The Sticky Situation: Overview of the Top 5 Multipurpose Craft Glue Sticks


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When surveying the landscape of multipurpose craft glue sticks available today, five emerged as champions based on performance, reliability, and user satisfaction:

1. Elmer’s Washable School Glue Sticks

The OG of glue sticks, Elmer’s has been around for ages and remains a top choice for good reason. Their washable school glue sticks are affordably priced and can readily tackle a variety of materials including paper, cardboard, felt, lace, wood, and fabrics. The twist-up jumbo size and smaller squeeze glue sticks are mess-free and easy to dispense. They dry quickly with a strong but temporary hold, making them ideal for school projects. The washable formula adheres well but can be soaked and removed from surfaces and clothing, making Elmer’s a parent and teacher favorite.

2. Scotch Permanent Glue Sticks

Scotch brings their reputation for reliable adhesives to the world of craft glue sticks. The Scotch Permanent Glue Sticks are designed for permanently bonding porous and non-porous materials. Available in small 0.21oz sizes up to jumbo 1.4oz glue sticks, Scotch offers both push-up and twist dispenser types depending on preference. They adhere strongly to paper, cardboard, felt, fabric, wood, plastic, metal and more. The permanent bond is waterproof and dries quickly. Scotch glue sticks are acid-free, photo safe, non-toxic and ideal for arts, crafts, scrapbooks, and home fixes.

3. Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue Sticks

Aleene’s Tacky Glue Sticks live up to their name in the best way. With an extra sticky formula that dries flexible and waterproof, these versatile glue sticks can adhere just about anything. The acidic formula is archival safe for scrapbooking and won’t bleed through paper. Aleene’s glue sticks work on porous and non-porous materials, including fabric, and most surfaces except for vinyl and glazed surfaces. With mess-free twist dispensers, Aleene’s Tacky Glue Sticks offer a premium quality adhesive perfect for crafting and creative projects.

4. Gorilla Clear Glue Sticks

You can always count on Gorilla Glue for serious bonding power. Gorilla brings their incredible adhesion abilities to glue sticks with the Clear Repositionable Glue Sticks. These heavy duty glue sticks provide a crystal clear, flexible, photo safe bond. The repositionable formula allows you to adjust materials if needed shortly after application. Gorilla’s glue sticks work on paper, cardstock, wood, plastic, metal, ceramic, and more. The small twist-up size makes application precise. Gorilla glue sticks are ideal for scrapbooking, general crafting, and projects requiring flexibility after drying.

5. Loctite Fun-Tak Mounting Putty Glue Sticks

For removable adhesion, Loctite’s Fun-Tak Mounting Putty is a clever glue stick solution. This re-usable putty can attach posters, artwork, calendars, and photos to surfaces without damage or sticky residue. TheFun-Tak putty sticks securely but removes cleanly. It won’t dry out or harden either. The acid-free formula is safe for photos and documents. Fun-Tak comes in small glue stick sizes up to jumbo rolls for bigger projects. It’s the perfect temporary glue stick for mounting items without nails, tacks or tape.

As you can see, there are excellent options when it comes to versatile craft glue sticks. To determine the right one for your needs, let’s go over some key factors to consider when selecting an adhesive.

Stick With It: Choosing the Best Craft Glue Stick for Your Project

Glue sticks may appear similar on the surface, but they can vary widely in their formulas, adhesion properties, and ideal usage. When picking the right craft glue stick for a project or material, here are the key factors to evaluate:

  • Flexibility – Can the glue stick bond both porous and non-porous items? The more materials a glue stick can adhere the better.
  • Adhesion Strength – How strong is the actual bond and how quickly does it dry/set? For heavy materials, you need an extra sticky formula that sets quickly. For lighter items, low tack glues are preferable.
  • Acid-Free – Acid-free glue won’t damage photos and book pages over time. Essential for archival crafts and scrapbooking.
  • Washable Formula – Great for materials that may encounter moisture or need residue removal. Also helpful for use on fabric or clothes.
  • Dispenser Style – Do you want a push-up applicator or twist dispenser? This is purely personal preference but can affect control.
  • Size Options – Craft glue sticks come in different lengths and diameters. Make sure to get a size appropriate for your task.
  • Value – Compare cost per ounce or gram to find the best deal. Bulk jumbo glue sticks offer economy for big projects.

Now let’s explore which glue sticks are suitable for common crafting situations:

Best Glue Sticks for Paper Crafts

For all types of paper crafts like origami, cards, decoupage, envelopes, and paper mache, you want a glue stick that dries clear, flexible, and acid-free. Elmer’s, Scotch, Gorilla, and Aleene’s glue sticks are all great options for paper materials.

Best Glue Sticks for Scrapbooking

Acid-free and photo-safe formulas are a must for scrapbook preservation. Scotch, Gorilla, and Aleene’s permanent glues won’t damage photos or bleed over time. For bonus repositioning ability, try Fun-Tak removable putty sticks.

Best Glue Sticks for Fabrics and Textiles

For adhering fabrics and textiles, a washable and flexible glue stick is ideal. Elmer’s and Aleene’s work well on delicate materials like lace and felt without stiffening.

Best Glue Sticks for Arts and Crafts

For versatility across all kinds of arts, crafts, and hobbies, Elmer’s, Scotch, and Aleene’s are all excellent multipurpose glue sticks that can tackle papers, cardboard, wood, plastic, and more.

Best Glue Sticks for Minor Home/Craft Repairs

For minor fixes and making repairs around the home and workshop, strong holding Scotch and Gorilla permanent glue sticks are your best bet. They can tackle materials like plastic, metal, ceramic, and more.

