There were lots of times, where I had to glue clay because either my project cracked while it was drying or I dropped it while working on the finishing touches or it got damaged during transportation. I had to glue a lot of different kinds of clay for lots of different reasons and after reading this article you will know exactly how to glue any type of clay and what exactly you have to look out for when gluing clay.
The best glues for gluing clay is PVA Glue, Epoxy Resin, or Gorilla Glue. For Air-Dry Clay either of these glues will work perfectly. PVA Glue, however, will not work well on Polymer Clay. So for gluing Polymer Clay either Epoxy Resin or Gorilla Glue are the best choices.
Very Important Disclaimer: Some of these glues are toxic, so they should not be used on items, that will get in contact with food or drinks later on. So don´t glue dinner plates with it, for example. You have to reseal the areas, that have been glued, afterward before you eat or drink out of these items.
How to Glue Air-Dry Clay
Air-dry clay is probably the most common clay used for crafting with kids. It is easy to use and quite cheap. You can get it in pretty much every crafts store and all you have to do, once you are done with the project, is to leave the clay out in the open and it will dry and harden on its own. Still, this clay is quite prone to breaking. This happened to me a lot, so I had more than enough chances to test a lot of different glues on my air-dry clay projects.
The best glue for gluing air-dry clay is PVA glue. It is easy to use and it can be bought in almost any crafts store or hardware store. The pieces have to be clean and free from any dust before applying the glue. A thin layer of glue is more than enough to securely bond air-dry clay together.
When it comes to gluing air-dry clay the best glue, in my opinion, is PVA glue. This glue is easy to use and easy to come by. Almost any crafts store or hardware store will have a variant of PVA glue.
Before you glue your air-dry clay you have to clean the surface. It´s usually enough to get rid of any dust, that might be on the surface. Simply use a piece of cloth and a little bit of water and wipe any dust away.
Then apply a thin layer on the surface, that you want to glue and press both pieces together. The PVA Glue will have a little bit of an initial bond but it is not very strong. So after gluing the pieces together they should be set aside for a few hours until the glue is completely dry.
The drying times vary slightly from product to product but you can check the description of your particular PVA Glue for more Information about the actual drying time.
A good alternative to PVA Glue is Gorilla Glue. I personally tried the Gorilla Glue Gel for gluing air-dry clay and it worked really well. It has a way higher initial bond and it will dry a little faster too. But it is also a little more expensive.
The steps for gluing air-dry clay with Gorilla Glue are pretty much the same as with PVA Glue.
So clean the surface of your air-dry clay form any dust and apply a thin layer of Gorilla Glue.
Then slightly press both pieces together and leave them to dry for one or two hours. Again depending on the exact type of Gorilla Glue Gel, that you are using, the drying time may vary a little bit. So check the description of your product for a more accurate number.
Once the glue has dried your clay is permanently glued together.
You can also use Epoxy Resin for gluing air-dry clay but it is a lot harder to use and I would not recommend using it if you never used epoxy resin before.
Epoxy Resin should only be used in a well-ventilated area. Epoxy Resin is slightly toxic when it is not dry yet, so work very cautiously.
I would recommend using a thicker type of epoxy maybe even epoxy clay to fix your air-dry clay. Liquid Epoxy will not work.
Epoxy Resin is a two-part mixture, one-part epoxy, and one part hardener. Check the instructions of your epoxy and mix the two parts in the required ratio. Some epoxy work in a one to one ratio and some have to be mixed in a one to three ratio.
Then apply a thin layer of epoxy on the dust-free surface of your air-dry clay and press both pieces together. The epoxy will have a light initial bond but it will take about 24 hours until the epoxy is completely dry.
Epoxy Resin will probably create the strongest bond out of any glue, that I mentioned here, but it is also kind of hard to work with and, as mentioned above, slightly toxic as long as it is not hardened yet.
How to Glue Polymer Clay
Polymer clay is my personal favorite when it comes to sculpting clay. It is very easy to use, you can harden it in your own oven and it is non-toxic. Polymer clay comes in a wide range of different colors, textures, and consistencies. I personally love Polymer Clay Firm. I had a lot of scenarios where either a piece of clay chipped off or my whole project broke because I dropped it or it got damaged during hardening. So I tried a lot of different glues and here are the glues, that I had the best results with.
Epoxy Resin or Gorilla Glue are the best glues for gluing Polymer Clay. PVA will not work well on Polymer Clay. Gorilla Glue is the easiest glue to use on Polymer clay, it only has to be applied, the pieces have to be pressed together and left to dry. Epoxy creates the strongest bond but is a little more complicated to work with.
You can see how I used Gorillas Glue to glue my diorama and my polymer sculptures in this video.
Polymer clay is slightly more complicated to glue because it is essentially a type of plastic and not like regular clay at all.
That is also the reason why PVA Glue will not work properly on Polymer Clay.
My personal favorite glue for gluing Polymer Clay is Gorilla Glue Gel. It is easy to use and you can buy it in any hardware store you like.
Simply clean the surface of your polymer clay from any dust and dirt and apply a thin layer of Gorilla Glue. Press both parts together and let it dry for a few hours.
You can also use Epoxy Resin to glue Polymer Clay. Epoxy will create a very strong bond but it is also a little more complicated to use than Gorilla Glue.
Epoxy Resin has to be mixed before it can be used. Normally Resins consist of a two-part mixture, one part resin, and one part hardener. Depending on the type of resin, that you are using, the ration in which the two parts have to be mixed is different.
Most of the time it is a one-to-one mix ratio but you should read the instructions just to make sure, that you use the correct ratio.
Once you have mixed your resin simply apply it to the surface of the Polymer Clay and press both parts together. Leave it do harden overnight and after 24 hours the resin should be completely dry and both parts should be bonded together permanently.
Can You Use Super Glue on Clay
Super glue is a very popular type of glue, that most of us probably have at home. So the general reaction of wanting to use it if something breaks is something everyone has, including me. I tried to use super glue to glue together Clay and here is what I found out.
Super Glue can be used to glue clay but regular super glue will rarely be good enough for most clay types. So for repairing clay pottery thick viscosity super glue should be used. If the clay will be sitting outside, then flexible CA Glue should be used.
So generally, super glue can be used for glueing clay but regular super glue will differently not be working well.
There is an amazing article from Starbond.com about gluing pottery and clay with super glue, that goes much more in-depth. You can read it right here.
Can You Put Hot Glue on Clay
Hot glue is an amazing type of glue, no question, and I use it a lot. That being said, it is not the perfect glue for everything. I use hot glue for a lot of my projects and it has a very wide range of uses and it will bond a lot of different materials together but I would not use it for gluing clay and here is why.
Hot Glue can be used for gluing clay but it is not recommended. Hot glue will not create a permanent strong bond when used on clay. It is better to use either PVA Glue or Gorilla Glue for glueing Clay, as these glues will create that strong and permanent bond.
Hot glue is a very popular crafts glue but it is not the one glue to rule them all. And when it comes to materials, that need to be glued with glue, that creates a very strong bond, such as clay. Then I would recommend to use a glue, that can create such a strong bond.
I personally would recommend using either PVA Glue for gluing clay or Gorilla Glue.