Quilling with Adelina: The ABC of quilling glue


Quilling with Adelina is a series about the art of quilling. In this series Adelina will write about a variety of topics, from the basics to quilling to pro tips!

Glue makes your quilling coils stay together. As I’ve shown you in a previous article, the scroll is the only shape that doesn’t require glue. For everything else, you need an adhesive and the better its quality, the easier and longer lasting your work will be.

Just like with the quilling paper, pretty much any kind of glue will work. But if quilling is more than a passion for you – or perhaps you intend to make a business out of it – finding a product that you love, easy to work with and rather inexpensive should be a priority. For that, you need to test different glues and see what works best for you.

So far, I have worked with polystyrene glue, several brands of white glue and some transparent glue with ready-to-use precision applicators. Here’s what I found out about them:

Polystyrene glue dries quickly and it easily sticks paper strips together – if you use a needle tip applicator you should be fine with it. But it is also kind of tacky, even after it dries out, your fingers will become sticky and the glue bottle’s tip will get plugged often;

White glue is one of the most common options. It contains lots of water, so it has a very low toxicity and it cleans up easily. It is perfect for porous and lightweight materials like the quilling paper and you will often find it labeled as PVA, which stands for polyvinyl acetate. The problem with this one, however, is that it dries slowly and since it is based on water, it isn’t… water resistant.

If you look for ready-to-use precision applicators, you’ll see that they come in bottles with precision tips, which spare you from the effort of transferring glue from one recipient to another. You can try the individual tubes from Elmer’s Craft Bond or the ZIG 2-Way Glue Pen. The last one is available on white and blue, dries clear and it literally allows you to write with glue. Therefore, you can use it on detail work incredibly easy.

Things to keep in mind

There are hundreds of different glues on the market and not all of them are created equal. From one manufacturer to another and from one category to another, variations may occur in terms of durability when exposed to different environments; recommended use and handling; toxicity and so on.

Even the best glues can gradually have poor performances if you do not use and store them properly. Therefore, you should always clean and cap the container the moment you stop using it if you want to preserve its quality and shelf life.

When you are trying a new product, test it on some coils that aren’t very important to you, not on your hard work. In this way, you will notice how the new glue appears on paper, how well it adheres to paper and how strong it bonds the paper strips.

Tips to use quilling glue at ease

As I already mentioned, a ready-to-use precision applicator could come in handy because it should help you dose the right amounts of glue, with every new application. I thought that buying an individual precision applicator will be the same but I was wrong because:

  • I had to spend time transferring glue from its bottle to the new bottle with precision applicator;
  • I wasn’t using it that often, so the applicator clogged a lot;
  • Moreover, it had a metal tip and since I was using water based white glue, with a needle to keep the applicator closed, the tip used to rust frequently.

Long story short, I hated these applicators so I got back to the most traditional way of applying glue: I was pouring a dollop of glue on a flat surface (not the desk! :P), even on a tiny plastic bag and use a toothpick or a very thin paint brush to apply it when necessary.

If you find it easier, you can try pouring some glue in a plastic bottle cap, even dilute it with a few drops of water, when necessary, and use the same toothpick or brush to spread it on paper.

Of course, if you have the money, you can always try something like the ZIG 2-Way Glue Pen, which comes in very small bottles, packages of 3, and apply them with your eyes closed!

Written By

Adelina is a writer with a huge passion for quilling.

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