Chairman’s letter – March 2021

The board of shop-sa is pleased to note that paid-up membership for 2021 has increased over last year. The individual certificates are in the process of being mailed to you.

There is no doubt that the Certificate still lends credibility to our members.

Thank you for your contribution to keep the association going and stay relevant to you the members.
Now, more than ever, the slogan “none of us is as strong as all of us” applies to our Association.
The 2021 BTS season has finally come to an end and we are pleased to inform you that the follow-up to our Survey of Expectations for BTS 2021 during Covid-19 will be mailed to you shortly.
The feed-back from both retailers and suppliers involved in back-to-school will provide a clearer picture of how the pandemic affected their business.  Therefore, please participate in the survey!

Theft and fraud in our industry
seem to be on the increase as was reported to us by a number of companies. It is critical that anyone affected uses shop-sa’s Crime Alert and reports incidents, big or small.

The sale of stolen goods has serious consequences for our industry and only combined efforts and awareness can stop it.
Finally, we would like to draw attention to our Product Source Guide and invite suppliers not yet listed to do so. The guide is a valuable source for anyone looking for a product and its source.
These and other planned initiatives will assist paid-up members in navigating these still uncertain times – not to mention the third wave if it does arrive!
Hans Servas

Such a tiny enterprise without growth potential is meaningless in the world of Walmart.

Watching the recent full-year results presentation by Massmart, one was left with the impression that the dream of being the pre-eminent African retailer that was articulated in 2010 when Walmart bought control of the company, has now all but evaporated.

Massmart appears to be in survival mode, selling off assets and streamlining the business. The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t helped but Massmart was in trouble long before it arrived.

Until current CEO Mitchell Slape arrived, Massmart’s store base was growing rapidly and was unfocused. Slape has brought back focus to the business but in the process he is downsizing it considerably. You cannot save your way to greatness. And the rest of Africa business, once touted as Massmart’s great new growth vector, was hardly even mentioned during the presentation.

It transpires that the rest of Africa business is “under review”. That is usually corporate-speak for “it’s going to be sold off or closed down”. So with a streamlined local operation, no more rest of Africa operations and R5.5bn of debt (much of which is owned by Walmart), it is difficult to see where sustained growth, apart from a bounce-back in 2021, is coming from.

Management estimates that Covid-19-related restrictions last year resulted in lost sales of R6.1bn, with R3.4bn of that figure relating to lost liquor sales as a consequence of the various liquor bans that were in place in 2020. Normal liquor trading was only available for 33% of the year. The estimated effect on operating profit was R1bn.

Total group sales at R86.5bn were 7.7% lower than in 2019 and on a comparable basis, which takes into account any differences in retail floor space, sales were down by 7.5%. Food sales fell by 3.1% and accounted for 42% of total sales.

Liquor sales dropped by 22.4%, accounting for 15% of total, while durable goods sales fell 7% and constituted 43% of total sales. 90.8% of sales were generated in SA, with 9.2% in the rest of Africa. The diluted headline loss per share reduced from -529c in 2019 to -426.8c in 2020.

Segmentally, there were only two bright spots in these results: Builders Warehouse and Jumbo/Shield wholesalers. Builders’ profits rose 22%, while those at Jumbo/Shield were up by 329%. Builders benefited from the current upsurge in demand from the so-called “homebody economy”, with many people working from home and spending money on making their homes more comfortable and efficient.

The other businesses saw profit drops ranging from 17% at Makro and Cambridge/Rhino to a 36% drop at Game.

Slape announced that both Cambridge/Rhino and Massfresh will be disposed of, as stand-alone food retail is not core to Massmart’s business. If these sales go ahead and the rest of Africa stores are also disposed of, Massmart will be left with 22 Makro stores, 69 cash and carry stores, 120 Builders stores and 149 Game outlets.

Michell Slape is a career operator with a good track record in his 26 years at Walmart. His current stint at Massmart is hardly the most glamorous or rewarding position he could have hoped for after his time in both India and Mexico with Walmart.

