Introduction: Adhesives 101: How to Glue...

Picture of Adhesives 101: How to Glue...

The right adhesive can make all the difference. Using the wrong stuff can ruin a project or make you do it twice. Many of them have fancy names most of which you have already used. Here are 8 different kinds of "glue" for all kinds of fixes, projects, builds.

Step 1: Polyvinyl Acetate (Elmers Glue)

Picture of Polyvinyl Acetate (Elmers Glue)

You also know this as white glue, wood glue, or modge podge. It works great when gluing a tree based material like wood, paper, or cardboard. It cleans up fast with a damp rag. I like to use water and a tooth brush to clean out any extra from a wood joint. After it's dry the joint shows a clean fit.

Step 2: Cyanoacrylate (Super Glue)

Picture of Cyanoacrylate (Super Glue)

This stuff works great on flat surfaces but I like to use it on paracord. When it touches nylon it creates an exothermic reaction. It also works great with nylon webbing like a seat belt. It won't hold under a load but it will keep your webbing flat and even while you stitch it in place.

An interesting property is revealed with baking soda. Sprinkle it on wet super glue it quickly turns into a concrete like substance.

Step 3: Thermoplastic (Hot Glue Gun)

Picture of  Thermoplastic (Hot Glue Gun)

One of my favorites. Hot glue comes out in a bead and solidifies fast. If you have a larger area you want to spread it on, use a clothes iron and a paper towel. The iron heats up the glue which makes it possible to spread. The paper towel keeps your iron gunk free.

I also like to use it to temporarily hold items while I work them. In the 3rd picture I have a piece of granite glued to a bolt while I'm polishing it.

You can also Hans Solo small items between layers of plastic. This includes leaves and pictures.

Step 4: Anaerobic (Loctite)

Picture of Anaerobic (Loctite)

This is glue for bolts. It hardens with a lack of oxygen. If you have a bolt you don't want come undone, use this stuff. Just kept in mind you may have to use a torch to heat the glue so the bolt can come undone. You can by it in different colors which have varying strengths. Of course the bolt has to be clean for it to work best.

Step 5: Two Part Epoxy

Picture of Two Part Epoxy

This adhesive is normally for quick plumbing fixes. I like to use is to bond metal to other materials like plastic and sea shell. It comes in a roll which has an inner and outer compound. Cut off the amount you need and mix it between your fingers. It hardens in minutes.

Step 6: Solder

Picture of Solder

Solder is awesome. It's not a true adhesive but the whole point here is how to get two things bonded together. You use this to bond metal. Silver solder will work with copper, zinc, brass, steel, nickel, bronze, silver, and gold. Flux is required. It prevents the metal surface from oxidizing which allows the solder to bond. Aluminum can also be soldered but you need a special rod. You can find it at the hardware store.

It acts similar to water when molten. It has a surface tension which is strong enough to move small pieces. It can be polished as well.

Step 7: Silicone

Picture of Silicone

This is the same silicone you use to put your oil pan on your engine. My favorite is Ultra Grey Permatex. In the first picture you can see a stop watch I glued to my tool box. It's been on there for more then 10 years. Since it keeps a rubberized texture it's shock resistant.

You also should use this in places that get very hot. For instance, a GPS mount on a dash board might be stuck on with a peel and stick clear adhesive. Once the car takes the hot summer sun it gets soft and falls off. Since silicone is designed for engine temperatures, the inside of your car will not get hot enough to ruin the bond.

It's also works great to glue magnets like I did on my refrigerator. In my mechanic days I would glue car emblems to my tool box with it.

Step 8: Rice... Yes, Rice. (Starch)

Picture of Rice... Yes, Rice. (Starch)

This is a tip I got from my Hawaiian friends. Children use this for their school work. All you need is a few grains of cooked rice. Press them between paper and when it's dry the job is done.

Member Orngrimm gave this tip:
"1 part by volume Starch (Corn or potato) + 10 parts by volume Water + Heating slowly while stirring continuously till it thickens a bit. Let it cool (wooden spoon should stand in it at its own) and you have just made good quality nonpoisonous wallpaper paste."

Thanks for reading.


Robinwren (author)2017-10-04

Mod podge may be a white glue but it is definitely not the same thing as Elmer’s Glue-all, not withstanding certain claims made on the internet. Just one good whiff should inform your nose of this. But the fact is that adding dry flour and water to Elmers glue makes a reasonable but water-soluble papier mache, wheras if you add equal parts of flour/water to Mod Podge the result dries to a water-insoluble, rock-hard substance that is almost indestructible, especially after it has cured for a week or two. I know this because i accidentally took Mod Podge to be “just a more expensive equivalent of Elmers” and both to my dismay, when i could not remove flour+Mod Podge drips from sink or rug or clothing, and to my delight because my sculptures were so astonishingly strong, i found out otherwise!

gibsomar003 (author)2017-09-25

i like chicken but my brothe rput glue on it and i lost my apotitee what do i do

burningsuntech (author)2017-09-08

Great info on all those pesky sticky substances making them less threatening. Knowledge is power. keep up the good stuff.

