Introducing some common types of glues and adhesives used in crafts and home improvement -- household glue, latex glues, epoxy resins, contact cement, PVC, superglue, and acid-free -- and some of the considerations in using, applying, and removing each.
Which Glue To Use For The Job
By Shellie Wilson
In any sticky situation, the key to success is to choose the right adhesive for the job in hand.
Also known as general-purpose adhesive, it has a transparent appearance when dry. Suitable for situations where a particularly strong bond is not required.
Where to Use: On soft flexible plastics, canvas, some metals, card, cork, leather, hardboard, fabric, and cloth.
How to Apply: Where surfaces are absorbent spread the glue onto one surface and press both surfaces together firmly. Otherwise spread a thin film on both surfaces, leave for a brief moment and then press the two items together for several minutes.
How to Remove: While still wet use a damp cloth to remove excess then use acetone or nail polish remover to rub away at the adhesive.
The Good and the Bad: Can not be used on polythene, polypropylene or polystyrene as it eats into the surface. It is not suitable for repairing pottery and similar heavy items as the glue is not strong enough. Be careful around varnished surfaces as this glue can lift the varnish off a surface and damage it.
A rubber-based adhesive in white and clear formulations. It produces a flexible bond.
Where to Use: Ideal for repairs on fabric, upholstery, rubber, paper wood, and toys.
How to Apply: If the materials are lightweight or delicate avoid adhesive penetration by applying a thin coat to each surface letting it sit till the glue becomes semi-transparent and then pushing the two surfaces together. For other materials apply a light coat to one surface and push together and secure for several minutes.
How to Remove: Comes off easily with a damp cloth when the glue is still wet; when dry pick off the access glue and scrape with a sharp knife. For fabrics you will need a solvent cleaner.
The Good and the Bad: A useful adhesive to have on hand for small touch ups, this latex glue also comes in a non toxic variety for children's use.
A two-part, quick-setting epoxy resin base plus hardener, that needs to be mixed before use. It dries clear and is heat-proof.
Where to Use: On china, pottery, glass and jewelry repairs. It is also suitable for wood, metal and leather. It has a very strong durable bond once set.
How to Apply: Following the directions on your epoxy resin mix the epoxy and hardener together ensuring that your surface is clean. Apply a thin layer onto one surface and squeeze the two surfaces together. Secure until it sets.
How to Remove: If you get it on your skin then use a industrial hand cleaner. Remove excess glue from surfaces with a cloth dampened with white spirit. Once set you will need to chip away at the glue as it is solid once dry.
The Good and the Bad: Once the adhesive is mixed you only have a few minutes to work with it and if you are fixing pottery that you intend to use, after a long period of time the resin will eventually break down.
A petroleum-based adhesive, which is extremely inflammable. Applied to both surfaces, it bonds on contact.
Where to Use: On a variety of surfaces such as laminate, wood, rubber, stone, leather, it is heat and water proof.
How to Apply: Coat both surfaces with the adhesive and allow to become tacky then press the two surfaces together.
How to Remove: It is difficult to remove once it is dry so wipe off any excess as you go with a damp cloth. You can use a acetone to wipe the residue down and large amounts would need to be chipped away first.
The Good and the Bad: You need to work quickly and it is not suitable for plastic pr polythene items as it can wrinkle the surface.
PVA (polyvinyl acetate)
A white creamy adhesive that is water soluble and provides a permanent bond which can be stronger than material itself.
Where to Use: Use for general indoor woodwork repairs, plus hardboard, polyurethane, foam, paper, fabric, leather, and carpets. Can also be watered down to make papermache glue or used as a protective coat on indoor artwork.
How to Apply: Squeeze a thin layer onto one surface and press together straight away. Clamp or secure for at least one hour to allow setting.
How to Remove: While it is still wet remove with a damp cloth; once set use mentholated spirits.
The Good and The Bad: Not suitable for water contact, you will need a waterproof PVA for those jobs.
Originally used by the air force industry this adhesive needs only a tiny spot to produce extremely strong bond onto almost any surface including your skin.
Where to Use: For use where you need a Instant bond, metals, plastics, glass, ceramics, rubber.
How to Apply: One tiny drop onto one surface and push both surfaces together straight away. Always where rubber gloves
How to Remove: If you get skin contact immediately soak in warm soapy water, if available use a solvent cleaner and try to separate skin gently.
The Good and the Bad: Though it is an effective adhesive it can be quite expensive for large projects, it is highly dangerous and should be kept safe at all times. As this is a thin liquid it is not useful in filling gaps which may be required to fill broken pottery etc to even out the edges.
ACID FREE GLUE
This is an archive glue that can either go on white or clear. This glue contains no harmful acid. It is suitable for paper, card and some plastics.
Where to Use: Use for archival documents, scrapbooking and photos.
How to Apply: Apply a thin layer of glue to one surface and press the surfaces together, you can also apply small dots into the corners of a photo for easy application. It comes in many different forms, such as squeezy bottles, roll ons and droplet.
How to Remove: When wet use a damp cloth to wipe away excess; once dried gently separate the items being careful not to tear the papers.
The Good and The Bad: This glue is easy to apply and purpose built for scrapbooking, there is no substitute when it comes to archiving your memories.
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