Have you ever wondered why plastics have a strong presence in everything from a small toy to an aircraft? Why is it so popular? There could be many reasons for this, but the best feature of plastic, apart from any other practical material, is that it is extremely flexible and long-lasting.
Though plastic is a highly efficient material, gluing it to other materials or to itself is not always without complications. Many adhesives are made in a way that may cause the plastic to melt.
Plastics are manufactured for a variety of applications, and glues come in a variety of behaviors. So, it’s a little tricky to find the right glue for your project.
In this guide, we will look up plastic glue. You will find some of the best products that are really applicable without any difficulties.
Let’s go exploring.
Top 3 Products
Here is the list of our top 3 picks for plastic glue. Go through the comparison list and pick the most appropriate glue for your plastic projects.
How Many Types of Plastics are Available?
To know which will be the best fit for your projects, you must know about the plastic varieties first. You will find below six categories of plastics for your day-to-day use:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)
Let’s have a brief introduction with them.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Ever thought about why we hear so much about PVC pipes? Because PVC is super flexible. It is a rigid form of PVC. Other uses of rigid PVC include general bottles, bank cards, covering sheets, and so on. The softer PVC is used for plumbing, flooring, inflatable products, artificial leather, cable insulation, and many more. Kids’ toys are also made of PVC. It is cheaper than leather, rubber, and latex.
- Polypropylene (PP): Polypropylene, or polypropene (PP), is similar to polyethylene but harder and more heat resistant. It is the second most widely produced plastic. PP is a multipurpose type of plastic. It is mostly used in piping systems. PP is used to produce plastic caps, sanitary pads, diapers, and thin plastic products like film capacitors.
- Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): Low-Density Polyethylene is a first-grade polyethylene that is produced in a high-pressure process. The density range of LDPE is 917–930 kg/m3, whereas the density of HDPE ranges from 930 to 970 kg/m3. LDPE is widely used for making plastic storage containers, dispensing and washing bottles, computer plastic components, and laboratory equipment. The plastic bags we use daily for shopping are made of LDPE.
- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): The main difference is that HDPE is heavier than LDPE, as its name says. It is much stronger and harder than LDPE. HDPE is non-transparent and can tolerate temperatures up to 120 C. It is resistant to many solvents, so most of the plastic glues will not be applicable to this. HDPE is used for producing household furniture and heavy outdoor products. You will see plastic furniture, disposable suits, ropes, nets, shopping bags to carry heavy loads, plastic bottles, jerrycans, bigger flexible pipes, boats, banners, snowboards, chairs, and many more day-to-day useful products, all made out of HDPE.
- Acrylic: Acrylate polymers, or acrylic, are transparent, and hence they are used as a replacement for glasses. Acrylic has good elasticity and breakage resistance. It is used to produce wall paint, synthetic fibers, glass, and super glue. The ladies’ nail polish we see is made of acrylic glue. Due to its good transparency, it is used for plastic frames for doors, windows, and glass cabinets. As acrylics are heat and oil-resistant, they are also used in the kitchen to prevent the tiles and paints from getting damaged.
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene-Styrene (ABS): ABS is chemical and abrasion-resistant. It can resist lower temperatures and remain hard and flexible. ABS is heat resistant and fire-retardant. It is widely used for 3-D printing, and it has a long range of uses to produce, including various pipes, musical instruments, Lego, computer casings, and more.
What Glue Works on Plastic?
You will find different types of glue for plastic. There are mainly four types: including superglue (cyanoacrylate), epoxy, model cement, and multipurpose adhesive.
We can briefly discuss them to have a correct idea:
- Super glue: Glues work in a basic pattern; the solvent of the glue vaporizes during drying time, and the bonder fixes two objects. However, superglue works in a slightly different way; when it comes in contact with water, it forms a chemical bond. So it needs water to form a bond, but how does it get water every time to form a bond? Well, every surface has at least a tiny amount of water or moisture that it absorbs from the air. Super glue is an acrylic resin. It forms a strong mesh and as the drying time passes, the glue hardens, and the mesh creates the strongest bond. That is why super glue can join any material. The only drawback is that when the plastic face is smooth, use sandpaper to make the surface a little harsh so that the glue can set. Super glue is not recommended for use with acrylic, as it can discolor or dissolute acrylic plastic products.