DaniyaalS (author)2016-04-04

how much time does the cyanoacrylate takes to stick

hannah_1234 (author)2016-02-29


GenerallyOdd (author)2016-01-21

Cool - I think that + BP-Blue will just about cover any adhesive and bonding job I'm ever likely to have! Thanks!

Yonatan24 (author)2015-12-23

I think you might want to add Epoxy Putty, It's totally different from regular 2-part Epoxy, But a lot beter

boocat (author)2015-01-23

My sister hot-glued one of my silver coins to something and now I can't figure out how to get the hard, dried disk of plastic glue off. Any ideas?

PREPRO (author)boocat2015-10-30

Isopropyl Alcohol. (rubbing alcohol)

Works like magic at removing hot glue.

lfoss (author)boocat2015-01-28

If I'm reading it correctly, I think boocat means he already separated the two pieces and just wants the glob of glue completely off of his silver coin? That could be tricky, because even after you heat the glue back up, its still quite gooey and sticky. The only thing I can think of at the moment is maybe try boiling it in water?

kuma.rhyu (author)lfoss2015-02-01

If the glue is on the coin, I would think a kitchen or toaster oven to soften the glue and peel it off. Boiling water might soften it enough, but even low temp hot glue is designed to be applied over 120 deg C (about 248 deg F) and most guns operate in the 150+ deg C range. If the bond is this strong on metal, the glue is probably a high temp type. I cannot find anything showing the temperture range for a high temp crafts glue gun right off, but I the box sealers using hot glue are in excess of 200 deg C in the glue pot.

bricabracwizard (author)boocat2015-01-26

A soldering iron is plenty hot enough to remove dried/cold hot glue...I've used it many a time to lift off an object that was glued accidentally to something else.

rickfazz (author)boocat2015-01-24

A little heat take the glue gun and set it on the coin till it heats up & releases. If that dosent work maby a hair drier. You didnt say what she stuck it to so its hard to give sugestions.

stefan.hermannsson.58 (author)2015-03-05

How do you glue high density polyethylene? I know this type of plastic is usually welded together, but what if you do not have a plastic welder or cannot achieve the correct temperature?

kuma.rhyu (author)2015-02-01

Thank you for a straightforward overview of different adhesives. Of course, this is not exhaustive and no general overview on the subject ever is with the huge variety of adheasives on the market and materails to be held together.

Switch and Lever (author)2015-01-22

Interesting article, but unfortunately rife with inaccuracies.

Cyanoacrylate does not create an exothermic reaction with nylon, it does however create an exothermic reaction with cotton, or with the baking soda you mentioned.

Loctite is a brand name, they make, among other things cyanoacrylate and threadlock, and many other adhesives. What you're talking about is threadlock, which is an anaerobic glue. To further confuse, Loctite makes several different thread locking compounds, for various different applications.

The two part epoxy you point out is epoxy putty, and should be labeled so as well as epoxy comes in many variants, the most common being a two part liquid adhesive resin. Epoxy is by design two part, so the term "two part epoxy" becomes a bit redundant.

You talk about silver solder but the images show simple tin solder, they should not be confused with each other. Silver solder requires different techniques and quite higher temperatures than you can reach with a small soldering iron. A propane or acetylene torch is recommended.

As I said, interesting article, but could definitely have done with a bit more research beforehand to avoid confusion among your readers.

Epoxy is sold in both two discrete part form and in a modular form (putty) where kneading breaks the micro-spheres and releases the hardener to mix in. This is often referred to as "one part" epoxy (a minor misnomer).

Wow how pickey can you get. I thank him for takeing the time to give a General guide & pointing out some options.

Hey, as I said, it was an interesting article, but if you're giving instructions and information about how to use certain things it helps if it's accurate. Would you rather follow information which is correct, and helps you get the result you desire, or information that's incorrect? No disrespect towards anyone.

silkier (author)Switch and Lever2015-01-22

Cyanoacrylates also create an exothermic reaction with "Tibetan Silver" alloy beads, as I have found to my cost when touching them after application. They get VERY hot.

lfoss (author)2015-01-22

Just out of curiosity.. why did you adhere a stopwatch to a toolbox? o.O

Mrballeng (author)lfoss2015-01-22

I wasn't allowed to wear a watch as a mechanic so that was my clock.

lfoss (author)Mrballeng2015-01-22

Ahh.. that makes sense. Clever.

