Best Glue For Craft Projects, Pros and Cons


I put some miniature dollhouse furniture together recently, and I ended up trying a few different types of glue before I settled on one. The ones that I thought were going to work really well ended up being less than excellent, and it made me start thinking about what kind of glue would be best for different things for different crafts.

I asked the Artisan Shopping Directory members about what kind of adhesives they use for their artwork, and this is the guide to the best glues that I came up with.

craft ideas which glue to use

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Super glue

Super glue is best for quick bonding of non-porous materials, but it didn’t work super-well on the wood dollhouse furniture kits that I put together. Since the wood absorbed some of the glue, it did stick eventually, but it didn’t want to.

Pros: Super glue is fast-drying, has a really strong bond, and works well for things like plastic, metal, and ceramics.

Cons: Super glue can bond your skin instantly, so use it VERY carefully and wear gloves to be safe.

large container of elmer's glue

White school glue

White glue like Elmer’s School Glue is good for porous materials like wood and paper. It’s thinner, though, and it takes a while to dry.

Pros: White glue dries clear, it’s water-soluble for easy cleanup, and it has a longer drying time, so you can usually adjust it if you make a mistake.

Cons: It’s not ideal for bonding non-porous surfaces, and it might not create a super-strong bond. On top of that, it can make paper buckle and warp if you put too much on, since it’s more watery and can absorb into paper and make it swell.

glue to glue down the dollhouse printed paper flooring

White craft glue

Tacky Glue like Aleene’s is a really common choice for crafters. It’s a little thicker than white school glue, and it’s strong enough for lightweight projects.

Pros: Water-Soluble, easy to reposition pieces before the glue dries, and it dries slower than Super Glue or hot glue.

Cons: Tacky glue has the same types of downside that regular white glue does as far as making paper warp if you put too much on. It’s also not the best for metals and other non-porous objects.

alenes glue for the fence

Epoxy adhesives

Epoxy adhesives like E6000 and Gorilla Epoxy are excellent for bonding a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. It’s the one that I use for things that need a stronger bond, or for projects that I’m not sure will work with white glue.

One member said that two-part slow setting epoxy is really good for gluing glass to anything, and that the slower the setting time, the stronger the bond. Another mentioned that E6000 is great for jewelry because it won’t make the stones cloudy.

Pros: Epoxies form an extremely strong bond that’s resistant to heat and chemicals, and it can fill gaps between the things that are being glued together.

Cons: Epoxies smell terrible and if you’re going to be doing a lot of gluing, you should definitely have good ventilation! I try to let things that I attach together with epoxy glue set up completely outside so that it doesn’t set off a lot of fumes inside my house. The cure time for epoxy glue is fairly quick but it needs to be left for longer, sometimes 24 hours or more, to reach the full-strength cure.

Titebond II

For woodworking, a few members recommened Titebond II specifically. They said that it was easy to work with and held well over time. Plus, it’s also good for adding other materials to wood.

One member said that Titebond 3 is good for places where there’s going to be moisture involved.

Hot glue

Hot glue is fantastic for quick assembly and bonding of some things (like gingerbread houses that you’re not going to eat), but it won’t work on things that are totally smooth and non-porous. It’s not as permanent as other types of glue a lot of the time.

Pros: Hot glue is fast-drying and good for temporary connections. It can also be used for more long-term gluing on certain porous materials, but it can dry out and peel off over time.

Cons: Hot glue might not be suitable for projects exposed to heat, and you usually end up seeing some of it because it doesn’t get absorbed into the material it’s gluing. If you’re using a high-temp glue gum it can also give you serious burns because the glue is so hot and it sticks to you and continues to burn your skin! Sticking to a low-temp glue gun is usually a good idea for safety reasons.

Glues for fabric

There are brands of basting glue that are temporary bonds for when you’re sewing. A couple that were mentioned were Roxanne Acorn and Sew Line basting glue. They’re water-based and will wash out, but they’ll stick fabric together for small periods while you’re working.

Another member mentioned using double-sided tape for basting fabric, but she said that you need to make sure to remove it before sewing the pieces together or it can gum up your needle.

For gluing fabric down, Fabric-Tac was the winner in the video comparison above.

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Basic wood glue

Wood glue is obviously good for wood-to-wood bonding. It’s what I ended up using to assemble the dollhouse furniture that I put together.

Pros: Forms a strong bond fairly quickly even though you can move the pieces around and reposition them before it dries. Wood glue is available in different formulas, so you can usually find water-soluble and fast-drying versions. I also thought that it was pretty easy to un-stick pieces before the glue had cured completely.

