If you have never experienced the wonders of fabric glue then you are soon to discover how versatile, useful, and easy to use it is. Many people use fabric glue as an alternative to sewing as it removes the need to use a needle and thread to attach pieces of fabric together. This wonder substance is definitely a good adhesive to have around the house, whether it be for an emergency repair when you’re rushing to a meeting or to assist with a new craft project, fabric glue has a multitude of uses.
But how do you get started with picking the right glue for your specific project? In this article, we take a look at everything you need to know about how to purchase the best fabric glue around, run through some of the uses of fabric glue and how to use it, and give you the low down on a few of favorite fabric glues for every task and budget.
What is fabric glue?
Fabric glue is an adhesive that is frequently used to fuse fabric together. It is often used as an alternative to sewing, however, it can also be used as an assistant in the sewing process. There are two types of fabric glue, permanent fabric glue, and temporary fabric glue. Temporary fabric glue, as the name suggests, is designed to provide a temporary bond between two fabrics. This is useful when doing appliqué or attaching a pocket to an item as it makes for more accurate sewing and a better finish to your product.
Permanent fabric glue, on the other hand, is designed to provide a more lasting bond between two pieces of material. It can be used instead of a needle and thread when repairing an item of clothing, or it can even be used to attach different types of fabric to other materials such as wood, leather, plastic, paper, and cardboard. It is a great adhesive to use for craft projects and can save you a lot of time if you find sewing a tedious or difficult task.
Top 9 Best Fabric Glue 2023 [Updated]
So now you know why you might need to use fabric glue, what to use it for, how to choose the right type of glue for an appropriate task, and even how to use it. The final piece of the puzzle, then, is to go out and get yourself the fabric glue you need. Here, we will outline some of the best fabric glues for different tasks.
#1 Best Fabric Glue: Aleene’s Platinum Bond Adhesive Super Fabric
If you are looking for a fabric glue that is versatile, strong, and suitable for use in both fabric to fabric and fabric to other material (wood, plastic, glass, leather, etc.) tasks, then you’ll love this glue. This sturdy industrial strength glue is also machine washable, although you need to give it a good three days to dry and cure before you throw anything you have embellished with it into the wash. If you plan to work with lots of materials, this is the glue for you.
Other good things about this fabric glue are that: it stays flexible once dry (even when washed); it is non-yellowing so won’t ruin the finish of your handy-work; it is permanent; it is strong enough to use on canvas in case of any big tent issues, such as tears and holes; it works effectively on every fabric you can throw at it, and; it is a good alternative to sewing on damaged hems and seams. The downside of this glue is its strong smell and the fact that it is a toxic glue.
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#2 Best Permanent Fabric Glue: Aleene’s Fabric Fusion Fabric Adhesive
If you’re looking for a fabric glue that is going to limit the amount of sewing you’re going to have to do and is suitable for use on items that are going to be machine washed, then you should check this nifty fabric fusion glue out. Suitable for use on denim, cotton, flannel, and more, this glue is great for making minor adjustments to your clothes to add some pizazz to your look. The best thing is this glue stays flexible even when washed.
Other pros of this permanent fabric glue are that: unlike some fabric glues, it dries completely clear and doesn’t turn white making it easier to have a tidy stylish finish to whatever clothing or craft-based project you are working on; it doesn’t turn into a stringy mess when applied; it doesn’t go crusty, stiff and hard when washed, and; it can be washed off with soap and water if needed whilst still wet. The downside of this glue is that it is only suitable for fabric to fabric projects.
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#3 Best Permanent Fabric Glue Spray: Gorilla’s Heavy Duty Spray Adhesive
If you hate getting sticky fingers or want to cover a large area with a permanent adhesive, then you should think about giving spray glue a try. This excellent adhesive comes in a spray can with an adjustable nozzle with 3 settings to give you added control maximum coverage. This stuff is also so strong that it can even stick fabric to wood, glass, and metal. For people needing strong bonding glue and to cover large areas with a permanent adhesive, this is the product for you.