However, there is a job to be done and he appears to be executing it well. He reminds me of Winston Wolf in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Wolf, played by Harvey Keitel, was a fast-talking, fast-acting and highly functional individual who was brought in to clean up the mess left behind by Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L Jackson). Slape is cleaning up the mess that he inherited as CEO of Massmart and doing it faster than most people thought possible. But the price for this is a much slimmed-down entity that lacks the critical mass required for growth.

Such a tiny enterprise without growth potential is meaningless in the world of Walmart, the world’s largest retailer. It would be very surprising, therefore, if it decided to retain Massmart after the clean- up has been finished and Walmart’s debt to Massmart has been repaid.

By Mayank Sharma for Tech Radar

The notorious REvil ransomware gang has reportedly attacked Taiwanese PC vendor Acer, demanding a $50-million (R7.5-billion) ransom of cryptocurrency Monero to decrypt its computers.

Working with a malware intelligence analyst from Malwarebytes, cyber-intelligence news site The Record, was able to track down a portal operated by the REvil gang that clearly spells the ransom, which is reportedly the highest ever demanded by any ransomware operator.

Recent Gartner figures ranked Acer as the world’s fifth-largest computer maker, accounting for nearly six percent of all global PC sales last year.

Playing down
If reports are to be believed, the ransomware attack has only affected Acer’s back-office network, leaving its production systems untouched. Acer representatives haven’t confirmed the ransomware incident, and in fact the company went ahead and put up its Q4 2020 financial results, apparently unfazed by the attack.

Trawling through the REvil’s known joints on the dark web, The Record found Acer’s name listed on the portal where the group usually puts up a company’s internal documents if their ransom demands aren’t met.

While no Acer documents have yet been put up, the page that lists the ransom demand also has screenshots of purported communications between Acer representatives and the threat actors.

As per the screenshots, the group has lambasted the Acer representative they were in touch with as an “incompetent negotiator” asking them to rope their superiors into the negotiations. The group also threatens to double the ransom if their demands aren’t met until March 28, 2021.

Staples Solutions B.V. earlier has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its business units in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Poland. This follows announcements earlier this year that the company has divested its UK Distribution Centre business, and sold its International Contracts business.

In the coming months, Staples Solutions intends to also divest its remaining business units in Portugal, the Benelux and Finland. The company has engaged a number of interested parties to that effect.

Dolph Westerbos, Chief Executive Officer at Staples Solutions, expanded on the group’s journey since 2017 when Staples Inc sold its European business to create the standalone company.

“Staples Solutions has undergone a radical transformation in just a few years. We changed from a centrally-driven functional organisation into a local country-based structure to better serve our customers. We simplified our business by focusing on contract B2B customers, and divesting non-core units in the early years. We broadened our workspace solutions so that the majority of our revenues now derive from higher margin categories beyond traditional office supplies. We invested in customer service and e-commerce, significantly improving our customers’ experience. The relentless hard work paid off by returning the company to profitability.”

Westerbos continued: “We have created a better business and a strong entrepreneurial culture, with the unfailing support of our shareholder Cerberus at every step. With the successful completion of our transformation, now is the right time for our shareholder to exit. I am pleased that we have secured strong futures for our business units, and I am proud that our people and customers will be an asset to the great strategic players they are joining.”

Whiteboard accessories


Dry-erase markers are also know as white board markers or non-permanent markers. They are made using erasable ink, for use on a slick, non-porous writing surface such as whiteboards and overhead projectors. The ink in a dry-erase marker is made from colour pigments, a chemical solvent and a polymer (or “release agent”). The kind of polymer that is used determines whether the marker is permanent or non-permanent. Dry-erase markers use an oily silicone polymer which makes the ink slippery, preventing it from coming into direct contact with a surface. The solvent in the marker (usually an alcohol) helps the ink to dry quickly. The ink attaches to the surface rather than being absorbed by it.
They are often used by children because the marks they make are easy to clean and the ink is non-toxic. Before using dry-erase markers, it is a good idea to test them on the surface you want to mark. Some surfaces don’t erase well, and the marker will leave permanent or semi-permanent marks behind.

