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For something we rarely think about, glue plays a huge part in our day-to-day lives. From keeping our shoes together, to insulating our cars and homes, glue has changed the way we function as a society and provides quick and effective solutions to loads of our day-to-day problems. Finding the right glue for the job can be tough though, especially when you don’t want the glue to be visible on the surface or edges of your workpiece. This is why most crafters use clear glue, it’s an easy way to maintain the aesthetic of your workpiece without compromising its structural integrity, plus they’re readily available. This being said, let’s have a look at what clear glue is, why it’s used, and what the best clear glue is for some of the common surfaces we tend to use them on.
Table of Contents
What Is Clear Glue Used For?
While it should pretty much go without saying, we tend to use clear glues in applications where we want the bond to appear seamless, this creates an unbroken effect in the aesthetic of the piece that might have people scratching their heads trying to figure out how exactly you pulled that off.
There are loads of ways you can go about using clear glue to join surfaces, but not many clear glues have the strength or durability for some of the more robust applications you could have in mind for them.
Most clear glues that you’re able to buy over the counter at your local store probably won’t have the strength required for heavy-duty applications. This isn’t to say that your run of the mill super glue won’t do a great job on fixing odd trinkets or function exactly as they’re intended to for kid’s school projects, we simply wouldn’t recommend using them for installing art pieces or suspending heavy objects outdoors.
Even when the application doesn’t have a huge (or any) emphasis on aesthetics, it’s always great to have a strong glue that dries clear on hand for other reasons. What are these reasons you ask? Well, even if the application you have in mind is purely practical, it’s always helpful to have the most amount of visibility possible on the part of your workpiece that has been joined or repaired.
A clear adhesive allows you to monitor the joined section of the workpiece, which is especially important if you’re working with load-bearing or mechanical components. This is also important when you’ve repaired something temporarily and want to monitor the joint until you’ve had the chance to implement a more permanent solution.
Taking all of the aforementioned into account, having a good glue that dries clear essentially becomes a must, especially if you’re a professional crafter or DIY enthusiast that uses adhesives like these regularly. In the interest of being as comprehensive as possible, we’ve prepared a small table detailing which types of adhesives dry clear and which don’t, which should help you narrow down your options if you happen to be in the market for one.
|Type Of Adhesive||Does It Dry Clear?|
What Is the Best Clear Glue for Common Surfaces?
While most of us use clear glue to repair things around our homes, the crafting industry relies on strong clear glue to repair and join a lot more than the odd kid’s toy. There are loads of surfaces that require adhesives specifically designed to work on them, which can be challenging and to track down, and they can be a bit expensive. This being said, we’ve made a list of the best clear glues for some of the common surfaces you might find yourself needing a strong clear glue for.
Best Clear Glue Ceramic and Glass: LOCTITE Glass Glue 2-Gram Tube
There are loads of new glues out there that claim to have the best adhesion quality, but rarely do they have the track record to back it up. Loctite, on the other hand, has been around for nearly 70 years, and they certainly have the track record, sales numbers, and what could arguably be described as a sea of satisfied customers to back up claims like this.
Loctite is what all companies aspire to be: a household brand that simply sells itself. They haven’t lost their flair over the years either, in fact, their newer products like their Glass Glue for sheer surfaces seems to be the direct product of their continued commitment and innovation in the adhesive industry. This comes as no surprise considering that their company has been around for nearly 70 years at this point.
What makes Loctite’s glass and ceramic glue so special though? Well, it’s pretty versatile, being graded for use not only on glass and ceramic but on virtually any non-porous surface, including (but not limited to) steel and plastics with little to no surface friction! What’s more is that it’s a clear drying glue, which means that you never have to worry about unsightly adhesive blotches ruining the look of your glass workpieces.
