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.
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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.
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Gloss Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish
A Truly Versatile Glue in a Choice of Matt or Gloss Finish
Make Colourful Sparkly Slime in Multiple Colours
PVA Crafters Glue
Professional Glue That Will Stick to Most Surfaces
Glue Stick (3-Pack)
The Best Choice for Paper Crafts
Transparent School Glue
A Washable Formula for Children's Arts and Crafts
Try Me Tacky Set
A Variety of Glues for Intricate Designs
PaperPatch Glossy Glue
Perfect for Papier-Mâché as It Sticks and Vanishes
Glue For Fabrics, Felt And Ribbons
For Fabrics You Need to Wash and Dry
A Strong Hold On Hard-To-Stick Surfaces
Glitter Hot Glue Sticks
50 Colourful Hot Glue Refills That Sparkle
Mod Podge is standout glue that's versatile but is especially good for decoupage. As an all-in-one glue, sealer and finish, you can wave goodbye to buying a separate varnish. This is the only product you'll need to complete your project. You can even choose between matt and gloss, unlike other glue-varnishes, to get the best finish for standout designs.
It's also quick-drying, so you won't have to wait hours for it to set. Perfect if you're in a rush and have little space to store projects while they dry. You can even sand it down to smooth out any rough edges.
Keeping the kids occupied doesn't have to be a challenge. You can make colourful, glittery slime by mixing this glue with Elmer’s Magical Liquid Slime Activator. This product is sure to provide hours worth of fun! It won't cause a mess either, as it has a washable formula that's easily cleaned up with soap and water.
The glue has been specially crafted for kids with a flexible, non-run finish (once it's dry) for art that lasts. They'll create fun pictures that are worthy of being framed with this range of nine colours. So what are you waiting for? This is a must-buy if you have children.
Crafting is a fun hobby people of any age can enjoy. Here's a professional crafters glue that adults and older children can use. It sticks to many surfaces, so the options are endless. You could decorate a vase or add glitter to household ornaments. It's even suitable for bookbinding to create notebooks or a novel.
It comes in a versatile bottle with a nozzle you can cut to any length to suit the amount of glue you need for your project. Another plus is that it is water-resistant when dry, so it will withstand small spillages if any water-related accidents happen.
We couldn't put together a list of the best craft glues without including a Pritt stick. It's a classic and the best choice for sticking together paper, as it'll provide a thin layer of glue that won't buckle or tear. You'll also be able to move the paper before it sets, which is helpful if you accidentally stick it down in the wrong position.
Pritt is the most popular and trusted brand for glue sticks, as it has a strong seal that won't come loose. The newer formula is 97% natural and still solvent-free, so it's safe to use and has less odour for crafting in comfort.
It's time to get the pompoms and lollipop sticks out because this glue is perfect for children's crafts. Let their imaginations run free as they turn paper plates into faces or felt into finger puppets. This versatile glue will stick almost anything! Plus, there are various size options up to 5 litres, so you're sure to have enough for your project.
The glue is white, so kids can easily see where they're applying it for easy application, then it dries clear for a neat finish. It's also non-toxic and perfectly safe for everyday use for all the family.
If you can't decide which glue to buy, why not sample a variety? This pack comes with four types of tacky glue, including fast grab, quick-dry, clear gel and original. You can try them all and decide which one works best for your needs. They come in small portable bottles that you can easily store in a desk cupboard.
The formula is both strong and flexible, so you'll be able to close your scrapbook easily or bend a card without worrying about the glue snapping. The tubes also come with a small tip that's ideal for small detailed pieces.
Although this glue is versatile, it's ideal for papier-mâché as it'll both stick paper and coat it with a water-resistant film. It's specially formulated to not pull or crinkle the paper for a smooth finish that looks professional.
Just be aware that this product can stain clothing, so it's best to wear something old whilst completing your project. That one negative aside, this glue has lots of positives and once dried, it'll be non-sticky for easy handling and a nice feel.
If you're customising bags, canvas shoes or clothing, this fabric glue is the best choice. You can wash and dry clean it, and the glue will firmly hold. It's odourless once it's dry, so the clothing or accessories you create won't have an off-putting smell.
Unfortunately, you have to either use an iron to set the glue or hold it in place with a heavy book while it dries. However, it's easy to apply and will cause little mess for less time spent cleaning up.
Super glue probably isn't the first adhesive you think to use when making crafts, but it's perfect for sticking unusual materials. From metal jewellery making to glass ornaments, many craft ideas use materials that are hard to stick. That's why this strong, quick-setting glue is so useful.
Sadly, it's not safe for kids to use as it's mildly toxic in small amounts and has strong fumes. However, Loctite is an established brand, and this glue has triple resistance, so you know it's a high-quality product.
Hot glue has a strong hold that'll stick to almost any surface. You need to place them in a compatible 20-30W mini hot glue gun, wait three to five minutes for it to heat up and pull the trigger. This bundle of refill sticks comes in assorted colours that are perfect for adding embellishments for a fun finish.
Remember, hot glue can burn if it's not used correctly, so you should always supervise kids and not touch the glue before it's set. But as long as you're safe, these 50 refill hot glue sticks are a great purchase that's sure to last you a while.
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
No. 1: Mod Podge｜Gloss Waterbase Sealer, Glue and Finish
No. 2: Elmer's｜Glitter Glue
No. 3: Noble Craft｜PVA Crafters Glue
No. 4: Pritt｜Glue Stick (3-Pack)
No. 5: Craft Planet｜Transparent School Glue
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