Sewing is a skill that takes time, patience, and dedication to master. When you’re in a pinch and a thread and needle are not an option, fabric glue is an easy solution. Fabric glue is an adhesive alternative to sewing that laminates fabrics together by creating a temporary or permanent bond. It’s a great option if you don’t like sewing or if you need to fix something quickly. This guide rounds up shopping advice and recommendations for some of the best fabric glue options on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Secure Stitch Liquid Sewing Solution Kit
- BEST PERMANENT: Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive
- BEST TEMPORARY: Roxanne Glue Baste It
- BEST SPRAY: Odif USA 505 Temporary Fabric Adhesive
- BEST WATERPROOF: Aleene’s Super Fabric Adhesive Platinum Bond
- BEST FOR VELVET: Beacon Adhesives Gem Tac Permanent Adhesive
- BEST FOR TULLE: Gorilla Waterproof Fabric Glue
- BEST FOR LEATHER: Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement
Types of Fabric Glue
Not all fabric glues are created equal. There are multiple types of adhesive to browse through, and each offers specific benefits that work for some kinds of projects but perhaps not others. Read on to learn more about these adhesives and discover which fabric glue type best suits your crafting and repairing needs.
Before you go shopping for a fabric glue, the first thing you need to decide is if you want one that’s permanent or temporary.
Permanent adhesives offer stronger bonds meant to last a long time because they’re insoluble after they dry. These glues won’t even come off the fabric after it is washed. This type of fabric glue is great for garment repairs and other projects you want to remain durable.
Temporary adhesives are water soluble, which means the fabric glue will come off the fabric when it comes into contact with water. Fabrics that are treated with these glues are not machine washable because washing them will cause the bond to come apart. You can also pull apart the bond of temporary glue more easily before it dries.
This kind of fabric glue is great for projects that require a lot of fabric repositioning, like quilting.
Heat set adhesive refers to glues that bond in certain warmer temperatures and not in others. The adhesive chemicals activate at a specific temperature and form a strong bond that crystallizes when the heat is removed, which increases its strength.
One of the benefits of heat-set fabric glues is that they’re not tacky, and the adhesive will not stick to itself, making it easier to work with. The downside is that it doesn’t dry on its own.
Cool-set fabric glue is becoming more popular than heat-set glue because it’s more convenient to use. There’s no heat required. All you have to do is apply it and allow it to dry on its own.
The downside is the amount of time it takes to dry can be considerable, depending on the product. Some take a few minutes, and others can take up to 24 hours. Heat-set glue, on the other hand, dries pretty quickly once heat is applied.
Fabric glue that comes in an aerosol spray can is referred to as a spray adhesive. While it’s the easiest kind of glue to use, it can be harder to control the amount of adhesive that’s released. This kind of glue is best suited to larger fabric projects rather than smaller, more detailed ones. Spray adhesive should be used in a well-ventilated room to protect yourself from inhaling it.
Non-spray adhesives are the most common types of fabric glues. Instead of an aerosol can, they are typically packaged in tiny tubes or plastic bottles that allow you to control the amount of glue that’s released. Some products even come with a customizable tip to achieve the desired amount of glue flow.
To use non-spray adhesives, all you have to do is squeeze the glue out of the designated spout.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Fabric Glue
By now you may have narrowed down which type of fabric glue you’ll purchase, but there are still other factors to consider. Drying time, water resistance, and strength are other things to think about as you determine the best fabric glue for your projects. Read on to learn what else you need to consider before buying a new fabric glue.
The glue type refers to whether or not the adhesive is permanent or temporary.
- Temporary adhesives are water soluble and will become unstuck when they get wet. These glues are best used for single-use projects or for projects that require a lot of repositioning, such as quilts or hemming garments.
- Permanent adhesives are not water soluble and will remain bonded when wet. Some permanent fabric glues are even machine washable. They are most appropriate for projects that require durability, like garment repairs and costumes. Both types of glues can work on a variety of materials and fabrics.
Fabric glues can vary in drying time depending on the type of glue and the material being glued. Drying time can take anywhere from 3 minutes to 24 hours.
A quick-drying adhesive can be used almost instantly, which is great for spur-of-the-moment garment repairs and fixes on the go. Though quick-drying adhesives tend to be more flexible, they’re not as durable as other glues. If you want a strong, long-lasting bond, and you’re not pressed for time, select an adhesive that takes more time to set.
Finally, bear in mind that you usually must wait at least 24 hours before washing a fabric to which glue has been applied. This is true even if the glue is permanent and water resistant. Be sure to read the product’s instructions carefully before washing a glued fabric or getting it wet.
