What is the difference between PVA glue and Elmers glue?

What is the difference between PVA glue and Elmers glue?

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chemantics6 years ago
Elmers glue is PVA (PVAC) based - but has lots of other stuff (tackifiers and solvents), and has a pH of 5 (meaning it is acidic). For book binding, I would definitely recommend using a pH neutral PVA based glue that is specific to book binding. The acid in Elmers has a nice way of breaking down the cellulose in paper over time, and who knows what the other ingredients might do.

Those other ingredients will cause cancer. Or obesity, or both if the user is a paste eater....Yuck!

I did some research and found that elmers has an acid free glue. Reviews say that it can be used on paper. What would you say?

Hi Kayla,

I looked at the "Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue" that is acid free. Looks okay, depends how sure you want to be. Acid free doesn't mean pH neutral though... this particular glue has a pH of 8.8, making it basic.
Burf chemantics6 years ago
Wouldn't that apply to any cellulose product, eg. wood? My mother has a popsicle stick jewellery box I made for her about 40 years ago using Elmer's white glue. Other than re-gluing a couple of the sticks that were knocked off over the years, there is no evidence of any acidic deterioration that I have seen.
lemonie Burf6 years ago
Paper is different to wood, it's thinner and heavily processed. L
yonatan2411 days ago

Holy-Cow! This has over 150K views!

threadbare (author)  yonatan2410 days ago
Sweet! It is good information, with a lot of knowledgeable people participating.
barbra.fite10 months ago

I used PVA glue to seal a craft foam ball several years ago and then covered it with mosaics. That worked well but it did take several coats of the glue to seal it.

xrockyo11 months ago

Question, someone suggested I could coat plain craft foam(purchased at Michael's) in PVA glue. I suppose Elmer's Glue or something similar will suffice. Well, my question is, will it damage the craft foam at all?? My plan is to simply coat it all before painting it with acrylic paints. The whole point is so that the acrylic paint won't crackle or flake off :/


swampygirl2 years ago
A project making sand bowls specifys Elmers white glue.
Can't get it in UK unless its shipped over from USA and the shipping cost makes it expensive.
I thought general PVA glue the sort used in kindergartens, schools etc would be ok.
Can anyone advise.

White school glue is just fine. No worries.

Than you vbanaszak for your reply.

PVA = Polyvinyl Acetate...Don't worry about the brand name. It's essentially white craft glue. "Elmer's", actually has a higher than average Ph than most PVA's and depending on the wood you plan on using, it might cause staining...hope this helps.

Thank you Jim for your reply. Yes it did help.

Re-design6 years ago
I was just going to say that Elmers is made by a cow. I'm glad you knew the right answer.
Actually, Elmers glue is entirely derived from petroleum products. This is from their FAQ: "Do you use animals when making glue? No, Elmer's does not use animals or animal parts to make glue. Our products are made from synthetic materials and are not derived from processing horses, cows or any other animals. "
And where do you suppose those petroleum products came from?


Just dead stuff that was once alive, and has been dead for a VERY long time. Sure it didn't come directly from the animal, nature recycled it first...
According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Lineco pH Neutral PVA Adhesive, its pH is between 4.0 and 6.0, while Elmer's Glue-All is between 4.8 and 5.1 according its own MSDS.

I expect that Elmer's Glue-All is sufficiently "pH neutral" for most purposes.
Jade 403, on the other hand, is 7.1 to 7.3, so which PVA you use *is* important for archival purposes.
Burf6 years ago
None. Elmer's glue is PVA glue, poly vinyl acetate.
threadbare (author)  Burf6 years ago
So when doing book binding and it says to use PVA glue, I would be just fine using Elmer's?
I think Chemantics deserves Best Answer :-)
Yep. Elmers is a very typical "white glue".
threadbare (author)  orksecurity6 years ago
Are some white glues better than others?
Burf threadbare6 years ago
Possibly, the formulation is basically the same for all PVA glues but the purity may vary due to the manufacturer's quality control process. I have pretty much limited my use of PVA to two brands, Elmer's and Titebond with no discernible difference, except Elmer's seems slightly more viscous than Titebond. I've seen some Chinese made PVAs in the dollar store but never used them, the price difference between them and the Elmer's and Titebond is negligible.