Wet-wipe or wet-erase markers are similar to dry-erase markers but use a quick-drying liquid paste as their medium. The markings are semi-permanent as the base is not alcoholic in nature, and will not be wiped away by a whiteboard eraser. The paste-based medium is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. These markers are usually made of water, resin and titanium dioxide.
Wet wipe markers are often used to draw a template, especially in school classrooms or on calendars. Dry erase markers are then usually applied on top of the wet wipe marker, and erased without touching the wet wipe marks. Uses for wet wipe markers include overhead projector transparencies, tablets at restaurants, office calendars, signboards, whiteboards, writing on mirrors, chalkboards, plastics, ceramics, glass windows and other non-porous surfaces. They are available in an assortment of colours, and can then be cleaned off non-porous surfaces with a damp cloth.

Some unusual uses for dry-erase markers

Label frozen foods – use a dry-erase marker to write the date and contents on the lid of storage containers you want to put in the freezer.

Make notes on your bathroom mirror – the bathroom mirror is usually one of the first things you see in the morning, so it’s a great place to write reminders or jot down quick notes. Dry-erase markers write beautifully on glass.

Make a dry-erase card – cover an index card with clear packing tape to create a pocket-sized white board. Brainstorm on the go, erase, and use it again.

Mind mapping – place a sheet of paper in a plastic file sleeve and write on it over and over again. The paper can contain templates for mind-mapping or brainstorming.

Label file drawers or shelves – file drawers and shelves with smooth finishes, such as metal or Formica, can be labelled with dry-erase markers and re-labelled with ease.

Learn while you shower – if you have a glass shower, you can write lists of words or other information you want to learn on the outside and read it while you bathe.

Mark the next service date inside your car’s windscreen – use a fine-tip dry-erase marker to write a reminder in an out-of-direct-sight corner of your windscreen.

Write on your desk – get a glass or acrylic desk pad (you may have to put a sheet of poster board underneath if your desk isn’t light-coloured) and write notes, to-do lists, phone numbers, or anything else directly on the top of your desk. As you finish tasks, simply wipe them away.

White board erasers

Whiteboard erasers are used in schools and offices all around the world. When choosing a whiteboard eraser, it is important to take note of the following characteristics.
Size and grip is important when choosing a whiteboard eraser. Consider who will be using it the most. The eraser should conform to the shape of the hand, otherwise users risk dropping it or straining their fingers. Some models are designed especially for smaller hands. A variety of shapes exist to make erasing easier. There is even a whiteboard eraser glove available.
Erasers are available in a range of different colours and fabrics. This be useful when it comes to organising stationery, especially in learning environments.
Choosing the type of duster that your whiteboard eraser is fitted with will not only benefit your whiteboard, but your health too. Traditionally, the duster part of a whiteboard eraser is made of felt. Those with allergies and asthma should choose microfibre dusters, as these trap dust and tend to be hypoallergenic. Washable dusters ensure that there is as little ink dust being released into the air as possible. Cleaner dusters tend to retain this dust better.
Whiteboard eraser holders make having one within reach easy. While most come equipped with their own holder, it is also possible to buy them separately. Magnetic holders are popular as they can be placed anywhere on the board.

Whiteboard cleaning solutions

Whiteboards are popular in schools, offices and in homes. They are a convenient replacement for chalkboards and bulletin boards. What’s more, they are very easy to clean and maintain. There are dozens of commercial cleaning products available for use on dry erase boards. Most contain bleach or alcohol, which erase ink and other stains.
Clean board thoroughly with a formulated board cleaner by simply spraying the surface with the cleaner and wipe with a clean soft cloth. It is suggested that the board be periodically cleaned. Many whiteboard solutions actually re-condition the surface of the whiteboard, meaning that it is easier to wipe clean with just a dry cloth between full cleanings. This means that you will use less cleaner.
Look out for whiteboard cleaners that are non-toxic and biodegradable. You can get them scented, or completely scent-free.
Whiteboard cleaning wipes are also available. They are usually made of three-ply material and are pre-moistened with a cleaning solution. They are often non-toxic and safe to use on skin.

