Glue is one of the oldest-known and highly useful substances available to man.
Be it children’s stationery supplies for school, a simple hardware repair kit for homeowners, or even the basic equipment required by workers such as carpenters, cobblers, plumbers and the likes, glue has numerous uses in our everyday life.
But much like the salt in food, the importance of glue in holding things together usually goes unnoticed and unappreciated. If there was no glue, many of the common objects and products around us would literally fall apart.
This underrated adhesive deserves a moment or two in the limelight, which is why we have collected here some interesting facts and lots of other useful information about glue including the various types that are available in the market and where they are used.
So, let’s find out some more facts about glue in the article below which will have you glued on to reading.
Table of Contents
A Brief History of Glue
Glue didn’t just come about out of the blue – it has a rather long and illustrative history that dates as far back as 70,000 BC! The earliest known evidence of glue can be traced to the cavemen in South Africa who used to make a gluey mixture from tree sap in order to protect their cave paintings.
Thousands of years later, in about 2000 BC, Egyptians produced a similar sticky concoction from the extracts of animal bones. It wasn’t until 1700 that the first glue-manufacturing company opened in Holland.
The products continued to evolve over time and upon its introduction in 1932, Elmer’s glue became a popular household name. Since then, numerous types of glues have been produced to suit different needs.
The most popular amongst these are discussed below.
Types of Glue
Craft Glue/ White Craft Glue
You will find this type of glue in every crafter’s cupboard as well in schools and homes throughout the country. It is the best adhesive for paper and other similar porous materials like card sheet. This water-based glue has low to no toxicity which makes it safe for use by kids and adults alike. In case of accidental spills or messy usage, it can be easily clean from the spoiled surfaces including the skin. Craft glue usually dries in a few minutes or an hour at most and is a staple for every arts and craft lover.
The term wood glue refers to any type of adhesive that is specifically used to bond together pieces of wood and wooden surfaces. For instance, epoxy, hide glue, and polyurethane glue to name a few, are all different types of wood glue.
These adhesives are used in making furniture such as tables, chair, beds, headboards, cupboards as well as decorative items like wooden frames and so on. Different types of wood glues are intended for different applications depending on the quality of wood and the purpose of the wooden object itself. But all in all, any wood glue must have the following properties.
- High strength
- Resistant to moisture, humidity and damp conditions
- Good gap-filling ability i.e. it must set thinly without leaving any gaps between the two wood surfaces.
However, wood glue typically has a long setting time, and needs a couple of hours or even a day to dry completely. During this time, you may have to keep the pieces pressed firmly together to achieve proper adhesion. Needless to say, wood glue is a must-have for every carpenter and anyone involved in woodwork.
Super glue got its name from its really superlative properties that make it a fine choice for anyone who wants to join heavy material such as metal, ceramics, glass, wood, and other tough-to-join materials like leather.
Super glue is basically a cyanoacrylate adhesive. Cyanoacrylate is a chemical compound that is known for its quick adhesive property coupled with its ability to form super strong and durable bonds with a clean dry finish.
There are different adhesive products in the market that use cyanoacrylate as the primary gluing agent but they vary in the formulation and hence, are limited to specific uses. However, Super glue is highly versatile as it can be used to fix toys, jewelry, or almost any damaged object that needs to be repaired.
Super glue dried super fast. So, watch out or you might end up gluing your fingers together too.
Most of the other varieties of glue will not hold together two or more pieces of fabric – and this is where fabric glue comes in handy. Be it repairing worn out upholstery or mending your torn jeans, fabric glue can do a fine job at joining together various types of textiles. There are many fabric adhesives that you can choose from.
Some are ready-to-use and look a lot like white crafting glue whereas some are sold in a webbing form which means you will have to melt the paste using a hot iron in order to make it stick.
Fabric adhesives stay flexible even after drying and are normally waterproof you can wash the garment without any worries. To avoid damaging the cloth, you must thoroughly read the instructions at the label of the fabric glue before using it for any purpose.
Projects involving hot glue guns are all the rage these days. In fact, many Facebook users are tired of hot glue ‘hacks’ dominating their newsfeed. But no matter what, there’s no denying that hot glue can help you create stunning decorative items.
Hot glue is the term used for adhesives that are sold in solidified form and need to be heated before use. Upon melting, you can use them like any other liquid glue. Hot glue comes in long and translucent sticks that are inserted into glue gun one at a time.
These sticks are available in different widths that make them suitable for rough and fine uses. After cooling, the glue solidifies back and holds the required objects together. Hot glue can be used for almost every material with the exception of metal. The three properties that make it a popular domestic adhesive are its high strength, quick drying liquid, and ease of use.
Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA)
Pressure sensitive glue is normally sold in sheets of glue dots. They can be used for various applications for instance; arts and crafts, sticking pictures and notes on the refrigerator and creating other similar bonds that will not suffer a high impact.