Other benefits of this spray-can glue are that: it dries slow enough for you to position what you are bonding in place; it dries clear; the glue is moisture resistant so will not be washed away with machine washes; it is a good glue to use if need to repair some car paneling fabric, and; it is accredited to a high safety standard. The downside of this glue is that it is not suitable for use on vinyl, rubber and some types of plastic
#4 Best Temporary Fabric Glue: Roxanne’s Glue Baste It Temporary Basting Glue
If you’re looking for a temporary fabric glue to help make sure your sewing is perfectly neat on a pocket seam or a nice bit of appliqué, then you should check out this water-soluble glue that comes complete with an innovative application device. This special applicator makes it easy to get the glue into exactly the right location in a highly controlled fashion leading to less mess and less waste. For the sewing perfectionists, this should be your glue of choice.
Other things to like about this basting glue are: it is also suitable for people who love scrap-booking so if you’ve kept a box full of memorabilia you want to turn into a great memory book, this is the glue for you; it washes out easily simply with soapy water even once it has dried or even been exposed to intense heat, such as an iron, and; it is non-toxic, chemical-free and free of dyes. The downside of this glue is that it is quite pricey as it comes with the applicator.
#5 Best Temporary Fabric Glue Stick: Dritz’s 401 Fabric Glue Stick
If you are on a bit of a budget but want to see how temporary fabric glue can improve the finish of your sewing, fashion, and other arts and crafts projects, then you won’t be left out of pocket by this prit-stick like glue. This design makes it easy to neatly apply to the fabric you are looking to stick together and as it is water-soluble you don’t have to worry if you accidentally stick something on the wrong way round.
Other pluses about this fabric prit-stick are that: it is super cheap; it’s a good thing to have on hand if you have a big quilting project planned; it will improve the accuracy when sewing fabrics together; it is much quicker than putting pins in place as you don’t have to take them all out again, and; it has a decent tack to it. The downside of this glue is that it is not the strongest so is not really suitable for heavier fabrics.
#6 Best Temporary Fabric Glue Spray: Odif USA’s 505 Spray and Fix Temporary Fabric Adhesive
If you have set yourself a large appliquéing task or a quilting challenge, then you should check out the potential benefits of using temporary spray glue. This stuff goes really far and will help you maximize your efficiency as well as your accuracy when working with a needle and thread and some fabric. The specially designed glue is also suitable for use with sewing machines. For people who love big sewing projects, this is the glue for you.
Other positives about this glue are that: it is completely odorless; it dries nice and clear; it does not form into a mist that will get into the air and cause you to cough; it doesn’t clog up sewing machine needles thanks to the fact that it doesn’t ever gum up; it has no CFC’s and is also acid free, and; it will save you time pinning and unpinning the fabrics you’re working with. The downside of this glue is that it is pretty pricey.
#7 Best Glue for Fabric to Plastic: Gorilla’s Super Glue Gel
If you are working with fabric and plastic, then a good superglue is what you’re after and this one with the full strength of a gorilla is truly sturdy stuff. You’ll also be pleased with how quickly this dries and cures so you don’t need to stand around holding something in place for ages or figuring out how you can clamp strange shapes in place. At a great price, this glue will give you a lot more than most fabric glues in terms of bonding strength with challenging plastic materials.
Other pluses of this superglue gel are that: unlike most superglues it is shock resistant which makes it suitable for longer-term use than typical superglues; it is a versatile glue that works with metal, wood, and glass as well as plastic; you only need a dab per square inch so this stuff goes far, and; the nozzle doesn’t clog up. The downside of this glue is that it is easy to get it stuck on your fingers and get them stuck together so make sure you wear a suitable pair of disposable gloves when working with it.
#8 Best Glue for Fabric to Wood: E6000’s 220011 High Viscosity Adhesive
If you are really setting yourself a challenge and plan to work with fabric and wood to create a beautifully upholstered chair or uniquely designed headboard, then this is the glue that is going to see you through the most arduous of tasks. This stuff is also resistant to pretty much anything, from water to acids and even dilute caustics so you can be sure that the work you do with this stuff is going to stand the test of time.
Other reasons to choose this glue are that: it dries transparently so won’t ruin the finish on whatever project you are using it for; it can be painted over for a truly pristine finish; it is a flexible glue which makes it shock resistant and a good choice for long term bonding needs; it is super thick making it easy to apply, and; it forms probably the strongest bond of any glue on this list. The downside of this glue is that it is made out of some serious chemicals and the tubing is not great so don’t squeeze too hard.
