It’s out there. The best glue for your project, no matter what the material is that you are looking to attach.
The problem is wading through the myriad of options when you aren’t sure where to start. Sticking 2 things together can be a stressful undertaking, folks.
As with all other art materials, using the right tool for the job is going to yield much better results and much less frustration; which is precisely why you might need to buy several glues. You don’t want to use a water-based glue for gluing fabric or tissue paper, as you’ll end up with a wrinkly mess. Similarly, if you use a glue stick to adhere tiles to wood, you’ll be sad when they all fall off.
Here’s a list of the best adhesive for each material to refer to, as needed, for happy gluing results.
Types of Glue
White Glue (PVA)
Water-based glue, pretty messy and great for gluing thicker papers/cardboard, yarn to cardboard, sticks, leaves, (porous materials). Items usually need to be held together after gluing to let the glue set up a bit.
There are many different formulations of PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate), and Elmer’s is the probably the most well-known. However! Don’t use Elmer’s on anything but kid projects. It is not archival, doesn’t dry flexibly, may yellow over time. Definitely go for a higher-quality PVA glue in your projects.
- Bookbinding PVA- This is the brand that I have used since college when it was recommended by a professor. High-quality, archival, ph neutral.
- Aleene’s – I use this stuff for crafty projects. It dries clear and won’t yellow, and, as the name implies, it is tacky- not as runny as regular PVA, so it’s great for gluing little crafty bits together like Pom poms, small beads, cardboard, and the like.
- Mod Podge – A liquidy glue that you brush on. Use on: decoupage, collage, fabric, (porous surfaces). It’s also a sealer/finish. It comes in all sorts of finishes, but I recommend starting off with matte and/or glossy. Use on: papers, crafts, and cardboard.
Homemade Mod Podge Recipe – I have not tried this, but I see it being used by people all over the internet. Mix 1 cup PVA glue with 1/3 cup water. I would use distilled water- don’t know if tap water would get moldy if you don’t use this all at once. Stir it up really well. (Don’t shake it or you will have tons of air bubbles in there.)
Mod Podge Project: Sketchbook Cover Ideas
Rather mess-free, and pretty much the perfect glue for wee little kids. Use on: collaging and paper projects. I use Uhu glue sticks and buy them by the box.
For older kid or parental use, but sprays cover a large area very quickly. Use for: adhering fabric, board, paper, plastics, photos, foil, cork, metal, wood, films, felt, foams, canvas, glass, cardboard, foam rubber and leather. Use outdoors so you’re not left with sticky residue around your house. I like and use Krylon.
P.S. Did you know there was a repositionable spray glue?! That you can use with stencils?! I’m so excited.
This stuff is awesome for gluing 3 dimensional items to a surface, and it dries so quickly that you don’t have to sit holding the glued pieces together for more than a moment. It comes out in a slow stream of globs, but can be spread out with a popsicle stick while it’s still hot. Use on: wood, cardboard, 3 dimensional pieces. (Keep a bowl of ice water nearby to quickly cool off a burn. Don’t skip this step. Seriously. Really.)
Oh! Do yourself a favor and don’t buy a hot glue gun that only comes with the flimsy wire stand. They are utterly horrible.
Hot glue project: Mini Houses- Recycled Cardboard Art Project
Hot Glue tips video:
I went through a ton of this stuff in art school. I adore it. It doesn’t bleed through or wrinkle, so it’s great for paper and fabric, but it’s stinky, so use it in a well-ventilated area (not good for young kids). Here is an awesome rubber cement tip: Spread it on one piece of paper when you are gluing papers together, and it will be removable. Spread it on both papers, wait a minute and attach them together, and your bond will be permanent. It’s permanent right Away, so don’t attach them until you have them positioned perfectly.
Use for: scrapbooking, art journaling, book-making, cardmaking
These are perfect for small, detailed projects such as paper cutting or detailed cards or collage. I vote for every art material to come in pen form.
Is wood glue different than white glue? Yep. It’s a bit stronger than white glue (pva), and make sure when you are using it that you wipe any leaked wood glue off of the the surface of your wood, because it will resist stains! This guide goes into wood glue in great detail.
Glues I haven’t tried yet, but that look promising:
According to This To That, Yamato Sticking Paste is excellent for gluing fine papers, and won’t leave ripples. It’s non-toxic, and made of rice starch. I had a hard time finding it online, but apparently it’s available in Asian craft stores.
Methyl Cellulose Glue from Paper Source
More Glue Stuff:
Elmer’s Washable Color GlueSugru Moldable GlueOriginal Stationery Arts and Crafts Glitter Shake Jars, Extra Fine PowderFinger Protectors120 PACK Hot Glue Sticks for Glue GunMod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish for Fabric
Have you used Sugru? I feel slightly intimidated by it, but feel like it can (and probably is being) used in so many creative ways:
Extra glue tips:
Do not sniff glue
Do not superglue your fingers together to “see what happens”
Do not store your glues lying on their sides:
Do not mix glues to try to create The ULTIMATE glue
Do use glue in a well-ventilated area
Any glue tips for me? Glue stories? Something I missed or that you want me to find out for you? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you’re into paper mache, here is the best paper mache recipe, along with a bunch of great ideas for paper mache projects.