Cons: Wood glue takes longer to dry compared to some other glues, and it’s not good for non-porous materials.

Mod Podge

Mod podge is basically like white glue that’s been formulated for spreading over surfaces to seal them, not for sticking two things together. But it’s still good for sticking things together. It comes in many varieties that dry matte or gloss, so you can find one that will work for your needs pretty easily.

Pros: Lots of formulas, it’s water soluble, and it can be used as glue and a glaze.

Cons: Since it’s not specifically glue, it’s not going to be something that you should plan on using if you need a really strong bond.

Fabric glue

Fabric glue like Aleene’s Fabric Fusion is good for sticking fabric together when you’re making things like miniature pillows or bedding.

Pros: Fabric glue is usually pretty flexible when it dries, so you can use it for things like mini curtains and it will still be able to drape in folds.

Cons: It’s only for fabric, but you can probably get it to work on paper, too. Fabric glue can also darken the fabric where it’s attached, so do a test piece first to see if you like how it looks when it dries.

Rubber cement

I’ve used rubber cement for some projects like sticking dollhouse wallpaper up if I don’t want to use a water-based glue. It usually works fine as long as you put it on in a thin coat, but it’s not something that you should expect to be good for long-term permanent projects.

Pros: Rubber cement sticks quickly and it’s pretty easy to peel off and reposition things before it dries completely, and sometimes after it does, too.

Cons: It’s not super permanent and it smells TERRIBLE. It’s another adhesive that you should use with decent ventilation. It can make paper buckle from absorbing moisture if you put too much of it on the paper.

Glue sticks

Glue sticks are good for a quick, non-drippy application, and it will stick things like paper or fabric together pretty well.

Pros: Glue sticks are fast and work fine for temporary bonds of lightweight things like paper and fabric.

Cons: Anything that little kids are allowed to use by themselves isn’t going to give you a really strong or permanent bond, so don’t expect that! Glue sticks are fine for paper crafting but if you’re trying to build dollhouse furniture or anything like that, they’re not going to be the best choice.

Museum putty or Fun Tack

Museum putty or Fun Tack are the putty-type adhesives that you use to stick posters to the wall in your college dorm room. It’s not meant to be a permanent solution but it works fine for attaching small items to walls.

Pros: Immediate bond, and it’s not messy. You can reposition things pretty easily.

Cons: Definitely not meant to be permanent, and it can dry out over time. It will also stain the walls if you leave it on too long, and it can dry out and stick to the wall and be hard to remove.

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Wallpaper glue

Real glue that’s meant for real wallpaper is an option to stick dollhouse wallpaper up, if that’s your hobby. Some dollhouse wallpaper is actually real wallpaper, so real wallpaper paste works just fine.

Pros: Works well for attaching wallpaper to walls. Enough said.

Cons: It might not be great for anything other than wallpapering, and if you try to use it with regular paper it might not work well because it can be pretty wet.

Spray adhesives

Spray adhesives are good for a lot of things, but you should check the label to see what the specific glue you’re looking at is formulated to stick to.

Pros: Spray glue can be used on large pieces of paper or other materials to stick them to large areas. I used to use spray adhesive to attach artwork to a backing board to display it. You can usually reposition the sprayed piece before the glue sets.

Cons: Spray glue shouldn’t be used inside where the overspray is going to settle on surfaces and make them into dirt magnets. Make sure to spray in a well-ventilated area (preferably outside) and cover the surface that the piece you’re spraying is on to protect other surfaces. I’d suggest that you also use eye protection and wear a mask or ventilator to protect yourself from the fumes!

Tips for gluing things

  • Try to remove excess glue if it squeezes out or drips, because even if it dries clear you won’t be able to stain wood pieces if it has dried glue on it.
  • Be prepared to be patient if the glue that you’re using takes time to dry or cure completely. I had to hold tiny pieces together until the glue dried enough to stay in place. It didn’t take that long, but for most glue it’s not an instant process.
  • You probably need to use less glue than you think you do. Start with less than you think you need.
  • Read the instructions on the specific glue you’re using, because some of them work better when you put some glue on both surfaces that you’re attaching. When you follow the instructions you’ll get a better result!
  • If you’re using any kind of glue that produces fumes, make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area, and try to only work with it outside if you can. If at any point you stop smelling the smell of that kind of glue, it means that you need to stop using it and go outside yourself! Get some fresh air!
  • If you’re using glue that smells awful, it’s best to let it dry and cure completely outside until the smell subsides.


Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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