Does Tacky Glue Work On Fabric?

For many crafters, Tacky glue is a universal item. It's perfect for so many things; it's easy to be the first glue you reach for. But does tacky glue work on fabric? We've checked the official product specifications to tell you everything you need to know about tacky glue.

Tacky glue works on fabric. It can adhere fabric to another surface or other small items to a fabric surface. However, tacky glue is water-soluble, which can dissolve when exposed to water. As a result, fabric glues are a better choice for material that must be washable.

Keep reading, and we'll explain the difference between tacky glue and fabric glue. We'll cover how to pick the best fabric glue and what different types are out there. Finally, we'll cover some tacky glue basics like how fast it dries, what it's made from, and what it's best used for.

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Fashion designer using scissors for his project, Does Tacky Glue Work On Fabric?

Does Tacky Glue Work On Fabric?

Tacky glue works on fabric, but only if you need to glue something that won't be washed. Tacky glue does not last against water.

The original brand of tacky glue is "Aleene's Original Tacky Glue." While some other versions are available, this article focuses on this official brand. 

Click here to see Tacky Glue on Amazon.

Tacky glue is an all-purpose glue, and that includes fabric. You can use it for a flexible hold that won't be stiff or hard. It dries clear and permanent.

However, this glue is water-soluble. That's why it's only a good choice for fabric that you won't wash.

Even for other brands of tacky glue, there doesn't seem to be any that are water-resistant. Tacky glue, simply by the nature of how it's made, does not hold up when it gets wet.

Skip the tacky glue if it's something like clothing, which will be exposed regularly to water. The water will break down the adhesive quality of the glue after a few washes. 

What Type Of Glue Will Stick To Fabric?

Dressmaker using scissors for his project

Luckily, tacky glue isn't the only option. Fabric glue is a better choice, as it's designed for just this purpose. Most fabric glues are water-resistant, heat-resistant, and easy to use.

They also work on most fabric materials. Leather is the notable exception and requires special leather glue.

Fabric glue comes in the following types:

Liquid Glue

Liquid fabric glue tends to take a long time to set. However, once it's properly cured, it's very strong.

Most liquid glues have a small applicator tip. This means it's easy to apply in small areas and be very precise. But the downside of this is that it can be very time-consuming if you have a wide area to glue. 

Liquid Stitch, such as this one, is one of the most common name-brands for liquid fabric glue.

Click here to see Liquid Stitch on Amazon.

Adhesive Tape

This type of fabric glue is generally mess-free. It typically doesn't become "sticky" until you apply heat to it. This means you can fix the placement as often as needed, ensuring it's exactly where you want it.

Because of the nature of the tape, it works best for areas where you need to glue in a straight line anyway. It's a great way to hem simple things like curtains.

But this kind is less durable than other types of glue. It's not the best choice for fabrics that take a lot of abuse since it just doesn't bond tightly enough for that. Need to glue a stuffed animal your kid drags around every day? Skip this one.   

Stitch Witchery is the best-known brand name of fabric adhesive tape.

Click here to see Stitch Witchery on Amazon.

Spray Adhesive

Just like it sounds, this adhesive sprays out of a can. It's perfect for covering large areas. But it lacks precision, and won't work well for very small, exact spaces.

Spray adhesive dries very quickly but also tends to not last for long. It offers a quick grip, not a very permanent one. However, it's so easy to use that re-gluing is a pretty simple task.

Click here to see this spray adhesive on Amazon.

Adhesive Powder

Adhesive powder offers a durable, permanent grip like liquid fabric glue. Because it's powder, it's easy to spread over a large area. It's also challenging to keep concentrated in a small area.

For this reason, liquid glue is the best choice for a long-lasting hold when you need precise application. But adhesive powder is better to get a firm hold when you have a larger surface area to cover. 

Click here to see this adhesive powder on Amazon.

Adhesive Stick

Similar to a glue stick, these are easy to use on fabric. Since you can apply it exactly where you want it, it's a good choice for smaller projects. 

However, if you have a very big space to cover, an adhesive spray would be a better alternative. And much like adhesive sprays, these are quick and convenient but not very long-lasting.

Click here to see this fabric glue stick on Amazon.

What Is The Difference Between Tacky Glue And Fabric Glue?

Dressmaker using glue to combine two pieces of fabric

The difference between tacky glue and fabric glue is primarily the ingredients. Tacky glue uses resin as a main ingredient. Fabric glue, on the other hand, features acrylic.

Acrylic-based glues are more water-resistant, making fabric glue a better choice for anything that needs to be washable. It can stand up to repeated washings, unlike tacky glue. 

Tacky glue is classed as polyvinyl acetate [PVA] glue, much like Elmer's Glue. It's stronger, thicker, and faster drying than Elmer's. But the makeup of tacky glue means that it's rarely the best choice for fabric. 

How Long Does Tacky Glue Take To Dry?

Original tacky glue takes about an hour to dry. If this is too long, you can try to speed up the process a bit. Use a heat lamp or a hairdryer to get things moving.

A black hairdryer on the powder area

Not fast enough? Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue is designed to dry as much as 50% faster than other craft glues. It takes about 35 minutes to dry.

Keep in mind your own drying time will depend on various factors. For example, a thicker coat of glue takes longer than a thin one. Humidity also changes how quickly glue can dries. 

Does Tacky Glue Dry Clear?

Tacky glue dries clear on fabrics. However, it can sometimes look a bit milky or cloudy on paper crafts. If you need glue that is entirely crystal clear, try Clear Gel Tacky Glue. 

Click here to see Clear Gel Tacky Glue on Amazon.

What Is Tacky Glue For?

Tacky glue is for gluing small items to wood, paper, metal, ceramics, cardboard, styrofoam, and even some plastics. It's thick and sticky, offering a more immediate hold than ordinary white school glues. 

It's ideal for paper projects, but that's not the only use. Because it's flexible and dries clear, it can sometimes even be used for jewelry or fabric. Tacky glue is also acid-free and ph-free, making it acceptable for scrapbooks and photos. 

Any craft where white glue isn't quite strong enough calls for tacky glue. Just avoid using it on anything that will come in contact with water. Since the adhesive is water-soluble, it will eventually dissolve. 

Does Tacky Glue Wash Out Of Clothes?

Because tacky glue is water-soluble, it's easy to clean up as long as it hasn't dried. Just wipe it off with a warm, wet washcloth. 

Man washing cloths

If it's already dried, it's a bit tougher to remove. However, acetone or nail polish remover can do the trick.

For clothes, first, soak them in a bucket of warm water with a bit of laundry detergent. After 15 minutes or so, scrub the glue. If the water isn't enough to break up the glue, use a cloth to rub acetone over the stain. Remember always to use acetone in a well-ventilated area. 

When you're done, wash off any acetone/nail polish remover left on the fabric.

In Conclusion

Fashion designer using scissors for his project

Tacky glue can be used on fabric but may not be the best choice. While it sticks and adheres to material, it's also water-soluble. This means that it's less than an ideal choice for fabric that needs to be washable.

For anything that will be washed frequently, use water-resistant fabric glue instead. These are available in various types, such as tape, liquid glue, spray, adhesive powder, or even an adhesive glue stick. For a long-lasting bond, the best options are liquid glue or powder.

If you enjoyed this article, try these next:

Best Glue for Outdoor Mosaics [6 Types]

How To Glue Glass Beads To Glass [6 Steps]

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