First, please bear with me while I say this is not normally a product-review blog. If you’re a marketer, please don’t assume based on this one post that I review all kinds of things. I really don’t. I just found this one product intriguing.
Ahem. The founders of Glu6 contacted me about their new glue made from recycled styrofoam, and I was immediately intrigued. They’re sourcing the styro from local businesses in the Bay Area (near San Francisco) – material from packaging, mostly. Styrofoam occupies landfills pretty much forever, so I love the idea of turning it into something useful!
The Glu6 folks were kind enough to send me samples of two formulas with applications for crafters: the Glu6 Craft Paste, and the Glu6 Original liquid glue. I dug around in my stash and came up with a range of materials to test them out. Here are my findings….
Let’s start with the Craft Paste
This product is made for pourous and semi-pourous surfaces. It’s a nontoxic glue, and smells lovely – there’s clearly some orange oil in here.
It performed beautifully on lightweight paper. Here, I glued pieces of vintage wrapping paper together – two with a light application of glue, and two with a heavy application. And in both cases, there was absolutely no rippling of the paper (which is what I’m trying to show above, by showing light reflecting off the surfaces).
This is awesome, because liquid craft glues normally tend to saturate paper and cause it to bubble.
I had similar smooth results gluing the wrapping paper to some normal old scrapbook paper – again, one light and one heavy application here. I did, however, have a little issue on the back side of the scrapbook paper:
This bleed-through happened with both applications, although the effect was more pronounced with the heavy application, shown here. This oily mark was still here 18 hours after gluing. (Although interestingly, there’s no vestige of it on the wrapping paper at all.)
Just to be all thorough, I glued some scrapbook paper and card stock to a card stock background. Great bond, no rippling, and no soak-through. So maybe the staining is a factor of how porous your paper is – a spot test would be wise.
I also had great results gluing wood to wood. It should be said that this is a slow-tacking glue – the package recommends at least 24-48 hours for a full cure. With porous materials like wood and paper, I found that the glue had tacked up enough to keep the pieces from moving within about an hour.
(With non-porous materials, as I’ll cover below, however, the pieces remained mobile for a good 6-18 hours.)
…Fabric worked less well, unfortunately. I tried both Glu6 formulas, and both made these darkened marks. 18 hours later, the fabrics pulled right apart.
The only other thing to keep in mind with the Craft Paste is application. The jar comes with this wooden applicator, which may not be useful through many applications. You might want to keep some craft sticks handy, or cut some heavy paper into strips you could use as disposable “brushes.”
You can also use Glu6 as a sealer (and filler), so I tried this with the Craft Paste. I applied it with an old paintbrush, and tried three surfaces: printed paper, wood, and plastic.
(Note: this isn’t a water-soluble glue, so I cleaned my brush with Goo Gone. It’s also an orange-oil solvent, so I figured it would be compatible with the Glu6. And it was.)
As you can see, it sealed the paper nicely, albeit with a little brush-stroking. On plastic, the Craft Paste formed a smooth seal. On the wood, there’s a lot less brush-stroking. Interestingly, the Craft Paste darkened my wooden button considerably when I applied it, but as it dried, the normal color returned. So again: test, test test.
(This is a really cursory test of Glu6′s sealing capabilities – I do see potential here.)
…And now, the Glu6 Original
Glu6 Original is a thinner liquid glue designed for non-porous surfaces. It smells as good and orangey as the Craft Paste, and forms a waterproof bond. I tried it out on several surfaces.
First, not to break rules or anything, I used it to glue plastic googly eyes to a cardboard surface. Glu6 Original tacked up well and formed a strong bond. So you may be able to get away with gluing some non-porous to porous surfaces. (Obviously, test first.)
Next, I glued magnets to some polymer clay tiles Chris made me. I had these flat on my work table and placed the magnets in the center of each tile, but found an hour later than they’d coasted a little. The bond is very strong, however.
Again, this is the slower tack at work – you’d want to make sure the items you’re gluing are flat and stabilized, and check in on them during dry time.
…And then I tried gluing some glass gems to a piece of mirror. I used different amounts of Glu6 on each gem, and as you can see, where the application was heavier, the glue oozed as it cured. The next day, each gem was equally well-bonded to the glass, which means you can get away with using just a little Glu6.
- I think Glu6 Craft Paste is dandy for paper crafts in particular. You do have to find an applicator solution that works for you, but I was very impressed with how smoothly and well this stuff bonds papers.
- The Craft Paste would be a nice thing to use with kids, because there aren’t any chemical fumes and it’s a nice way to illustrate the possibilities of recycling. (It doesn’t wash off skin easily, however, so probably older kids are the best bet.)
- The Glu6 Original is a nice alternative to E6000 for light-duty applications – it’s nice to get a strong bond without all the fumes, and I find Glu6 Original significantly less messy to apply. The Glu6 packaging warns that the product doesn’t form load-bearing bonds – which, for a great many craft applications, doesn’t matter. I’ll enjoy using Glu6 instead of E6000 when I just need to attach beads, gems, etc. (And I’ll keep my E6 for when I need to reattach table legs and things.)
Incidentally, in case you’re wondering about the name, that “6″ is the recycling code for styrofoam. If you’re interested, you can learn more and order some Glu6 over here.