#9 Best Fabric Glue Kit: Aleene’s Tacky Pack of Fabric Glues
If you recognize that you are probably going to need a few different types of glue when working with fabric and might need both permanent and temporary types of glue on a single project, then this multi-pack of fabric glues will be for you. Whether you want a fast tacking glue or one that gives you the time to massage your materials into the perfect place, you’ll find it in this pack. These PVA glues are also easy to ash off whilst still wet.
Other reasons to choose this kit of fabric glues are that: it allows you to try out a few different glues and see how they work differently in practice; each bottle has easy to follow instructions on the back that will help you learn the right glue for the right task; it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and; you’ll have glue for a range of projects. The downside of this glue kit is that the nozzles do clog a bit easily and they are not all suitable for use with fabric.
Fabric glue buying guide: Everything you need to know
While it is tempting to jump right in at the deep end and purchase the first fabric glue you come across, it is important to have a think about what features you want your glue to have first. In this next section, we take a look at what to think about before buying fabric glue and what qualities you should look out for in order to find the perfect fabric glue for you.
The first thing to think about is what you want to use fabric glue for. If you’re planning on using fabric glue to assist with sewing then you will want a temporary plastic glue, this will allow you to temporarily attach two pieces of fabric together to allow you to sew more accurately. Temporary fabric glue is used for basting, as a substitute for pins, patching, and even putting in a temporary hem.
A permanent fabric glue will be necessary if you are using fabric glue as an alternative to sewing. It may be that you want to repair an item of clothing but don’t want to get the sewing machine out, or you are planning a craft project that requires bonding fabrics together or you want to glue fabric to other materials. Another use for permanent fabric glue is for attaching embellishments or accessories to fabric such as jewels or sequins to add a little sparkle to an item of clothing – for this purpose, you will need permanent fabric glue.
#2 Strength of the Glue
As well as there being permanent and temporary fabric glue, these glues also have different strength levels. The product description will tell you the strength of the glue and whether it constitutes a ‘super glue’ or not. If you are going to be using fabric glue to create or repair an item of clothing, for example, this will require a very strong fabric glue as such an item is subject to wear and tear as well as having to withstand being washed regularly. Whereas, if you are going to be creating a decorative item out of your fabric you won’t need such a strong glue as it won’t be subject to the same regular use. Equally, for temporary fabric glues, these will also have different strength levels so be sure to check this out before purchasing.
#3 Drying Speed
Another factor to consider before purchasing fabric glue is the drying speed. There are some fabric glues that are quick-drying, this is a good option if you are wanting to conduct a speedy repair to a torn shirt or you are working on a craft project where you don’t want to be waiting for ages for the glue to dry before moving on. A glue that dries quickly is a good choice if you’re looking for speed over precision and don’t want to have to clamp something in place for ages to get it to stick.
Alternatively, for projects that require greater precision a slow drying fabric glue would be a better option. If you are planning on using fabric glue to assist your sewing projects then a slow drying glue will allow you to reposition pieces as you decide the perfect fit of a pocket or other attachment. Have a look at the product description to see whether the fabric glue is fast or slow drying to make sure you’re purchasing the perfect product for your needs.
#4 Quality after drying
Something that often catches users of fabric glue out is the appearance of the glue when it has dried. This is an important factor to consider, especially if you are planning on using fabric glue to create an item with a quality finish. Some fabric glues will change to a white color after they have dried, which can look messy and ruin the appearance of your item.
It is best to go for a fabric glue that dries clear, as even if you are going to be sewing over the glue it can still be visible depending on what fabric you are using. Also, be wary of how likely the glue is to discolor over time, cheaper fabric glues may go yellow over time so seek reassurance from the project you purchase that it is a non-yellowing adhesive.
Another thing to check out on a fabric glues credentials is how flexible the glue is once it has dried. If you are using the fabric glue to repair or create pieces of clothing then you want the glue to remain flexible even after drying so that the garments are comfortable to wear and aren’t stiff. There are some fabric glues that harden after drying which is definitely something you want to avoid if you’re looking for flexibility. Generally, the better the quality of the fabric glue the less likely it is to harden once it dries.
Check to see if the fabric glue is machine washable if you’re planning to use it on items that need to be washed. In order to remain effective, a fabric glue needs to be water-resistant when used for clothing items. This is less important if your craft projects are items that do not need to be washed.
