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This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of glues & adhesives, looking at the different types of basic and specialist glues available, alternative types of adhesive you could use, and a comparison between the use of adhesives with materials!
There are many types of glue available for use in crafting - but how do you know what each one has been specifically developed for? Here, we take a look at the different glues commonly used in crafting, explaining their primary purposes and greatest advantages.
PVA glue (or craft glue) is your basic go-to adhesive as it has incredible versatility and a good strength formula. As it is water soluble, it's especially useful with porous materials like card, paper and fabric. Generally PVA is white in colour, however there are special shimmery colour versions available which dry with a tint of that colour. Nonetheless, PVA dries almost completely clear. This glue is safe for children and can be used in kids craft.
Glue sticks and pen applicators are best used in detailed gluing – when you need that extra precision. Their bonds generally aren't as strong as PVA, however they're not as messy to use and designed primarily to give you that clean, accurate edge when used on paper or card. Perfect for scrapbooking projects, glue sticks prevent your paper wrinkling and allow you to reposition until dry. This glue is safe for children and can be used in kids craft.
Wood glue is ideal for heavy adhesion jobs, most commonly used to strongly adhere pieces of wood together. It often comes in a yellowy colour or similar, camouflaging into the wood's colour when dry.
Fabric glue has been specially developed to allow you to stick pieces of fabric together, rather than traditionally sewing. While this glue allows you to wash the fabrics after use, be careful not to apply it too heavily or you'll stiffen the material.
Decoupage glue is slightly thinner than PVA glue for easier spreading, designed to act as both an adhesive and a clear varnish/sealer in decoupage.
Glitter glue is guaranteed to make your projects sparkle. This glue is clear with coloured glitter pieces contained within for you to get extra creative with.
Perga glue is used specifically with parchment paper, drying clear and hardly visible on this extremely lightweight, transparent material.
Silicone adhesive is generally used in decoupage to give the individual layers a 3D raised effect. It can also be used with stained glass and in mosaics, on metal, glass, ceramic, wood, plastic and card.
Super glue is especially powerful, with the ability to bond most materials together quickly and permanently. It's generally used to repair pottery and in metal craft, or wherever an extremely strong bond is required.
Bookbinding glue dries fast and is generally used in quilling, card making or box making, adhering fibrous materials together.
Envelope glue allows you to create your own envelopes. Once you apply the glue to your envelope, let it dry and then remoisten it when you want to seal it – it's as simple as that!
Hot glue is an extremely strong adhesive which uses a powerful electronic heating element called a glue gun. Special glue sticks are pushed through the glue gun and heated up to a very high temperature – this requires extra care and attention to ensure you don't burn or blister your skin. The glue is very tacky when hot, but solidifies in a matter of seconds to form a bond.
Glue guns are available in both high-temperature and low-temperature variations. Low-temp glue guns operate at roughly 120ºC and work well with lace and fabric, while high-temp glue guns operate at roughly 190ºC and form a stronger bond on heavier materials – they're especially ideal for use in home décor.
Glue sticks are available in a variety of sizes, depending on the size of your glue gun. Some glue sticks are specially developed for certain applications – for example some are designed for use on wood and ceramics, while others are best suited for card projects or model making. Make sure you read the product specifications before purchasing. Not only are glue sticks strong and durable, but you can also buy coloured or glittered glue sticks to add that extra decorative detail to your projects!