Types of Glue and Adhesives

25 November 2021

With the holiday season approaching, along with anticipated snow days, crafting is going to be a mainstay. That means glues and adhesives. We all remember library paste, that concoction of flour and water from elementary school days. We have come quite a distance.

White Craft Glue – This is probably the most familiar. It is water based so clean up is easy but not a good choice if you want it to repel water. It will dry clear but may require clamping until the glue is fully set. While it is okay in an hour, it will take a full 24 hours to be fully cured.

Yellow Wood Glue – This is very similar to white glue but has been developed to work on wood. It is tacky when applied so it will hold firmer until fully set and will eventually be more rigid than white glue, so it will hold up to sanding. It comes in Types I, II, and III with different application purposes. While it is somewhat water resistant, use a marine glue for waterproofing. It will set up in about an hour or less, but will take 24 hours to be at its maximum.

Super Glue – Cyanoacrylate is the formal name. This will form a very strong bond and you can buy it over the counter in various thicknesses (viscosities). Too much or too little will not form a good hold. While they are still damp, acetone will do some clean up, but once cured, super glue is there to stay. It will dry clear and mostly waterproof. It will set up in a very short amount of time, generally minutes.

Glue SticksHot Glue – The crafter’s delight, hot glue is a polymer that sets up quickly and fills gaps so can be used on uneven surfaces or to draw designs augmented by glitter, paint, or texture. This is not for use by children because of the temperature.

Spray Adhesive – This should only be used in a well ventilated room. Spray the project and allow the solvent to evaporate before you put the pieces together. At that point, you are committed and the two won’t un-bond.

Fabric Adhesive – These are specifically designed to work on fabrics. Some are safe for laundering and dry cleaning, but check the label first. There are a number of types from stiff to flexible. If you have questions, check at a fabric store or home goods section for the best choice for your needs.

Epoxy – This is a two-step process that will dry hard and prove durable in many different environments.

Polyurethane – This has a wide range of uses including fabric, metal, plastic, glass, and others. It can come in a single option or may be part of a two product system. Until it is completely cured, it can be removed with acetone or mineral spirits. You will need to use clamps for at least a few hours and full bonding is complete in six to eight hours.

Glue Sticks – Perfect for kids, this is an easy to use adhesive that will create a permanent bond on lots of paper and foam. It dries clear.

Not all glues or adhesives are the same. Always read the label even if you think you know its use and safety precautions.


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