Sunday, March 28, 2010

Glue 101

Here are some of my favorite standby adhesives, and how best to use them:

1. Hot Glue Gun- This is the least sticky of the lineup, but it sets the fastest. I use my glue gun for projects built from mat board, cardboard, or foam core (gatorboard.) It's especially handy for pieces that protrude outward since you won't have to hold them in place very long for the hot glue to cool. The stretchy strings that hang from glue drops seem messy to me so I ususally try to hide them.

2. Mod Podge- Mod Podge is not washable, but it's great as a coating or sealant. I use it in my classroom for printmaking projects that involve dampening the paper, but it can also protect paper mache sculptures, paper beads, or any number of your more vulnerable projects. You can get it matte or glossy finish. Wear a smock when using it, and when you're done, you'll want to wash your brush thoroughly.

3. Rubber Cement- I buy the acid free variety for my own collages and card making. It's stinky stuff, so not well suited to a classroom full of kids. This glue is great because it stays neatly in place, it won't wrinkle paper by saturating with excess moisture, and best of all, it's removable. Once rubber cement dries, you can peel or rub it off with a fingertip.

4. Aleene's Tacky- The most versatile of this list. Tacky is gummier than Elmer's, and sets a little faster, too. It makes a good substitute for hot glue if you don't have a glue gun for more three dimensional projects. I use it in my classroom for attaching materials as diverse as paper, cardboard, fabric, sequins, plastic gems, and beads. Dries clear.

5. Elmer's- Simple to use, washable, dries clear. Holds very well once it's dried, but it can wrinkle paper since Elmer's is a water based glue. I tell my youngest students, "Just a dot, not a lot," in hopes of preventing this. It's my go to glue for most projects, since glue sticks don't stay stuck nearly as well. Best suited to paper based projects.