Glue Types and Tips

Everybody needs glue from time to time, whether for a creative project or a quick repair around the house. It’s an essential of daily life – and it’s been that way for thousands of years since humans started experimenting with gums and tars. Did you know our South African ancestors 70,000 years ago were the first to create a compound adhesive? They figured out that mixing acacia gum with red ochre pigment helped make stronger, better tools!

Today there’s a right type of glue for any sticky situation and it’s useful to know which one will work best for you. Here’s a handy list of some popular types of glue available at The Deckle Edge.

Glue Sticks

This is the first glue most of us ever use! It’s a school stationery must-have, because it’s so quick, clean and easy to use. Glue sticks are great for sticking paper, cardboard and similar materials.

Glue Pens

Think of glue pens as grown-up glue sticks. They’re precise and often come in an array of nib sizes and types.

We love the Zig glue pen that lets you choose between a permanent or temporary bond – in the same pen!

The glue is water-based, photo-safe, acid free and xylene free.

Clear Glue

Clear adhesives are generally strong, quick-drying and suitable for sticking a wide variety of materials – from paper and cardboard to leather, ceramics, glass, wood, fabrics, rubber, felt, metal and some plastics (excluding styrofoam). There is often a thicker ‘gel’ option available, which can be easier to work with as it’s less runny.

Craft Glue

Craft glue is an excellent all-purpose glue for crafting applications. It’s somewhat liquid and white in colour, and generally dries semi-opaque. This is a favourite in the classroom because most craft glues are non toxic.

Super Glue

Super glue is a must-have for that drawer of bits and bobs we all have in the kitchen! This super-strong glue bonds instantly and is excellent for little repairs. It comes in a regular or gel formulation – the gel version is non-drip and works better on slightly uneven surfaces.

Wood Glue

As the name says, wood glues are perfect for woodworking, but they’re useful for so much more. Alcolin Cold Glue, for example, sets quickly and is a universal glue that can also be used for furniture manufacture, other joinery work, or just everyday use.

Hot Glue

Hot glue comes in little sticks that are used in glue guns. It’s thick and gooey when hot so it’s great for uneven surfaces, whether porous or non-porous. It’s a great all-purpose craft glue, but this one is definitely not for use by children!

Fabric Glue

Fabric glue is great for joining pieces of cloth, doing quick repairs to hems and seams, or sticking decorations onto fabric.

It’s usually waterproof so you can wash the fabric without dissolving the glue. Handy tip: take care with laundry powders containing enzymes as they might break down the glue a little.

Glue Dots

Glue dots are typically little circles (or dots!) of clear adhesive that work on a wide variety of non-porous surfaces. They’re ideal for gift wrapping, photo albums, craft projects and instant fixing. You can often get removable as well as permanent options.

Glitter Glue

Glitter glue isn’t generally used to stick things together, but rather to decorate surfaces with sparkly glitter suspended in glue with easy-to-use squeeze pens. The glue allows the glitter to adhere to the surfaces, and prevents it from getting everywhere and making a mess!

Spray Glue

Spray glue is excellent for covering large areas with a fine, even coating of adhesive.

When you’re using spray glue, always work in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask like this light duty dust mask.


Epoxy glue comes in two parts that you mix together to create a very strong bond.

It’s vital to get the proportions just right when mixing, which is why we love the Alcolin Rapid Epoxy that comes in a convenient foolproof syringe. The two parts mix automatically as you push the plunger, so you literally can’t get the mixture wrong.

Speciality Glue

Many glues are tailor-made for very specific purposes. Styrofoam glue is formulated so it doesn’t eat into the styrofoam, while gilding size is specially made for applying metal leaf. Balsa cement is great for model building.

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