The Glue Guide – 11 Types of Adhesives and Their Uses
By Nicole Tinkham
You’re most likely already familiar with glue, the popular adhesive that comes in handy when working on crafts and other projects. While the product is quite simple, there are actually several different kinds of glue all with different purposes. Because of that, it’s possible that the glue you’ve been using for your project may not be the ideal type for the materials you’re working with. Find out more about the many types of glue and what each is used for in the chart below.
Glue What it is How to use it
Glue Pen Liquid glue in a pen applicator often found with various tips. Use it on small objects and details. Great for creating thin lines.
Glue Dots This is a solid adhesive in a dot shape. Since these aren’t liquid, they are clean, quick, and easy to apply. Glue dots are a great adhesive plus they can also create dimension so consider them as a design element as well.
Glue Stick Glue in a solid form that comes in a plastic tube. You probably recognize these from your childhood. Apply by rubbing glue on the surface. This is great for covering large areas. Best for use on paper.
Hot Glue A solid stick of glue that is placed in a hot glue gun which melts the glue as it’s applied. As it cools, the glue becomes solid again. Use hot glue for just about any type of material (except metal) for fast setting and quick-drying adhesion.
Fabric Glue There are many different kinds of fabric glue available. Some are similar to white Elmer’s Glue (but made for fabric) and others come in a webbing form which melts under the heat of an iron. Fabric glue is made specifically for fabrics with flexibility and wash-resistance. Since there are different types of fabric glue, make sure to read the instructions before applying.
Rubber Cement Rubber cement is made of elastic polymers and a solvent which gives it a rubbery texture. The rubber texture found in rubber cement makes removal easy without much damage to the materials. This makes it perfect for collages as well as mounting artwork.
White Glue (Elmer’s) Liquid glue often referred to as Elmer’s glue. Use for lightweight porous materials such as paper, wood, and cloth. Keep in mind that this type of craft glue takes about an hour to set and dry.
Super Glue Super Glue or Krazy Glue is a strong, powerful adhesive. The glue’s durable bonds are ideal for use with metal, glass, ceramics, and other heavy materials.
Wood Glue You may find different types of wood glue but the most common is the yellow PVA glue. As it sets, wood glue becomes rubbery and durable. You can use wood glue on any type of wood just remember that the dry time is a little long so you may want to use clamps to hold it in place.
Spray Adhesive With this type of adhesive, you can spray directly on the surface like you would spray paint, which provides a thin even layer. Spray adhesive is perfect for covering large surfaces. It’s recommended to be used with lightweight materials such as paper and fabric.
Tacky Glue Similar to white Elmer’s glue, tacky glue works as an all purpose glue. Use tacky glue as you would white Elmer’s glue. Tacky glue is also great for use on fabric.
Mod Podge Decopauge, often referred to as Mod Podge, is used mostly for crafts to bond and seal paper. As mentioned, Mod Podge is great for bonding and sealing paper but it also gives a nice glossy finish to your work.
Before going to town on gluing, check out the following tips for a smooth application process.
• Clean your materials: Make sure there is no dust, dirt, or moisture on your materials as this can weaken the bond.
• Have a scrap piece of cardboard and rags on hand: Glue can get messy so make sure you have the appropriate supplies for cleaning up any spills.
• Work in a ventilated area: Many types of glue contain harmful chemicals so you may want to consider working in a ventilated area and keep glue away from your eyes.
• Lightly sand or score some materials: Some adhesives suggest lightly sanding or scoring materials such as metals, ceramics, and woods which will create a stronger bond.
• Apply rubber cement and Super Glue to both sides of a joint for more strength.
• Have a friend help: For larger, heavier projects you may want to have a friend available to help hold the project.
• Plan ahead: Plan how you will clamp the project and where you’ll store it as it’s drying before you begin. You don’t want to rush around figuring this out while you’re in the middle of gluing your project!
• Read the directions: Every type of glue is different so make sure you read the directions and apply accordingly.
Above we mentioned some common types of glue but there are several others out there as well. If there’s a specific adhesive you would like to learn more about, simply leave a comment in the box below and it could be featured in our next blog post! Have a helpful gluing tip? Please share it on Twitter using @Keetons and #GlueTips.
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