- Epoxy: Epoxy is a type of adhesive that has versatile uses. From DIY projects to heavy industrial projects, epoxy performs with reliability. Epoxy works with two elements combined-the resin and the hardener. The two are mixed well, and then you can apply them to the repaired area. These two substances come in the same packet. Epoxy creates the strongest bond. The best part about this glue is that it is flexible and long-lasting and works with any kind of plastic. Epoxies are also water-resistant, which makes them good mates for PVC pipe fittings. Epoxies are expensive, but they work with all types of known laterals. If you have a project that needs to bond plastic with metal or concrete, you must choose epoxies. They have a flexible setting time- you may choose a slow-set or fast-set option.
- Model Cement: Model cement is mainly a toluene-based gel-like element. It can also contain butanone or dichloromethane. When applied to a plastic face, it creates a membrane that strongly joins two objects. The process works in two steps, the chemical dissolves the plastic, and the filler joins the Pisces together. As the application depends on melting, model cement is not suitable to use on any other materials like glass, metal, or wood. So if you have a project that needs plastic to plastic bonding, you can go for it. Model cement is more expensive than other glues.
- Multipurpose Glue: Carpenters glue or PVA glue is multipurpose glue that is effective for general plastic works. This glue is not a suitable option for plastic projects. The reason is PVA glue works better on porous surfaces of wood, paper, or fabrics. But it can not create a strong bond on a non-porous smooth face of plastic or metal. You may also need to clamp as the glue drying and curing time is longer, as the solvent in it takes time to evaporate.
How You Can Select the Right Glue for Plastic Projects?
You have to check two primary kinds of stuff when you are going to select the correct glue for your projects. Those are the final material and the range of the project.
The Target Material
- The final material can be anything, but not all the glues will create a strong bond between it and the plastic.
- Then you need to check the quality of the end material. Some materials will not adjust to plastic, whatever the best glue you use for them. As an example, if you bond plastic with plastic or plastic with MDF, the same glue might not be suitable in both cases.
- Then there may be variations in plastic quality. Again, you might need a different glue for attaching plastic with rubber.
- Why all these differences? because the plastic surface is smooth, non-porous, and non-flexible. In comparison, an MDF has a porous but hard surface. So, you will need a sticky glue that will spread easily to fill the holes in MDF and create a stronger bond with plastic.
- You need some ideas on different kinds of plastic; one glue will not work the same on different plastics. Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE) have smoother and harder faces than Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Polystyrene (PS). Whatever the type of plastic you use, you can sand the surface a little before gluing. The durability of the bond will increase.
Range of the Project
- You can consider a few answers to measure the importance of your project.
- First, if your project is an important one, you must choose branded glue.
- Second, if the materials are of high quality and expensive, the glue must be of top excellence.
- Finally, some glues can stay a long time on the shelf, while some will dry up once the cap is opened. In short, if the project is a special one, you need glue of higher quality, with a special formula.
7 Best Products Review
Now we will check the distinctions of the best seven types of glue based on their specific applications.
1. Best Glue for Fabric to Plastic
Whenever you want glue that fits on any findable material, Loctite is always there as a strong competitor. Loctite Superglue for plastic has a huge reputation among DIY and professional users. It is applicable to a long range of materials, including metal, wood, rubber, leather, paper, ceramic, and plastic.
But what about plastic to fabric? Well, it strongly bonds fabric to plastic, and also fixes any plastic repair with guarantees. It looks like a two-part epoxy, but it is a super glue that needs no mixing. Apply the activator on both pieces that need to be joined; after 60 seconds, apply the bonder on anyone surface and hold for 30 seconds. And that’s it; you will not need to hold it for a long time. It develops tremendous strength with just one drop.
While the glue dries, it becomes clear; so do not hesitate to use it on a transparent plastic surface. The producer says it can resist freezing temperatures where most the plastic glues cannot. Most glues do not create solid bonds on polypropylene and polyethylene, but the unique formula of Loctite glue has solved this. The activator primes the hard-to-bond surface so that the bonder can attach the materials. The glue works surprisingly well on PVC, Teflon, plexiglass, polycarbonate, and polystyrene.
The only drawback of Loctite plastic bonder glue is that this glue contains Ethyl Cyanoacrylate and heptane. This may cause health issues if wrongly used. Another issue is that the material parts are not repositionable as the glue dries up instantly. You will find it hard to remove if the glue sticks in your fingers. And make sure you seal the mouth tightly, or else you may cut the container open.
2. Best Glue for Plastic to Plastic
When you want a professional-grade glue that works on plastic, go for the Testor Cement Glue Value Pack. It is a toluene-based (acrylic-base) glue and is great to use to bond plastics together. Cement glue becomes brittle after curing, and it is suggested that you not use it with hard and moving objects. This fast-drying cement is great for joining ABS plastic and polystyrene.
