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Adhesive And Glue - How To Choose The Right One

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 7

Glues(64300)

Have you ever tried to create or repair something with glue?  You might have questioned which kind of glue is compatible with your task.  If you work with crafts, you may have a huge collection of glues, each one appropriate for the specific materials you use. The dizzying array of available glue and adhesive formulas come in liquid, spray, gel, and film form.  Some of the more familiar types are super glue, acid free glue, hot glue from guns, contact glue, epoxy resins, household glue, and spray adhesives, to name just a few.

Glues are used in projects everywhere, from simple floral arrangements to grand scale pursuits like building construction and aerospace applications.  Jewelry making, woodworking, paper crafts, and sewing, are just some of the crafts where glue is required to bring two surfaces together. 

Sometimes glue acts as a temporary bond before aligning pieces and sometimes it plays the important role of permanent reinforcement for jobs joined by other means, like the screwed joints of furniture.   Yet in other projects, glue is the singular method for holding pieces together.  It can offer an instantaneous bond or one that requires hours before it sets.

The Wrong Glue

Applying the wrong type of glue to surfaces can create problems that may be immediately apparent or it may not be obvious until the glue dries.  Problems may not even be visible until years after application.  Ever see an old photo album constructed with the wrong kind of glue?  Discoloration is a typical problem with some glue and can aesthetically ruin an otherwise perfect bonding of two surfaces.  Paper crafts as well as photos require glue with an acid free formula that will prevent yellowing over time.  This is a must for scrap bookers or anyone working with paper bonds that require longevity.

An example of incompatibility of glue and surface would be trying to secure two pieces of glass with something like Elmer’s glue.  Non-porous materials require different glues than porous surfaces.  The strength of the bond, as well as the type of surface, should be a consideration before selecting a glue or adhesive.  Glue fumes and clean up are also factors to be taken into account. Working with some products will require full ventilation and even protective clothing like facial masks and gloves. If the glue you select does not clean up easily, you may need disposable tools for application.

Super glue or Krazy glue as it’s commonly known can bond many surfaces.  Nail salons use this glue to seal the ends of acrylic nails to the natural nail.  Many nail clients have had the experience of fingers accidentally being glued together.  The good news is, solvents like acetone will dissolve this kind of glue.  While you don’t ordinarily want to glue your skin together, super glue can be a welcome product in first aid kits for minor cuts, creating a quick seal that will stop bleeding and protect the cut from becoming infected.

 The Many Kinds Of Glue[569]

  • Vegetable, resin, animal and latex glues and cements are water based and often advertised as safer for the planet.  These glues are generally used with paper, fabric and other porous surfaces.
  • Hotmelts and waxes used with glue guns are considered thermal adhesives.  They can be applied to many different surfaces and form a bond when the wax cools or sets.
  • Epoxies, acrylics, silicons, and polyurethanes fall into the category of two part adhesives because they require two or more chemicals that work together to form the bond.  Each alone will not do the job.  Applications can include plastic, fabric, wood, and metal.
  • Some silicon and polyurethane products are designed to react with humidity and fall into the category of moisture cure adhesives.  You’ll find them in caulking and sealing products.
  • Cyanoacrylate adhesives, better recognized as super glue can be used effectively on a variety of surfaces.  Their appeal is the very quick setting time.

Questions About Choosing Glue And Where To Get The Answers

 How long will it last?

Will it dry clear?

Will it discolor over time?

Is it a permanent bond?

How strong a bond can I expect?

Can I expect toxic fumes?

Is it washable?

Is it waterproof?

Is it safe for children?

If you’ve ever visited a Home Depot, Lowe’s, or a craft store you will find enough glues and adhesives on shelves to complete the job.  But deciding which is best can be a challenge. 

So how do you trudge through the maze of products available for the single task of joining two surfaces?   You’ll be happy to learn that the answer can be found at Michaels ingenious webpage “Glue It To It”.

The informative web page helps you to make a decision about the product that would best meet your needs before you even head for the store. This tool can save you time and frustration.  Of course if you’re impressed with the web page you may decide to order directly from Michaels online.

On the “Glue It To It” page you will get to choose from a “Glue” category and a “To” category.  Select the two materials you are trying to bond and the tool does the rest.  For instance, click on candles and beads and you’ll get a choice of three products. 

The “Glue” category contains a generous drop down menu with 37 materials.  Examples of what you’ll find include beads, rhinestones, cardboard, candles, wax, ceramics, canvas, clay, feathers, mat board, metal and wood.  The “To” option has an identical list.  When you’ve selected the two materials in your project, click the “Glue It To It” button.  In the lower half of the page you will find products that are specifically recommended for your task.

Many product descriptions offer information on drying time, types of surfaces, and the kind of container the glue comes in.  Visuals of the suggested products make shopping for it a no-brainer.  In addition to providing you with multiple alternatives, the page also displays a helpful key with icons that indicate:

Non toxic

Waterproof

Kid friendly

Dries clear

Flammable

Repositionable

Each product pictured shows one or more icons that are applicable, so there’s no question in your mind as to which would be the best choice for your project.  If you still are unsure about which product to use, you can find more information by Googling the materials of your project and the word “glue”.  


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Comments

Sep 29, 2011 9:15pm
Introspective
I've used the wrong glue on occasion only to have my projects fall apart or not stick in the first place. Thanks for this info Diva (you're the best!). :o)
Sep 30, 2011 12:02pm
divaonline
I've had similar experiences and have learned by trial and error. Thanks for your comment.
Oct 1, 2011 1:49pm
Deborah-Diane
This article is very educational! I am always wondering what type of glue I should use. Thanks for the information!
Oct 2, 2011 9:51am
divaonline
Glad you found this helpful!
Oct 2, 2011 10:15am
Sullysee
Gosh, I needed this info so badly while doing a few projects. Thanks, it is so very timely.
Oct 6, 2011 5:33am
eileen
Wow! I knew there were all sorts but didn't realize just how complicated it can be. thanks for all the advice
Oct 6, 2011 9:31am
divaonline
And thanks for your comment.
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Bibliography

  1. "Types Of Glue." Typesofglue.com. 21/9/2011 <Web >

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