The original Duck Brand Easy Stick Roller is my favorite tape runner. The adhesive was permanent, acid free, and perfect for taping stuff into my journal. It never gave me any problems.
A few weeks ago, I ran out of Duck Easy Stick Adhesive. So, I went to the nearby Jo-Ann Craft Store and bought a new 4-pack of Duck Easy Stick Adhesive Rollers at 40% off (I paid $8.99 + tax).
I busted out the new tape and… it’s “New & Improved!” (see: Adhesive Rollers from Duck® brand). Except, I didn’t know that. The package I bought isn’t marked as such at all.
It turns out “new & improved” is code for “completely different product that no one will like!”
So, here is my review for the New & Improved Duck Brand Easy Stick Adhesive Roller.
Quick Comparison Between New and Old
Both products are permanent and acid free. The tape runners and packaging look the same, except the new stuff comes with a cap to protect the adhesive while in storage.
The old adhesive was a gummy substance that was dispensed in a strip across every surface I tried.
The new adhesive is more like double-sided tape; the strip is made up of a series of tabs. It dispenses onto some—but not all—surfaces.
Because the old stuff was a gummy adhesive, I could roll my finger across it and it would ball up, allowing me to remove small (or large) amounts if I needed to. I can’t do that with the new tape.
Both the old and new tape runners can apply adhesive over a previously laid down strip of adhesive without pulling up the adhesive or getting stuck.
I never had a problem with the old tape runner getting jammed. The new tape runner has a design flaw that causes the used-up wax strip to get stuck to the unused adhesive. This happens often.
The New Duck Easy Stick can easily be applied in a straight or curved line. However, when I applied it in a curve, not all of the tabs were flat. Some of the tabs were wrinkled (like they had an air bubble under them), meaning that the paper will not lie flat against whatever surface it’s adhered to: it will be bumpy.
I show a close-up of the largest bump in the curved tape strip
I tried applying the adhesive to a Hershey’s Bliss candy wrapper. The tape applied fine on the front side, but it would not adhere to the more aluminum-foil-like backside. I tried three times before giving up.
You can see the strip of tabs if you look closely
I also tried applying adhesive to a page from a book (published in 1994). The adhesive remained on its waxy backing and pulled up part of the page. If the paper had been more fragile, it would have ripped.
I folded the white paper in half and used a lot of pressure to make sure the two sides would stick together well. Then I slowly pulled the sheet back open.
A couple tabs stuck to the opposite side, and a little bit of the paper tore, but otherwise nothing was affected.
This could be good or bad, depending on what you’re looking for. Personally, this leaves me wondering if Duck’s double-stick adhesive will hold up to the “permanent” claims.
Corners and Edges
If I go over the edge of the paper, the adhesive acts like what it is: solid tabs of tape. It hangs off over the edge, and it has to be fixed or it’ll get other things stuck to it.
One option is to cut it off, but this method is imperfect and bad for the cutting instrument.
The other option is to remove the tabs individually, but this can tear the paper and leaves no adhesive on the areas from which the tabs are removed.
I removed a few of the tabs that were over the edge
If you want adhesive on the very edge of the paper, especially in the corners, you’ll have to be very precise or use a different adhesive.
I can easily apply a strip of tape and then apply another strip of tape that crosses over the first. The applicator doesn’t pull up the first strip of tape, nor does it get stuck.
After using the tape runner a couple times, the used-up wax paper starts coming out of the applicator’s opening. This prevents any new tape from being applied and has to be fixed before continuing.
The tape runner has to be opened up and the “used” wheel has to be manually wound. This can be a little difficult because the roll of wax paper is pressed firmly against the roll of sticky unused tape.
The tape runner doesn’t stay fixed for very long. After a couple uses, the used-up wax paper is once again sticking out of the applicator.
I used the tape intermittently, making this defect an annoyance. For someone using Duck Easy Stick Adhesive to glue a lot of stuff down at once, this defect would be unacceptable and render the tape runner virtually useless.
The New & Improved product only has one improvement: It comes with a cap to keep the adhesive safe during storage. That’s really cool.
I cannot recommend the New & Improved Duck Brand Easy Stick Adhesive Roller. The tabs can apply bumpy and cause wrinkles and bubbles in the paper. It doesn’t adhere to all surfaces. The solid tape-like nature of the adhesive makes precision gluing of corners difficult. Any one of these problems would make me unhappy with the product. All three of them together mean I will never use this adhesive.
However, those problems may not bother everyone. What will bother everyone is the defect: after laying down a couple strips of tape, the wax paper comes out and the tape runner cannot be used until it is opened up and rewound.
I am not the only person who loves the original product and abhors the new version. The reviews on the Jo-Ann website were glowing up until the new product was released: Reviews on Joann.com. Users on Splitcoaststampers.com seem to feel the same way: New Duck Brand Adhesive – Love it or Hate it?
Even though I received 4 tape runners for $10, I am very unhappy with my purchase. Any money spent on a product I can’t use is too much.
Instead of getting the Duck Easy Stick Adhesive Roller, I would suggest buying double-stick tape in a normal dispenser. Until I find an acceptable replacement, I’ll be using an Elmer’s glue stick.
I returned the Duck Easy Stick Adhesive Rollers to Jo-Ann and got my money back. They took the pack back no problems. I hope everyone who doesn’t like the new Duck Brand Rollers has been returning them; it gets the message across quicker than just not buying them again.