Every fabric glue has a different level of stickiness that affects its overall bond strength. Products with the label “super” or “industrial” usually provide a superior amount of strength, which can be great for projects that are frequently used, washed regularly, and exposed to a lot of wear and tear. Stronger adhesives are also good for materials such as leather, tulle, or silk.
Whether or not their strength is indicated on the packaging, most fabric glues will be durable enough for projects like home decor, costumes, and other projects that see infrequent use.
If you’re going to use an adhesive on a garment that is washed frequently, be sure to choose a fabric glue that is water resistant. This type of glue will last despite frequent contact with water.
Water-resistant glues are usually permanent glues with strong bonds. Do not choose a water-resistant glue if you’re bonding something temporarily and will eventually want it to wash off. A better option for a “wash off” project is temporary glue, which is water soluble, meaning it can be removed with a little soap and water.
A fabric glue that is labeled “water resistant” is usually also machine washable, but it’s always best to check the glue’s label before washing a glued fabric.
Chemically resistant fabric glues are great because they don’t react to chemicals such as petroleum and diesel that can weaken the adhesive’s bond. Consult the glue’s label if you’re repairing a garment or working on a project that will be exposed to these chemicals.
Flexible fabric glues do not stiffen after they are applied to fabric. This is a great quality for projects you’ll be wearing because the more flexible they are, the more comfortable they will be.
When a fabric glue isn’t flexible, it will dry hard and rigid and feel scratchy to wear. Inflexible adhesives are more likely to damage and stain your fabric and set into hard lumps and messy strings of glue. Flexible fabric glues look much cleaner.
Most of today’s fabric glues are labeled as flexible, but confirm this on the label before purchasing. Flexibility may not be necessary for every project, but this quality is especially important in any adhesive you use on a wearable project.
High-quality adhesives work on a wide variety of fabrics and for a range of purposes. For example, some of the products on our list can work on everything from wood to leather to vinyl.
The more versatile a fabric glue is, the more convenient and cost effective it will be. Two good types of glue to have in your craft closet are water-resistant and fast-drying adhesives. Glues that come with multiple tips or customizable tips will be useful in a variety of applications too.
Most fabric glues come in a single bottle, however, some bigger kits come with additional accessories that can make applying adhesive even easier. Those accessories include customizable tips, multiple precision tips, application sticks, and applicator tubes.
Sets of multiple bottles of glue can save you money in the long run if fabric glue is something you regularly use for your work or hobbies. You can keep the extra glue on hand for future use, or keep one bottle in your craft closet and another in your workshop.
Our Top Picks
Once you have identified the type of fabric glue you need and any features that would be beneficial, it’s time to start shopping. Keep reading for our picks for some of the best fabric glues available online.
The Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive has been around for over 80 years. Its nontoxic, acid-free, and water-based formula of natural latex forms a durable, flexible, and permanent bond in three minutes. It’s so durable, in fact, that the newly-glued fabric can be washed in just 15 minutes.
We like that this product is waterproof and UV-resistant, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor fabrics including upholstery, clothing, sporting gear, leather, and home decor. It’s affordably priced and comes in a variety of sizes and packaging options to suit your needs.
The seven-piece Secure Stitch Liquid Sewing Solution Kit equips users to tackle many kinds of fabric repair. It includes two quick-drying, permanent fabric bonding solutions that won’t string or stick to your skin. Each works on different kinds of material: The all-fabric solution is great for denim, cotton, and leather, while the synthetic formula works well on nylon, polyester, and acrylic. Both formulas are washable and flexible.
In addition, the kit comes with a silicone applicator to help you apply the solution, two custom hem measuring clips, and two applicator bottles.
Beacon’s Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive is a professional-grade product that’s popular among fashion designers and costume creators. We like that it doesn’t require heat to create a crystal clear, durable bond that’s acid-free and washable. Plus, its formula is light enough not to soak or stain your material, which is why it’s a great option for those working with lace or leather. It also works on wood, glass, and trims.
Fabri-Tac’s small, 4-ounce application bottle makes it handy to use on hems and last-minute fixes as well as crafting projects with small pieces. It’s reasonably priced, so it makes sense to buy a few at a time and keep one in your toolbox and another in the craft room.
Not every project is meant to last forever, and Roxanne Glue Baste It formula is the perfect temporary adhesive for your temporary fabric bonds. Constructed with a 100 percent water-soluble solution, this glue dries in minutes without feeling stiff and has a firm yet flexible hold.
