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What kind of glue can be used to stick the plastic used in milk containers? Answered

I would like to use the plastic of milk containers for modelling. These seem to be the same make up in UK and USA. What kind of glue could be used? Will this also work on plastic of drinks bottles and containers used for bleach, detergent, dishwasher powder etc ?


You could try making your own glue. Line up some shot glasses with various solvents in them, and add some shreds of the plastic to them. Find out which one dissolves the plastic most effectively, and then dissolve more and more shreds of plastic in that solvent until the mixture is thick and homogeneous. This will theoretically act as a good glue for this particular plastic. Please, somebody correct me if I'm wrong, I'd hate to waste this gentleman's time.

Polyethylene is so widely used in part because it is highly resistant to solvents. You won't get it to dissolve much at all at room temperature. It will, however, dissolve in xylene at elevated temperatures.

In many cases, the quickest, easiest, and strongest way to glue two pieces of it together is to weld them. Hot-air plastic welding kits can be had for approximately $80, and are useful on a variety of plastics and also for soldering.

An excellent suggestion. Should work for almost any plastic.

There is an inexpensive product made by Loctite specifically labeled for use in bonding polyethylene or polypropylene and other hard to bond plastics readily available to consumers. It is "LOCTITE PLASTICS BONDING SYSTEM". Do not get it confused with "Loctite Epoxy Plastic Bonder" a product with a similar name that will NOT work on polyethylene or polypropylene.

You will find the correct product at this URL

Something else that I believe would likely work would be the 2 part glue used on PVC pipes that have water under pressure flowing through them constantly. It consists of Part #1 Cleaner/Primer and Part # 2 Cement/Adhesive. It is inexpensive & readily available at Home Depot, Lowe's and most any Hardware Store if you wish to try it.


7 years ago

HDPE is used in the building of snowboards, skis, ice rink boards etc.
it cannot be glued to itself effectively without abraiting the surfaces and then flame treated (glue will then stick to the light carbon). Mr. Sticky's makes an epoxy that works well. just used it to build an elk sled with HDPE and a worn out Jet Sled. Didn't kill an elk, but it makes a great wood hauling sled.
Another epoxy that works with properly prepped material is Epoweld 3243. It is used in snowboard shops all over.
All the Best!


7 years ago

again, assuming it's polyethylene (which is what u.s. milk jugs are) TAP plastics makes a poly weld that can supposedly be used after heat treating the two pieces to be affixed with a propane torch you would benefit from the applicator gun and mixing nozzles mentioned in connection with the 3m product ( which i believe he is right is called DP-8005 ) but don't necessarily need them - they have an instructional video on the website. having said that the girl at tap told me originally that hdpe can not be bonded (except buy a customer who is an organic chemist). i love love the softness and milkyness of hdpe and ldpe and have run into a similar problem recently. i wouldn't recommend trying to concoct your own glue. the beauty of polyethylene is that its chemical resistant which is why bonding it is such a problem. if it were that easy a glue would readily exist or you could make a pretty penny. I'm going to invest in a hot air plastic welder that seems to be the goto way.

First, we need to figure out what kind of plastic your bottles and containers are made of. Somewhere on or near the bottom of each container there should be a little recyling-symbol-triangle with a number inside and some letters underneath it.

If your UK milk containers are like the US ones I just looked at, they will probably say "2" and "HDPE" for High Density PolyEthylene.

If your containers held bottled water, or carbonated or alcoholic beverages, then it's likely that their recyling-symbol-triangles will say "1" and "PET" or "PETE". PET is short for the tongue-trippingly delightful name "PolyEthylene Terephthalate." (The "phth" is pronounced just as if it were "fth" - it may help a bit if you pretend that you're in Wales ;) - but we'll just call it "PET.")

With either one, you're pretty much right out of luck in the glue department. There is no known glue that really works on HDPE. There are some rather expensive epoxy and cyanoacylate (i. e. "superglue") systems that seem to sort of mostly work on PET, but I myself wouldn't put much effort into trying to use them.

You're in luck in the strictly mechanical joining department, though, if that will do for your purposes. Both HDPE and PET are very tough and can be cut and hole-punched about like a stack of paper of a similar thickness; and could be held together by brads or plastic zip-ties, or stiched like a similar thickness of leather.

As far as welding/fusing/heat bonding, that's kind of tricky (and interesting :). Based on a cursory 20-minute surfing session, every website but this one seems to say that polyethylene and PET can only be sucessfully welded/fused/heat bonded using massive & expensive equipment, often in a controlled nitrogen atmosphere. But the Instructables site is chock full of people fusing old polyethylene shopping bags into prettier and sturdier plastic "fabrics" with their household irons https://www.instructables.com/id/Plastic_Bags.

No one appears to have tried this with the HDPE polyethylene (or PET) containers yet, and since they're thicker layers of denser material (and may also have some other internal chemical variations), it probably won't be as easy as with the bags.

But I expect it could be done. You might try reading a few of the bag-fusing-Instructables, and then whip out the iron and a few scraps of HDPE and see what happens.
(You could try the PET as well. It might even work better.)
(But then again, it might not.)

(Note: if you are married (or similarly partnered), and you wish to remain in that state, and your Other Half owns the iron in question and/or may intend to use it at some future date, then I strongly recommend putting something - aluminum foil, that parchment paper used for baking & roasting, a teflon cover made just for the purpose of protecting the sole-plates of irons, something! - in between the bottom of the iron and your experimental bits of poly-plastic-whatnot. There's considerable potential for a big gooey mess here, any ineradicable residue of which you don't want to have discovered when the iron is pulled out to touch up a silk shirt to be worn to a crucial meeting for which your Other Half is already running ten minutes late....
...Trust Me On This One.)

Anyway, that's most of what I know about HDPE & PET (and almost all of what I know about marriage :). Hope it's of some help.

PP has a very low melt point. You may try welding these together using heat to melt the join points and sticking together while still melted. Heatgun comes to mind. Or maybe use pieces of scrap PP (cut strips) which you can then melt with a heatgun and drip onto the join area and then stick the two pieces together?


9 years ago

It depends very much on what type of plastic the jug is made of. Chances are, it's made of polypropylene, which is very difficult to glue securely. Probably the cheapest way is using a hot glue gun (100W minimum) using special glue sticks designed for polyolefins (a group of plastics to which polypropylene belongs). The best way is using a rather expensive glue made by 3M, I think it is product number 8005 and 8010 (5 minute open time, 10 minute open time). You will need a special dispenser gun, special nozzles, and a business name to actually buy it from a 3M distributor - you can't get this stuff in a regular store!

If it is for modeling and does not need to be too structural, hot glue works surprisingly well.

You mean like gallon milk jugs? I suppose it depends on what you want to use it for. Does it need to look really good, does it need to still be safe to eat/drink from, does it need to support weight? Off hand, I'd say that hot glue, superglue, or epoxy would do it, but I don't know what sort of effects those things would have on the finished product.