It is a super usable cement adhesive for plastic models. It runs over the surface; hence the producer recommends applying a small amount that is enough for a strong bond. You will need a toothpick to apply sparingly. Furthermore, it will soften and distort the plastic surfaces. As per user reviews on Amazon, people’s experiences with the drying time are fast, but it takes 24 hours to cure.
It has a strong odor that you may find objectionable, but the end result of the strong bond will make you happy.
3. Best Glue for Rubber to Plastic
You have a project that has plastic that you need to fix with rubber. And you are worried about which glue you should choose? Because rubber is a flexible, soft material, it needs a special formula paste to bind it with plastic. Gorilla super gel is surely the best cure for your concern.
Gorilla, one of the reliable names, brings their super gel, which is a versatile adhesive equally applicable on rubber and plastic. The super-efficient glue is affordable, you just drop one drop per square inch, and the magic bond is done.
Some adhesives are great, but they are thin and run over the area where you don’t need to bond. For a vertical surface, they are definitely not useful. Gorilla glue is one of the few types of glue that stays fixed even on a vertical plastic door.
However, Gorilla does not recommend using it with polyethylene or polypropylene plastic.
To have the strongest bond, clean the surface, spread over a small amount, and press two parts together for 10–45 seconds. Then let them cure for 24 hours.
You need to be careful while using superglue as it can bond your skin instantly. They may produce an allergic erection upon skin contact. In addition, as it contains cyanoacrylate, it may irritate your eyes. Always wear protection glasses and a mask during the application of any glue.
4. Best Glue for Metal to Plastic
You are definitely surprised not to see JB-weld in the list yet. The older brand has an excellent and efficient glue that is compatible with both metal and plastic. For any outdoor projects, you can use it to affix metal to plastic without a second thought.
The best part about the glue is that you can sand and cut it to give a smooth finish to the surface. You can even drill through the glue area. But allow the glue to cure for 24 hours.
With a 1:1 mixing ratio, the hardener and the binder have a surprisingly high tensile strength of 5020 PSI. The adhesive turns a dark grey color after full curing.
As its name suggests, the MarineWeld adhesive stays strong and durable in submerged conditions as well as performs above the water surface. The brand company says it can tolerate high temperatures up to 288°C.
This is an ideal adhesive for any type of heavy project when you need glue that withstands chemicals, acids, and oil. And kayakers do not go for a second option except this. They can fix the carbon body and engines with the same glue.
Like any other glue, it has some cautions. You have to be careful while using it because it may burn your skin and irritate the eyes. Therefore, use protective gloves and eye protectors.
5. Best Glue for Plastic to Wood
Gorilla, the unbeatable glue brand, has brought another awesome 2 part- epoxy. It is a structural gap filler that bonds uneven surfaces. Accordingly, this is the best adhesive to join wood with plastic.
The 2-part epoxy has an amazingly high tensile strength that can withstand 3000 PSI. The high tension resistance makes it a great choice for heavy outdoor projects, specifically automotive repairs.
The producer supplies it in a syringe package; there are two barrels that store resin and hardener separately. The separation system prevents the epoxy from hardening. You also get a resealable cap, a stir stick, and a mixing tray.
Before applying, scrape the applicable places with hard sandpaper. Scraping will make the surface a little harsher, which will help the adhesive grab. For a good mixture, press both syringes equally to apply the same amount of resin and hardener. Then mix with the stir stick for 20 seconds until the composition is uniform. Apply the mixture to your project after 3 minutes of mixing and allow for 24 hours of curing by clamping. Besides, you can purchase the regular 2 part tubes that are also available.
While having good water resistance, Gorilla epoxy offers so many good features. With 5 minutes set time, they give you enough time to reposition the misplaced pieces.
6. Best Glue for Abs Plastic
Plastruct has brought an adhesive formula to apply to ABS plastic. It is a plastic solvent cement that permanently bonds ABS to butyrate, acrylic, and styrene.
It has an evaporation formula. After you apply it on the surface, it dissolves a thin layer and creates a bond as solid as the plastic itself.
For the best result, hold the parts steadily, apply a few drops, and hold them for 15-20 seconds. It sets fast, within 60 seconds.
7. Best Waterproof Glue for Plastic
We finally reached our last candidate on the list. It’s another great adhesive from Loctite, a specially formulated waterproof glue for plastic. Loctite epoxy is a self-mixing waterproof glue that performs a high tension resistance of 3200 PSI.
The syringe and its long nozzle provide precise application over the corners and edges. It is a gap filler that also works as a laminator. With a setting time of just 5 minutes, it creates a quick, high-strength, strong bond.
