to the final image area, the glue will not be completely trimmed out.

Suggested Guidelines

Allow at least 3/8” (1/2” preferred) trim-off area in the non “jot-to” end of the product and apply spot glue there. Allow for a 1/8” margin on the “jog-to” end and don’t apply spot glue there. If these margins aren’t possible for your job, consider using latex E-z release instead of permanent spot glue. If you go this route, you will likely need to apply glue on both the jog-to and non-jog-to ends of the product due to E-z release’s weaker adhesive properties. Also, advise your customer that you may get some E-z release glue remnants creeping into the final trimmed product.

The following question and answer section focuses on creative bindery techniques, tips and ideas that can help make your business more competitive and profitable.

I had a job that was too thick for my flat-stitching machine to produce. I lost this thick job to a competitor who has the same model stitcher. Do you know how he was able to stitch the job?

Diagram A illustrates conventional flat stitching. Diagram B illustrates what is commonly referred to as stab stitching, where stitches are driven through both sides of the pad and not crimped. This is most likely the procedure your competitor utilized.


Can you give me some ideas on how I can Cerlox bind books so the title of the book can be read on the shelf?

There are a number of ways you can do this. Three methods, which are shown here, will allow the title of the book to be read along the spine.


A one-piece cover with a small portion of the rings exposed on the spine only.

A one-piece cover that has no rings exposed on the front or spine. The rings appear only through the back cover.

A one-piece cover with no rings showing on the front spine or back. The rings are punched and bound through the edge of the back panel, which has been folded back as a sixth page.

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