What’s more is that this adhesive is highly resistant to forces like water and heat, which means that your workpieces are safe both indoors and outdoors regardless of the weather forecast. It also sets in a couple of seconds, which makes it perfect for those quick repairs that would otherwise require hours of waiting for your glue to dry and cure. We do wish that it was sold in larger volumes though as it’s quite handy to have around the home in case of emergencies.
This is arguably the best glass glue that dries clear and considering that it can be used on ceramic and practically any other sheer surface, you would be hard-pressed to find another glass glue that dries clear in the same class and/or price range as this one.
Best Clear Glue for Wood: BOOKS BY HAND Ph Neutral PVA Adhesive
If you don’t know what PVA glue is, you’re forgiven. Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glues are more commonly referred to as wood glues, which are ideal for woodwork crafting, furniture creation, and of course repair work! If you’ve dealt with the problem of white wood glue seeping out of the joints, rest assured, Books by Band team offer a high-quality PVA glue that dries clear and provides excellent adhesion quality to boot.
There are loads of high-quality PVA glues on the market though, so what makes this one so special in comparison? Well, unlike most other glues out there, the Books by Hand team offer a clear drying glue that not only has a great adhesion quality but offers a neutral Ph balance to sweeten the deal. What does this mean? In the interest of cost-saving, companies have a habit of using substances that increase the adhesive strength of glue but cause corrosion to the surfaces they are used on over time.
This clear-drying glue from the Books by Hand team has a neutral Ph balance and is therefore safe to use on both wood and paper without causing any degradation to the surfaces in the long run. This is awesome because it provides an incredible adhesive without any compromises. Still not convinced this is a great buy? To drive home the fact that they’re interested in the longevity of your workpiece, the Books by Hand team have also ensured that this adhesive will never turn brittle or yellow over time.
While there are loads of examples of wood glue that dries clear on the market, there are very few that offer the advantages that this product from the Books by Hand team does, and you would be hard-pressed to find one at this price range as a one-part adhesive. All things considered, your wooden workpieces will be great hands if you choose to go with this clear drying glue.
Best Clear Glue for Plastic: GORILLA Super Glue, 15 Gram
If we’re looking for the best clear glue out there, we have to mention one of the best glues for plastics on the market today. Gorilla, like Loctite, has become somewhat of a household brand over the last few years, and considering how effective and versatile their products are this comes as no surprise. Their clear superglue is no different, offering an aesthetically pleasing look combined with a surprisingly strong adhesive strength.
Gorilla’s plastic adhesive can also be used as a wood glue that dries clear in a pinch, although we wouldn’t recommend it if the application is a particularly tough one. The Gorilla team has been around for around 118 years and has used this time to create and innovate their adhesive technologies, ensuring that you always get the strongest glue for your dollar, regardless of the surface you’re working with.
Their super glue for plastic is extremely robust, featuring characteristics that are more common in two-part epoxy adhesives like increased abrasion and impact resistance. This is thanks to the presence of rubber particles in their formula that help absorb forces that could cause harm to the area of the workpiece that has been joined or the surface of the workpiece itself.
Besides being incredibly robust, the plastic super glue from gorilla is also quite versatile, being graded for use on surfaces like wood, metal, ceramic, rubber, leather, and pretty much any other common household materials you can think of. Does gorilla glue dry clear though? It does! This makes it one of the best glues out there for virtually any material that needs light repair or joining.
Strongest Clear Glue: LOCTITE Epoxy Instant Mix 5 Minute
Loctite might be a bit of a cliché in the adhesive industry at this point, but the reason it’s become somewhat old hat is because of what most crafters would consider to be a guarantee of quality glue. It’s for this reason that the Loctite teams’ Instant epoxy is what is objectively one of the strongest glues on the market today.
Again, this comes as no surprise considering that Loctite essentially wrote the book on what a good glue should be and has continued this legacy by offering one of the most versatile adhesives on the market without compromising the quality of its adhesive strength.
This is incredible considering that most products that offer this much versatility either lack in quality or durability, but the Loctite’s instant adhesive functions as clear wood glue, a good transparent glue for glass and ceramic, and can even be used on metal while providing a tensile strength that rivals even industrial-grade epoxy adhesives.
