We have so so so so so many types of glue floating around our house, to the point where I felt the need to gather as many as I could find and take a group photo:
Who am I kidding? That’s about a third of the glues we have knocking around the house. Everywhere. Maybe you’re like us. Or maybe you have a bottle of Elmer’s that you use for everything.
As with all other art materials, using the right tool for the job is going to yield much better results and much less frustration; this is why I make sure to list the specific type of glue we use for each project. 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 glues and their purposes 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.
Mod Podge – A liquidy glue that you brush on, great for 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.
Mod Podge Project: Sketchbook Cover Ideas
Mod Podge CS11202 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Gloss Finish
Glue sticks – Rather mess-free, and pretty much the perfect glue for wee little kids. Use on: collaging and paper projects.
Spray adhesive – For older kid or parental use, but it covers a large area, in an even coat, 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.
Krylon Easy Tack Repositionable Adhesive Spray
Hot glue – Make sure your kids realize how hot the tip of the glue gun, and the melted glue, can be. 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.)
Hot glue project: Mini Houses- Recycled Cardboard Art Project
Rubber cement – I went through a ton of this stuff in art school. 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). It holds well, but isn’t permanent, so you can separate the pieces later.
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