Mosaic Piecing Tools 2 – Glues and Clips

In this post I will be assessing several glue sticks (not liquid glues) and some ways to hold templates together as you sew. As with yesterday’s post, all items were bought in Australia except where noted, and all prices are in Australian dollars. Prices may vary from store to store.

1. Glues: Sewline, Sue Daley, Matilda’s Own, Roxanne, June Tailor, Bostick

I have to preface this section by stating that I live in Canberra which usually has pretty low humidity. There were some days where I had to apply the glue one side (that is, one inch) at a time because it was drying so fast that I couldn’t get the fabric to stick if I left it longer. I also lost a bit of glue from the Sue Daley pen when a lid wasn’t put on tightly enough and 5 mm of the glue stick dried out overnight.

Sewline & Sue Daley glue
Sewline & Sue Daley glue

Cost: $11.55 for a pen with 2.2 g glue plus one replacement cartridge ($2.63 / g)
Refills available: $16.50 for 6 ($2.75 each or $1.25 / g) or $58.50 for 20 ($2.92 each or $1.33 / g)
Country of Manufacture: Japan
Width of glue: 8 mm (5/16″)
Colour: blue, dries clear (refills are also available in pink)

The 8 mm width is perfect for small templates. The glue goes on smoothly and the colour makes it easy to see where you have and haven’t applied it. Drying time is pretty fast (5-10 seconds) and removal is easy from most template types, especially if the glue has had 24 -48 hours to dry fully. I was able to glue-baste 23 hexagon flowers from one cartridge (966 inches) but obviously your usage may vary according to how much you put on at a time, what template material you are using and the humidity of your house. Note that the larger refill pack is more expensive per gram than the smaller pack.

Glue pen refills
Glue pen refills

Sue Daley
Cost: $11.55 for a pen with 2.2 g glue plus one replacement cartridge ($2.63 / g)
Refills available: $15 for 6 ($2.50 each or $1.14 / g)
Country of Manufacture: Japan
Width of glue: 8 mm (5/16″)
Colour: Pink, dries clear

This is identical to the Sewline pen apart from the colour of the glue. Both are made in Japan and both use the same replacement cartridge. I’m not sure if they are made in the same factory but it’s likely. The refills are slightly cheaper than for Sewline. The above illustration shows a Sewline refill cartridge fitted to a Sue Daley pen, so they really are identical.

Matilda's Own glue stick
Matilda’s Own glue stick

Matilda’s Own
Cost: $7.95 for a pen with 2.2 g glue ($3.61 / g) (no refill included)
Refills available: $42 for 12 ($3.50 each or $1.59 / g)
Country of manufacture: South Korea
Width of glue: 8 mm (5/16″)
Colour: blue, dries clear

Although sold as “Matilda’s Own” this is made in Korea and intended for the Japanese market (all the text on the pen is in Japanese). It uses the same pen and cartridge design as Sewline & Sue Daley. I felt (but cannot quantify) that it is slightly more adherent than the above glues and it’s the one for which I have ordered refills. It is the most expensive, though, and for people on a tight budget it’s probably not worth the additional cost over Sue Daley / Sewline. Also, if anyone can tell me the original brand name I’d be obliged — I can make out the kana but not the kanji.

Roxanne glue stick
Roxanne glue stick

Cost: $13.95 for pen with 6 g glue ($2.33 / g)
Refills available: no
Country of Manufacture: China
Width of glue: 12 mm (about ½”)
Colour: clear
This glue is very, very greasy (I don’t think it’s actually grease but it feels like it). It takes a long time to dry, it leaves a lot of residue on templates and if it gets on your fingers it won’t wipe off easily (nor will it lick off — I had to go to the sink and scrub it off). I found that it worked best on the very porous Paper Pieces / cardboard templates (even then it wasn’t very good) and worst on Mylar (almost useless — it did dry eventually but took around ten minutes). It was also more difficult to remove the centre papers. I would not recommend this glue if you have alternatives.

June Tailor glue stick
June Tailor glue stick

June Tailor
Cost: $8.20 for 8 g pen ($1.03 / g)
Refills available: no
Country of Manufacture: Taiwan
Width of glue: 16 mm (5/8″)
Colour: purple, dries clear

This glue doesn’t feel quite as greasy as the Roxanne and it dries more quickly. but it’s definitely less effective than the three pens. The wider stick width makes precision usage very difficult, especially on the Eppiflex, where a lot of it ended up in the cut lines. It adhered adequately on very porous templates, such as the Paper Pieces and the medical forms, but poorly on the slightly glossy Sue Daley / Sewline templates and even worse on Mylar.

