Buying Guide for Fabric Glue
Why buy fabric glue?
If you are looking to become a casual or serious DIYer, you should consider adding fabric glue to your collection of craft supplies. It’s a handy item for different arts and crafts projects; despite the name, fabric glue can be used on a wide variety of materials. But even if you’re not particularly crafty or artistic, it’s still worth your while to invest in a tube or two to keep at hand. Fabric glue is an easier alternative to sewing up rips and tears in clothing or re-attaching buttons– especially if you have arthritis or otherwise limited mobility in your hands, don’t have sewing experience, or don’t have time to thread a needle and stitch. Not to mention that fabric glue will be more effective on thicker fabrics like leather and denim or materials like vinyl and plastic than a needle and thread.
What should you look for in fabric glue?
- Consistency: You’ll also want to make sure your glue is durable and flexible. Durability is important because you’ll enjoy the fabric glue to help maintain the long-term integrity of your project or clothing. In contrast, flexibility helps to ensure that your glued materials don’t come apart with movement. If possible, look for a fabric glue that dries completely clear too. You’ll want to avoid glues that dry with a yellow- or milky-white finish, as they can ruin the overall look of your project.
- Type: Most common types are liquid glues, spray glues, glue tape, and glue sticks. Liquid glues come in tubes with fine dispensing tips and are thus applied with pinpoint accuracy. They take a long time to apply to large swaths of fabric and dry slowly but are very strong, long-lasting, unobtrusive, and excellent for small detail work like appliques or re-attaching buttons. Spray fabric glues are handy for large surface areas but aren’t as strong and may require re-spraying after a few washes. Fabric glue tape is incredibly simple, ideal for seams and straight edges, and can easily be taken off and reapplied if you mess up your project, but it’s not nearly as durable. Fabric glue sticks are great for their portability and small or medium-sized areas; they are convenient if you need a quick fix, but their adhesive sticking power won’t be quite as strong.
- Drying Time: Quick-drying fabric glues can be completely dry within two or three minutes, while others may take 24 hours. Quick-drying fabric glues tend to be flexible but less durable and long-lasting, so they’re ideal for quick, on-the-go fixes. If you want something more permanent and you have the time to spare, opt for a fabric glue that takes hours to a full day to completely dry. No matter how strong the glue might be, wait a full 24 hours before washing the glued textile, even if the glue is listed as water-resistant.
Are there any other factors worth considering in fabric glue?
If you are trying to make a permanent repair or project, look for fabric glues that are water and chemical-resistant. Water-resistant glues are generally stronger, but they can hold up to multiple washings and regular contact with water. Chemical resistance will also add to a long-term glue’s strength and durability. However, if you only want to glue fabric temporarily, a water-soluble glue that can be easily removed with a little bit of soap and water will be a better choice. Also, while most fabric glues will come in a single bottle or tube, some higher quantity sets or kits offer bonus accessories like different sized bottle tips for different applications, application sticks, or applicator brushes. Be sure to consider the quantity of the fabric glue, too, usually measured in ounces. You don’t want to buy a small two-ounce bottle only to run out of glue mid-crafting.
Our Picks for the Best Fabric Glue
Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive
This durable fabric glue makes repairing denim, leather, and other tough fabrics seem like a piece of cake.
Pros: This tough yet flexible fabric glue will form a permanent, long-lasting bond to denim, leather, canvas, and other vital materials. Some fabric glues can take forever to fully dry, but this adhesive dries and forms a permanent bond ready to use within three minutes. It’s also waterproof and UV-resistant, and unlike with most fabric glues, you can wash the glued item within 15 minutes of application. No heat or ironing is required to seal the glue either permanently. It’s available in several different sized bottles and quantities, so it’s easy to buy the right amount of fabric glue for your own needs.
Cons: The only real downside to this particular fabric glue is that it doesn’t dry clear. Depending on the fabric’s color, it may appear white, yellow, or beige once fully dry.
Bottom Line: Repairing tough materials requires a solution that matches the durability of the surface you are working on. This is the perfect no-nonsense solution for repairing your favorite denim or leather but is equally useful on thinner, more delicate fabrics like silk or suede.
Dritz Fabric Glue Stick
This fabric glue stick is easy to slip into your purse or pocket for quick, no-sew repairs anytime, anywhere.
