Monday, June 11, 2012

What's So Great About the ATG?

Hi, everyone! This week I'll be re-posting some of my early blog entries related to my commonly used products and altering an ATG. I get many questions about these items, so I thought I'd repost this for you. This blog post was originally posted on May 4, 2009.

If you've been watching my videos or reading my blog for any length of time, you're sure to have heard me mention the 3M ATG 700. I would say that the most commonly asked question in the comments on my videos has got to be "What is the tape runner you use?", so I thought I'd just write all about it here in case anyone else was wondering. "ATG" stands for "adhesive transfer gun" and the gun is, very simply, a tape runner.

The ATG has been in use for many years in the framing industry. Professional framers use this gun to mount photographs in mats. The 3M 908 Gold, which is the adhesive I use in my ATG, is acid free and archival safe. The ATG has been trusted by professional framers and photographers for years and it has begun to filter into the scrapbooking industry.

The ATG is not a small investment to make. The gun itself is pricey, and while it it very light and easy to handle, it is also larger than any other tape runner on the market. Despite that, the ATG still holds a place in my Scrapbooking Top Three, and the only regret I have is that I didn't purchase it sooner. The adhesive comes off the roll easily and smoothly, is super strong and very economical. It will never get lost on your desk under a pile of supplies, and the adhesive refills are extremely easy to change -- the directions are even etched right into the gun's plastic.

When I first considered buying the ATG, I was thrown off by the price. I was sick and tired of constantly running out of adhesive, but the idea of paying $40.00 for a tape runner was tough to swallow. In the end, it was math that convinced me. I did a cost-benefit analysis for myself & I thought I would share it with you!

If you were to buy a 3M ATG 700 + 12 rolls of the 60yrd 3M 908 gold acid-free adhesive refills (that's 2160 feet of adhesive -- 0' from the dispenser and 2160' from the refills) from today it would cost $146.64 (includes $8.79 in S&H). That is $0.067 a foot.

If you were to buy a Tombow permanent adhesive dispenser from today and 9 of their six packs of adhesive refills (that's 2145 feet of adhesive -- 39' from the dispenser and 2106' from the refills), it would cost you $193.40 before S&H. That is $0.09 a foot.

The Tombow order from is $46.76 more expensive for 15 fewer feet of adhesive than the 3M order from That means that the ATG has already paid for itself with your first order!

Now, if you're like me and scrap often and with generous amounts of adhesive, that much tape will last you for about six months. Which means that before the year is out, you will need to place another adhesive order. This is what the cost breaks out to for the second order:

12 3M 60 yrd 908 Gold acid-free adhesive refills from $103.31 (includes $8.51 S&H) for 2160 feet of adhesive OR $0.047 a foot.

9 Tombow six pack 39' acid-free permanent adhesive refills from $187.11 (does not include S&H) for 2106 feet of adhesive OR $0.089 a foot.

Total costs for adhesive for the first year:
3M ATG: $249.95 for 4320 feet of adhesive (includes cost of gun and S&H)
Tombow: $380.51 for 4251 feet of adhesive (includes cost of dispenser but not S&H)

In the first year of ownership, the ATG would save you a total of $130.56 on adhesive -- that's three times the price of the ATG itself! It pays for itself immediately and it just keeps on saving you money after that.

Anyway, just something to think about. I'll try to stop talking about how amazing my ATG is, but I can't make any promises! I don't get any money for selling these guns -- I don't own stock in 3M or anything like that! I was just so frustrated by the cost of adhesive refills and the poor quality of the dispensers. I took a leap of faith on the ATG and I absolutely love it! I don't want any of my friends to be paying for high-cost, poor-quality adhesive ever again! The gun is sturdy, easy to use & never gets lost on my desk. The adhesive refills are archival safe, high quality and very economical. My ATG definitely deserves its place in my Scrapbooking Top Three.

Whatever you decide, happy scrapping & stay tuned for a blog post on how to alter an ATG once you own one! Another good thing about the ATG is that it's pretty easy to make it pretty!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

P.S. Keep in mind that this blog post was written three years ago, so adhesive prices for both the ATG and Tombow may have fluctuated. Also, I don't know if has still got the best price on the ATG 700 these days. When I researched mine, they had the best price around for both the guns and the refills, especially since I buy 12 at a time and they offer a discount for that. I continue to buy from them because their customer service is amazing, their shipping is quick & they offer a quantity discount.


  1. June-Marie (mermaid49)Monday, June 11, 2012 1:07:00 PM

    WOW Kathryn - I am impressed with the math!

  2. Yes, I love my ATG too. I also got mine and continue to order from the same place as Kathryn. I have the red one, and now a pink one,which uses the 1/4 inch size tape as Kathryn's Yellow one uses the 1/2 inch size tape. So the math and costs are even less with the 1/4 tape. I also order the cheaper (non Acid Free) tape for my cards and it is much cheaper than the gold. I keep the Gold in my Pink ATG and the Non-Acid Free in my Red gun. I too order 12 rolls of each type at a time. It is wonderful and I love it so much and has really saved me a lot of money and a lot of time as I always have refills on hand. Try it all of you, you won't be sorry you did. I think it is by far the best Scrapping Tool on the market!

  3. I just bought mine after the frustration of trying to get other ATG guns to work. Love it!

  4. I bought the red ATG in 2007 or 2008. I love it! I wish it had a cover for the front wheel, so it could travel to crops easily. I got it from too and still get my 12 refills from them. They do ship fast. Thanks Kathryn!!

  5. Hey all. I bought the pink atg and really like it. Although I am still refilling more than I thought, I will not go back to the other tape runners. I bought mine from for $20, and the refills cost about $6-8. Prices do fluctuate and my lss has the refills for about $8. I now own two pink atg and debating whether to give away or open as a stand by....