#6 Environmentally Friendly
It is important to be mindful of the substances that have been used to make the fabric glue, not only to ensure the glue is environmentally friendly but also so that you are not exposing yourself to toxic ingredients. The ingredients list on the back of the fabric glue (or the product description if shopping online) should state whether or not the glue contains toxic substances. Ideally, opt for a non-toxic fabric glue as this is both better for the environment and is safer to use around children and you will be also protecting yourself from harmful chemicals.
The price of the fabric glue is clearly an important factor in terms of determining the quality of the glue. As mentioned in this buying guide, a cheap fabric glue could result in an ugly white or yellow residue remaining on your fabric after the glue has dried, and it can also make fabric items rigid and stiff after drying.
A good fabric glue doesn’t need to break the bank, but spending that bit extra is well worth it to ensure that your finished product is of a superior quality. There is nothing worse than spending hours on a craft project only to find that your fabric glue has discolored your fabric or that it is not an effective adhesive.
Uses of Fabric Glue
So, you’ve bought your fabric glue now it’s time to put it to the test! There are plenty of uses for fabric glue and it is also easy to use, requiring little skill to get it right. Here are some ideas of the types of things you can use your fabric glue for:
#1 Goodbye Pins
Pins are an incredibly fiddly item to deal with when sewing and can be very frustrating to use. Especially as we get older, pins become harder and harder to use. Fortunately, temporary fabric glue is a good alternative and can secure pieces in place while you sew them. In addition to being less fiddly, using fabric glue instead of pins means you avoid accidentally sewing over a pin with your sewing machine and removes the task of removing the pins as you go along.
#2 Patching Up
Repairing worn clothes has never been easier with fabric glue. If you have a tear or a hole in your favorite item then simply patch it up using fabric glue. This is so much quicker and easier than using a sewing machine and also highly effective as long as you use the correct type of fabric glue.
Basting is a temporary stitch which holds two pieces of fabric in place before the permanent stitch is sewn. This step in the sewing process can be removed with the use of fabric glue, which can secure the two pieces of fabric temporarily ready for when you sew your permanent stitch. Once you have sewn the permanent stitch the temporary fabric glue can be washed away. Many sewers are realizing the time-saving benefits of using fabric glue over basting and pins.
If you have always wanted to enhance fabrics with small decorations such as jewelry, sequins or beads then fabric glue can secure these in place easily. Rather than painstakingly sewing these onto a garment they can simply be secured in place with permanent fabric glue.
#5 Craft Projects
There are no end of craft projects that can be completed with some fabric glue in your craft box. Whether you want to glue fabric to wood, leather, plastic, paper, or cardboard you can do so if you buy the right fabric glue. From masks to cushion covers, costumes to space rockets there are so many projects you can undertake with fabric glue and it is a great choice if you want something interesting to do with your kids.
How to use fabric glue
Before using your fabric glue it is always a good idea to test it on the fabric you are using before applying it to the item you are making. This means that you can check if there will be any adverse reaction between the fabric and the glue before potentially destroying your project.
It is important to make sure that the fabric you are bonding together is clean before applying the adhesive.
The next step is to apply the fabric glue evenly across the area you want to stick. It is a good idea to smooth the glue out evenly so that there aren’t any clumps of glue that protrudes out of the fabric once it is stuck. You can do this using a piece of cardboard or perhaps a ruler.
#4 Stick together
All that is left to do is attach the pieces together, ensuring that you don’t stretch the pieces of fabric as you do so.
#5 Leave to dry
The length of time you need to wait for the glue to dry depends on the fabric glue you have purchased, the instructions should tell you the drying time.
Hopefully, we have shown you the value of using fabric glue and how this wonderful material can improve your sewing, save you time, and leave projects with a perfect finish. However, it is important to choose the right type of fabric glue for the task you are hoping to achieve – a temporary glue just isn’t going to cut the mustard if you are counting on a glue to make it through a washing machine but will be the perfect choice for a nice bit of quilting or appliqué.
Fabric glue has a multitude of uses and is a great thing to have in the cupboard for crafting and emergency repair jobs. In this post, we’ve given you the low down on how to choose the right fabric glue, how to actually use a fabric glue, and some of our favorite glues for specific tasks and to suit every budget. All that’s left is to pick your project and go out and get started! Happy crafting!