Glue is an indispensable tool for a wide range of arts and crafts. From basic paper crafting to beading, decoupage, and jewelry making, glue helps create cohesive finished pieces across artistic mediums. Not all glues are created equal, however. The adhesive properties, flexibility, drying time, and intended usage vary greatly between craft glue types.
Understanding key differences allows artists to select the best glue for their projects. There is a specially formulated glue solution, whether collaging delicate paper, affixing glitter embellishments, attaching metal findings, or gluing semi-porous surfaces like wood or fabric.
Let’s explore five common craft glue options used in arts and assess their distinct qualities and applications.
PVA Washable White Glue
Due to several key advantages, PVA or polyvinyl acetate white glue is hugely popular for paper and cardboard crafting. This glue is extremely versatile across porous materials like paper. Its high tack makes it stronger than a glue stick yet more forgiving than super glue, which dries quickly and permanently.
Furthermore, PVA glue maintains enough flexibility for adjusting pieces after the initial bond, while its slower drying time allows precision. Easy clean-up with water makes repositioning possible, unlike instant glues, where mistakes can’t be undone or recycled. Yet once fully dried after 5-10 minutes, PVA glue offers durable adhesion on craft elements like buttons, photos, glitter, sequins, and more without warping delicate paper materials.
For general arts and crafts, where flexibility in the gluing process is helpful yet ample finished adhesion strength on porous items is still needed, PVA washable glue remains the go-to for good reason. Affordable and accessible in most stores, keep white PVA glue as a staple craft adhesive.
Glitter Glue Pens
Glitter glue pens enable controlled, no-mess application to add bright, sparkly, dimensional accents onto cards, scrapbooks, canvas art, and more. Unlike loose glitter, which sheds everywhere during application and doesn’t hold well on surfaces, glitter glue contains suspended glitter particles in a transparent yet tacky PVA base. The resolved glitter stays seamlessly mixed within the liquid glue formula.
Glitter glue pens feature precise applicator tips, allowing artists to embellish specific areas with colorful shine. By offering glitter encased in easy-to-direct glue, glitter pens eliminate the need for separate liquid glue and loose glitter application.
Sticky Glue PVA Pen
Like glitter glue pens in a directed applicator design without actual glitter content, PVA sticky glue pens offer strong yet repositionable adhesion on porous and semi-porous surfaces that dry transparently. Sticky glue pens adhere photos, decorative paper elements like punches or die cuts, jewelry pieces, fabric swatches, buttons, and similar embellishments with precision and adjustability before permanently committing.
Most PVA-based sticky glue pens work exceptionally well on wood, ceramic, plastic, canvas, and paper/cardstock crafts. They even show versatility in gluing semi-porous surfaces like metal or glass, which conventional white PVA glue can’t tackle without slippage issues.
For precise glue application on arts and crafts elements that still permits repositioning, sticky glue pens with PVA bases work wonders. Keep multiple widths like fine point and broader nib options available to handle detailed and larger scale glue-downs needed on mixed media projects.
Another ribbon-style glue applicator, the classic glue stick, holds legendary status in offices, schools, and homes as an adhesion solution but also pulls hidden versatility for crafters. Glue sticks allow for easy, no-mess application directly onto porous surfaces such as paper and cardboard crafts. Upon contact, the adhesive dries rapidly to fix materials together, limiting the messiness and accidental spread commonly associated with bottled glue. This allows cleanly gluing paper elements together, attaching whole paper sheets to backing in decor crafts like paper tray liners or filing folders, plus adhering smaller materials on defined areas without drips or warping.
Glue sticks come in broad sizes capable of gluing higher surface areas rapidly, which sticky glue pens can’t match. Yet the precision tip of most glue sticks isn’t as exacting for delicate embellishments where glue pens excel.
Hot Glue Gun & Hot Glue Sticks
Heat-activated or hot glue adheres surfaces rapidly and then cools to form fast bonds using the quick set resin properties when heated to 380°F inside electric-powered glue guns. By melting solid hot glue sticks fed into chambers, hot glue guns drip liquid glue at the push of a trigger, which quickly seals material joints together in under a minute. Consider hot glue’s instant tack, a more extreme version of PVA white glue with quicker working time yet industrial holding strength.
This thermosensitivity gives hot glue exceptional versatility within crafts to bind materials from porcelain, plastic, metal, bone, leather, some silicone finishes, and more—even surfaces white glue and glue sticks won’t reliably grab. Yet high immediate tack also means adjusting positions once placed or removing excess glue without damage, which proves extremely difficult. Crafts involving hot glue commit items permanently.
When examining essential supplies for arts and crafts, easy-to-overlook glue is a fundamental element often determining the cohesion and durability of finished pieces. Factor in the diversity of mediums, materials, bonding precision needs, setting time, and adjustment flexibility required across creative projects, and one quickly realizes there is no universal solution.
Understanding the capabilities of PVA white glue, glitter glue pens, sticky glue pens, standard glue sticks, and hot glue systems informs intentional selection. Keep a toolbox well equipped to handle paper, porous material, semi-porous surfaces, embellishment, and unconventional bonding needs imaginative projects demand.