PVA Glue – Why You Need It And What You Are Looking For

You might have used Michael Elmer’s Glue gallon at least once in your life. Is PVA glue the same as Elmer’s glue? Well, it is actually a type of PVA-based glue. And like most types of PVA glue, its main chemical component is polyvinyl acetate.

German Fritz Klatte discovered polyvinyl acetate in 1912, which leads to the invention of glue that does not smell or give off dangerous fumes. In other words, the glue can be handled with your bare hands. You can use it on chipboards, plywoods, and MDFs. Flexible and versatile, you can use it as a primer, performance sealer, dustproofer, and bonding agent. 

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PVA glue dries quickly especially when there is a good circulation and low room temperature. It’s usually quick drying with strong bond strength, especially if you clamp two glued pieces together. How to make PVA glue thinner and less gloppy? You can simply add the right amount of water on it.

Though you can safely all kinds of PVA glue brands with your bare hands, they are toxic when you eat them. 

What is PVA Glue Used For?

PVA wood glue used as an emulsion which can be the perfect solution to gluing porous materials such as paper, wood, and cloth. Because it does not contain any solvents, you can also use it as consolidant for materials such as sandstone. Unlike many polymers, clear PVA glue brands are not acidic. They’re flexible, yet they can create very strong bonds. Here are the different ways you can use PVA glue

  • Adhesive to fabric, leather, and paper
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    PVA glue book binding
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    Creating mosaic and paper mache
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    Drywall primer
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    Sawdust filler
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    Wallpaper glue
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    Sealant for plaster
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    Non-waterproof varnish

Non toxic PVA glue price is low, so you can afford it. If you want a PVA glue compared to Elmer’s glue, you can choose a wood glue. This kind of glue is ideal for heavier jobs. You can use it for the following tasks:

  • Bond broken pieces of wood
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    Secure screws and bolts
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    Fix large pieces of wood for decoration

The Difference Between PVA Glue and Elmer’s Glue

As mentioned before Elmer’s glue is PVA-based. However, PVA is only one component of the glue. It has been modified, so it may be a little different in terms of odor, viscosity, strength, tackiness, and ease of use. Like other PVA glues, you can use it in many craft-type projects. It especially works well with paper.

But when should you use PVA glue instead of Elmer’s glue? If you want your project to last for more than 10 years, you should probably opt for PVA glue. Elmer’s glue turns yellow and may break down over time. PVA glue, on the other hand, does not. 


Benefits Of PVA Glue And How To Use It

pva glue wood assembly

Despite the cheap PVA glue price, there are actually a lot of benefits of using PVA glue. This includes the following:

  • Does not break down and remains flexible
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    Dries clear and does not turn yellow over time
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    Remains neutral and will not affect the pH balance of paper
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    Non-toxic, so it’s safe to use with bare hands
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    Odorless and does not give off harmful fumes

You can actually it for a lot of things as well-- from everyday tasks to medical uses. Aside from using the glue as an adhesive, you can also use it for the following: 

Removing a splinter from your skin

You can spread a layer of PVA glue on the entrance point of the splinter. Wait for the glue to dry. Once it does, you can pull it. The glue acts as a suction as it bonds the splinter to it. So when you peel the glue away, you also remove the splinter. 

Fill the holes in your walls

If you have no fillers you can use for the cracks and holes on your wall, you can use PVA glue. Just paint a layer of glue over the holes to fill them. If they are too large, you can mix the glue with tissue fibers 

Tidy your shoelaces

If you have frayed shoelaces, you might want to take care of them right away as it can cause further deterioration. You can twist the ends of your laces with your fingers. Then, dip them in your PVA glue. 

Seal open wounds on pruned plants

When you don’t protect pruned branches of your plants, the open wound might get infected with bacteria and other microorganisms. Create a protective layer with the use of PVA glue. 

Remove nail polish

Do you want to know the easiest way to remove nail polish? You have to mix 1 part glue and 2 parts nail polish in a container. Mix it well. Then, use it. If you want to remove the nail polish, you only have to paint another layer on each of your nails. Let it dry, then peel it off. 

