How Do I Choose the Best Fabric Adhesive?

Christina Edwards

Fabric adhesive can be used to fuse fabric to another material, including other types of fabric. When choosing the best one, you should decide whether you need an adhesive that can be washed.

Fabric glue.
Fabric glue.

One of the first things that you will want to consider before purchasing a fabric adhesive is whether it can be washed. Some of these types of adhesives are not formulated to withstand a washing machine. These are most often used on fabric projects that are not meant to be worn or washed.

A can of spray-on fabric adhesive.
A can of spray-on fabric adhesive.

If you will be using fabric adhesive on something that will need to be washed, however, you should choose one that is washable. These will typically stand up to a washer and dryer, at least for a little while. You can use these types of adhesives when hemming clothes or applying a patch. They are especially helpful for applying a patches in hard-to-sew area, like the crotches of denim jeans.

Regular fabric glue will usually come in two forms. Some of this glue will come in a plastic squeeze bottle. This can be used for most craft projects requiring a fabric adhesive. It is especially handy when applying rhinestones or studs.

Spray on fabric adhesive may be a little more difficult to use. It is generally used for projects where large pieces of fabric are to be glued together. Appliques, for instance, can usually be applied using spray adhesive.

Some types of fabric adhesive also require a hot iron to use. This is often referred to as fusible web, and it is usually available in sheets or long strips. To use this, a piece of the webbing is placed between two pieces of fabric, and a hot iron is placed on the top of the fabric to melt the adhesive. The strips are especially handy when hemming a garment without stitches.

The type of fabric that you will be gluing should also be known before choosing an adhesive. Some special adhesives are designed for use on stretchy fabric, for instance. Also, fusible webbing should not be used to fuse certain delicate or synthetic fabrics, because the heat from an iron may cause damage.

You should also read the instructions on the back of a fabric adhesive container or box before purchasing it. Note how long it takes for the adhesive to dry. Some of these adhesives may be marked as quick drying, and they will usually dry within moments. Others may take up to a few hour to dry completely, and most should not be washed until a full day has passed.

Fabric adhesive is used in craft projects to bond pieces without sewing them.
Fabric adhesive is used in craft projects to bond pieces without sewing them.

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Discussion Comments


Good advice. I've been trying to figure out how to fix a tab on a coat zipper that's essentially a piece of fabric glued to itself. I learned that if you pick at one of those two much, it will become unglued. My mother always told me not to mess with things, but that advice didn't do a whole lot of good.

I'm now sure I can find some inexpensive adhesive to take care of that problem.

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