Glitter glue is a type of fancy liquid glue or to be more specific, crafting glue that is an all-time favorite amongst kids. Be it your next art project or just an enjoyable activity for kids at school or home, glitter glue can keep you and your kids immersed in hours of glittery fun. Give some papers and a pack of these shimmering adhesives to your little ones and watch their creative juices flow.
Glitter glue comes in an array of bright and vivid colors that sometimes may have a metallic finish as well. This crafting glue is packaged into slender plastic tubes for ease in handling. It dries quickly plus can be cleaned easily by simply peeling it off of the spoiled surface or by using common solvents in case of fabric stains. Although glitter glue is extremely cheap, you can also make it at home with your kids for additional fun.
Epoxy is the term used to define any type of glue that is made from the chemical compound called epoxy. The overall composition of these adhesives can vary and this makes them suitable for different uses that can range from minor household fixes to bonding objects in harsh outdoor environments.
Epoxies are valued for their great cohesive strength that stems from their ability to fill the microscopic holes on the surface of objects to be joined together.
Most epoxy glues come in two separate bottles that are sold as a single unit. The first bottle contains the resin while the other contains the hardener. Some epoxies are multi-purpose while others are particularly formulated for certain objects like wood, plastic, marble, etc.
Although polyurethane is an important ingredient for many types of glue and other adhesives in general, you will also find polyurethane glue sold under the generic name.
Much like epoxy, polyurethane can be bought in one or two-part systems. It is a marine grade, completely waterproof adhesive that can withstand extremely high tensile strength. If you need to bond plastics, concrete, aluminum, steel, wood or any other material for a lifetime, the polyurethane is the ultimate way to go about it.
Spray glue is a multi-purpose adhesive that is intended for use on various surfaces with a large area. The durability and strength of the glue can vary according to the material it is produced for. Spray glue can be used for ordinary crafts, household repairs and even office uses. Simply spray one or both the surfaces to be joined directly with the can to create a thin and uniform adhesive layer.
Glue pens normally contain transparent liquid adhesives that dry quickly and provide a clean finish. Glue pens come with different tips and are ideal for creating thin lines to fill minor cracks or finely join small objects.
Glue dots are a type of solidified glue that is normally sold in sheets, rolls, or dispensers that are specifically designed for this purpose. These sticky dots can be applied anywhere very conveniently, are clean, and are often removable. Glue dots can create sufficiently long-lasting bonds for lightweight objects
You must have used these in childhood (in case you aren’t using them still for some purpose or the other). Glue sticks contain a cylindrical roll of soft and mushy adhesive inside a plastic tube that can be directly applied to the required surface by rubbing it a couple of times. It dried rapidly once applied and is very user-friendly in terms of both handling and cleaning. Good quality glue sticks offer durable adhesion but in some circumstances, you might notice the earlier joined papers starting to get loose.
Popular Glue Brands
Want to glue silk, burlap, ceramic, Styrofoam or other miniature objects? Tacky glue is all-purpose glue that can tackle your worries of bonding odd surfaces together. Its nontoxic and quick-drying formula is suitable for a variety of materials but don’t use it for fabrics that you would need to wash later on.
Elmer’s glue is one of the many adhesive products manufactured by Elmer’s, an American-based company. With over 70 years of service in the industry, this is perhaps the company’s flagship product. Be it making slimes, paper mache, school crafts or more, Elmer’s glue is the best buy. It is available in small and large containers as well as more fancy equivalents that change color.
Mod Podge is one of the most renowned craft supplies in the U.S and beyond. It is a decoupage medium which means it is an all-in-one adhesive that does not just bond surfaces, but also serves as a sealer and gives the surface a nice and glossy finish. Mod Podge is only used for paper crafts but can work on fabric equally well. In case you have never decoupaged before, just buy a bottle of Mod Podge today and let your inner artist unfold.
Useful Glue Tips
- To prolong the effectiveness of glue, always seal the container immediately after use. Wipe off any excess adhesive from the cap before closing to avoid trouble the next time you have to open it.
- Many owners complain of super glue drying out. If you are annoyed to throw away unused super glue because it hardens over time, then try storing in the refrigerator instead.
- When using any type of glue for a project, first check if it fits the brief by testing on a small area at the corner.
- Smooth and shiny surfaces can be hard to bond. First, roughen the surfaces by rubbing strongly with sandpaper. This enables the surfaces to interlock when you apply adhesive in between.
- Common adhesives like super glue can be easily removed using acetone. Soak the affected skin in a mixture of warm soapy water for a few minutes before wetting it with acetone or an acetone-based mixture like nail polish remover. There are various ways to remove other types of sticky goobut remember to read the labels before employing any of these techniques.
Now that you have read the glue guide, you can easily pick the adhesive that is right for the job.