Cosplayers often joke about cosplays being put together with blood, sweat and tears; and while that can sometimes be true, all cosplays are held together somewhere with some type of adhesive. But with dozens of different types of adhesives from numerous brands, it can be difficult to decide which adhesive solves what problem. Let me show you ten adhesives used by cosplayers and when you might want to use them.
This is my personal favorite adhesive since you can glue pretty much anything with E-6000 just like super glue but without the quick drying aspect that usually results in my fingers getting stuck together. The one big downside to E-6000 is that the fumes are highly toxic so it’s important to use this in a well ventilated area with a respirator and gloves. Note: This will eat through insulation foam.
2. Gorilla Glue
Another strong adhesive with a longer cure time than super glue. For the best adhesion it is advised to put pressure on the pieces or clamp them together. The one tricky aspect of Gorilla Glue is that it will expand as it cures which can lead to excess glue that can seep from seams and form a hardened foam. You can cut this part off with a knife and sand smooth again or utilize this quality to your advantage, perhaps gluing a smaller rod into a larger hole or filling gaps.
3. Hot Glue
This is a staple in every crafter and cosplayers arsenal. You can use hot glue for almost any situation and it has a relatively quick dry time but there are some limitations. Since the glue comes out hot, it can melt some materials and even after it dries, the adhesive can melt again thus breaking bonds (hot glued items left in hot cars). Pro tip: Use hot glue to fill molds to create decorative accents to add to cosplays.
4. Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
Aleene's is like the Elmer’s glue you used in elementary school but with a thicker consistency and is used the same way. Pro tip: You can also water it down to stiffen fabrics since the adhesive can work its way into the fibers.
5. Wood Glue
Best adhesive when making props out of wood. Because the glue is made up of saw dust, it helps form a bond to wood that is stronger than the wood itself. Gorilla glue has a decent wood glue you can use!
6. Spray Adhesive
There are a few different types of spray adhesives that are designed for specific applications and makes gluing even easier and often neater since you don’t want to worry about blobs of glue. 3M has a great line of spray adhesives for various uses:
- Super 77 – Multipurpose
- Hi-Strength 90 – Stronger bond for heavier materials
- Foam Fast 74 – Specifically made for foams and fabrics
- Polystyrene Insulation 78 – For use with expanding foam
- Rubber and Vinyl 80 – Best for use with rubber and vinyl
2-part epoxy adhesives are incredibly strong glues that can even hold engine parts together. By mixing the two chemical elements together, you create the adhesive itself and apply it where needed. It’s a more intense process since you have to make the adhesive but has the strongest bond. It does have a full 24 hour cure time but will be the strongest, though least flexible, hold.
8. Contact/Barge Cement
This is the best adhesive for foam. By applying the glue to both surfaces to be glued together, allowing them to dry and then pressing them together, a practically permanent bond is created. Because of the fumes, you must use this in a well ventilated area and/or wear a respirator. Also be prepared to have a supply of cheap brushes for application since the adhesive will ruin them quickly.
9. Stitch Witchery
For those wanting to glue together fabric, Stitch Witchery is a fusible bonding web that comes on a roll similar to tape. When ironed in between fabrics it melts into the fibers creating an almost permanent bond. Perfect for no-sew projects and hems.
10. Heat n Bond
Much like Stitch Witchery, Heat n Bond is a fusible web but has adhesive on both sides for an even stronger bond and comes in sheets so that you can use it on larger areas. Great for adding appliques to fabric.