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The Complete Guide to Direct Mail Adhesives

The Complete Guide to Direct Mail Adhesives

Given that customers still report that they find direct mail more personal than the internet, the value of direct mail is not likely to decrease in the near future. As brands begin to plan their next direct mail campaign, they will also need to think about the types of direct mail adhesives they will use to accompany their product and help them accomplish their goals. Here is a basic breakdown of the major types of adhesives, what you need to know, and some of the projects where they will be the best fit.

Mailing flyers without envelopes is an effective way to immediately capture your customer’s attention. These ‘self-mailers’ are a cost-effective way to reduce your direct mail expenses, eliminate envelope printing, and expose your message instantly.

When utilizing self-mailers, adhesives play an important role. Wafer seals and fugitive glue are commonly used to secure these types of mailers. Wafer seals are especially useful for holding the folds of a self-mailer securely, but also allow for easy opening. They can be clear or colored to blend in with your design. In addition to fugitive glue, pressure sensitive adhesives offer a versatile option for direct mail pieces, providing a secure seal that can be easily opened by the recipient.

However, the use of these adhesives must be considered carefully to ensure that your mailer can be processed correctly by the postal service and doesn’t cause issues with other mail. For an eco-friendly approach, water based adhesives can be used in direct mail campaigns, offering a strong bond without the use of solvents.

Fugitive Glue

Fugitive glue is a pressure sensitive adhesive that makes it easy to bond two parts together. This type of glue is often seen in the form of fugitive glue dots, which are round adhesives that can be added to direct mail to bond various offers such as coupons, rebate cards, credit card promotions, or brochures. Small helpful gifts like these can be a great way to increase lift from the campaign. This option is easy to use and does not detract from the appearance of the rest of the mailing.

Caution should be used, however, if you have a form that a customer needs to send back. If they forget to remove the dots, they could potentially cause the piece to stick to other mail, disrupting your returns.

Wafer Seals

Wafer seals are clear, circular adhesives that can easily be placed on envelopes to hold them closed. They also work well on brochures and envelopes. They will successfully hold the pages together to protect your product, but also easily open for your prospects, helping them engage with your materials. Hot melt adhesives are another option for direct mail, providing a durable bond that withstands the rigors of postal handling.

Booger Glue

“Booger glue” is a casual term for fugitive glue, used in direct mail advertising to attach samples or promotional items to mail pieces. This adhesive sticks strongly to paper but can be easily removed without leaving residue. It enhances user interaction with mail pieces, making the advertising more engaging and memorable. Despite its informal name, it’s an essential component in the mailing and marketing industries.

Latex Gum

Latex gum adhesives can come in a few different forms, including sprays or roll-ons. These adhesives products offer a strong tack and are self-sealing. The application methods make them easy to use on a wide scale.


Remoist glue

Remoist glue makes it easy for your prospects to engage with your direct mail, boosting your return from the marketing campaign. To ensure that the process goes smoothly for your recipients, however, it is a good idea to keep some of the following ideas in mind.

  • Heat can activate the remoisten glue. This means that any type of machinery that might inadvertently produce this result should be avoided. This can include laser printers and some inkjet printers, so make sure that everything is run through the printer before applying the glue.
  • Watch the touches and finishes that will come in contact with the glue. Certain varnishes can make it more difficult for the adhesive to stick. Test your desired finish before producing all of your mailings.


Peel and Seal

Peel and seal adhesives are often seen on envelopes where the sticky portion is revealed once a strip of paper is easily pulled away. The ease of use makes this a good option for those producing direct mail envelopes on a large scale.


Clean Release Glue

Clean release glue ensures that your direct mail product continues to look neat and professional, even once the glue is added. Since it is clean release, there will not be any visible residue left behind, protecting the integrity of the design and helping you continue to communicate the message you wanted to send with the direct mail campaign. When a permanent bond is required for direct mail components that should not be easily separated, specialized adhesives are available to meet this need.

As you begin to plan your direct mail campaign consider the variety of different direct mail adhesives you have at your disposal. Consider factors such as:

  • The job the adhesive will need to fill (such as holding a coupon)
  • The type of product it will be used on. For example, a wafer seal will work best on a brochure or forms that need to be returned
  • How the adhesive impacts the appearance of your direct mail piece. If the adhesive will be applied to the middle of the piece, you want to use one that can be cleanly removed without damaging the material and hindering the message you want to send.


As you create your next direct mail campaign, trust your direct mail production to the experienced hands of Ballantine. For over 50 years we have been helping organizations build their brands, so let us help guide you.

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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!