Adhesives 101: How to Glue...




About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

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.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: 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)

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)

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)

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

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

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

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)

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.

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest

    66 Discussions


    7 months ago

    I don't like bad smell so I always use adhesive from japan branded cemedine, lets check it here It had no smell and very flexible for some kinds of my work.


    2 years ago

    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!


    2 years ago

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


    2 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    how much time does the cyanoacrylate takes to stick


    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

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


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    5 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Isopropyl Alcohol. (rubbing alcohol)

    Works like magic at removing hot glue.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 4 years ago

    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.

    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?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    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.

    3 replies

    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).

    rickfazzSwitch and Lever

    Reply 4 years ago

    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.