With so many different glues, glue sticks, sticky tapes and glue dots available, when it comes to choosing the right one, it’s easy to get stuck.
We thought we’d help by giving you the lowdown on what each type does best. Hopefully it’ll give you a better idea of what sticky stuff you’ll need when it comes to your next craft project.
Think of it as your Who’s Who of glue.
PVA glue is a great all-purpose crafting glue best used for sticking paper and card together, though it can also be used with light wood. As a water-based glue, it needs to be absorbed by a surface in order to work, so it will not stick two non-absorbent surfaces together. This makes it unsuitable for use with metal, hardwood or painted surfaces.
The glue is non-toxic, making it a popular classroom choice. Being safe, inexpensive and easy to apply, it’s the perfect glue for children to use in their crafting.
It’s also runny, so it can easily get to everywhere you want it to, and because it’s easy to spread, it goes a long way – though not if you spill it. Fortunately, it’s easy to clean up if it does run astray.
Best for: Keeping in your crafting kit as a general all-purpose glue
Dry Clear Glue
Dry clear glue, as you might imagine, has the benefit of drying clear. This is particularly useful for sticking small items like gems, where you don’t want the glue to squidge out and be visible around the item after it’s dried, or for sticking fine powders like glitter or Flower Soft, where you don’t want the glue to show through.
The Art Institute Designer Dry Clear Glue on Handy Hippo (shown in the picture) has an ultra fine metal tip (sold separately). Fit this tip to the bottle, and it gives you really precise control when applying your glue – making it even more suitable for sticking small items.
The glue has the added benefit of being acid free. This is particularly important for scrapbooks and other keepsakes, since it will not damage photographs and papers over time.
Best for: Sticking small items (gems, rhinestones, etc) and powders
Strong, durable glue that is particularly good for bonding glass to glass – so good in fact, that it is used in the manufacture of aquariums.
This makes silicone adhesive the perfect glue to use for mosaics and any other stained glass projects.
The glue has the added benefit of being waterproof, and it dries flexible and clear.
Best for: Sticking glass and acrylic
As the name suggests, fabric glue offers a way to bond fabric to fabric, or other materials to fabric (glitter, gems, sequins, etc), without sewing.
It is suitable for use on cottons, synthetics, leather and suede, and comes in machine washable and non-machine washable versions.
The Hi-Tack Fabric Glue is permanent and machine washable, making it suitable for use on clothing and other items that need to be cleaned.
Non-machine washable fabric glues are intended for use in decorative fabric arts, rather than on clothing.
Fabric glue is your go-to glue for customising clothes and other textile projects.
Best for: Sticking items to fabric, and fabric to fabric
Fast Tack Glue
Fast tack glue is a really versatile all-purpose glue specially formulated to bond and dry faster than ordinary glue.
It can be used for all papercraft applications, as well as sticking wood and even fabric. A particularly effective way to use the glue is to heat bond fabrics for a really strong hold. Just apply the glue between two fabrics, or layers of fabric, then iron.
Please note, however, that unlike fabric glue, this glue is not machine washable. Therefore, it is not suitable for use on clothing or other items that need to be washed.
The glue is safe and non-toxic.
Best for: Creating a strong, fast drying bond between most materials
Easy to apply solid adhesive in a twist-up tube, perfect for sticking paper to paper, fabric to paper, and paper to metal, with none of the mess of liquid glue. There is no risk of spillage, and you won’t get any on your fingers.
Most glue sticks are clear, so if you need to be able to see exactly where you’ve glued, choose a [[p719|Disappearing Glue Stick]]. This goes on blue so you can see where you’ve applied it and where you still need to glue, before drying completely clear.
Glue sticks are not as strong as liquid glue, so we wouldn’t recommend using them with thicker card, but they are perfect for paper.
Best for: Sticking paper to paper and other materials
Glue dots are long-lasting double-sided sticky dots that bond instantly to virtually any surface and, unlike liquid glues, require no drying time. They are perfect for sticking lightweight craft items and paper together.
Needless to say, the dots are much safer than using hot glue guns, and unlike liquid glues, they are odorless and mess-free. They are also non-toxic, making them a great choice for children’s projects.
Glue dots are acid-free, lignin-free and archival-quality, meaning they are safe to use on photos and precious documents, since they will not degrade them over time.
Best for: Sticking small items like gems with precision
Really quick and easy to use, sticky foam pads are double sided and perfect for use in 3D cards, where they can be used to lift parts of your design away from the surface of the card.
You can also layer the pads up to create more depth as required. For an illustration of how they can be used, see our ‘Hugs to You’ Wild Rose Studio Card.
They aren’t quite as strong as liquid glues, so they’re not really recommended for heavier materials, but they are perfect for the requirements of papercraft.
Like glue dots, they stick instantly, and you can reposition them if you stick them in the wrong place.
Best for: Making 3D cards