So evaluate your particular project and its specialized needs. Then you can confidently choose a multipurpose craft glue stick that will get the job done. Next, let’s peel back the label further and answer some common questions about these indispensable adhesive tools.

Glue Stick Stuck on You: FAQs Answered

Here I’ll tackle some frequently asked questions about using and choosing craft glue sticks:

How do you properly store glue sticks to increase longevity?

To maintain freshness and prevent drying out, ensure the glue stick cap is fully twisted down when not in use. Store upright in a cool, dry location away from direct sun. Refrigeration can prolong shelf life for over a year.

Is it safe to use washable glue sticks on photos and scrapbook materials?

Yes, as long as the formula is acid-free and designated photo safe like Elmer’s. Avoid common school glue due to acids that may damage images and paper over time.

What tips help maximize adhesion when gluing materials together?

  • Ensure all surfaces are clean and dry first
  • Apply even pressure while gluing for best contact
  • Let bond fully cure for maximum hold strength
  • Use appropriate glue stick for the materials involved
  • Hold pieces together firmly as glue sets

How can you remove excess dried glue?

Carefully scrape away dried glue residue with a flat edge like a plastic card. Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer can also dissolve glue. For bigger messes, try soaking and scrubbing with warm soapy water.

Are craft glue sticks toxic? Are they safe for kids?

Most major brands use non-toxic formulas safe for kids over 3 years old with adult supervision. Always check labels and monitor use. Washable glues are safest if consumed.

Can you reuse an old glue stick that has dried out?

Sometimes! Microwave 10-15 seconds to soften. Stir and smooth out consistency. Or combine with a new glue stick in a melted “glue soup” – stir well before use.

What materials do craft glue sticks NOT adhere well to?

  • Vinyl
  • Rubber
  • Glazed ceramics/glass
  • Polypropylene plastic
  • Silicone
  • Powdery or oily surfaces

How do twist vs push-up glue stick dispensers differ?

Twist glue sticks allow better viscous flow control and precision. Push-up types are more hands-free. Both work great – just personal preference!

Do you need a craft glue gun if you have glue sticks?

Nope! Glue sticks are complete adhesives as-is. A glue gun melts the glue for spreading – unnecessary for most craft sticks uses.

What are the best surfaces to apply glue sticks to?

Porous surfaces allow absorption for stronger bonding. Cardstock, paper, wood, and fabric take glue well. Smooth plastics and metals benefit from light sanding first.

How long does it take most craft glue sticks to dry?

Drying time is generally 60 seconds to 5 minutes. Permanent glues dry fastest. Allow extra drying time when gluing thicker or heavier items together.

What’s the difference between craft glue sticks and regular school glue sticks?

School glue is very temporary and water soluble. Craft glues are more versatile and made to handle diverse materials and last longer.

Sticking with It: Using Glue Sticks for Common Projects

Now that we’ve covered the basics of craft glue stick selection and use, let’s get into specifics on how to use them properly for common projects:


Collages involve adhering many pieces of paper and images. For this, washable glues like Elmer’s work well and allow repositioning if needed. Apply glue in thin even coats, press pieces gently to flatten, and wipe away excess that squeezes out.


For long-term scrapbook preservation, use an acid-free, archival formula like Aleene’s Tacky glue sticks. Run the glue stick in smooth straight lines across the back of photos, mementos and paper. Affix gently but firmly and allow several minutes to fully set.

Paper Crafts

Delicate paper projects call for easy-spreading, flexible glue. Scotch and Elmer’s Washable glues allow paper to be folded or shaped without cracking or creasing. Apply sparingly along edges and seams for origami, greeting cards, book binding, decoupage and more.

Arts and Crafts

For versatility across all kinds of arts, crafts, and hobbies, Elmer’s, Scotch, and Aleene’s are all excellent multipurpose glue sticks that can tackle papers, cardboard, wood, plastic, felt and more. Allow to fully dry/cure before handling projects.

Minor Home/Craft Repairs

For minor fixes and repairs, strong permanent glues like Gorilla or Scotch work well on materials like plastic, ceramic, metal and more. Roughen smooth surfaces first for better adhesion and let bond fully cure for at least 24 hours.

Fabric and Textile Crafting

When gluing fabric or textiles, flexible washable glues are best to allow movement and laundering. Elmer’s and Aleene’s Tacky run well along fabric edges without bleeding or stiffening. Allow several hours drying time, then heat-seal bonds with an iron.

The key is applying the right glue stick properly to the particular craft or repair job at hand. Following these tips will ensure your materials stay fully stuck together and allow you to complete projects with confidence.

Time to Get Glueing!

I don’t know about you, but after gathering all this knowledge, I’m feeling eager to break out the craft supplies! With the amazing multipurpose glue sticks available today, the possibilities are endless for creative and crafty projects.

The top takeaways to remember when selecting your adhesive arsenal:

  • Evaluate your materials and project needs – paper, fabric, photos? Permanent or temporary?
  • Choose the best glue stick formula for flexibility, strength, and safety.
  • Apply evenly and smoothly for maximum contact and adhesion.
  • Allow proper drying/curing time before handling finished pieces.

Equipped with versatile glue sticks like Elmer’s, Scotch, Aleene’s, Gorilla, and Loctite Fun-Tak, you can diy to your heart’s content. Get out there and get sticking! I can’t wait to see what amazing creations you come up with.

If you have any other glue stick tips or tricks, share in the comments below. Let’s get a creative conversation going and master the art of sticktoitiveness together!

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