Create slime

Slimes are fun. You can use them to keep your children busy. To make one, you only have to mix liquid starch, PVA glue, and food color. 


Types Of PVA Glue

There are three different types of PVA glue. Before you buy one, you must first ensure that it’s the type you need. Here’s a list of PVA glues and how you can identify one from the others: 

PVA - Polyvinyl Acetate

Polyvinyl Acetate is an adhesive used in paints. It is acid-free, quick drying, and cheap. This type of glue usually appears silky. When dried, it is smooth. You can use it in box making, bookbinding, and card making. It does not turn yellow or becomes brittle even when the paper ages. Elmer’s glue, paper source bookbinding glue, and hobby PVA glue all fall under this category. 

PVA - Wood Glue

PVA wood glue, also known as aliphatic resin, creates a stronger bond than the previous one. It is a yellow-based wood adhesive that is easily absorbed by the wood. It does not weaken over time, especially when you clamp two pieces of wood together. Examples of this type of PVA are Elmer’s Carpenter’s wood glue and Titebond Original wood glue. 

PVA - Water Resistant Glue


Resistant to moisture and mildew, this type of PVA glue can withstand inclement weather and water submersion. You can choose PVA type I (water proof) and PVA type II glue (water resistant), depending on your needs. 


Top 3 Best PVA Glue For Your Projects

Where can you buy PVA glue? It is actually available in all online and brick-and-mortar stores. If you still don’t know which PVA glue brand to buy, here’s a list of the top 3 PVA glues in the market: 

This PVA glue is ideal for any kinds of paper projects. It’s usually used in bookbinding. This adhesive is not only acid-free but also fast-settling. The guide does not give you information about its setting time or how to clean it. However, if you’ve used it before, you’ll know that it is also soluble in water, so you can clean your brush and glue container easily. 

Tran has neutral PH, so has no odor and sets quickly. The glue is flexible and clear. You can use it for your bookbinding, collage, craft, wood, and vinyl projects. Because it dries quickly, you might want to spread the glue in small areas and slap pieces of wood or paper together right away. This will, of course, save you time, and you won’t have to worry about wrinkled pages. 

Gorilla wood glue is popular among hobbyists, carpenters, and woodworkers. It is easy to use and has high holding power. To get the best results, the wood surface must be clean. Other than that, you don’t need to do much. The glue will leave surface smooth. And because it dries in natural color, you can create an invisible bond line for any of your projects. 


Tips in Applying PVA Glue 

pva glue working

Sometimes, when using PVA glue, we experience glue clumps and end up with uneven surfaces. To avoid this, you must learn how to apply PVA glue properly. Here are tips you can use: 

  • Make sure that the glue has the right thickness. The thicker the glue, the longer it will dry and the more it is prone to glue clumps. Use water to make the adhesive thinner.
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    Use a brush to spread the glue onto a surface.
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    Remove spills and excess with damp cloth right away (for wood glue).
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    Push pieces together as soon as you’re done with spreading the glue. Make sure that there is no trapped air inside.
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    Clamp the pieces together until the glue dries. 

Here's a video about applying PVA glue:


Additional Tips

Here are other PVA glue tips that you can use when buying and using it:

  • Buy white PVA glue if you want one with a longer shelf life
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    Remember that PVA glue is not waterproof
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    Use the glue on porous materials like wood, burnt clay pottery, unglazed ceramic, etc.
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    Set the glue in an air-conditioned room for better and quicker result
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    Clamp two pieces you glued together using some type of pressure
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    Clean PVA glue with warm, soapy water

Conclusion

To say that PVA glue is useful is an understatement. There are a lot of ways you can benefit from it. In fact, it may be hard to imagine a world without it. How can you bond, mold, or shape anything without PVA glue? It has definitely made it easier for us to repair and build things.

Ethan Johnson
 

I’m Ethan Johnson. I’m a mechanical engineer, and I’m passionate about Home Improvement. I hope my skills and experience can help you remodel your home by turning simple, inexpensive, and innovative ideas into easy tasks that you can DIY! So no need to go too far, just read on and you’ll be ready to get the ball rolling.

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