Glueing plastic can be quite challenging because you have to choose the right kind of glue for the type of plastic, that you want to glue. Not every glue works perfectly for every plastic. So if you want an optimal result then you have to identify the type of plastic, that you want to glue, and then you have to choose the perfect glue for that type of plastic. Don´t worry, it sounds much harder than it actually is and after reading this guide you will know exactly how to identify almost every type of plastic and which glue to use!
So how to Glue Plastic? In short, first, you have to identify the type of plastic, that you want to glue. On most plastics, there is a recycling symbol that will tell you what kind of plastic it is. Then you have to choose the right glue for that plastic-type. I have a table of plastic types and glues in this guide, that will help you to pick the best glue for your type of plastic.
You can find out what type of plastic the plastic you want to glue is by searching for the recycle symbol on the plastic item. It is normally either embossed or printed somewhere on the item usually on its underside. Look at the number of the symbol and the letters underneath the symbol to identify the type of plastic. You can see the table below for reference.
|Recycling Symbol||Plastic Type||Commonly Used For||Best Glue|
|PETE or PET or the number 1||Polyethylene terephthalate||Plastic Containers and Bottles||Loctite Plastics Bonding System|
|HDPE or PE-HD or the number 2||High-density polyethylene||Bottles, Recycling Bins, and most Plastic Outdoor Toys||Loctite Plastics Bonding System|
|PVC or V or the number 3||Polyvinyl Chloride||Pipes, Shower curtains, and Children´s Toys||Vinyl Cement or Weld On Acrylic Glue|
|LDPE or PE-LD or the number 4||Low-Density Polyethylene||Most Containers, dispensing bottles, and tubing||Loctite Plastics Bonding System|
|PP or the number 5||Polypropylene||Auto Parts, Food Containers, and Dishware||Loctite Plastics Bonding System|
|PS or the number 6||Polystyrene||Toys, General Plastic Utensils, cases, and much more||Plastic Cement or Poly Cement|
|OTHER or O or the number 7||Other Plastics like acrylic, polyactic acid and any combinations of different plastics||Some Bottles and safety shields or glasses.||Two Component Epoxy Glue|
How to Use the Plastic Glue?
now, that you identified the kind of glue, that you need to use for your plastic-type, all that’s left to do is using it to glue your pieces. Depending on the glue you either have to apply it directly to the plastic and then press both parts together or you have to mix the glue beforehand if it is a two-component glue.
I would recommend reading the instructions before you use the glue. Depending on your kind of glue you either need to apply a hardener to the surface, mix a hardener in a specific ratio beforehand, or you can apply the glue straight away to the plastic.
But before you apply any glue to your surface you should prepare the surface for an optimal result.
I would recommend cleaning the surface, that you want to glue, with some rubbing alcohol.
if the surface is very even then you should consider roughening the surface up a little bit to give the glue something to stick to. I usually use some fine grid sandpaper to lightly sand the surface before I apply any glue to it. This step is not necessary but if you want a very strong bond, then I would highly recommend sanding the surface a little bit before you apply any glue to it. Just to make sure.
Only apply the glue to a dust-free and dry surface! So make sure, that you at least clean the surface a little bit before you apply any glue. The reason why I clean my plastics with rubbing alcohol is that I want to get rid of any oil or grease, that might still be on the surface.
Then apply the glue to your plastic and depending on the kind of glue it will either bond within a few minutes or you have to fix the two parts and give the glue some time to set.
You can easily hold the two parts in place by using some type of easy to remove tape, like simple plastic tape or scotch tape. or you can use wights to hold them together or clamps. That completely depends on the kind and form of plastic, that you want to glue together.
It doesn’t matter what kind of glue you use and how fast it bonds your plastic pieces together, you should leave it to completely cure over knight before you use it for anything, just to make sure.
What is the Strongest Glue for Plastic?
I think most of us had this problem before. We want to glue something together but it has to be a very strong bond because it will be used a lot or with a lot of force. But not any regular strong glue will work for every kind of material.
So what is the strongest glue for plastic? The short answer is, it depends on the type of plastic, that you want to glue together. For most plastics, Loctite Plastic Bonding or a similar two-component plastic glue will be the strongest glue for plastic, that you can get. But for polystyrene and polyvinyl plastics, you should use weld on acrylic glue or plastic cement.
It is kind of hard to definitively answer this question because depending on the type of plastic the answer will vary greatly. Not any strong glue, that works for polyethylene plastics will work for polystyrene.
Generally, every glue, that has either two components or comes with a hardener will probably be stronger than a regular one component glue. Every epoxy-based glue will also create a stronger bond.
You will have multiple choices for every type of plastic out there. For most plastics, Locite Plastic Bonding will be a very good choice if you are looking for a very strong glue.
But keep in mind, that Loctite will not work for Polystyrene and polyvinyl as well as some mixed plastics. For these types of plastics, you will need plastic cement or a glue that is specifically designed for that type of plastic, like acrylic glue for acryl, for example.
Will Gorilla Glue Work on Plastic?
Gorilla glue is known for its ease of use and for its very strong bonding power on almost every surface. It is readily available in almost every hardware store.
But will gorilla glue work on plastic? The short answer is yes, it will work on most plastics but not on all of them. It will work on the most common types of plastic, like polyethylene. Gorilla Glue will not work on Poly Propylene, Teflon, Derlin, and ultra-high-density polyethylene. If the surface is cleaned and roughed up with some sandpaper, then it will bond the plastic pieces even better.
Can Super Glue be Used on Plastic?
Super glue especially is a beloved glue for a lot of reasons. It is easy to use and it can glue together a wide variety of materials.
But can super glue be used on plastic? The short answer is, it depends. Super glue will not work on every type of plastic and the types, that would work have to be aligned very well because super glue is a very liquid glue. So using super glue on plastics is not recommended even though it can be used but the results will not be optimal and the bond between the plastic pieces could break easily.
Can Elmers Glue be Used on Plastic?
The short answer is no, Elmers glue will not glue plastic together. Elmers glue is not meant for glueing plastics and even though it may be possible to glue some plastics with Elmers glue the bond will not be very strong. So it is not advisable to use Elmer’s glue on any plastic of any kind and if you want to glue plastic to glue, then there are better glues available.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.
5 thoughts on “How to Glue Plastic: Choose the Right Glue for Every Plastic”
There is no recycling symbol on the high chair tray I am trying to glue together.
It fell over in the garage on a very cold day, and a piece of the edge broke off.
When ch glue will work on a plastic high chair tray?
There’s a good chance that the tray is #6 plastic: polystyrene (PS) or high impact polystyrene (HIPS). It’s generally not accepted for recycling, which may be why there’s no symbol. It is a bit brittle, so that fits with the breakage. It’s also very widely used. It glues really well with the glues made specifically for polystyrene. The great thing is that that glue melts the pieces together, making a very strong bond. Testors makes two that are very good: Testors 3502 Plastic Cement is a liquid and has a brush in the cap. It’s great but dries really fast, so depends on the size of the part to be glued. It’s best because it’s really thin so the pieces can be put back together almost exactly. The thicker glue can also be very good and comes in a tube: Testors 3509C Plastic Cement. You could get the glue and try it on some out of the way part. If it’s polystyrene after a couple of minutes if you probe the glue area with a toothpick, it should seem to be melting or dissolving the plastic.
Ok, so check for symbols…I am using plastic on wood, and I noticed in this second article I personally read; epoxy is mentioned once again. I suppose I’ll be going with that option!
Very nice article, just what I was looking for.
I´m glad you liked the article.