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6 Best Glues for Cardboard | Reviews + Guide

We often use cardboard for DIY projects and other artistic endeavors, and we often need glue to stick it together. 

Best Glues for Cardboard

Children, especially, need to get crafty for school projects, and they need a good adhesive for that purpose. But how does one decide which is the best glue for cardboard? There are many adhesives available, but it is a tough job to decide which is the best one.

It is pretty frustrating to get glue that isn’t effective, and since cardboard is a little thicker than most materials, you need strong glue for it. This is why we have prepared this review of the best adhesive available for cardboard online, so read on to know more!

Listed below are the best glues for cardboard:

  • Adtech: The Adtech glue is highly efficient with a tensile strength of 377 PSI and cures in less than 30 seconds. Its safety is assured by being non-toxic but its strong odor could be overpowering compared to odorless variants.
  • Books By Hand: A polyvinyl acetate-based adhesive that is solvent-free, acid-free, and water-soluble, rendering it eco-friendly and non-hazardous. Weak bonding with metal and unclear water-thinning instructions are a drawback.
  • Aleene 17843: Aleene 17843 glue offers 50% faster binding in comparison to its rivals and maintains color stability. Its flexibility ensures no thickening around the joints and its non-toxic nature makes it suitable even for children. Difficulties in squeezing the glue through the tip might lead to wastage.
  • Lineco: This permanent PVA adhesive ensures a clear and transparent finish on drying and it remains flexible with excellent lay-flat properties. It's acid and solvent-free. Glue solidification is an issue.
  • Elmer E461: The Elmer E461 glue is designed primarily for school and light work. It offers a strong, wet tack suitable for porous and semi-porous surfaces. It dries clear and is easily cleaned up with water. Incompatibility with hard surfaces like metal limits its versatility compared to Adtech.

1. Adtech - Best for Fast-acting Bonding

Another highly-rated product, this glue works very well with cardboard and other light materials. This is perfect for any craft or DIY project where a strong bond and less curing time are required. It is locally manufactured in a quality-controlled environment and is perfect for a multitude of uses.

We like how this product comes in the form of a hot glue stick that can be used with pretty much any full-size glue gun. It is fast-acting and can form strong bonds in less than 30 seconds, which lets you get back to your work as soon as possible.

This glue can bond together wood, plastics, PVC, polycarbonate, and even aluminum. Another remarkable thing about this product is that it is crystal clear once applied. This means that you can read through it, and it won’t leave any color.

Moreover, it is essential for a glue that may be used by a younger age demographic to be non-hazardous. And the Adtech 220-115-5 is non-toxic and safe for people of all ages to use.

What’s more, it has a tensile strength of 377 PSI and is resistant to reasonably high temperatures, which makes it a winner in our book!

Though this product excels in terms of performance, we did notice some scope for improvement. It emits an unmissable, strong smell that can get a bit overpowering when using it. We believe that resolving this odor problem would improve the product even more.

Type: Hot Melt | Drying Time: 30 sec | pH level: N/A | Available Sizes (oz): 4, 10, 24 | Waterproof: No | Heat Resistance: Yes | Non-Toxic: Yes | Solvent-Free: Yes | Acid-Free: Yes

2. Books By Hand - Best for Eco-friendly Crafts

The following product on our list is the adhesive from Books By Hand, a quality product that can be used with various materials. Books by Hand is one of the best businesses in the field of crafts and other art supplies and makes art supplies that are intuitive to their customers’ needs.

One of our favorite features of this product is that it is soluble in water. This implies that it can be mixed with water to thin it out, extending its drying time. This, however, does not compromise on its efficiency, and its tensile strength remains unchanged.

Furthermore, the adhesive is solvent and acid-free and is made of polyvinyl acetate. This indicates that it is environmentally friendly, non-hazardous, and suitable for people of all ages to use.

Most glues tend to lose their strength over time and need constant re-application, but the Books By Hand BBHM217 doesn’t grow brittle with time. It is additionally fast-drying and clear and leaves no color once it dries. According to us, it also adheres to most porous surfaces and is a great choice.

Even though it is compatible with most materials, we noticed that it wasn’t as effective with metal. It wouldn’t stick properly and needed a lot of quantity to stick things together.

Additionally, thinning the glue can also be tricky because there isn’t any clarity on how much water will extend its binding time.

Type: PVA | Drying Time: 1-2 hours | pH level: 7 | Available Sizes (oz): 4, 8, 16 | Waterproof: No | Heat Resistance: No | Non-Toxic: Yes | Solvent-Free: Yes | Acid-Free: Yes

3. Aleene 17843 - Best for Quick Dry Projects

This adhesive from Aleene is ideal for people who use adhesive generously and need it to dry super fast. Hence, this glue is a hot-selling product and is well-known among artists who need fast-acting tacky glue for their work. Moreover, it is pretty affordable and measures 8 ounces.

