Guide to Knowing Which Glue to Use When Crafting

Have you ever wondered which glue you should use? Craft Elf has compiled information on many of the glues commonly used in crafting. The guide below will help you in your decision on exactly which glue to use. If you don’t have a specific glue, our guide can help you choose an appropriate substitute.

Craft Elf’s Guide to Glue

Elmer’s Glue-All – Inexpensive and great for general crafting. It is more watery than tacky glue so it does not work well when gluing heavier items. If this is the only glue you have on hand and what you are gluing keeps sliding down the surface it is attached to you can tape the item in place until the glue dries. Elmer’s Glue-All dries clear, strong, is non-toxic and cleans up with water while it is still wet. It washes off skin with soap and water and is an excellent glue for children.

Tacky Glue – Great all purpose glue which has a thicker consistency than Elmer’s glue therefore it holds items in place better while the glue is drying. It comes in white or clear but both types dry clear and are non-toxic. Washes off skin with soap and water. It is not intended for use on fabric.

Quick Dry Tacky – Same as regular tacky glue except it dries more quickly.

Elmer’s Spray Adhesive – It is a strong water-resistant adhesive which can be either permanent or temporary depending on how it is applied. It is acid free, fast tack, dries clear and resists bleed-through.

Wood Glue – The name says it all on this one. Wood glue is used for adhering two pieces of wood together.

Duco Cement – Can be used on China, metal, wood and some plastics. It is dishwasher safe once dry and dries clear. Caution should be taken when using Duco Cement. It is not intended for young children to use as it is extremely flammable and is an eye, skin and respiratory irritant. Must be used in a well ventilated area.

Glue sticks – Glue sticks such as Elmer’s school glue sticks come in a roll up dispenser similar to what lip balm comes in. It’s main use is to adhere two pieces of paper together or to adhere paper to cardboard. It dries clear. Some types are colored when they go on so you can see where you are applying them but they too dry clear.

Hot glue – Hot Glue is great because it sets up quickly and can hold a variety of materials together. It is ideal for items such as wreaths or hard to glue items. It is not for delicate items or anything that cannot withstand heat. Hot glue is applied using a glue gun into which you insert glue sticks specifically designed for that glue gun (not to be confused with the glue sticks described above). The glue stick’s come in different sizes and can be round or oval and are either high temp, low temp or multi temp. Low temp doesn’t get as hot as the high temp but it cools very quickly so often times the hotter glue is desirable as it gives you a bit more time to set what you are gluing.  Glue guns come in two basic sizes, regular or mini. The mini is smaller in size than the regular gun and the glue sticks are much smaller so they run out more quickly. If you plan on using the glue gun for larger projects I recommend getting a full size gun. The low temperature glue can only be used with a low temperature gun and the high temperature glue sticks can only be used with the high temperature gun. However, the multi temp guns can use either the low temp stick or the high temp stick but you need to be sure the gun is set to the type of stick you have in the gun.  In order to avoid the confusion of which type of stick you have in the gun, you can purchase multi-temp glue sticks which work on high or low temperature. HOT GLUE GUNS GET VERY HOT especially when set to high and care should be take not to burn yourself. Over time items glued using a hot glue gun can come off and may need to be re-glued.

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Mod Podge – One of the most popular decoupage glues, it is used to apply fabric, tissue or paper to a variety of surfaces. Once completed you use the same product to apply a coat over the surface to seal it. Mod Podge comes in matte, gloss or satin finishes. Mod Podge also comes in specialty formulas for fabric, outdoor use, for use as a puzzle saver or with a sparkle in the finish.  Other brands of decoupage glue work in the same manner.

Aleene’s Stop Fraying – This glue is intended to stop the fraying of fabrics, ribbons and trims but can also be use to attach embellishments and appliques. It dries clear and flexible and can withstand repeated washings.

Aleene’s OK to wash it – OK to Wash-It is designed to provide a permanent fabric bond which can be washed.

Aleene’s Paper Napkin Applique -This specialty glue is designed for attaching a paper napkin applique to fabric such as a t-shirt. Once cured the clothing containing the applique can be washed.

Aleene’s Reverse Collage – Used to adhere napkins, wrapping paper, ribbon, glitter or silk flowers to the inside of a glass or plastic container or on the bottom of a glass or plastic tray. Items made using Reverse Collage glue cannot be submerged in water.

Spray Mount Artist’s Adhesive – Designed for mounting art prints and posters but it also useful when crafting or scrap booking. It is repositionable on many surfaces, resists bleed through and is photo safe.

Glue Dots – Glue dots are one of my favorite products to use with children as they are not messy and you do not have to wait for them to dry. They come in a regular/standard strength for most applications but also come in heavy duty if you are glueing items that have a bit more weight to them. Glue dots are also great for adults to use. Use them anywhere you might use tape but don’t want the tape to show, such as on gift baskets.   Glue dots come on a roll of waxy paper. To use the dots, cut apart the paper so that you only have one glue dot on a small piece of the paper. Press the dot onto one of the items to be glued then peel the paper off and stick the other item you are gluing onto the exposed part of the dot. Using glue dots is very similar to using double sided tape.

Always read the specific instructions that come with any glue for the most accurate and up-to-date uses and for the proper way to apply the glue.

Hint: When using a hot glue gun, place a piece of aluminum foil under the nozzle of the gun to catch any of the hot glue drips.

~Happy Crafting!~

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