What is the Best Craft Glue + Buyer’s Guide

What is the best kind of craft glue, if you’re looking to bond something nonporous ? Or just paper or cardstock?Suppose your specialty involves attaching beads, sequins, or glitter to a hard surface like a wooden picture frame or a plaster stepping stone (just a few good examples)

There is nothing wrong with industrial strength adhesive in and of itself, but unless it’s marketed to crafters and hobbyists you might find yourself in a, well, a “sticky situation” LOL.

Buyer’s Guide to Different Craft Glues

Because “crafting” in general, is a broad concept, it makes sense to talk in depth about the different types of craft glues available,. and how they are different and alike. They all go into these major categories:

  • PVA Glue
  • Solvent Based
  • Epoxy
  • Other (includes “Krazy Glue”, etc…)

PVA Glue

PVA stands for polyvinyl acetate and includes a whole range of glues Because of their high water content, they are better suited for paper crafts and porous/semiporous objects but their permanency with other objects is not always a certainty. They are generally non-toxic and most have either mild or no odor. Many times, they are white or light in color.

On the lower end of the spectrum is that old staple you may remember from your childhood, yep, Elmer’s School Glue. which is too “entry level” for some materials. Another famous substance you may know of as Mod Podge, is a good example. It’s labeled a “glue, sealer and finish” all in one. It’s used for decoupage among other things. At the higher end is Carpenter’s wood glue (allphatic resin) and others formulated to be waterproof e.g  Aleene’s.

Solvents

These are the stronger glues that I can always count on for permanency. Especially when I need something to hold up long term and outdoors. Sometimes they are odorous, and you should make sure you have adequate ventilation. But when used as intended, they are not hazardous. Worst case scenario is the residue that is left on my hands afterward, in which case I have to use something like rubbing alcohol to remove it. But it’s a small tradeoff to have long-term great results. What I like best is that I don’t have to mix anything together, like that below.

Epoxy

This is a two part process, I experimented with one of these once, but that was it, I thought it was a pain in the neck. But they are evolving more with the times . These consist of an epoxy and a hardener that you mix together in equal ratios. Once secure, they are intended to be weatherproof and resistant to water and moisture so they are very dependable. They are good for nonporous craft materials (like ceramic) or repairing them (like when you have a vase that gets chipped…)

“Super glue”

Or you may know it as Krazy glue, which is made from a substance called cyanoacrylate. This can be hazardous if you don’t know what you’re doing, They are made for quick bonding e.g. repairing somthing. The worst part is yes, they do stick your fingers together in case you’ll want to be sure you have acetone (nail polish remover) handy.

Although I prefer it for repairing things, it does have a place in a crafter’s world, mainly  – again, like solvent glues, for hard, nonporous objects like rhinestones. The small tapered applicator tip makes this easy to do.

Best Craft Glues Rated and Reviewed

Let’s take a good look at a few of the products I use with ease and confidence and why I feel them to be the best craft adhesive products out there!

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best craft glue

Aleene’s

This brand is known for its “tacky”signature glue and Aleene’s is a highly trusted name. I have used Tacky and “Jewel-It” when T-shirt bling was all the rage a hundred years ago, and most recently this clear variety

Even though it comes out white and dries clear on the other varieties too, I like being able to see my materials and not the glue sometimes :).

I was making a mixed-media art piece and wanted to be able to apply a nice generous ribbon to one area and not be forever squirting drop by drop. I’m overall happy with this clear formula but can’t believe I went through half a bottle for a small 11 by 14 picture?

Whenever I’ve been too stingy with craft glue, it just meant I’d have a few do-overs before me.
If you’re wanting to give some bling to an item that will not be getting washed, say, like a handbag, belt or pair of canvas sneakers, it’s a great choice. Also there is hardly any offensive odor to any of Aleene’s glues.

✅Pros

  • Thick consistency
  • No offensive odor
  • Dries flexible and clear
  • Resists yellowing
  • Many different varieties for different niches

❌Cons

At the present time, nothing to report that would be a serious deal-breaker, other than it may not be waterproof (meaning that your bling may stay on through a few washings here and there, but a few of them could come off at some point) It did peel off of plastic, so I wouldn’t use it on that.

I washed my blinged-up tshirt from earlier – even turning it inside out – and I did find a rhinestone or two had come off. So I can’t say it has definitely passed that test😞 .

You can find Aleene’s in many varieties to fit your crafting needs whatever medium you fancy, or combination of them.

Gorilla Glue

I picked up a bottle of this when I ran out of my favorite (see my story) and I will gladly tell you, you won’t be disappointed! Although advertised for home repairs, it’s great for crafts especially those that involve hard nonporous objects.

I like the application bottle much better than the tube dispenser and so far it’s been nice not having a mess on top of whatever project I’m doing. There is one exception to the “bonds virtually everything” rule and that is polyethelene which is something I don’t deal with anyway (it’s some kind of plastic)

One important tip and that is that you have to slightly dampen the surface you are working on before glueing if you get the “original formula” I thought I needed to do that for the “Clear” but then found out differently.

It is solvent based so if you get it on your skin you may have to use rubbing alcohol to clean it off. I myself have had no skin irritation; it’s just annoying.

