A soft adhesive layer bonded between two rigid substrates, which are being pulled apart, may exhibit diverse instability phenomena before failure, such as cavitation, fingering, and fringe instability. In this study, by subdividing the soft layers into different numbers of disconnected smaller parts, we achieve desired instability modes and mechanical responses of the layer. The partition process not only retains the monotonicity on the tensile curve but also tunes the modulus and stretchability of the adhesive layer. Meanwhile, cavitation in layers of large aspect ratios is suppressed, and the hysteresis during cyclic loading is reduced. This study provides a guideline for the structural design of soft joints and adhesive layers.

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