Crafting is a popular hobby that's lots of fun. From bookbinding to scrapbooking and decoupage, there are many projects to keep you occupied that can add a personal touch to your home and gift-giving. If you're a beginner, you might be wondering what the key to success is. That's simple! Choose the correct glue for the task.
If you're ready to start crafting, we've put together a handy guide that will help you pick the correct glue whether your canvas is paper, glass, fabric or wood and whether you want something clear-drying or with glitter. And don't miss our ranking of the best craft glues available via Amazon, John Lewis, Tesco and Asda. We've included a mix of tacky glue, PVA craft glue and strong hot glue from big brands like Mod Podge, Aleene's and Décopatch.
Glue sticks and tacky glue are best for paper crafts like scrapbooking and making cards. Glue sticks are handy because they have a smooth finish and are easy to control. They allow you to apply a thin layer of glue that won't soak the paper, causing crinkles, and you can reposition things before it dries.
Tacky glue is better for sticking thicker paper and card and intricate pieces together. Plus, it usually comes with a thin nozzle that makes it easier to control the amount of glue you use for attaching smaller pieces. However, this type of glue is slightly more watery so you will need to exercise some patience to allow time for drying.
If you use a mixture of materials for crafting, you should choose a versatile glue, such as school or craft PVA glue, hot glue, or super glue. You can use PVA for non-washable textiles, plastics, woodwork and various papercrafts. Craft PVA is strong and dries quickly, so you can use it for a wide range of projects, including bookbinding, whereas school glue is, as the name suggests, aimed at kids.
Hot glue and super glue are best for model-making or creating quirky crafts that use unusual materials, such as a lamp made out of teacups. They both hold ceramics, non-washable textiles, plastic and glass, as they're very durable and offer one of the strongest holds.
Be sure to take a look at our buying guide if you're considering a glue gun
Whether you're making Easter bonnets with the kids or household ornaments, papier-mâché is a handy technique. Once you've teared up some strips of newspaper, make sure you grab some glue-varnish to make the paste; it'll both stick the paper and steal it with a glossy water-resistant coating.
This glue is also ideal for decoupage, where you cut out pictures (or coloured paper) and stick the strips to furniture or card. The glue sticks to multiple surfaces, including metal and wood. The two-in-one varnish feature seals the surface with a protective coat too, making it ideal for upscaling furniture and household goods.
Do you want to make clothing or accessories? School or craft PVA and hot glue stick textiles, but they're non-washable. If you need to wash the fabric or wear it in wet weather, permanent fabric glue is the only option. It's waterproof once dry, so you can wash your design without worrying about ruining it.
Check for care instructions before using fabric glue, though. Fabric glue often requires you to take additional steps, like ironing the fabric before washing or waiting 24 hours before cleaning it for the first time. If you don't follow these steps, the glue won't wash well or stick properly.
Getting crafty with clothes and textiles? You'll need the right fabric dye
It's important to choose child-friendly glue when creating crafts with kids – you want to make sure the glue is non-toxic so it won't harm your child. Toxic glues may cause irritation, headaches or asthma-like episodes from fumes. It's best to supervise kids using glue, as even non-toxic ones could cause stomach problems if accidentally ingested.
Also consider choosing glue that's easy to clean, as kids can cause a mess when crafting. Some glues are completely washable, so you can easily clean the glue off with little effort or re-stick things.
Other glues are non-washable or washable until they dry, so you have to act fast when cleaning up any spills. Non-washable glues will still come off, it just takes a lot longer, and you may need some nail polish remover to help.
This glue often looks white in the tube but worry not, it will dry down to a transparent finish. You won't have to worry too much if you over-glue something as it won't be immediately obvious.
You can purchase glitter glue in a range of colours, from golds to pinks. You'll still see the coloured glitter once the glue dries, making it a mess-free alternative and perfect for embellishments. You could add a glittery top-coat to ornaments or create a detailed design.
