PVA glue is ideal for papercrafting. The issue is the thickness. When applied on top of ephemera, it dries sticky. Unless…you thin it.
Polyvinyl acetate, or PVA, glue is traditionally white, thick glue. They are water soluble, which means they can be diluted with water. This helps spread the glue evenly prior to drying. When applied, the glue falls into the porous material, making it ideal for non-smooth strata. When applied underneath the material, it dries without any notice. The problem is when it is used on top of the material.
There are loads of ratio mixes. Honestly, it depends on your use and comfort. The traditional mix ratio is 3:1, 3 parts water to 1 part PVA glue. For me, this is too runny. I prefer to switch the ratio.
Taking a clean application bottle, I added water first. This permits me to add a little glue at a time. I add some glue and shake. I watch the glue fall down the sides to gauge the thickness. Then I add a little bit more glue and shake. I repeat this process until I’m satisfied with the thickness.
By thinning the PVA glue, I can use an old brush to apply it to the top of paper. Here I’ve applied a napkin to an envelop in order to create quick backgrounds for an envelope journal. Compare the two images. The red and green striped napkin is straight PVA glue. Once dried, it is tacky. It is useless as it will never fully dry and will stick to anything placed upon it. I used the thinned out PVA mixture on the other envelope. It dried completely and will not stick to anything placed on top.
The red napkin envelope also has texture. I’m able to trim the napkin with scissors or my guillotine paper cutter. The plastic bottle has a cap so I can store the glue for later use. Try mixing your PVA. You may find that you use it more often than before.