One of the key highlights of this product is that it binds 50% faster than some of its competitors in the market, which is why it's always in high demand. Another reason for its soaring popularity is that it maintains its color even after a long passage of time and doesn’t yellow with age.

Another major point in its favor is its superior flexibility, which ensures that there’s no thickening around the joints. We also like how the adhesive is non-toxic and suitable for adults and children alike to use.

Efficient and multipurpose, this glue is great for use with crafts, art projects, and other DIY endeavors. It can bind materials like wood and plastic in addition to cardboard and takes only 30 seconds to dry.

We liked pretty much everything about this product, but we also felt that there were some things that the manufacturer could work upon. The tip of the container isn’t very conducive to squeezing the glue, which makes it hard to pour. This, unfortunately, leads to occasional wastage, and a brush is needed to bypass the issue.

Type: Tacky Glue | Drying Time: 30 min | pH level: 4 | Available Sizes (oz): 4, 8 | Waterproof: No | Heat Resistance: No | Non-Toxic: Yes | Solvent-Free: Yes | Acid-Free: Yes

4. Lineco

Lineco is a reputed company that is well-known for making multipurpose and efficient adhesives. You can use it for various purposes and a wide array of projects, including DIY art and craft and even office work and filing. Overall, the Lineco LIN-901-1008 has many features that make it a bestseller online.

This is a permanent PVA adhesive that doesn’t leave any color once it dries. We believe that a transparent finish is vital in an adhesive because an odd splotch of color on a piece of art looks out of place. In addition to this, it remains flexible even upon drying and has excellent lay-flat properties. 

The manufacturers have also buffered the adhesive to add an extra layer of protection. These features ensure that the adhesive works effectively and that artists maintain their aesthetic standards. 

Interestingly, the glue doesn’t wear out or becomes brittle with age. It remains just as strong after years and ensures that any project stands the test of time. We also like how the glue is acid and solvent-free and can be used with materials other than cardboard, for instance, wood.

Lineco is known for making quality products that are widely used and well-appreciated by artists. However, when we received the package, we saw that the glue inside was solidified and refused to come out from the nozzle. It’s unclear whether this was a one-off defect, but we do believe that the manufacturers should take note of this.

Type: PVA | Drying Time: 1-2 hours | pH level: 7 | Available Sizes (oz): 8, 16 | Waterproof: No | Heat Resistance: No | Non-Toxic: Yes | Solvent-Free: Yes | Acid-Free: Yes

5. Elmer E461

Next is the Elmer E461, a multipurpose glue packaged in an 8-ounce bottle that is ideal for home decor projects, holiday decorations, and handmade gifts. Elmer’s glue can be used for sticking together cardboard and other materials like light wood and paper.

This locally manufactured glue is an excellent product with a strong, wet tack and can be used for various projects. You can use it to stick photos into an album, and it is sure to last long and not weaken over time.

Another thing we like about it is that it is clear and transparent once it dries. This means that using it doesn’t ruin the look of your DIY project. In addition to that, it is convenient to use as it doesn't run, and is excellent for porous and semi-porous surfaces,

According to us, this glue is ideal for dry indoor use because it can be easily cleaned up with water. You can even use it with fabrics if you've got a blow-dryer with a cold setting on hand!

As we mentioned, this product is great for use with cardboard and paper. But it isn’t as versatile as some of the other options on the list and is incompatible with metal. 

Note that the product was designed keeping school and other light-duty work in mind, and thus it isn’t strong enough to bind metal.

Type: School Glue | Drying Time: 30 min | pH level: 7 | Available Sizes (oz): 4, 7.625, 128 | Waterproof: No | Heat Resistance: No | Non-Toxic: Yes | Solvent-Free: Yes | Acid-Free: Yes

6. Gorilla

Gorilla is a well-known adhesive brand, and it makes glue for a variety of projects. This Gorilla glue can bind not just cardboard but also paper, foam board, fabric, and some light plastic, making it ideal for school use. Since it is marketed toward young children, it does not contain any hazardous substances, and thus, is safe for use. 

The last entry on our list is the Gorilla 274201, which weighs 8 ounces and can bond with various materials. Paper, wood, cardstock, felt- you name it, and the glue can work with it. It can also be used to glue cardboard to sequins and glitter, which makes it ideal for craftwork.

One of the key highlights of this product is that it dries clear and doesn’t leave any color behind. This means that the transparent finish makes it easy to read words and see any designs on the surface.