In order to reduce the amount of time spent cleaning dry erase boards, consider these helpful tips that will decrease the wear and tear on your whiteboard:

Erase frequently – don’t wait days before erasing large amounts of writing. Instead, erase notes as soon as you are done with them. Also, when erasing a whiteboard, don’t just clean off the areas with the markings. Rather, clean the entire board thoroughly after each use
If ink is left on the board for several days, the ink will set and it may be difficult to erase.

Soap and water – rather than wait until your dry erase board full of leftover markings, consider cleaning it with mild soap and water on a weekly basis. Dip a sponge into a mixture of soapy water and gently scrub the board. Then, dry with a soft towel.

Never use coins or other hard, sharp objects to scratch off stubborn marks from a whiteboard. Doing so will damage the surface of the whiteboard and decrease your writing space.


TOWER celebrates one-year anniversary

One of the largest self-adhesive brands in South Africa, TOWER, celebrates its first anniversary as an independent company, while also settling into their new offices and manufacturing facilities.

TOWER began its journey in 1966 with a simple dream: to make life easier for children and adults alike. Over the many years of supplying customers with stationery and self-adhesive products in pursuit of their dream, TOWER has become a favourite for South African businesses, homes, and schools, and over 52 years later, the dream continues to grow.

A year ago, TOWER parted as a division of Pyrotec to begin their own journey as a standalone company to focus more on the needs of their consumers. After many years of partnership, TOWER has manoeuvred into a direction that has enabled them to be efficient, flexible, and adaptable for their consumers. Their venture has brought about new products that have grown beyond self-adhesive products for offices, households and schools.

In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, businesses and schools were required to rapidly ensure their premises were compliant with the government’s new health and safety regulations. One of TOWER’s categories, TOWER Signage, quickly rallied together to develop a range of signs and floor decals to assist all industries across South Africa to promote good hygiene practices and encourage social distancing.

With many people working from home, the TOWER Office range offers adaptable solutions to help organise the home office space. Products such as A4 printable labels, lever arch labels, white labels and colour codes help to make working from home seamless, organised and productive.

While businesses have geared up to prepare their offices with the necessary signage and protocols, parents and teachers have been working tirelessly to assist their little ones with schoolwork. TOWER Scholastic range helps parents and teachers with reward and encouraging stickers to praise and inspire children. It reinforces positive behaviour and academic achievement, which makes children feel good about themselves and boosts their self-esteem and confidence.

These are just some of the ways that TOWER has dedicated their time and utilised their new offices and factory to assist consumers with products that make their lives easier. Through success and challenges, TOWER remains a proudly South African manufacturer, passionate about creating jobs, growing the South African economy as well as making a positive impact on the community. TOWER customers can rest assured that when they see the black and yellow, they are guaranteed reliability.

To visit our website, click  here.

Chairman’s letter – February 2021

On the Covid front, the first batch of the vaccine arrived with much fanfare, only to be found ineffective for the SA strain of the virus. This was followed by a small quantity of the J&J vaccine which was started to be rolled out to frontline workers.
Hopefully by the end of 2021 most of the population will have been vaccinated and the so called “herd immunity” can be achieved. In the meantime, stay vigilant and adhere to all protocols, especially in the workplace.

Back-to-school finally got underway and our industry again showed its strength by ensuring supplies were and are available to learners.

shop-sa will conduct another survey for our members to gauge the impact of the delays on their business.

Theft of stock on a large scale from retailers and distributors, including the hijacking of trucks, seems to be on the increase. This was highlighted in a message to shop-sa from one or our members. Needless to say, shop-sa will try to facilitate a combined approach to what is becoming a huge problem, adding to the challenges as a result of Covid.
The message is clear: don’t buy stolen goods. It is a criminal offence.

