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Craft Adhesives: The Basics

Adhesives may be the most important crafting tool/supply you need. Cutting tools actually might come in a smidge behind adhesives in importance. Simply because you can glue things together without every cutting anything and make a masterpiece. Okay, this list is my idea of the basic types of adhesives. I know everyone won't agree so feel free to chime in!

*1. E6000 Multi-Purpose Adhesive: GET THIS. Seriously, it is amazing. It glues all kinds of things together but is not too difficult to use. Although you might have to cut your tube open at some point - it's difficult to keep the top from clogging. I use this a lot for gluing metal or plastic or small wood pieces. If you want to make jewelry, this is your best friend. Once dry, the bond can be broken but believe me - it's not easy.

2. Aleene's Original Tacky Glue: Lots of people like this glue. Tacky glue is good for fabrics. Like felt, cotton, putting sequins on fabric, etc. I've never been a huge fan of tacky glue. Some people swear by it, but I have found that between E600 and a glue gun, I'm covered. But then again, I don't do a whole lot of fabric crafting...

3. Gorilla Glue: This is good for wood, metal, foam, glass, ceramics...all of those heavy materials. And it is very, very strong. However, it does not dry clear and expands a bit as it dries, so be careful.

*4. Scotch Advanced Tape Glider or Xyron Tape Runner: Tape runners are so amazing. The are so easy and clean to use. Good for paper projects. I know a ton of people are in love with their Scotch ATG. I use Xyron runners and they are great. Plus, Xyron makes this small size which is awesome because the ATG is pretty big.

*5. Mod Podge Matte or Mod Podge Gloss: Mod Podge is a must-have. It's an adhesive and a sealant. Which is fantastic. After you get Mod Podge, you'll wonder how you lived without it. I suggest having matte and gloss around, you will use both, depending on the project. Mod Podge is good for collaging, with paper and even with fabric to hard surfaces (i.e. collaging fabric onto an art canvas).

*6. Mini Glue Gun: Glue guns are handy because they are easy to use, adhere to fabric and are only semi-permanent.

7. Glue Dots: So easy to use. Similar concept to the tape runners, only in smaller sizes instead of a continuous piece of tape. Good for paper projects.

8. Elmer's No-Wrinkle Rubber Cement: yeah! You know you love sniffing this stuff. And if you don't, please don't judge those who do - this is a safe space, you guys. ;) Ok, but for real - this is toxic smelling. So be careful when using it. It's good for school projects and paper crafts. It has a fairly strong hold but it's not crazy permanent.

Yes, I left two obvious adhesives out: glue sticks and super glue. Here's why.
Glue sticks are terrible. Only use them if you are crafting with children. That should explain why they aren't a great adhesive - if you have craft with children, you need something that is not permanent and is washable.

Super glue is too permanent and messy. You will stick your fingers together and create a crafting catastrophe. It's just not necessary to use instant glue like that. My only memories of needing super glue are in the 90s - if a plastic piece of a stereo or VCR broke off. It's 2012...we've moved on.

Oh! And Scotch gift-wrap tape is always nice to have around.

*I've starred the must-haves. I starred a glue for metal, paper, fabric and sealing.

If you want to see more basic craft lists, check out the others in this series.


KristiMcMurry February 2, 2012 at 7:45 AM  

This is an incredibly useful list!! Thank you so much. I'm definitely bookmarking this to refer to when I start projects :)

Ann February 2, 2012 at 9:05 AM  

I agree, a very useful list! I'd like to insert my vote for a glue stick though... yes, they're perfect for children, but when layering papers that have to be perfectly centered, nothing beats the stress-free wiggle room that a glue stick provides. I find the UHU and Scotch brand sticks to be very good products.

monique February 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM  

What a helpful list...thank you so much! I am sometimes at a loss at what glue/adhesive to use for what I am working on. Definately bookmarking this post for future reference.

Anonymous,  April 6, 2012 at 6:26 PM  

Glue sticks are great when basting trim and appliques to fabric. No pins and then it washes right out. I love them for that.

Anonymous,  April 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM  

Super glue is used by some doctors as a band-aid. It works great for small cuts. As the wound heals, the glue will start to peel off on its own.