Some reviewers have experienced good results by dispensing the glue on a disposable plate, then mixing the glue by hand, and finally applying it to the materials with a toothpick. You can follow this unconventional way.
Which Glues are Best for Hard Plastics?
Hard, high-density plastic objects like containers, buckets, and chairs are made from HDPE. Ordinary glues like PVA glue or white glue can not be set on the HDPE surface, and you will never get a successful repair. To avoid issues, you should choose super glue or epoxy. One of the best recommendations is the Loctite plastic bonder.
How to Select Glue for Flexible Plastics?
Common household flexible plastic products like shoes or toys need flexible glue. Superglue will not work on them. For this special type of plastic, the glue must be clear and UV and sunlight resistant so that it will not turn yellow. The glue also needs to be waterproof. You can select Loctite vinyl plastic glue without a second thought.
Safety While Applying Glue on Plastic
Like handling any other tool, if you carelessly use any glue, it might cause health issues. Follow these listed safety rules while you use an adhesive product:
- Always use hand gloves and eye protection goggles.
- Never inhale any steam, especially from super glue. You must wear a mask.
- Most of the glues can be washed off with soap and water if they stick to your skin.
- Super glue can burn and bond your skin, so do not use them barehand, and apply them carefully with a thin stick. Pour adequate water if they get into contact with your skin.
- Keep glue cans and tubes in a secured place. Make sure your kids do not get reached.
- If you have got eye irritation or somehow glue touches your eyes, call for medical help instantly.
How To Use Glue Properly On Plastics?
Gluing plastic is easy, but the right application will serve your purpose best. Follow some of the basic suggestions that will make you smile:
- Clean the surface: It is the basic rule to apply any kind of glue to any material. Dust and other foreign objects create blockages between the glue and the material, and as a result, you get a weak bond. To clean the surface of the plastic, wash with soap. You may use plastic cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. After washing, let it dry. Do not touch the plastic with your naked hand frequently, as the surface may become oily.
- Rub a little: The rougher the surface of the material, the more the glue will be able to hold it. The plastic face is smooth, so it is better to sand it to increase the roughness. Do not use low grit sandpaper; use a medium grit number between 100 and 180. Do not rub hard, or else the surface will be thinner, and the strength of the face will decrease. Loctite has a two-part bonding system product. This glue has an activator that makes roughen the applied surface. It will save you time.
- Appropriate application: Use a paintbrush and make sure to glue over the plastic surface. For small applications, use a needle to fill the gap in the crack.
- Prepare the adhesive: Two-part epoxies are useful in applying to plastic; they can be applied by mixing with other components.
- Use clamp: Like any other glue, plastic glue also needs clamping for a firm bond, especially when the glue has a longer curing time. You can use a regular clamp or bind the objects tightly with cloth, tape, rope, or elastics.
- Remove glues: Excess glue needs to be removed as its harsh edges may harm finger skin. Use a wet cloth when the glue is wet. If it is already dried and hard, sand it lightly. If cured glue still stays on the plastic surface, use isopropyl alcohol or a mineral spirit.
- Secured storing: Close the cap of the tube or bottle tightly. Any air contact will dry up the glue. Store at room temperature. Never store in a freeze.
Frequently Asked Questions About Plastic Glue
What is the strongest super glue for plastic?
Epoxies are the best super glue for plastic. You can use it for any kind of DIY project or for repairing households. You can choose J-B Weld Plastic Repair Epoxy Putty.
What super glue works on plastic?
When you need super glue that works great on plastic, you can choose the Gorilla Super Glue Gel. It dries fast within 10 to 45 seconds and turns clear.
Can you use super glue on plastic?
Yes, but superglue does not work on all types of plastic. Superglue or cyanoacrylate works better on a porous surface. Because the faces of plastic are smooth, super glue cannot produce the mesh structure well, which is responsible for the strong bond.
However, you can make the surface a little harsh with sandpaper so that the superglue can get some support. Some brands have produced top-graded glues that work on plastic in any condition.
Is Gorilla Glue good for plastic?
Gorilla has some of the best solutions for plastic adhesives. They generally do not work well on polypropylene, polyethylene, or oily plastic objects. Still, you can get a good bond by lumping the outside.
The right adhesive is not a luxury but a must-have tool for your projects. Whether it is a small repair job or fixing a holed water pipe or a construction project, you should never underestimate the power of adhesives.
A wrong selection might send your project to a disaster. So some studies about different plastics and plastic glue will help you choose the right glue.
We hope you have gained an overall understanding of plastic glue. We wish you good luck with your projects—happy creating.