The board also decided to purchase an in-depth report based on research conducted by an international company of the South African stationery industry/market.

shop-sa will offer these findings to paid-up members as soon as the report is on hand.

Finally, the board would like to thank members who have paid their annual membership fees – we appeal to all industry players to do the same. Without funds, the association cannot provide even basic services.

2020, the year of Covid, has reinforced our motto that none of us is as strong as all of us.

Hans Servas

Anton Herbst appointed CEO of Tarsus

Source: ITWeb

Technology group Tarsus has appointed Anton Herbst as its CEO with effect from March, replacing Miles Crisp, who resigned earlier this month.

The company says Herbst brings to the role more than two decades of leadership experience in the ICT distribution industry, starting his career at Tarsus 20 years ago, when it was known as MB Technologies.

In a statement, it says between 2001 and 2011, Herbst was managing director of Advanced Channel Technologies (ACT), a company within the Tarsus group that focused on the distribution of printer consumables and accessories.

“Anton is passionate about people, particularly the people of Tarsus. He has been a key driver of the winning culture and strategy within Tarsus, and knows the distribution business inside out. His wealth of channel experience, strategic acumen and intimacy with our business means he is an ideal person to lead the group in the next stage of its development,” says Lawrence Barnett, chairman of the Tarsus group board.

Herbst is now expected to lead the buyout discussion with Alviva, another JSE-listed technology group.

Tarsus, a value-added technology distributor, representing global hardware, software and information security brands, is in the middle of the takeover deal, which is expected to be concluded soon.

Established in 1985, the Tarsus group has two main operating subsidiaries: Tarsus Distribution, which owns the South African, Botswana and Namibian IT distribution operations; and Tarsus on Demand, which operates a cloud solutions business.

It was valued at R185.5 million as at 28 February 2020, the amount which Alviva offered to take over the company.

Alviva said the Tarsus deal was motivated by its plans to expand the current IT distribution businesses into the retail customer segment where it has limited exposure.

Tarsus’s cloud business is significantly larger than that of Alviva’s and the latter’s growth plans into Africa also stimulated the takeover, as Tarsus’s African business exceeds R670 million revenue.

In  a letter sent to members on 15 February 2021, Adrian  Gore, Discovery’s chief executive, had this to  say:

There is considerable anxiety about South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

I am reaching out to you to explain Discovery’s position on it, and our deep commitment to helping to make it successful for all South Africans. Right now, nothing is more important.

This is a crucial, complex process with many unknowns, and we fully understand our members’ anxiety. The environment is fluid – for example, the rapidly changing information about the efficacy of vaccines such as Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine against the 501Y.V2 variant currently prevalent in SA. People are also unsure about which vaccines will be available in South Africa, when they will be available, and who will have access to them.

Simply put, we need to support our country in executing an effective vaccination campaign while ensuring that every one of our adult Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) members can be vaccinated quickly and efficiently.

Upfront, I need to stress the importance of helping to make the national rollout a success, given the scale of the pandemic and its tragic impact. There have been over 2.3 million deaths globally, and approximately 120,000 excess natural deaths in South Africa during the period of the pandemic – most of which are almost certainly attributable to COVID-19.

We have also experienced the tragic COVID-related deaths of almost 5,000 Discovery Health administered scheme members, and of 12 of our own staff. We are acutely aware of our responsibility in this pandemic and the crucial role we need to play in ending it. I assure you that we have not and will not shirk our responsibility.

In this context, we are often asked why we don’t just procure the vaccines ourselves for our DHMS members, and rapidly vaccinate them. There are two important constraints that make this narrow approach problematic.

First, there is a global shortage of vaccines, and the pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the vaccines will currently sell only to national governments, and not to any other entities. Second, there are specific risk factors that make some people more susceptible than others to severe illness and death should they contract COVID-19. This means that to be both fair and effective, the vaccination programme must be planned and implemented at a country level, according to a schedule that prioritises high-risk individuals first, and matches appropriate vaccines to at-risk groups according to clinical and scientific guidelines.

