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Adhesive Design
Lee K. HouseJan 23, 20234 min read

Tips To Succeed in Your Adhesive Design Phase

As you settle at your desk with a fresh cup of coffee in your hand, you find yourself asking,

How can I make my adhesive part the most effective version of itself?

You already know that better designs not only improve the usability of your part, but also contribute to lower die cut costs.

While we aren’t a design house, Strouse assists every client with their design to make it work better for its intended purpose and to achieve a design for manufacturability.

If you want to succeed in your design phase, try implementing these three tips the next time you meet with an adhesive converter. 

Tips to Succeed in your Adhesive Design Phase Video

How To Have a Successful Adhesive Design Phase

You might not be the expert who designed your part– that’s okay! 

However, you should be aware of certain aspects of the design before you approach an adhesive converter. Although Strouse is fully equipped to help you prepare for your design phase, many initial design responsibilities still need to be addressed. 

These tips will help you be confident in future meetings by telling you what you need, so read on to find out how to answer your converter’s design questions.


Clients frequently send in drawings of their parts, but it can be challenging to understand the whole picture without context. 

Imagine if someone handed you an illustration of a triangle and told you to make a part out of it. You’d ask yourself, What is this, and what does it do?

Describing your product’s primary purpose will give your converter a better sense of where to begin. If your part needs to seal, we’ll find flexible sealing materials. 

Here’s an example of common questions you might hear: 

  1. What does your part actually do?
  2. What does it need to stick to?
  3. Does your part attach to the skin? 
  4. Is it permanent or removable?
  5. What environments is it going to be exposed to?
  6. What’s the most crucial element of your design (if any)?
  7. Why this design?
  8. Essentially, what problem does this product need to solve?

As you approach the Discovery Meeting, where you’ll discuss your part with your adhesive converter, remember that the first step will be reviewing your product’s purpose and design.


You’re probably thinking, why do we need to discuss my die cut tolerances? 

While the size of your part refers to length or width, your part tolerances determine how precise a cut needs to be.

You don’t need to know the exact tolerances of your part during the beginning of the design phase, but knowing them can expedite the entire design and quoting process: the tighter your tolerances, the more your part will cost. 

If you’re applying your part by hand or otherwise imprecisely, you really don’t need super tight tolerances. You could achieve better results by improving your application method. However, if your product is automatically applied and placement is critical, you’ll likely want your adhesive part to have specific, tight tolerances to ensure it fits. 

So, what do you absolutely need to know if you don’t have your tolerances yet?

When you, as a client, submit your drawing before the planning meeting, you save time and avoid the inevitable email conversation with your converter asking you how big the part is, how thick, etc.

Submit my Drawing

Our advice is to have a sketch ready and to label the measurements within it clearly. The drawing is an inevitable step of the process and preparing it will stop it from becoming a future headache. 


Remember when we mentioned the size of your part? It’s crucial to provide exact measurements because these numbers will guide us as we look through different types of adhesive material.

Certain flexible materials are more difficult to cut, and they might affect the tolerances of your design. For example, when you apply tension to foam, and cut it, the foam tends to shrink after the tension has been released. With the way foam behaves, cutting hyper-precise shapes can sometimes become an issue.

If you’re wondering whether or not we can cut something, see which flexible materials you can use to make custom die cuts

In general, a converter’s ability to cut the material is less of an issue when compared to whether they can reach your specified tolerances. If tolerances aren’t a big concern for you, then it’s more likely we can deliver the part you want. 

What Happens After Your Adhesive Design Phase?

Congratulations! Maybe you’re just getting started, or you got a converter involved early in the design process. Either way, you’re ready to pitch a functional design. 

Once you’ve shown off your design and discussed it with a converter, it’ll be time to move on to the next stage: Making samples to test out different materials and prototyping your part. 

Using the adhesive samples, you’ll finalize your design, and you can then begin the quoting process.

For those of you that are further along or finished with your adhesive design, you could be ready to request a quote:

Request a Quote Today

Otherwise, you might be wondering, am I even ready to talk to an adhesive converter? If you have specific questions about the design phase, please don’t hesitate to ask Strouse. We’re here to help you with your part design so you can comfortably bring your product into reality. 


Lee K. House

Copywriter & Content Creator for Strouse. Lee graduated from the University of Alabama in the Spring of 2022 with a double major in English and Spanish.