Pros: When it comes to more delicate embroidery and embellishments on textile projects, a big, heavy adhesive isn’t your best choice—a fabric glue stick like this one is a much better bet. It’s suitable for even the most dainty appliques and lace. Many consumers found it useful for re-attaching zippers and quilting projects as well. Due to its compact size and glue stick form, this fabric glue is also easy to slip into your pocket or purse to have it on hand for emergency repairs in a pinch. It’s also incredibly easy to use and reduces the risk of applying too much glue; there is no need to worry about squeezing the bottle too hard only to spurt glue everywhere. If you prefer a pen-style model for even more precise application, this fabric glue is also available in pen form.
Cons: This fabric glue is water-soluble rather than entirely waterproof, so it will not hold up to multiple trips in the washing machine. Also, the smaller size means that it doesn’t provide a ton of glue.
Bottom Line: This fabric glue is ideal for bonding delicate materials you need for your next DIY project. It is the perfect no-stress solution for any projects that require hemming or embellishing and quick repairs on the go.
Aleene's Tacky Pack Fabric Glue
This wide assortment of fabric glues can be used on a wide variety of surfaces to make your next DIY project easier.
Pros: Rather than a single bottle of fabric glue, you’ll receive a pack of five 0.66-ounce fabric glues, each with a slightly different purpose. One is more flexible for stretchy fabrics; one is ideal for applying rhinestones and sequins, and so forth. Thus you get more versatility and bang for your buck with this kit. Each bottle comes with individual instructions to ensure you’ll know how to properly and most effectively use each type of glue. Each type should dry clear on your cloth as well. If this particular kit isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, there are two alternate assortments of these fabric glues available for purchase.
Cons: These aren’t the best glues for quick fixes on the go since most of them take at least a few hours to dry, often longer. They also aren’t the most powerful of adhesives by liquid glue standards.
Bottom Line: Whether you’re embellishing stretchy fabrics, stiff heavy-duty fabrics, or more intricate detail work, this fabric glue set was designed to cover all of your bases. This makes it an invaluable addition to any crafting or home DIY kit.
Sewline Fabric Glue Pens
This water-soluble fabric glue in this compact pen dries completely clear, making it the perfect alternative to sewing.
Pros: This fabric glue pen will be right up your alley if you want all the portability and convenience of a fabric glue stick with extra precision. It’s extremely slim and compact for high portability; it should fit right in your purse or pocket, even in some wallets. The needlenose point also ensures it’s excellent for extremely small, detailed projects and applications that require precision, such as small appliques or glitter or rhinestones. This fabric glue will work on most fabrics and dries clear, so you shouldn’t worry about any unseemly residue. Two refills come included with your purchase, so you won’t have to buy an entirely new pen once the glue runs out.
Cons: As is often the case with fabric glue sticks and pens, the glue is water-soluble rather than completely waterproof. It’s also slightly more expensive.
Bottom Line: We’ve all dealt with rips, tears, and holes in our clothes at inopportune moments. This slender, compact fabric glue pen allows you to take care of these unfortunate rips on the go.
Plextone Quick-Dry Sew Glue
This fabric glue not only works well with all fabrics but it dries within a minute and can hold up to multiple washings.
Pros: The extreme speed with which this fabric glue dries sets it apart from all the rest; once applied, it will be dry after only one minute. Unlike most quick-drying fabric glues, this one is strong enough to bond most materials you need for your next DIY project: cotton, denim, glitter sequins, felt, flannel, fleece, and more. It holds up to high temperatures and provides a flexible, permanent bond that’ll last through every wash. This fabric glue dries completely clear, making it a great alternative to sewing as it allows you to work with various surfaces. The two included auxiliary tools also allow for more precise work. You receive two ounces of fabric glue rather than the usual half-ounce or so bottles, with an even larger option (six ounces) available.
Cons: Even though this fabric glue dries clear, you may find that it still leaves a stain behind on textiles if you use too much. Be very thorough about putting the cap back on when not in use too—it dries out and becomes unusable quickly.
Bottom Line: This fabric glue is a great no-sew alternative for DIY projects, from adding hems, applying patches, attaching zippers, and plenty of other household or craft uses.
While a useful skill, sewing takes time to learn, practice, and master. If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn, a bottle of the right fabric glue can be a lifesaver when repairing clothes to make them good as new. You never know what other uses you’ll find for the glue, crafting or otherwise.