Coloured glitter glue can also be used to make the always-popular slime. If you mix the glitter glue with baking soda and contact lens solution, you'll have slime in no time. It's an activity the kids are sure to love and there are plenty of instructional articles and videos online.
Craft Planet - Transparent School Glue for £2.75
Gloss Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish
PVA Crafters Glue
Glue Stick (3-Pack)
Transparent School Glue
Try Me Tacky Set
PaperPatch Glossy Glue
Glue For Fabrics, Felt And Ribbons
Glitter Hot Glue Sticks
A Truly Versatile Glue in a Choice of Matt or Gloss Finish
Make Colourful Sparkly Slime in Multiple Colours
Professional Glue That Will Stick to Most Surfaces
The Best Choice for Paper Crafts
A Washable Formula for Children's Arts and Crafts
A Variety of Glues for Intricate Designs
Perfect for Papier-Mâché as It Sticks and Vanishes
For Fabrics You Need to Wash and Dry
A Strong Hold On Hard-To-Stick Surfaces
50 Colourful Hot Glue Refills That Sparkle
|Type||Glue-varnish||School PVA||Craft PVA||Glue stick||School PVA||Tacky glue||Glue-varnish||Fabric glue||Super glue||Hot glue|
|Best For||Papier-mâché, decoupage||Non-washable textiles, paper crafts, plastic, slime, woodwork||Non-washable textiles, paper crafts, plastic, woodwork, bookbinding||Paper crafts||Non-washable textiles, paper crafts, plastic, woodwork||Paper crafts||Papier-mâché, decoupage||Textiles||Ceramics, glasswork, metalwork, plastic, model making||Ceramics, non-washable textiles, glasswork, paper crafts, plastic, woodwork, model making|
|Washable||When wet||Yes||Not specified||Yes||Yes||Not specified||Yes||When wet||No||Not specified|
|Colour(s)||Clear||Red, blue, green, black, silver, purple, orange, pink, gold||Clear||Clear||Clear||Clear||Clear||Clear||Clear||White, yellow, purple, silver, pink, green, blue, gold, red|
|Volume||474 ml, 119 ml, 1893 ml, 4546 ml||177 ml||500 ml||3 x 43 g||240 ml, 500 ml, 1 L, 5 L||5 x 19.5 ml||162.5 ml||38 ml||3 g||200 g|
This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.
|Best For||Papier-mâché, decoupage|
|Volume||474 ml, 119 ml, 1893 ml, 4546 ml|
|Best For||Non-washable textiles, paper crafts, plastic, slime, woodwork|
|Colour(s)||Red, blue, green, black, silver, purple, orange, pink, gold|
|Best For||Non-washable textiles, paper crafts, plastic, woodwork, bookbinding|
|Best For||Paper crafts|
|Volume||3 x 43 g|
|Best For||Non-washable textiles, paper crafts, plastic, woodwork|
|Volume||240 ml, 500 ml, 1 L, 5 L|
|Best For||Paper crafts|
|Volume||5 x 19.5 ml|
|Best For||Papier-mâché, decoupage|
|Best For||Ceramics, glasswork, metalwork, plastic, model making|
|Best For||Ceramics, non-washable textiles, glasswork, paper crafts, plastic, woodwork, model making|
|Colour(s)||White, yellow, purple, silver, pink, green, blue, gold, red|
Yes, PVA glue is non-toxic, which is why it's the go-to for arts and crafts activities with children both at home and at school. The absence of toxic fumes also makes it a preferable option for adults working on indoor projects.
While early glues were made using animal collagen, today's versions are synthetic and usually made from polyvinyl acetate (PVA) alongside water, ethanol, acetone and other substances that prevent them from drying out. Pritt's new glue stick is made from water, potato starch and sugar in an effort to create a more sustainable product.
Non-toxic glue won't cause any harm if it gets on the skin, but you shouldn't deliberately apply something to your skin that isn't meant for that use. Even with non-toxic ingredients, it could cause irritation or an allergic reaction.
Written and researched by Rosa Fairfield
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