Anonymous,  June 30, 2012 at 9:52 AM  

I would add Fabri-Tac for those who love fabric crafts. I also use Jewel-It or Gem-Tac for many things. Since I am a seamstress for a ballet school, we go through these glues tons! I agree with the E-6000 and the glue-gun. Can't live without those! The E-6000 is what we use when constructing new headpieces-especially those that are shaped foam heads(think animal full-head masks here). We use Fabri-tac to attach the fur. I must also add that doctors DO NOT use super-glue. Dermabond is very similar, but it is not sterile. My husband(an MD) gets asked that a lot, but he has also seen people who think they can glue things that should be stitched and it's a huge mess. Just something to think about:)

Sophie June 30, 2012 at 5:04 PM  

Very helpful you left one of my favourite glues out though Amazing GOOP http://www.homedepot.com/buy/paint-adhesives-tape-adhesives-general-purpose/eclectic-products-inc-3-7-fl-oz-amazing-goop-150739.html

Anonymous,  June 30, 2012 at 9:36 PM  

i have a uestion... is there any kind of glue you harden in the oven? i want to make somthing with shrinky dinks but i need a glue that i can use with oven temps.

Chrissy P. July 8, 2012 at 2:44 PM  

I also always have Elmer's White Craft Glue on hand, Love the stuff to decoupage & stiffen fabric. And also, always have some 5 minute Epoxy on hand. Sometimes I need that little extra strength!! Hardcore, but ALWAYS gets the job done.

Thank You for this great list!

Katie (Lemon Jitters) August 11, 2012 at 9:41 PM  

@Anonymous - I wish I knew the answer to that question but I've never tested glues in the oven! @Sophie - I love Amazing Goop - similar to E6000.

Anonymous,  August 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM  

Hancock Fabrics sells multi packs with 2 little tubes of e6000 and 2 tubes quick grip for about 4 bucks. I like to get those because unless I'm gluing a lot at once it eliminates the need to cut the e6000 open later. Just use up the tube on one project and grab the other one for your next project.

Anonymous,  August 13, 2012 at 12:56 PM  

That's awesome, never thought of that! Thanks for the info!

Rycrafty August 13, 2012 at 3:12 PM  

I also love Ranger's Glossy Accents. It dries nice and hard, doesn't wrinkle paper, and I love using it to put dimensional clear accents on paper crafts.

Anonymous,  August 13, 2012 at 7:59 PM  

Great tip!

Kellie August 14, 2012 at 7:44 AM  

this. is. awesome. thank you!!!

janmadeit August 14, 2012 at 8:23 AM  

About Gorilla Glue... Don't use regular Gorilla Glue on furniture/wood projects. It will expand and smoosh out of the joint you were trying to seal looking like some kind of escaping yellow caterpillar. Then it's hard to separate the pieces to repair the furniture correctly. If it's real wood the wood may split, and if it's particle board, the glue will hold and the board will crumble behind it.
Use wood glue. There are several brands and now there is a Gorilla Wood Glue.

Erika Taylor August 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM  

I think you missed one of the best adhesives on the market. I couldn't craft without Helmar

Erika Taylor August 14, 2012 at 4:43 PM  

Why did my comment get deleted?

Katie (Lemon Jitters) August 14, 2012 at 4:50 PM  

@Erika Taylor This post received multiple comments today about a particular glue. These comments appear to be spam, so they were diverted to the spam folder. However, since you seem to be a real blogger, I will fish your comment out of spam. Do you have any idea why this post received so many comments about that glue? It seems very unusual.

Erin Morehouse August 14, 2012 at 6:56 PM  

Because Helmar makes products like liquid scrap dots which are great for building layers in paper crafting, and a wicked all purpose quick dry adhesive, that is better than a low temp glue gun any day...

L. Grace Lauer August 14, 2012 at 9:35 PM  

Dear Katie, this list is a fantastic start to the basic crafting needs. All these glues and adhesives are easily found locally and have been good products through out the years.

I think it is worth mentioning that only a few of them are acid free for scrapbooking and paper crafting needs. An important factor when dealing with photos and such memorabilia.

I would have to agree about Helmar... I used to use some of the choices listed up above but I no longer have them since I found this adhesive company. I use nothing else. I begged my LLS to carry their products and have had many of my personal friends and online acquaintances "converted" LOL!

Foam dimensional dots could be added to this list for projects like cards, scrapbooking, shadow boxes and other projects that need a pick me up in layers. Helmar has a product for this called Zap Dots and they do not come apart from projects like others I have used that loose their adhesive over time. Also they have something called Liquid Scrap Dots that gives the dimension in a gel type form applied to any desired height if you don't want to layer multiple dots.

Also solvent based quick dry glues are great for any crafting applications and quick projects. Helmar 450 would be a fantastic example and I use it on every project from paper to ribbon to floral arrangements to plastics, woods and more.