As an electronics repair technician, we couldn't wear rings or necklaces (shorts out the electronics). But I can't say I ever considered silicone gluing them to the workbench. =)

dsantil71 (author)lfoss2015-01-27

same with my husband, a weapons expert, no jewelry. He used to take off his wedding ring & put it on his watch then put his watch in his pants pocket but one day he mistakenly put it in the pocket of the coveralls he was wearing due to the cold weather. At the end of the shift he took them off & left them there because they belonged to the shop. He forgot his wedding ring & watch! I wanted to kill him! That was 15 yrs ago. We replaced them.

Kafukai (author)2015-01-14

There're much adhesives than you wrote.

- All kind of adheisve tapes

- All kinds of resins

- All kinds of foaming adheisves

- All kind of rubbered adheisves

- All the powders are using for construction works(like cement)

- All the spray coating that use also for construction works

- All the sealnt adheisves for construction works and auto repairs

And there're much more.

Also soldering, brazing, welding and metal casting don't count as adhesives. They're joints of the same material(metal) or an alloy, adhesive is a new material joint between one metrial or two different metrials.

You should make a new research and you'll discover people have made lot of kind of adhesives and it's even hard to count. I used so far about 80 kinds of adheisves, and every time I find a new one for a new purpose. So good luck in the searching :-)

rickfazz (author)Kafukai2015-01-24

Didnt you people read the article so many seem to miss the part that while its not an adhesive it was included anyway.

Kafukai (author)rickfazz2015-01-25

I've read it. But adhesives it is a huge subject that you can't do it on an one post, you should make an each one on its own. That why I recommend for the author or even everyone to make another research before they want to use some kind of adhesive, you could find a new kind that using the same principle.

andrew.mead.1253 (author)Kafukai2015-01-18

Unless I'm mistaken you forgot organic glues: Hide Glue-the "first" glue. It was used almost exclusively for millennia until the early 20th century; a by-product of rendered livestock, a.k.a. "Moo Glue" and applied "hot". It's not toxic and I'd be willing to bet it was commonly eaten to ward off hunger when the cupboard was bare. If you use it, make sure it get's off your hands and clothes entirely upon completion of adhesive activities-- otherwise you'll offend the delicate olfactory senses common to the inhabitants of this century and also mistakenly bear the social stigma associated with a virulent strain of human b.o.

Another organic adhesive: Fish Glue: A thin and weak "spit-activated" adhesive found on postage stamps and common flapped envelopes. If you've bought premium envelopes the makers have added a hint of mint for your licking pleasure. (gross)

I'd be sincerely interested in seeing a list of the 80 kinds of adhesives you've used.

Kafukai (author)andrew.mead.12532015-01-19

Fish glue? ! I never heard of it, probably because I'm not fishing. But good to know. As I said you can find a lot of adhesives.

For my list: Only in construction, carpentry and auto repair works at least there you can find 60 kinds of adhesives: Cement(7 kinds), wall putty rendering(9 kinds), wood putty(5 kinds), hot glue/chaulk gun(19 kinds), flooring(4), tapes(13 kinds), epoxy(9 kinds). For the brands it kind of diffuclt ,at least in my country(Israel), there are a few companies that makes competing products. Even though the products quite generic, usually for my works I buy from the US via eBay.

I used them only for my hobby/home works, I'm not a professional worker, but because I'm studying engineering I have a good knowledge in material engineering so I know what to use on every material, I allways read what inside the product sometimes adhesives can react with the materials. If don't know, I read online or have to experiment :-)

DIY-Guy (author)Kafukai2015-01-14

One could add juice of garlic cloves, ancient chinese pottery has been discovered glued together with garlic juice.

Kafukai (author)DIY-Guy2015-01-14

There's a lot of much more ancient. Honey, beewax, pine resin, fig milk.

I remember when I was young my grandpa though me to make a tree grafting glue with beewax and rosin mixture.

Also I can add a toothpaste, when I allways run out of putty I use some toothpaste instead, it;s also can use for light glueing things.

WVvan (author)2015-01-25

Most informative. Double plus good!

WVvan (author)2015-01-25

Most informative. Double plus good!

mr_marte (author)2015-01-24

Cool! I like that you included the chemical names :-)

bpark1000 (author)2015-01-23

Not mentioned are organic solvents used for bonding plastics that are dissolved by them. Acetone, MEK and ethyl acetate are examples. The plastics can be pre-softened in solvent first, then bonded, or a glue can be made by dissolving some plastic scraps in the solvent.

