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Which Glue Should I Use?

Sounds like a trick question. Glue is glue, right? Nope!

I’ve put together a helpful guide for you to figure out which glue is best suited to your project. I haven’t gone through every type of glue available, so there might be others you are aware of, or even use. This is a guide for basic crafting. The right glue could make the difference between a successful project and a complete disaster, so its worth making sure you know which is best.

There is also a helpful tips section at the bottom, and some hints on how to get glue out of the carpet! Accidents happen, right?

Hot Glue

If you want your crafting to stick quickly and securely, hot glue is probably going to be your best friend. It can be used on pretty much any material, and is great for filling gaps. Hot glue guns are also generally very inexpensive. But it is not something that can be used by Children.

Crafty tip: With hot glue, you can trace patterns to form bead designs on surfaces for texture and paint over it for a 3D surface effect.  Hot glue is often used to add flower or ribbon embellishment on wreaths, headbands and picture frames where stiffness and strength is not such a concern.

School PVA Glue (White Craft Glue)

This is the most common craft glue for porous lightweight materials such as paper, cardboard, cloth, and kids’ crafts.  

Water is the carrier; this means easy clean up and low toxicity.  Keep in mind that the glue must dry before strength is significant and the project often requires clamping to hold it in place until the glue is completely set and dry.  This also means that white craft glue should not be used in applications that require water resistance. 

White craft glue dries clear and is somewhat flexible. Get creative and add fillers, like fine glitter, pigment, or water-based food coloring for decorative effects.  

Depending on how much glue you use, it will set in as little as an hour, but will take about 24 hours before it is fully cured.

Fabric Glue

Fabric adhesives can be liquid white glues like PVA type glue. A variety of products cover lightweight to heavyweight fabric bonding, so it is important to get the correct product to match the hang or drape of your project.  Some versions are safe for washing and dry cleaning, but it’s important to read the glue’s label first. 

There are loads of non-woven tapes and fusing adhesives, which range from highly flexible to stiff for fabric and leather projects and garment construction. These can be found in sewing and fabric stores and can bond permanently without bleed through for a very durable craft. 

Fabric adhesives can be used to fix a hem that is falling apart and for DIY projects like making headbands or constructing fabric/foam laminated computer sleeves.

Spray Glue

A spray adhesive is a contact adhesive based in a solvent that is applied by spray.  When using spray adhesives, it is important that you apply in a well-ventilated room.  After spraying your project, allow the solvent to completely evaporate before mating for immediate bond.  Once mated, you cannot reposition your substrates. 

Spray adhesives can be used with paper, foam board, fabrics, photo, and felt.  Specialty contact adhesives are also available in a can to roll or brush on for larger, more demanding projects that involve wood, metal, and plastic sheet laminates. 

Application example: Spray adhesives are an excellent choice for adhering photos or fabrics to a foam board back. 

Glue Sticks

Glue sticks are great for kids!  They are a low bonding adhesive, but do provide a permanent bond on various types of paper to include cardboard, foam board, and poster board.  Glue dries clear.  

Application examples: sealing envelopes, applying labels, paper crafting, art projects, scrapbooking.

Top Tips

1.   Not all glues are created equal. There are many variations within each category and from one manufacturer to another. Read the labels for information on toxicity, ventilation, recommended handling and use, as well as durability in a variety of environments.   

2.    Apply adhesive evenly and remove excess quickly. Immediately clean and cap the adhesive container to maintain shelf life and performance.

3.   Experiment with the glue on scrap pieces of your project.  Check for appearance, adhesion and and resulting bond strength.

If you (or your little Darlings) have spilled glue on the carpet!!!

Firstly, don’t panic

When you spill glue, you have to act fast. Many types of glue are quick-drying but it’s easier to clean up glue if it’s still wet, so you need to get to work straightaway.

1 Dabbing 

Start with a wet paper towel, dabbing it on the wet glue to pick up as much adhesive as possible. You may need to repeat this with multiple paper towels (don’t keep blotting the same paper towel if it’s covered in glue). If the glue is wet and slow-drying, you should be able to pick up most of the glue. Be sure to get down into the fibers after you have picked up the glue on the surface. If this is not working with water, you can also try dipping the cloth in white vinegar, scrubbing the spot, and blotting.

2 Pressing 

If that didn’t work or if the glue has dried a bit, grab some brown paper (a grocery bag works well) or a thin cloth. You’ll need an iron as well. Place the paper/cloth on the stain and heat up your iron. Use a medium setting and turn off any steaming functions. When the iron is warm, press it onto the paper/cloth. Keep your hand moving and be sure not to touch the iron directly to the carpet. The glue should turn into a liquid from the heat and be absorbed by the paper/cloth. You may need to repeat this multiple times, replacing the paper/cloth as necessary.

3 Scraping 

You could also try scraping off the glue with a knife. This works best if the glue is still wet, but you can also scrape up dried glue.

4 Cutting

If the knife method isn’t effective and the affected spot is small, use scissors to cut off the carpet fibers covered in glue. Be careful if you try this method, making tiny snips that only cut off the affected areas. You don’t want to end up with an obvious, shorn spot.

Finally, remember that it’s always best to do a test patch beforehand, as some of these methods may harm your carpet. 

If you can’t get up all the glue, consider contacting a professional carpet cleaning company. Some things are best left to the experts.

1 thought on “Which Glue Should I Use?”

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