5 tips for the correct use of glue

November 7, 2022

If you are into your DIY’s, you probably find yourself reaching for glue quite often. Glue is a great and easy way to stick things together or do quick fixes without needing dozens of different tools. However, because of how simple and accessible it is, some people don’t realise that there are still right and wrong ways of using glue. When used incorrectly, it is more likely to make a mess, look untidy or not even work at all. Here are 5 tips on how to use glue correctly.

1. Use the right type of glue

First and foremost, the type of glue you use will differ greatly based on your project and what materials you are working with. For instance, if you look at the different types of glue from Loctite, you will find that some of them are not suitable for outdoors, while others have a flexible consistency on purpose.

The most commonly used types are super glue and hot glue but there is a huge range of others you can choose from, including epoxy, acrylic, silicone, paste, pressure-sensitive and many others.. This is because glue can be used for so many different things, each of which will require different consistency and strength. So, if you are looking to fix something, say, in your garden, you need to not only consider the specific materials you are working with but also make sure the glue is resistant to water and other harsh weather conditions, depending on where you live..

2. Prep your surface

Not all materials need to be prepped before using glue. For instance, for the majority of creative crafts that use paper, fabrics, flowers and other similar materials, there is nothing you can do to help the glue stick better. However, in other cases, the way you have prepared the surface will be the make or break of how well the glue is working.

The key thing to keep in mind is that the surface should be clean (dirt, oil and dust-free) as well as roughed-up, if possible. The need for cleaning mostly applies for such materials as metals, glass, ceramics, plastics, etc. You can simply use soapy water to get rid of any dirt and oil on your surface, although alcohol-based cleaners will work much better for that purpose.

Wooden materials are the most important to rough-up before applying the adhesive, as it will help it stick much better and last longer than when the surface is left completely flat. The best way to ensure this is by sanding it well beforehand.

3. Less is more

The biggest mistake that people tend to do when using adhesives is use too much of it. There are many ways in which over-applying glue can cause issues, including longer time to dry, messy finish, introduction of unwanted moisture, glue leaking through the sides and cracks, etc.. This is particularly visible with thinner materials or fabrics, like paper, where the too much glue will introduce wrinkling, discoloration and other changes in the surface.

Therefore, using smaller amounts of adhesive will prevent these issues while also looking more tidy and drying much quicker. Most of the time, you only need to apply glue to one of the surfaces before glueing them together. Another great tip is to always leave the edges of your surface clear, so once the two pieces are pushed together, there is nothing leaking through the sides.

4. Even application

Even application of glue is key in avoiding wonky finishes or incomplete sticking. Again, this will highly depend on the type of DIY project you are doing. Sometimes you can get away with simply applying the adhesive straight out of the tube and leaving it as is, while in other cases you will have to put more effort into even application by using additional tools.

You don’t need to spend much money on tools - you can repurpose items you already own into scrapers or brushes. Your old toothbrushes, paint or make-up brushes will work perfectly well as a way to evenly coat and distribute your glue. If you need a scraper, you can use any bit of plastic, an expired credit card, a guitar pick and so on. You can also use old hair combs and baking scrapers if you need to create ridges on your glue when working with wood or tiles.

5. Store your glue correctly

The way you store your glue will have a huge impact on how well it works in the future. Again, each type of glue will have instructions on how it should be stored, so try to follow those. It’s important to cover it right after use and keep it well covered so it doesn’t dry out. You should also make sure that the temperature in which your adhesives are stored is appropriate (too warm and the glue will change consistency, but too cold could freeze the glue in the bottle).

Lastly, if you’ve been storing your adhesives correctly and it still seems to be dry or otherwise weird, it has most likely expired. Yes, you read that correctly - while most glue will last you a long time, it still has an expiration date. Once the glue has been opened for too long, it will become unusable.


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