Not following this process would mean low-risk people get vaccinated before the clinically vulnerable, resulting in unnecessary illness and death. This cannot and should not happen.

Ensuring appropriate clinical prioritisation across the nation is therefore critical. We need social solidarity; but in return, we need to make sure that this coordinated approach is implemented as quickly and as effectively as possible.

In this regard, I want to assure you of Discovery’s deep involvement in these processes. We have been working closely with the National Department of Health (NDoH), Business for South Africa, Business Leadership SA, and other stakeholders, on many aspects of the national vaccination programme. Our team has been involved in supporting the population analytics, research-supported procurement processes, distribution planning and system development that has been taking place.

There will no doubt be learnings as we implement the vaccination programme to frontline healthcare workers – a containable and well-defined group – potentially as early as this week, and these lessons will be applied as the programme is scaled up.

Of course uncertainty still exists with regard to whether a centralised model of distribution will be pursued – whereby our government leads on procurement and coordinates distribution – or whether there will be more active involvement of the private sector in some, or all, of these elements of the programme.

Either way, we have made sure our DHMS members will be covered and protected. We have been engaging directly with several of the key vaccine manufacturers since Q3 2020 and remain in active contact with them. Should their position of selling only to governments change in the near future, we will rapidly engage with the NDoH to agree on a role for Discovery and other private sector players to become directly involved in procurement and distribution.

DHMS has budgeted for sufficient funding to fully cover vaccines (whichever vaccines are procured) for all of its members. We stand ready to fund their vaccination and are also confident that the private healthcare sector’s robust medicine supply chain is ideally positioned for a rapid and efficient rollout of vaccines to members of all Discovery Health client schemes.

In addition, while there has been talk that DHMS has already agreed to finance vaccines for non-members through a cross-subsidisation agreement – this is simply not true. Schemes are awaiting clarity from government on exactly how vaccines will be funded, and what the legislated Single Exit Price will be. Any arrangement will be subject to the supporting legislation, to oversight by the Council for Medical Schemes and to consideration and approval by each Scheme’s Board of Trustees.

While the detail of the rollout is yet to be confirmed, we are optimistic that the priority groups identified for early vaccination will receive their vaccines during the first half of 2021.

We are actively supporting this project with our resources and expertise and are working tirelessly to contribute towards the best outcome for the country, while ensuring that you and your family always have access to the best possible care.

I recognise that this note does not answer all of the questions that you may currently have in mind. We undertake to write to you regularly, to keep you fully updated as the details of our country’s COVID-19 vaccination project become clearer.

Adrian Gore
Discovery Chief Executive


A sticky situation 

There is an adhesive for every application 

General adhesive products

Glue sticks   
A classroom staple throughout the world, glue sticks have a number of advantages. They are non-toxic and non-acidic, which means they can be safely used by children and do not yellow over time. They are considered a low bonding adhesive, and are used on various types of paper, such as cardboard, foam board and poster board.  The adhesive in a glue stick dries clear, and is used for applications like labelling, art projects and scrapbooking. Glue sticks are generally made from a range of similar ingredients, although the exact proportions are particular to the manufacturer. This results in the varying quality of each brand. Most ingredients found in glue sticks are fairly safe and act as thickeners, binders and smoothers.
Acrylic polymer is the ingredient which helps the glue stick to dry quickly. It gives the adhesive strength. It is non-toxic and non-explosive, and remains colourless. 
Polyethylene glycol is a binder. It aids lubrication and prevents the adhesive from drying out. 
Sodium stearate is one of the primary ingredients in glue sticks and is responsible for the opaque white colour. 

Super glue 
Super glue, also known as cyanoacrylate adhesive, is able to bond very quickly to a range of substrates. This very strong bond dries clear. This type of adhesive is available in different viscosities, but can be fussy about the types of surfaces to which it bonds and the amount of glue used. Super glue works best on surfaces that fit together closely. 
In general, super glues are ideal for fixing wood, metal, ceramics, leather, glass, and some types of plastic, but it is not good for foamed plastic, unless specified on the bottle. 
This type of adhesive works best in tensile applications that have low impact strength requirements.  Superglue sets and cures in a matter of minutes. In its uncured state, acetone can be used to clean up spillage. Once the glue has set this no longer works.