Ethyl acetate is especially good for bonding polystyrene. It does not "smut" like some other solvents (such as acetone) when it is humid.

Beware hot glue! It is really good only for temporary fixturing. It eventually cracks and delaminates from the substrate. It has no place in a permanent project.

kudzu63 (author)2015-01-23

You probably already know this but for the lock-tite, the different colors are for the particular application that you're using it for. The blue should be used on bolts that you will probably be taking apart in the future. The red however should be used on bolts that you don't ever plan to take back off. That's when you'll most likely have to use heat to get it loose. Good instructable though. Taught me a few things that I didn't know. Keep 'em coming.

vincent7520 (author)2015-01-23

Great review.

I would add "fishbone" (or whatever it is called in English) glue that was used by woodworkers before modern glues and that is still is use.

There is also a glue that is sold in pellets for the same purpose (i.e.. wood).

Epoxy is also great to glue very large surfaces of wood : now it is widely used in boat building as it is very versatile (large and smaller surfaces, used as a coating resin too or as a filler with the correct additives : great material).

I fail to see if polyvinyl acetate is the same as polyurethane glue that is used with wood that retains some dampness ? Are they different ?

Anyway thanks for posting : i'll bookmark this page on my computer : very helpful.

U_eriksen (author)2015-01-23

An interesting thing I read about cyanoacrylate (10 second glue) is that the 'setting' of the glue is caused (and quickened) by moisture. This is why it is so darn good at glueing fingers together.

It also means that some CA glue connections can be helped along a bit by simply licking the surfaces beforehand (before applying the glue!).

jscanlan (author)2015-01-22

If you want to polish small pieces of stone use dop wax -- hard green --- I use large spikes; 20 penny nails To remove stone from the dop put it in the freezer for a bit. The wax is more resistant to shock and heat than most glues.

grapenut (author)2015-01-22

Great instructable. Thanks for explaining all the different names for Elmers. Many have called it modge podge, which google revealed as polyvinyl acetate. Now I know what everyone is talking about. (author)2015-01-22

Very informative. Thank you.

User1 (author)2015-01-22

Alot of great replies here to your 'able. I'm a bit perplexed as to why you would include soldering on your steps here. There's plenty to deal with just with what other stuff you had presented. Heck you could have written this up with just doing the different lock-tite options out there too!

RobertA2 (author)2015-01-22

Quick tip for Super Glue. If you cut yourself, use Super Glue to seal the cut. Super Glue USP [the USP makes it more expensive] is what doctors use in operating rooms, Veterinarians use it when declawing a cat. It does sting a bit but it does the job.

kerront (author)2015-01-22

Thank you for taking the time to make this instructable. I take it these are just 8 popular types of adhesives or methods that most persons already know a few. I like the rice one did not know that. very informative.

Suzanne in Orting (author)2015-01-22

One use I saw is using Super Glue in combination with a long curing glue. Leave a small void in the long curing glue a place a drop of Super glue so that you don't have to hold the two pieces until the glue cures.

Suzanne in Orting, WA

KentR1 (author)2015-01-22

For homebrew I make my own beer bottle labels and read online to use milk for gluing the label to the bottle. Works great on dry, room temp bottle and will stick on well unless bottle gets soaked (like ice bucket). Will stay on in refigerator and then comes off in warm water to reuse the bottle. So add milk to the list of organic glues....

mf70 (author)2015-01-22

A wonderful idea: t I like the idea of finding larger basic groups, but as others have commented, there are a number of other basic groups, many with their own particular qualities. Hide glues, for instance, are reversible. A chair assembled with hide glue can be disassembled in 100 years, for example.

I'm still finding new "stickums": I just ran into a (probably rubber-based) glue that had remained very tacky after 20 years!

LesB (author)2015-01-22

Craftech Industries offers a free "Guide to Gluing
Plastics".This can be very helpful,
as plastics in general are difficult to bond.In preparing this guide the company lab-tested adhesives for difficult
plastics such as polycarbonate and PTFE.


Daiso sells an adhesive for plastics.Don't know how good it is, but for a
buck-fifty, it's worth checking out.

I don't know what type this next adhesive is, but reviewers
claim it makes an excellent general adhesive and that it can even adhere to

at Amazon

Sam Grove (author)LesB2015-01-22

UC6800 is a variation of E6000 and will stick to many surfaces, including glass.

Sam Grove (author)2015-01-22

I suggest investigating styrene based adhesive (E6000). It's good for many applications, from bonding metals, insulating electrical connections, fastening decorative stones to fabric, etc.

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