What Is Putty Adhesive?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2014
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Putty adhesive is a material used to affix items to a surface. The adhesive is a less damaging alternative to tacks and tape for handing posters and pictures to the wall. Putty adhesive is also useful to keep collectibles and trophies from sliding around on the surface of furniture.

There are many brands of putty adhesive available, so choosing one is a matter of personal preference. Generally, it is nontoxic, easy to clean from most surfaces, and safe and easy to use. It is typically reusable which makes it easy to move things around on the walls.

Putty adhesive works on many different surfaces. In addition to bonding to walls and paper, it also works on rubber, plastic, wood, leather, metal, and glass. There are different strengths of putty adhesive available, from a lightweight solution that works great for hanging posters in dorm rooms to heavier, earthquake putty, which will hold framed pictures to the wall for years.

There are many innovative uses for this adhesive as well, which makes it a good product to have around the house. Use adhesive putty to hang birthday party decorations quickly and easily, making cleanup a breeze. Take a pinch of putty adhesive, and use it to clean dust off the computer keyboard or other hard to clean areas. Keep in mind that once used for cleaning, the putty will lose a great deal of its stickiness, and will not be suitable for using as an adhesive.


In the package, putty adhesive will remain fresh and ready to use indefinitely. Out of the package, it will eventually lose some of its adhesion and dry out. Most brands maintain their stickiness for at least 10 years while in use. To keep the adhesive in top shape so that it remains sticky for as long as possible, do not use it in areas where it will be exposed to direct sunlight or high heat. These conditions will unnaturally speed up the drying process.

Some types of adhesive putty are so secure that it can be difficult to remove the item they are securing. Do not try to pull the item straight away from the wall or furniture. Instead, hold the item close to where the putty is located and twist lightly.

One of the main reasons people like to use adhesive putty is that it takes so little of the putty to secure an item. Lightweight items take an amount about the size of a pea to hold. Heavier items may take a larger pinch. For maximum holding ability, use several smaller pinches of adhesive to hold the object in place, rather than one or two large pinches.

Putty adhesive is safe for nearly all home surfaces. While it may lift off paint that is older and already flaking, it will not damage paint that is in good repair. When removed, it will not leave any residue behind, and does not stain.


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