Also it doesn’t appear to have much odor to it, if any (don’t worry, I’m not a glue-sniffer! LOL) So if noxious fumes have put you off buying craft glue this is something to consider!

✅Pros

  • Strong bonding
  • Low to no odor
  • Waterproof
  • Works great with most all nonporous materials
  • Easy to use mess free application bottle

❌Cons

Need to remember to dampen your surface first (IF you choose the original formula)

Gorilla Glue has several different types available…Click here to see the type I use for crafting!

Best craft adhesive, hands down: E6000

Well, I’ve been using this stuff before the Macarena became a hit…thanks to a craft store proprietor way back when (early 90s) who called it the best craft glue hands down when I asked about something that would affix faux gems to Friendly Plastic jewelry pieces (that’s a long story for another time, lol)

And she wasn’t wrong about that by a long shot…it really is the best craft adhesive out there if it is important for your projects to be permanently bonded.

A must-have if you like to make things like handmade snow and glitter globes because it is water-resistant upon full curation. And once that happens, it hangs on for dear life!

It’s essential for crafts that involve hard, nonporous items, such as sequins, beads, flatbed rhinestones, mini mirrors, polymer craft clay items, what have you, to bond to other nonporous surfaces. Being industrial strength, it does have somewhat of an odor to it, which is par for the course, I suppose.

I would not and do NOT use it for fabric items, barring something like vinyl or leather – it will seep through anything like cotton or poly and not only that, dry with a really bad looking stain that won’t go away.

If there is one negative to point out, it has a tendency to ooze out of the tube unless you re-cap it back on the double. There is also a skinny, “precision tip” design applicator out now, it will still ooze if you don’t recap it right away, but not as much.

✅Pros

  • Bonds almost anything strongly
  • Waterproof
  • Clear and doesn’t show
  • Permanent upon full curation

❌Cons

  • Does have somewhat of an odor
  • May ooze easily unless recapped quickly
  • Not good for working with porous materials

I love my E6000 Glue…What more can I say? This stuff ROCKS!

What about hot glue guns? What are they best for?

I used to have a hot glue gun, these can work great for some materials but not others. Semi-porous objects like feathers, seashells, chenille stems, etc, are some things that hot glue binds well. Of course the substrate you’re binding it to, counts as well. Cardboard and balsa wood can work well. As far as hard nonporous objects, I don’t recommend. as it’s not as permanent.

In fact, if you shoot out a ribbon of hot glue on a substrate like tile, once it dries it can be peeled right off! That would be great for another craft project altogether, but that’s a subject for another post. A glue gun should have a lever rest on one side so they stay upright. The metal tip is hot too, so watch out. They include sticks that are inserted into the back chamber that melt as it heats up.

I find they also work best for quick dabs (Christmas ornaments come to mind) , as sometimes hot glue oozes out as the heating element is still active, but not projects that are complex and need a lot of application.

Which glue is best for paper crafts?

It depends on what type of paper craft. If you love doing things like decoupage or paper collages, Mod Podge is great. in fact the flagship product was created with that in mind. I haven’t worked on paper crafts in awhile, but when I did, that was always my go-to product. Once I got into collages and “goal boards”. I used Mod Podge as a finishing tool rather than the base because once you put that stuff down, you are forced to work more quickly to get all the pictures on before it dries.

example of paper craft i used adhesive on
An old goal board. I used a “glue stick” to attach the pictures first.

Furthermore, the paper can buckle a little, even with the best of application, and you won’t be able to remove it and try again. So, to attach each individual picture I used a glue stick...(not to be confused with the sticks that are used in hot glue guns.) They are about the size of a lipstick case and you just dab it on the back. The glue isn’t messy and as long as you use a thin coat it won’t leave ridges behind. Office supply stores carry them.

Another thing that work very well with this and things like scrapbook pictures is a tape runner. These have double sided adhesive on them and you just apply a strip to the back of the object. No mess, no unsightly ridges. These, and glue dots…which are circular and stick on the back, just peel it off, stick it wherever, and you’re done.

What about glue for wood and outdoor crafts?

Glad you asked…Especially if you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I specialize in a lot of yard art and outdoor crafts. Which means it’s important to find a type of glue that’s not only dependable, but waterproof.

Here is something I’ve been working on currently. This is parts of an optical illusion windspinner. Because of its intricate design, I have to adhere the different parts together very carefully, and one piece at a time. I am using Gorilla Glue for Wood. It does remind me of the Elmer’s variety I used to use a long time ago.  Right here is the “pre-bonding” stage so you can see it’s still in that pale yellow but when it dries it will turn darker.

It is not super thick…I applied it to both pieces, you can see a little bit oozing out, which is normal. Because I’m only glueing one piece each day, it’s too soon to tell you how things will pan out, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.

Conclusion

Well that was a lot of territory to cover but if you’ve made it this far…Thank You!  And I hope that I have done my job of enlightening you about finding the best craft glue for your own situation based on my experience and the nitty-gritty and chemical makeup of all of them.

In all my years of glueing I have found these to be the most dependable brands. They are also affordable and versatile. Happy Glueing!!!

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