I don't see a glue on here that would be good for glittering so let me offer up Helmar's Gemstone Glue is perfect for all rhinestones, glitter, flocking and foils. I used it to draw my own foil patterns... it is fan-freaking-tastick! One that would dry completely clear or that would adhere to flock without absorbing it into the glue. Might want to research it and see if you like it too, I'll be you will get hooked... hehe.

My apologies if it seemed that your blog post was flooded by spam about this company today... lets just say if their fans are like me they have a passionate following due to the high quality of the product and suggest you give them a try.

Kristin,  August 15, 2012 at 9:02 AM  

This is a useful list! But I have to disagree about glue sticks: Most are indeed fairly useless outside of crafting with children, but one of my favorites in UHU. When I took art and design classes in college, we would have to buy extensive art kits, and UHU sticks came with them. For paper and cardstock projects, they're perfect. As permanent as you need for paper projects, and dries clear.

The Guru of Glue August 16, 2012 at 10:58 AM  

I wouldn't rule out glue sticks either when 'adult' crafting.

Another glue that I have at the TOP of my list is Beacon's 3-in-1 Craft Glue. It goes on like 'hot glue' (but it's cool), bonds quickly, does not buckle paper and dries completely clear -- acetate and velum love it.

Tally Heilke August 16, 2012 at 1:46 PM  

Useful reviews - thanks! I'm definitely going to check out that E6000 stuff.

I disagree (yet sort of agree) about gluesticks, though. I use them a lot for paper crafts, but I'm very careful to buy only a particular brand, which I've found works quite well (UHU Stic). There are a ton of glue stick brands that are utter crap, though, and not worth going near with a 10 foot pole.

I've also found a super cheap and effective brand of "super" glue that I recommend for multi-purpose use. It's a brand called Titan with a blue and orange label, and comes in little tubes. It's quite strong, but it's a sort of gel glue that doesn't dry immediately, and you can rub it off fingers and things so you won't risk sticking bits of yourself to the table or anything. Dries clear, holds just about anything to anything else, super useful, and I can get it for $1.25 a tube at the dollar store.

Katie (Lemon Jitters) August 16, 2012 at 2:05 PM  

I love all of these great ideas! Thanks for your tips, @Tally Heilke!

wisdomandwhimsy August 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM  

You missed spray adhesive, which is still easily my favorite for gluing paper to paper.

And keep in mind that using mod-podge as a sealant isn't the greatest because the surface remains the slightest bit tacky. This means that if you set it on something for a long period of time, it can get stuck and wreck whatever it's touching. Plus dust can stick to it and never fully be wiped off. I always use a regular spray sealant after any mod podge project, to be sure it's protected.

LauraLee September 22, 2012 at 12:10 PM  

Thanks for the tips! I love most all of these but the best ever 3D paper crafting glue is the Scotch Quick Dry glue with the fine tip applicator. I tried all of my favorite glues 1st and some others but this is positively the best for the 3D papercrafting projects.

Anonymous,  November 2, 2012 at 8:34 PM  

I think you left out possibly one of the best adhesives on the planet: Diamond Glaze!!!! It is a water-based dimensional adhesive. The best thing for jewelry. You can glue paper to glass without it looking foggy or discolored, you can glue to metal, you can even use this to fill a jewelry pendant or something; like for instance, put decorative paper in a bottle cap, add shells, beads, sand, buttons, ect and then fill with diamond glaze. You will have a crystal clear pendant! When used straight, it has a raised glass like finish. When mixed with a little water, it has a lacquer like finish. Seriously, if you haven't used Diamond Glaze, you need to check it out!!!

Anonymous,  November 4, 2012 at 12:26 AM  

Two adhesives I love are Beacon Quick Grip, a great glue that dries fast and clear and is permanent. Also Elmers X-treme glue stick, the best paper adhesive I have ever used.

thelma lewis November 19, 2012 at 11:46 AM  

I guess these are the things that are safe for blanc de chine ceramic designs. Sometimes we wanted to give our furniture a different touch every season. That's why we need these stuff. be creative as much as possible.

Anonymous,  November 21, 2012 at 11:16 PM  

Also note that although glue dots seem easy, they are an absolute nightmare to use with children. We tried to use them in our sunday school class and as it turns out, they stick to everything! If they dropped the paper with the dots on them they would get stuck to the floor, the dots would stick to each other and itself... Plus, the dots are clear so oftentimes one would get stuck somewhere and lost.

