Gluing plastic isn’t always easy: often all-purpose glue just won’t stick plastic parts together. Still, finding the right glue isn’t that hard. If you want to glue plastic, choosing the right glue is already half the way. Here is an overview of what glues to use for bonding plastic and what to look out for when bonding plastic. Plastic is an umbrella word for a myriad of different materials that surround us everywhere in everyday life. The variety of all these plastics is just as important as the diversity of the glues that correspond to them! However, do not despair of finding the right glue to glue this famous cracked or broken object back together.
What plastic do you want to glue?
If you want to be successful at bonding plastic, knowing what plastic you want to process is essential. In general, a distinction is made between thermosetting and thermoplastic plastics as well as elastomers, in particular polyurethane. Premium thermoset plastics remain dimensionally stable and strong even at high temperatures and are mostly solvent resistant. These durable plastics such as carbon, bakelite or fiberglass are found in the home in the form of sockets, insulating materials and kitchen surfaces.
What are the different types of glues for plastic?
It’s up to you to identify the type of plastic to find the right corresponding glue. You can rely on the number at the level of the recycling symbol on the object that you are about to repair or glue.
- The symbols 2, 4, 5 or the letters mean that it is polyethylene or polypropylene.
- The symbol 6 or the letters PS indicate that it is polystyrene.
- The symbols 7 and 8 mean that they are ABS, in other words thermoplastic polymers.
Depending on the plastic, adapt the glue!
It is the best known glue. What is generally called super glue is known to all for its formidable efficiency. However, it has poor resistance to shocks, vibrations and torsion and to extreme climatic conditions – strong glue does not appreciate significant temperature variations. It is, however, the most versatile glue, the one you can invest in for multi-use. Check before buying that it works with the specific type of plastic you want to stick.
Epoxy glue consists of two parts: the resin part and then a hardener. It is these two elements that make this glue a product of extreme efficiency. Use it for your DIY work or in your creative hobbies: it resists everything! To shocks, vibrations, torsion and harsh climatic conditions. Epoxy glue does not stick to plastic products numbered 2,4 or 5. That is to say, it does not work on polypropylene or polyethylene plastic.
You can also opt for a glue such as neoprene glue. It is a glue that is suitable for hard plastic but not for soft plastic. If you want to glue rigid plastic in the company of your children, this is the one for you. It requires a slightly longer drying time than other glues.
Like neoprene glue, vinyl glue is a glue that you can use with your children. If you are planning creative hobbies mixing all types of media, such as paper, cardboard, wood in addition to plastic, this is definitely the one you need to choose.
How to glue plastic?
Below are the steps for gluing plastic. The most important being undoubtedly that of the preparation of the objects to be glued. These must be perfectly clean. Clean them with soap or soak them in alcohol to remove any grease stains. Dry well. If necessary, rub them with sandpaper to facilitate the adhesion of the glue.
- Select the type of glue that matches your plastic. Look at the instructions, they will tell you with which plastic to use the product you have in your hands.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for temperatures and drying times.
- Before gluing, clean the plastic. It should be dry and free of dust and grease.
- If your plastic is cracked, you can stop the process by placing glue at the end of the crack: it will act as a plug and stop it.
- Press the two pieces against each other to stick, this helps to drive out the air bubbles. If necessary, use rubber bands or tape to hold the two parts or both objects in place while the glue dries.
- Read the instructions carefully to know the exposure time because the variations are great: it can go from a few minutes to 24 hours.
- Remove excess glue immediately after gluing
For all your small crafts or creative hobbies, you can use a glue gun. It allows you to bond very small pieces of plastic – just as it can be useful for bonding other materials such as glass, metal or wood.