Did you know? 
The earliest use of adhesives was discovered in central Italy, dating back 200 000 years. Stone flakes were partially covered with birch-bark tar – a simple, one component adhesive.

Craft glue
This is the most common kind of adhesive for crafting, and allows users to glue porous, lightweight materials such as paper, cardboard and cloth together. White craft glue is easy to clean up and has a very low toxicity level, making it ideal for use in classrooms and homes. The glue is water-based, which makes it liquid and easy to apply. However, craft glue is soluble in water and therefore not recommended for applications in a damp or wet environment.
Keep in mind that the glue must dry before it sets completely. Clamping is usually required to hold the items in place until the glue has dried. It takes approximately one hour to set firmly, and 24 hours to cure. White craft glue dries clear and is somewhat flexible. It can be mixed with fillers such as glitter or paint powder to enhance its decorative effects. 

Mod podge
Mod podge was developed over 40 years ago and is an essential adhesive in a crafter’s tool box – especially when it comes to decoupage. It is ideal for gluing, sealing and finishing. It is water-based, which means it is easy to use and easy to clean. It is also non-toxic.  Mod podge dries quickly, allowing for multiple coat applications in quick succession. It dries clear, and any spills can be cleaned with soap and water. Classic Mod Podge comes in gloss and matte finishes. The difference between these two is the finish that results when it’s dry; gloss is shiny while matte is not. Classic Mod Podge is great for all types of projects and most surfaces. Originally a brand of adhesive, “mod podge” has now come to denote any of this type of glue.

Wood glue
Wood glue comes in two forms:  “white glue” or polyvinyl acetate (PVA), which is a general hobby and craft glue and dries clear; and “yellow glue” or aliphatic resin emulsion, which is commonly referred to as “carpenter’s glue”. PVAs exhibit more slip during assembly. Yellow wood glue is water-based and designed to work with all types of wood. It is immediately tacky, for better hold in the uncured state.  It is also generally more rigid which makes it easier to sand. PVAs are non-toxic and very easy to use, but hard to repair since most glues (including PVA itself) do not adhere well to hardened PVA glue. White wood glue tends to creep under a constant load. Generally, wood glues set in less than an hour. However, it is better to leave them to cure for 24 hours in order to reach full strength. Wood glues vary in their waterproof properties. Some wood glues exhibit waterproof properties, while others are completely unsuitable for exterior use.
Several wood glues have poor “gap-filling” ability. This means they either soak into the wood and leave the gap empty, or remain to fill the gap but have little structural integrity. 

Hot glue
Hot glue is essentially melted polymers (plastic). The melting and cooling of these polymers provides an adhesive property.  Hot glue is most commonly applied using a glue gun. These machines can be wired or battery operated (cordless), and different types will take different diameters (weights) of the polymer glue stick. The guns are available in low (120°C) and high (193°C) melting options.  The types of hot glue available vary according to the polymer type. It can be used on porous and non-porous surfaces. Because of the high viscosity of hot glue, it can bond uneven surfaces together and is ideal for filling gaps. Hot glue provides a quick-setting option for a variety of crafts and substrates, and is the perfect all-purpose craft glue for quick set-up and execution. However, it is not used in high-strength applications and does not do well in temperature extremes.  It is also not suitable for children.

Spray-on adhesives
A spray adhesive is a contact adhesive based in a solvent that is applied by means of an aerosol spray. This type of adhesive can be used with paper, foam board, fabrics, photograph paper and felt.  Specialty contact adhesives are also available in a can to roll or brush on for larger, more demanding projects that involve wood, plastic or metal.
Apply spray adhesives in a well-ventilated area, and allow the solvent to evaporate completely before bonding with the substrate.  This is a permanent bond which cannot be repositioned. 

