Many different types of glue exist that can help you in accomplishing your projects. Glue is among one of the most used materials in arts, whether in schools, offices, businesses, or homes. Knowing which one works best for your current task is essential to ensure your glue works as expected and gets the job done efficiently.
Types of Glue Based on Form
When we hear the word “glue”, most of us will picture the liquid form sold in bottles or tubes. There are however many other types, including:
- Glue Stick
- Glue Pen
- Glue Dots
- Spray Glue
Not to be confused with the hot glue sticks (discussed later), these types of glue are perfect for young crafters. They’re not messy and challenging to use because the soft, pasty glue has been rolled and placed in a plastic container with a twistable bottom to move the stick up and down. Users can simply rub the glue on the surface, and they’re done.
This particular glue also allows you to cover wider areas in one go. This feature can be a disadvantage when working on materials with small widths. You need to either work on a surface covered with scrap paper or adjust the angle of the glue stick during application.
As easy as it is to use, most glue sticks have low bonding strength. However, it will offer a semi-permanent seal when you use it on lighter materials like envelopes, paper, scrapbooks, and labels. Another advantage of glue sticks is that it dries clear.
These types of glue also offer little to no mess application because the liquid adhesive is inside a pen applicator. With small tips, they’re the perfect choice for materials with small widths and gluing minute details and objects like sequins and beads.
You can also effectively seal or fill small cracks to ensure your project is as neat as possible. After all, it has a transparent finish and dries neatly and quickly. Just note that glue pens are available in various tip sizes, so choose one that’s suitable for your specific project.
Undoubtedly the easiest, cleanest, and quickest to use, these types of glue are sold in solid dot forms. You can find them in sheet, roll, and dispenser forms, and all you have to do is take a dot and stick it into the surface of your material. Some crafters also use glue dots as designs by painting the dot’s surface. They’re removable but can create a semi-permanent bond when used on lighter objects.
Choose spray types of glue if you need to apply a thin layer of adhesive on a wide surface area in a short amount of time. They don’t offer long-lasting or durable bonds, so they’re best used for lightweight materials, including thin fabric and paper. When using spray glue, it is important to do so in a well-ventilated area and to read the instructions carefully.
Types of Glue Based on Initial Function
Glue has one primary purpose: adhering or binding different pieces together. However, each type has a certain characteristic that will make it perfect for one material, but worst for another, or to say the least, will result in unpresentable results. For example, all types of glue can bind most types of craft paper well, but some can leave stains or streaks.
With that in mind, here are the most common glue types offered by most brands:
- Craft or White Glue
- Wood Glue
- Fabric Glue
- Super Glue
- Hot Glue
- Polyurethane Glue
- Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) Glue
Craft or White Glue
As the most common PVA-made glue used for years by adults and children, this adhesive contains little to no toxic ingredients (parents should always read the label before letting kids use them). You can also wipe off and clean spills easily, as it is water-based. Add that to the fact that white glue will completely dry for about an hour when left untouched and undisturbed; rest assured you’ll have a tidier workspace and project. This feature also ensures you can make corrections easily.
Keep in mind, though, that its quick-drying and water-based properties can also be a drawback. If white glue hasn’t completely set and dry, and you or someone accidentally knocked off or touched the pieces, you would be left with a messy project. Likewise, you might need to re-apply glue or re-do the project. Thus, just make sure you let your projects dry in a safe area.
Usability-wise, white types of glue are the best for binding porous materials, such as paper, cork, sponge, and untreated wood.
Aptly named, this glue is designed to put wood pieces together or attach a material to a wooden surface. It comes in several varieties, such as epoxy and polyurethane, to meet the different needs of various industries, including carpentry and upholstery, and work on a specific type of wood.
Of course, it isn’t exclusive for wood use. The yellow, PVA-based wood glue variety, specifically the Type 1, is one of the best options for paper mache glue projects. That said, all wood types of glue boast excellent bonding strength, resistance to dampness and moisture, excellent gap-filling properties.
Like white glue, these types of glue require a long time to dry completely, from a few hours to a day. Also, you must ensure the pieces get pressed or clamped firmly together, especially when working with thick wood.
If you prefer not to use white glue to stick fabric together or your project requires gluing fabric on fabric, fabric glue will be perfect. Its most outstanding feature is its resistance to washing and flexibility, even when completely dry. It also dries clear.
You’ll find that it comes in various forms: ready-use and webbing that requires iron heat to melt. Fabric glue can’t completely replace sewing, but you can find permanent fabric glue types to attach patches, appliques, and zippers and repair worn-out jeans and upholstery.
Being one of the most popularly used and known cyanoacrylate adhesives, these types of glue dry quickly. Scientifically speaking, the glue hardens as soon as heat is produced due to it reacting to the water molecules found in the air.
Super glue also has superior and long-lasting bonding strength; hence, the name. You might even have accidentally dripped some on your fingers, leading to them getting stuck together or your craft materials sticking on your finger. You can wipe it off with acetone, but once it sets, you would need special solvents or wait for a few days before you can peel it off your skin.
This feature makes it unsuitable to be utilized when crafting with and around children. It’s also advisable to wear gloves when working with super glue. Nonetheless, it makes it the perfect choice for bonding ceramics, glass, metals, heavy and thick wood, many types of leather, rubber, and other heavy materials. Most super glue brands, though, won’t work on foamed plastic.
We can consider this glue a safer alternative to super glue, as it also has excellent bonding strength and fast-drying properties. It can work on porous and non-porous, thin and thick materials, except metal surfaces.
Hot glue won’t hold pieces together for as long as super glue does. Additionally, hot glue isn’t as safe as the first three types of glue we discussed because you would need a glue gun to use it.
Manufactured as long, translucent, thin tubes, you insert one piece into a glue gun for heat exposure and for it to liquefy. You then apply the liquified form to the surface of the material you want to glue together. The liquified glue will dry as soon as it cools down.
It’s a little messy to use, especially if it’s your first time using hot glue. As such, experts recommend that beginners only use it for small craft projects like attaching embellishments until they get the hang of it. Learn more about how to use a hot glue gun.
This glue has a bonding strength similar to super glue but dries slower, usually from six to eight hours. You would also need to clamp the pieces together or let a heavy object hold them together until the glue dries completely. It also requires acetone and other solvents to help clean and remove the dried glue.
With their strength, these types of glue can work on many materials, but they should top your list when you plan to put wet materials or materials with high moisture content. They’re also perfect for items that will get exposed to rain and snow, such as Christmas wreaths and other outdoor decors; in fact, they’re considered marine-grade glue types.
Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA)
From the name itself, PSA types of glue are not meant for bonding items that you know will get exposed to high impact or pressure. They’re easy to remove and clean, so you won’t have to worry about correcting any mistakes when gluing things together. Sold as glue dots, most crafters use this glue to add dimensions, stability, and distinct forms to their art crafts. It can bond pieces of lightweight glasses, photo paper, metal, and plastic together.
Choosing the Types of Glue Shouldn’t be Too Challenging!
The knowledge you gained about the common types of glue will help you know when and when not to use a specific type. Always consider the materials you would work on, where you intend to use the resulting project, and how strong and long-lasting you want the bond would be. As a DIYer or crafter, though, the all-purpose white glue should always be part of your arsenal.