We also like how the adhesive has a thick consistency, which doesn’t create a mess. Interestingly, the glue is easy to extract and can be done through a convenient anti-clog nozzle.

What’s more, it can even be used to make slime, which is a plus for people of a younger demographic.

Though the glue is perfect for cardboard and other basic materials, it dries slower than its competitors. This means that it takes longer to complete a project because not waiting long enough would lead to the materials not sticking properly.

Type: School Glue | Drying Time: 10-15 min | pH level: 7 | Available Sizes (oz): 4, 9 | Waterproof: Yes | Heat Resistance: No | Non-Toxic: Yes | Solvent-Free: Yes | Acid-Free: Yes

What is the Best Glue for Cardboard?

If you're in pursuit of the best glue for cardboard then the table below compares the type, drying time in hours/minutes/seconds, available sizes, waterproof properties, heat resistance, and whether they are non-toxic, solvent-free, and acid-free.

ProductTypeDrying TimepH levelAvailable SizesWaterproofHeat ResistanceNon-ToxicSolvent-FreeAcid-Free
AdTech Hot Glue SticksHot Melt30 secN/A4, 10, 24NoYesYesYesYes
Books by Hand pH Neutral PVA AdhesivePVA1-2 hours74, 8, 16NoNoYesYesYes
Aleene 17843Tacky Glue30 min44, 8NoNoYesYesYes
Lineco Neutral pH AdhesivePVA1-2 hours78, 16NoNoYesYesYes
Elmer E461School Glue30 min74, 7.625, 128NoNoYesYesYes
Gorilla Kids School GlueSchool Glue10-15 min74, 9YesNoYesYesYes

Buying Guide for the Best Glue for Cardboard 

We believe that two major points must be kept in mind while buying cardboard glue. These are:

1. Kind of Glue

There are different adhesive types, such as tacky glue, PVA, etc.  PVA glue is a water-based resin glue, and tacky glue is super-thick and sticks to surfaces easily. We also have spray adhesives that cover large areas and are usually not too precise for application. 

However, when it comes to cardboard, we believe that PVA is the best kind of adhesive, and thus, we recommend the Lineco LIN-901-1008.

2. Method of Application

The glue can be applied on the surface in a variety of ways. It can be sprayed using a spray top, applied using a hot glue gun, or simply squeezed out through a nozzle. However, a nozzle provides the most accurate application, and hence we recommend the Gorilla 2754201.

Can I use hot glue on cardboard?

Yes, generally you can use hot glue on cardboard, although its effectiveness may depend on the specific application. While hot glue provides quick bonding, it may not withstand moisture or high temperatures over time. For stronger and more durable results, consider alternative options such as PVA glue or a two-part epoxy.

What type of glue is best for cardboard boxes?

The best type of glue for cardboard boxes is white PVA glue (polyvinyl acetate). Its strong bonding capabilities and ability to dry clear make it highly suitable for securing cardboard flaps and creating solid, durable bonds. When applied correctly, this type of glue provides reliable adhesion for various cardboard applications.

Can I use wood glue on cardboard?

You can use wood glue on cardboard in certain applications, although it might not be the most suitable choice. PVA glue is generally a better option for bonding cardboard as it is easier to work with and dries clear.

How do I glue cardboard to paper?

To glue cardboard to paper, apply a thin layer of PVA glue or use a glue stick. Press the cardboard firmly onto the paper, ensuring there are no air bubbles or wrinkles. Let the glue dry completely before handling the project for best results.

Can I use super glue on cardboard?

Yes, you can use super glue on cardboard as it creates a strong bond and dries quickly. That being said, it may not be the best choice for all applications as it can become brittle over time and may not withstand stress. Alternatives like PVA glue or a two-part epoxy may offer more flexibility and durability for bonding cardboard.

Can I use a spray adhesive on cardboard?

Yes, you can use a spray adhesive on cardboard. It is a suitable option for larger projects requiring ample adhesive, thanks to its easy application and even coating. Keep in mind that for smaller or detailed projects, controlling spray adhesive may be challenging, making it less ideal in such cases.

From the list of 6 best glues for cardboard, here are the top three expert recommendations:

For a fast-acting glue, Adtech is the ideal choice. Its crystal-clear finish and versatility make it perfect for a range of crafting needs.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for an eco-friendly, non-hazardous glue that doesn't become brittle over time, consider Books By Hand. Its PVA formula is buffered for extra protection and adheres well to most porous surfaces.

Lastly, if you need an all-purpose glue that is safe for even the youngest crafters and ideal for basic materials, Gorilla Kids School Glue is a great option. With a thick consistency to minimize mess and a clean dry finish, it's perfect for school projects, crafts, and more.

Choose the glue that fits your needs and complete your project without worry.