The stick is the same size and shape as the non-sewing 8g glue sticks such as Uhu and Bostick that you find in stationery stores. The design of the stick does not allow for replacement cartridges so you would have to buy another whole pen, but on a gram for gram basis it’s cheaper than the other sewing brands.

Bostick glue stick
Bostick glue stick

Cost: $2.18 for pack of 2 @ 8g ($0.14 / g) (might have been a special price), $3.95 for 21 g ($0.19 / g)
Refills available: no
Country of manufacture: China
Width: 16 mm (5/8″)
Colour: deep blue, dries clear

Having seen that the June Tailor stick was the same design as UHU / school glue sticks and that the Roxanne stick felt very much like it, I tried to find one to compare. I couldn’t find UHU but I did find a Bostick glue stick in OfficeWorks (along with several other copycat products). I found that it was pretty much identical to the June Tailor glue in feel, adhesiveness, drying time and removal. It’s not as greasy in feel as the Roxanne stick. The colour was very strong to start with but it definitely dries clear. It is also the cheapest of all by a considerable margin.

Glue Stick Summary
Glue Stick Summary


For small pieces a narrow applicator is appreciably easier to use (because no matter how often you tell yourself you’ll tilt it on edge, you always end up with it vertical), and of the three pens I tried I preferred Matilda’s Own. However, the plastic-to-glue ratio is much higher in these pens and the price per gram of glue is also high. The two wide applicators (June Tailor and Bostick) were more or less the same in effect as each other and I don’t think you’ll harm your fabric by using the cheap glue from your office supply store rather than the more expensive June Tailor brand (as long as you check that it does dry clear and that it is washable). The only one I would advise against is the Roxanne glue stick because I hate the feel of it on my fingers.

I am planning on doing a washability test soon.

2. Clips: clothes pegs, Wonder Clips, SewTite magnets, SewTite Lite magnets

Clothes Pegs
Cost: Varies from 5 to 30 cents each

Widely available, these generally have enough strength to hold small pieces together. They are best for holding the first few petals to the centre or each other, when the peg can be at the bottom, but can get in the way for the last couple of petals and can be dislodged easily. Because they are so long I find that they don’t catch the thread as often as the Wonder Clips.

wonder clips
Wonder Clips

Wonder Clips
Cost: $8.00 for 25 ($0.32 per clip)

Wonder Clips hold the pieces together quite well but they are easily knocked awry and they catch the thread frequently. Their small size makes them more versatile than pegs when sewing together larger modules. They do take away some of the strain of holding pieces together but that’s about all I can say. (Sorry for the stock image, I can’t find my container of Wonder Clips at the moment.)

Sew Tite magnets
Sew Tite magnets

SewTite magnets
Cost: $30 for 5 dots – $6 per dot
Magnet size: 15 mm diameter; 177 mm2

These magnets are great for holding pieces together. I bought the $20 mixer pack (small bar, large bar and dot) and I’ve only used the dot, but the bars would be useful for larger pieces. The dots are covered in plastic and are about ¾” (18 mm) in diameter. They are smooth and don’t catch the thread at all. Unfortunately the magnet is so strong that it jumps to the steel when it gets close and can be difficult to separate from it. After some experimentation I found that the best way to attach it was to align my pieces, place the steel disc underneath and then bring the magnet down on top. Although much more expensive than clips, they will last forever (as long as you don’t do something silly). I think they are too large for cats and rabbits to swallow but dog owners should be careful in putting them away after use to prevent disaster — I have a steel trolley beside my chair so it’s easy to park the magnet there when I pack up for the night.

SewTite Lite: Libs Elliott magnets
Cost: USD 24.99 for 5, plus postage (not very much) – about AUD $7.70 per diamond.
Magnet size: 9 mm diameter, 64 mm2

These are a weaker version of the original magnets and I found them much easier to use but also easier to dislodge. They are strong enough to hold my 1″ templates together but the magnet doesn’t jump out of my hand. They aren’t available in Australia yet (I bought mine from Paper Pieces in the US) but I’m sure they’ll be here soon. The diamonds have corners and might catch thread occasionally but I haven’t noticed it myself.

Magnetic tape
Cost: ?? I didn’t buy any.
Like most people I have a large collection of fridge magnets and was interested to see how they would compare. The difficult part for me was finding a small smooth steel object to pair with them — I ended up using a bar from the SewTite set. Unfortunately magnetic tape is not strong enough to hold hexagons together. You could cannibalise a larger magnet (the type that has a magnetic disc glued onto it) but with all the bother of getting the glue off and finding a suitable piece of steel you might as well buy a SewTite.

Magnets are the best way of securing your pieces, but the original SewTites are a bit too strong for hand piecing at this size. The Lite versions (in diamonds and bars) are great for handwork and I hope they will be available in Australia shortly.

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