Farham Erikson November 25, 2012 at 7:51 PM  

Adhesives are vital in the arts and craft. If you have any plans on doing advanced beginners or intermediate crafts say, carpentry, I'm sure you'll enjoy it more. Trust me, my bosch tools in Australia are like my right arm. Keep up the great work!

Damian Bathory December 9, 2012 at 11:26 PM  

Honestly, you can't live anywhere without at least some basic repair items. I even take some with me whenever I stay at a hotel in new orleans. Not that I go berserk in the room, but it's best to be safe than sorry.

Liberty Silvagni December 14, 2012 at 1:21 AM  

I'm thinking of making colorful arts and crafts as a promotional product for our summer creative program and these are great tools to jump start this project. Thanks a lot!

Dixiejet December 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM  

LOVE LOVE LOVE E-6000 !!!!! Have I said I LOVE it ??? ;o))))

Jonathan Park December 17, 2012 at 2:08 AM  

After hiring perth furniture removals and seeing all my furniture, I realized, why not have a DIY project of a small furniture like a mini bookshelf? I guess that's a great way of having a new item inside my new apartment. These are great adhesives to start my project. Thanks!

Katherine Thoreau,  January 2, 2013 at 11:16 PM  

Great! Just in time for the promotional stress balls project that I have in mind. This will become very useful with the design I already conceptualized. Thanks!

Anonymous,  January 8, 2013 at 11:24 PM  

E6000 is my favorite glue ever I he found once you are done with it don't put the cap back on let it sit over a piece of paper and let the excess dry for a few hours once its dry it pops right off and no sticky residue left in you cap and doesn't ruin the whole tube :)

Anonymous,  January 8, 2013 at 11:30 PM  

I found this out the hard way I use mod podge for coaster and when you set your hot cup of coffee on it it gets super sticky an sticks to the glass and leaves a ring on the coaster

Tina January 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM  

I love this! Very handy. I'd also vote in mounting tape because it's great for larger projects, esp for use with ribbon (I use it when I make diaper cakes) and they make mounting dots which are great for cards for a 3D feel and giving extra depth. Pinned this list! :)

Tina January 10, 2013 at 10:29 AM  

PS: E-600 IS A GODSEND!!! <3

Carlisle Dekerlegand January 11, 2013 at 2:13 AM  

Thanks for these adhesive essentials. This would be entirely helpful for my basement finishing. Do you have any suggestions for a strong wood adhesive?

Colleen Gray,  January 15, 2013 at 7:28 PM  

The first adhesive is called super industrial glue. Can hold up a full size mirror from mirror shops brisbane in a custom wooden frame if you choose to do so. Did my own vanity desk.

Peter James Jr January 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM  

Our office recently bought new office materials for our new operations room and i used mini glue gun in customizing my workspace because its easier to use rather than tacky glue.I remember we started canvassing office furniture online last month and we found office furniture for sale long island which is perfect for our company. They offer different styles that is suited to your needs and budget.

amy atkinson January 18, 2013 at 8:04 AM  

I suggest that you should also include pocket folder for your basic craft necessities, ,ay it be outside or inside your home.

Martina West January 21, 2013 at 7:27 AM  

We used some of those materials for the flooring for basements. It’s easy to use and convenient. I also used the Gorilla Glue in building up my own mini wooden cabinet.

Grace Johnson January 24, 2013 at 2:15 PM  

It's easy to redecorate your home if you've got the idea and you already know what to do. I also use some recyclable materials in redesigning some of my modern furniture los angeles to make it look more fun and lively.

Ryan Donovan III January 28, 2013 at 3:01 PM  

I am tasked in repairing direct office furniture and with your list I think that it made my job easier. I must say that this are the first aid kit when it comes to furniture.

subrat choudhury March 4, 2013 at 11:01 PM  

Hi, this blog is really instructive. I would like to know more about this.

jewelry glue
Beacon 527

michael disouza March 22, 2013 at 12:20 AM  

Hi, this blog is really instructive. I would like to know more about this.simply great post.


Anonymous,  April 5, 2013 at 10:04 AM  

Hi! I just found this from Pinterest. The e6000 is my favorite glue ever because I figure skate and that's what we all use to glue rhinestones to our dresses. They never fall off and that's very important because the rhinestones could trip you, or the next girl to perform:)

Aimee Wierman April 5, 2013 at 6:52 PM  

Just a note about gorilla glue and it expanding. It exspands 6x the amount you use. A hard lesson that I learned.

Aimee Wierman April 5, 2013 at 6:54 PM  

Just a note about gorilla glue and it expanding. It exspands 6x the amount you use. A hard lesson that I learned.