What’s cool about this product is its unique syringe-style applicator, which allows you to place a drop or two precisely where you want it to go. Glue Baste It is great for quilting and applique projects because you can easily pull apart and reposition fabrics before the glue fully dries. When you want to remove the glue, simply throw the garment in the washing machine.
This temporary glue is affordable and comes in multiple sizes and packaging options.
When you’re working on a delicate quilting project or hemming a dress, you want to leave room for a few do-overs—and that’s exactly what the Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive for Fabric allows you to do. If you know you’ll be repositioning materials, then this temporary adhesive is just what you may need. And, if you’re using it with a sewing machine, you won’t have to worry about it gumming up your needles.
Nontoxic, acid-free, and odorless, this spray is easily removed with dish soap and water, and is environmentally friendly as it doesn’t contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
For crafters who decorate fabric with rhinestones, patches, pom-poms and other embellishments, Aleene’s Original Super Fabric Adhesive may make the perfect crafting companion. This industrial-strength glue can be used to make permanent, machine-washable bonds on leather, vinyl, polyester blends, felt, denim, satin, canvas, and more. It dries clear and quickly and can be washed 72 hours after it is applied.
This adhesive comes with a customizable tip that allows you to control how much glue is applied to a specific project. Just cut the tip at the desired ridge level for minimum to maximum glue flow: Cut toward the top to allow just a thin stripe of glue to come out, or cut toward the bottom of the tip for a thicker glue flow. This super adhesive comes in a 2-ounce tube.
If you work with velvet frequently, stock an adhesive that dries clean and clear such as Beacon Adhesives Gem-Tac Permanent Adhesive. This glue works wonders at bonding velvet fabric as well as gems, laces, trims, pearls, studs, rhinestones, glitter, and even leather, vinyl and wood.
Gem-Tac takes about an hour to dry and 24 hours to cure, but once it does, this quality adhesive will last and last. Not only is its unique formula machine washable, but it gets stronger when exposed to the heat from a clothes dryer. It is sold in 2-ounce bottles.
A lighter fabric like tulle holds up pretty well to most fabric glues on the market, but you need a firmer-strength adhesive to keep embellishments on tulle in place. The Gorilla Waterproof Fabric Glue is a high-strength glue that dries clear and is formulated specifically to bond fabric with hard-to-hold gems and rhinestones, which is just what costume designers who are working with tulle need.
What’s more, this 100 percent waterproof adhesive can be used on felt, denim, canvas, buttons, ribbon, and other fabrics. It’s safe to use in the washer and dryer and remains flexible even after you wash it.
Leather is one of those materials that requires a specific kind of glue. While most fabric adhesives claim to work well on leather, Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement can help give you the ultimate peace of mind.
Crafted with a water-based solution that’s strong and long lasting, this fabric glue creates a permanent bond that dries quickly. It can also be used for cloth, paper, and chipboard projects. The downside of Fiebing’s is that it is not machine washable, but if you’re using it on leather, this isn’t a deal breaker. It’s available in a 4-ounce bottle.
Tips for Using Fabric Glue
In addition to having great fabric scissors and fabric paint, high-quality fabric glue should be a staple in your crafting toolbox. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or using adhesive for the first time, below are some tips for using fabric glue:
- Make sure the fabric is clean and fully dry before you apply adhesive to it.
- Allow the glue to sit on the fabric for a few seconds before you attach anything to it.
- If you apply too much glue, use a little bit of acetone to remove it.
- If you need to remove dried glue, try a paint scraper.
- One of the disadvantages of using fabric glues is that you can expose yourself to harmful chemicals. Therefore, you should always use adhesive in a well-ventilated room and clean up immediately after you’ve used it.
FAQs About Your New Fabric Glue
Now that you’ve seen what it takes to choose and properly use the best fabric glue, it’s time to answer any remaining questions you might have about how to choose the best adhesive. Below is more valuable information about liquid sewing and how to choose the most high-quality fabric glue for your next project.
Q. Should I use permanent or temporary fabric glue?
It depends on the project.
Q. Is it possible to use glue rather than threads and needles?
It is. Fabric glue can be used as an alternative to sewing.
Q. Can I use superglue as fabric adhesive?
No. Super Glue will come off when it comes into contact with hot water and will not provide a lasting hold.
Q. Can I wash off fabric adhesive?
Yes, but only if it’s a water-soluble, temporary fabric glue.
Q. How much drying time does fabric glue require?
It depends on the brand of glue, but usually between 3 minutes and 24 hours.
Q. Do fabric glues stain clothes?
A high-quality fabric glue that dries clear will not stain your clothes.