Besides functioning as great clear wood glue, Loctite’s universal formula contains particles that ensure that the bond is highly durable, being graded for both internal and external use. They haven’t just focused on the glue though; the dispenser features a functional design that allows for easy application regardless of how awkward an angle you’re working at and gets a perfect 1:1 ratio every time.
If you still aren’t convinced that this is one glue that provides some of the best value for money on the market today, consider the fact that it’s resistant to heat, moisture, impact, abrasion, and dries within a matter of seconds! If you’re looking for a transparent glue capable of doing it all while still being affordable and incredibly strong, it doesn’t get much better than Loctite’s universal formula
How to Use Clear Glue Effectively
While it’s all well and good knowing what some of the best clear glues out there are, it doesn’t do you much good unless you know how to use them. You could get away with just slapping some on your workpiece and using it to join your materials, but this would likely be a short-lived bond. Regardless of which type of adhesive you’re using (two-part or one-part), you should always prepare your workpiece and your adhesive before you get to sticking things together. This being said, let’s have a look at a few steps you can follow to ensure that your workpiece is adequately prepared for your clear glue.
Prepare Your Workspace
While it might seem like overkill for smaller repairs, preparing your workspace ensures that your workbench and surrounding space are protected from any glue that could accidentally find its way onto these surfaces. You can protect your surfaces by laying down a tarp over your workspace and arranging your tools and workpiece on top of it.
When arranging your workpiece make sure to place them on the side of your dominant hand so you’re able to reach them without straining yourself or reaching over your workpiece and getting glue all over your clothes. Once you have your workspace arranged, ensure that your workspace is well ventilated before moving on to the next step in the process.
Prepare Your Workpiece
Now that your workspace has been arranged to your liking, it’s time to prepare your workpiece. Depending on which material you’re working with the preparation process will differ slightly, but they all involve simply priming the surface for your adhesive.
If you’re working with a wooden surface all you need to do is sand and clean the surface before applying your adhesive, the same should be done if you have a plastic workpiece. Glass workpieces can be cleaned, dried, and rubbed with a small amount of alcohol to prime the surface for your adhesive.
Apply Your Adhesive
Now for the easy part. If you’re using a one-part adhesive all you need to do is apply the adhesive to the center of your workpiece and spread it out towards the edges of the contact patch (where it will meet with the part of the workpiece you are trying to join to it). Then join the two pieces and apply pressure while it dries for the manufacturer’s recommended time period.
If you happen to be using a two-part adhesive, ensure that you mix the epoxy and the hardener together beforehand if it is not supplied in a dual syringe applicator. Then apply the mixture to your workpiece and apply pressure while it sets and cures (usually around 24 hours). In both instances, remove any excess adhesive with a cloth and your newly joined workpiece should be good to go.
Now that you know why clear adhesives are needed, what good examples of a clear adhesive are, which adhesive types dry/cure clear, and how to use your clear adhesives effectively, it’s time for you to get out there and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Remember to always wear the appropriate personal protective gear and to work in a well-ventilated area when working with an adhesive substance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Glue Dries Clear?
Wondering what glue dries clear? There are typically two types of common adhesives that dry clear once they have had a chance to cure completely. Most superglues dry clear, and most two-part crafting epoxies dry clear too with the addition of PVA glue and silicone rubber adhesives.
Does Gorilla Glue Dry Clear?
While there are certain products in the Gorilla lineup that have a distinctive color to them, most of the glues and epoxies in the gorilla line of products dry clear. This includes what is arguably their most popular glue product, the Gorilla superglue.
Is Clear Glue Stronger Than White Glue?
While there is a clear difference between white glue and clear glue in a visual sense, there is no difference between the adhesive strength of the two. Color, or lack thereof, is either purposefully removed or added, or has been purposefully colored or removed for a particular application or preference.