Aimee Wierman April 5, 2013 at 6:54 PM  

Just a note about gorilla glue and it expanding. It exspands 6x the amount you use. A hard lesson that I learned.

Lani Brown April 9, 2013 at 8:57 PM  

This post takes me back to my childhood when art was always a part of my day. I couldn't be happier knowing that I am now a vehicle graphic designer. Those art projects did pay!

Jamie Simmons April 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM  

A good reason why improvisation is always advisable in designing. You could make some experiments on design you wanted to produce, and in the end it'll all turn out to be good.

Jennifer Walters May 16, 2013 at 10:53 PM  

For some reason, I can't find the nearest chop that offers Elmer's rubber cement. I wonder if it's available for shipping. Anyways, thanks for providing some alternative.

laura nadel May 21, 2013 at 11:56 PM  

Hi, I agree with you. Really this blog is very informative.
Beacon Gem-Tac

Bethany May 29, 2013 at 8:05 PM  

Awesome post! Thanks so much, I never know which types of glues to use. This is great!

laura nadel May 31, 2013 at 5:10 AM  

Hi, this blog is really instructive. I would like to know more about this.


Kim Gibson June 12, 2013 at 4:42 AM  

Very good list but what about adding super glues
as well?

Anonymous,  July 3, 2013 at 1:44 PM  

Also spray glue and paper cement! I especially use them for gluing paper cut-outs (mainly fashion sketches) to backgrounds.

Afrin Firdosh July 17, 2013 at 11:00 PM  

Hi, this blog is really instructive. I would like to know more about this.


Casey Smith July 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM  

I need this as a printable! I get asked questions about glue all the time at work and there are so many that I haven't used before that I don't always have the answers, and would love to have this on hand. Oh well, I guess I'll have to type it out myself.

Anonymous,  August 8, 2013 at 5:02 PM  

OMG...Please include double sided glue tapes, I am writing a craft book, and use constantly

Evelyne Martin September 22, 2013 at 7:24 AM  

Great post! But as far as super-glue goes... it has moved on too! :) Seriously! They've changed something in the formula in such a way that it's not as strong as it was in the 90's. Fingers no longer get permanently glued together anymore. And if you accidentally get that glue on your fingers, it can be removed with acetone...

For some kinds of craft it's still very useful, but I agree that in most cases it can be replaced by E6000!

Also, for regular crafts hot glue is great, but not only some people tend to get their fingers burned (why, oh why?) :), but it won't work for those into miniatures. Because it adds volume. For miniatures tacky glue is the best choice in most cases... (beware: there will always be those who will strongly disagree! What's with glue that makes people have such strong opinions?... It's a matter of love & hate, right?) lol!

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Anonymous,  October 19, 2013 at 7:32 AM  

Wow! learned several things new - gotta love that. Wonderful stuff - keep it up please! (but maybe use a different font - this one's a killer on the eyes) Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together......

Anonymous,  December 8, 2013 at 2:48 AM  

Do you know what glue to mix with water to thicken the water without turning it white, but leave it clear?

Adhesive Super Glue December 12, 2013 at 11:45 PM  

Which is the best super glue to use in craft.Did you help me to choose?

Leslie Walker March 25, 2014 at 11:15 PM  

Re: Gorilla Glue …they make *2* diffrent types & the one that is sold w/the light blue lid dries clear BUT it also dries ALOT faster, so do note. HAPPY CRAFTING!!

Anonymous,  March 30, 2014 at 12:26 PM  

I too think glue sticks have a place. I garden and am a seed-saver and seed-gifter. So I printed off a template for a paper seed packet (the best thing to use to hold seeds). The best glue I found to glue it all together is a glue stick. Also, the top flap will come open easily if you only put a few dots of glue stick on it-perfect for reusing the envelope!

hapinesswherever August 17, 2014 at 5:34 AM  

Love this! Great reviews! I tried E6000 but no luck (full review on https://hapinesswherever.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/e6000-industrial-glue-review-dont-understand-what-the-fuss-is-about/ if you are interested :) ) :(

hapinesswherever August 6, 2015 at 2:21 AM  

Thanks for this :) I did a review myself but only of E6000. Just wondering- for Gorilla Glue, does it have the same warning about carcinogenic substances as E6000 does? (worried about those!)

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Rav March 10, 2017 at 11:53 PM  

The e6000 best glue for everything it just lasts forever and ever. Washing and dryer safe. They make a few more different models now like fabri fuse that has no smell and not stringy. Full range shown here at notsealed
As mentioned use a syringe for perfect results. Cheers

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