Fabric adhesives
Fabric adhesives can be liquid white glues like the polyvinyl acetate (PVA) types mentioned above. 
A wide range of products cover light- to heavyweight fabric bonding. Choose the right type of adhesive for the fabric you want to glue. Some versions are safe for washing and dry cleaning. Fabric adhesives are ideal for fixing hems, or for adhering items in DIY projects like making headbands.

Adhesive tapes
There are a range of adhesive tapes on the market, including duct tape, packaging tape, sticky tape, masking tape and washi tape.
Tapes are generally made of two layers. The first layer is cellulose, plastic or even paper, while the second is a rubber-based, pressure-sensitive adhesive. 

Pressure-sensitive adhesives 
Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) or self-stick adhesive forms a bond when pressure is applied between the item with the glue on it and the substrate. It does not require any solvent, water or heat to become sticky. They hold properly at room temperature, but tend to lose their tackiness in extremely low or high temperatures. The amount of pressure exerted on the adhesive determines the degree of bond. Factors such as smoothness and cleanliness of the surface are key to proper bonding. 
Pressure-sensitive adhesives are available in two forms: permanent and removable. Removable adhesives are designed to form a temporary bond, and ideally can be removed after months or years without leaving residue on the substrate. They are available in sheets and dots, and can be used in a multitude of craft projects. They stick to substrates such as lightweight paper, plastic, metal and glass. Removable PSAs are found on tapes, labels, decals and post-it notes. They have low adhesion and generally cannot support much weight.
Permanent applications of PSAs are only moveable after they are initially applied. Thereafter they cure and tend to leave residue behind when peeled offed. 
An example of permanent application includes safety labels. Some high-performance permanent PSAs exhibit high adhesion values and can support kilograms of weight per square centimetre.

Adhesive putty
Also known as mounting putting, Prestik, Blu-tack and Patafix, adhesive putty is a re-usable pressure-sensitive adhesive made of a synthetic rubber compound that is non-toxic, non-hazardous and non-carcinogenic. It doesn’t shrink or dry out, which makes it ideal for use in the classroom and the office. 
Prestik is commonly used to attach lightweight objects such as posters or sheets of paper to walls or other dry surfaces. It is often packaged in separate strips for convenience, and can be re-used.

Heavy-duty adhesives  

Epoxies are generally very hard, durable adhesives that bond to multiple substrates successfully, even in the most extreme environments. They are two-part systems – meaning that two substances need to be mixed together – designed for high-performance bonding.  Epoxy resins are a class of reactive polymers. These co-reactants are often called “hardeners” or “curatives”. The reaction between these resins forms a thermosetting polymer which has a strong bond and high temperature- and chemical resistance. Epoxies have excellent gap filling properties due to their high cohesive strength.

Polyurethane adhesive is a multi-purpose glue that is flexible, resilient and bonds to a variety of surfaces, including textile fibres, metals, plastics, glass, sand, ceramics, rubber and wood. It is ideal for wood with a high water or oil content, where other adhesives would fail to bond.
Often, items bonded with polyurethane are clamped together for a few hours to ensure they cure. Optimal curing time is between six to eight hours. Mineral spirits or acetone can be used as a solvent before the adhesive has cured properly, while dried glue can be sanded away.   
As an adhesive, polyurethane resists moisture and heat, so it is ideal for use in the sun or underwater.

Did you know?
Polyurethane can be found in just about every room of your house. The material became popular during World War II, and since then this polymer has protected, re-invented, joined or transported countless items. It seals surfaces such as wood, metal and paint to protect them from rot, corrosion or fading. It also insulates walls, temperature-controlled vehicles and consumer coolers. It is found in upholstery, packaging crates and plastic wheels such as those on a dolly. It is considered an elastomer, which means it has elastic properties while maintaining rigidity – otherwise known as structural memory. It is used in the creation of thermoplastics, which are rigid, smooth and durable. These are difficult to recycle but can be re-used.

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