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A Glue Glossary: The Best Adhesives & When to Use Them

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I have a drawer just for adhesives in my storage unit at home. There are so many varieties of glue in the world! Combined, they can solve just about any household snafu or help finish off any DIY project.

All the glues you need.
All the glues you need. Photo by James Ransom

Below, my favorite types, brands, and how to use them all:

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Craft Glue

  • Brand I like: Aleene's Original Tacky Glue
  • Uses: For small craft and hobby projects, including paper projects. It's great for gluing paper to just about anything and is my go-to for smaller, bitsy craft projects that don't entail heavy-duty materials like metal. It's also great for small, odd objects: shells, buttons, etc. Aleene's is water-based and non-toxic, and comes in varying sizes (I recommend the largest one available as I use it so often). The only downside here is that it's a little thick and therefore takes some time to dry—but there's a quick-dry version if you're in a hurry!
Aleene's Original Tacky Glue

Aleene's Original Tacky Glue

How-To: DIY Parchment Paper Votives

How-To: DIY Parchment Paper Votives by Anna Hezel

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Wood Glue

  • Brand I like: I've always reached for Elmer's!
  • Uses: For craft projects involving wood-to-wood adhesion (especially larger wood objects, where craft glue just won't do the trick). Wood glue is great for projects around the house, too—that loose knob or chipped piece wood furniture in need of a quick repair.
Elmer's Wood Glue

Elmer's Wood Glue

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DIY These Wooden Trivets (Without Tools!) to Gift to Teac... by Laura Kaesshaefer

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Fabric Glue

  • Brand I like: Magna Tac
  • Uses: For gluing fabric to fabric (lace, leather, denim, etc!) and non-fabric materials to fabric (beads, trim, metal embellishments). This bond takes a bit longer to set (24 hours), but it's worth it: That patch for your jean jacket isn't going anywhere.
Magna Tac Fabric Glue

Magna Tac Fabric Glue

Make This Geometric Necklace from Something You Throw Away Every Week

Make This Geometric Necklace from Something You Throw Awa... by Amanda Eggert

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Decoupage

  • Brand I like: Mod Podge
  • Uses: Decoupage glue doubles as an adhesive and a sealant. It's miraculous and dries clear—perfect for adhering specialty paper, photos, fabric, or most small objects to multiple surfaces, especially wood. I like to think of it as another version of a laminator! Whatever you're adhering truly stays put under a magic blanket of clear, adhesive coating.
Mod Podge Decoupage

Mod Podge Decoupage

A Renter-Friendly Backsplash to Make from a Vintage Cookbook

A Renter-Friendly Backsplash to Make from a Vintage Cookbook by Alex Kalita

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Liquid Stitch

  • Brand I like: Dritz
  • Uses: This non-toxic, permanent fabric adhesive is best when used on porous fabrics (not to be used on heavier denim, canvas, linen, etc). It's perfect for mending rips or tears as it literally stalls the damage. Hence the name. I use Liquid Stitch to stop cut fabric from fraying.
Dritz Liquid Stitch

Dritz Liquid Stitch

How to Find a Great Tailor No Matter Where You Live

How to Find a Great Tailor No Matter Where You Live by Alison Freer

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Spray Mount

  • Brand I like: 3M Spray Mount Adhesive
  • Uses: Spray mount is so cool. This adhesive is just the ticket for more serious paper projects when you really want to get a perfect, clean (and strong!) adhesion—it leaves little room for imperfections (like when the ends of a piece of paper want to stick up). Spray mount is also the best option when adhering paper to any surface (or, paper to paper like this recent envelope lining project). Also, it's re-positionable! Once you spray, you have a few moments to move whatever you are glueing around. Best to use this glue near an open window and be sure to cover any surface you are spraying on (or you may be sticking to that surface for weeks to come).
3M Spray Mount

3M Spray Mount

Turn Any Letter into a Love Note With DIY Envelope Liners

Turn Any Letter into a Love Note With DIY Envelope Liners by Laura Kaesshaefer

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High-Performance Permanent Glue

  • Brand I like: E6000
  • Uses: This is a real-deal, permanent glue—for those heavy-duty projects entailing wood, metal, concrete, glass, you name it. I've used it to fix the handle of broken ceramic mug at home and a chipped planter. I prefer this adhesive for projects that adhere two strong substances: a copper end-cap and wood (this project), metal to metal (this project), or glass and just about anything!
E6000

E6000

DIY Metallic Candlesticks That'll Only Run You $1 Each

DIY Metallic Candlesticks That'll Only Run You $1 Each by Laura Kaesshaefer

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Hot Glue Gun

  • Brand I like: Any! You cannot go wrong.
  • Uses: Great for all craft projects that are relatively small-scaled (glueing plastic to plastic, plastic to metal, odd objects to anything! (I once covered an entire headband blank with 200 mini acorns using a glue gun). It's probably the glue I use most, as it's hands-down the quickest way to get one relatively simple material to stick to another—though I wouldn't use it for heavier objects. Remember, it's HOT. Like, really hot, and not advisable to use around or with kids unless you're the only one in control of it.
Blusmart Hot Glue Gun

Blusmart Hot Glue Gun

How to Make a Coiled Rope Basket (Using Glue!)

How to Make a Coiled Rope Basket (Using Glue!) by Amanda Sims

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What glues would you prefer not to live without? Tell us in the comments.

Tags: crafting, glue