Plastic can be an extremely flexible and durable material, one suited exceptionally well for all sorts of home projects. It can, however, be difficult finding a glue to use in those projects, as many common adhesives don’t work well with plastic. That’s because many varieties of plastic possess extremely smooth and slippery surfaces; their lack of roughness and porosity make it difficult for the adhesive to find anything to bond with. Luckily, however, there are a few common adhesives out there - some specially engineered for plastic, some not - that can get the job done.
JB Weld PlasticWeld
As you might guess, this product has been designed to bond exceptionally well with plastic. In fact, it does so so quickly that you’ll want to be absolutely certain of placement before doing any gluing; accidental sticking with adhesion this strong can be extremely difficult to undo and will almost certainly result in damage done to the plastic. It’s also worth noting that PlasticWeld is a two-part epoxy that must be mixed together in order to form the adhesive. Though the mixing for epoxies can be tricky and messy - one must blend the resin and the catalyst in equal parts to create a proper adhesive - JB Weld cuts down on the hassle by deploying their product with a double plunger that dispenses both elements simultaneously. If you wish, you can also order PlasticWeld in a simple tube whose dispersion allows for hand mixing. While this product works beautifully with most varieties of plastic, please be aware that there are certain types - including polyethylene and polypropylene sheet - that it will not adhere to.
This super glue is released by Eclectic Products, Inc. and comes in a variety of formulas tailored to a specific need or environment. Though we can’t speak to the differences between the varieties, we can tell you that Amazing GOOP works quite well on plastic for an all-purpose adhesive. It takes a bit longer to bond than PlasticWeld, and it’s also comparatively poor at sticking two pieces of plastic together. True to its namesake, it can also be a bit messy and goopy, which might not make it the best choice for delicate applications. That said, it’s a great choice for most situations, especially when you consider that you can keep a tube of the stuff around the house for any other gluing needs you might have. The Trim Repair and Automotive varieties advertise their ability to work with plastics, so those types are likely your best bet. The only exception would be if you’re working specifically with PVC piping; in that case, the Plumbing formula may be the way to go.
Several of Loctite’s well-known adhesives are formulated to work especially well with plastic. Its Plastics Bonding System offers the resin and activator of an epoxy in small, separate tubes with precise applicators, making it an excellent choice for jobs that require a degree of delicacy. The Epoxy Plastic Bonder, meanwhile, is similar to PlasticWeld in the sense that it contains both elements of an epoxy in one tube with a double plunger for easy, mess-free mixing. Though this adhesive offers remarkable bonding strength and speed, it’s not recommended for objects that face regular exposure to moisture. Loctite’s Vinyl, Fabric & Plastic Flexible Adhesive, on the other hand, is designed to excel in those conditions. As the name suggests, it works extremely well on flexible plastics but doesn’t offer quite the strength of Epoxy Plastic Bonder. If you need just one adhesive for one project, it may be wise to go with one of these specialized formulas.
What to Avoid
Acrylic is one of the most commonly used plastics in home craft projects; it also reacts extremely poorly to Super Glue. A chemical burn can be caused by the glue and the acrylic sheet coming into contact with one another, one that may cause extensive white clouding within the plastic. Though Super Glue can be removed with acetone, that chemical - as luck would have it - also creates a reaction in acrylic in the form of significant scratching.
Best Gluing Practices
As with any other craft project, you’ll want to be sure that you have an expansive, uncluttered space to work with. The usage of adhesives, however, poses particular challenges. For one, both temperature and humidity can play a large role in whether an adhesive will bond to a material. If possible, make sure that your work environment is between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and that there is relatively little humidity in the air. Also, many adhesives are extremely flammable. Working in a space with proper ventilation will not only minimize the risk of fire but also the effects of your adhesive’s fumes.
If you do your research and take the necessary preparation, adhering plastics can be just as easy as gluing wood. With the right tools and a proper plan, there’s no limit to what you can create. Still have questions about working with plastic? Our friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives are always available to address any concerns you might have.