I use the Xyron tape also. I have 2 sizes: 1 1//2" & 5". If the die cut image is really delicate, I put the c/s through the Xyron first then peel it away after I cut the image. There is a little static with the clear pull away portion but it is not as frustrating as having the image fall off the card.
I have not had much luck with the glue pen. Must be just me since OP seemed to like using it to stick images. I save the glue pen to use when I want a fine line of glitter.