What Kind of Glue Is Best For Bookbinding?

So you’ve been running from post to pillar to find the best glue for bookbinding? I can rightly put myself into your shoes here. As there are dozens of different glue brands out there, finding one that works perfectly can be quite difficult. That’s why I’m here to help you out. Be it with finding a glue that’s acid-free or flexible, after reading this guide, I’m sure you’ll be able to choose the right type of glue for your bookbinding project. 

In short, the best kind of glue for bookbinding is either Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive or Perfect Paper Adhesive. Both types of glue are flexible and strong enough to be used for gluing book covers and book backs easily. Perfect Paper Adhesive is a little cheaper while Lineco Neutral is more of a premium quality glue.

Even though Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive and Perfect Paper Adhesive are, in my opinion, the two best choices for bookbinding glues, it doesn´t mean, that there are other glues that don´t work as well. In fact, there are quite a few other glues that will be just fine for bookbinding.

It’s just as with any other craft materials and tools, the choice depends entirely on your project and your preferences.

So I listed a few adhesives that I know and worked with, down below. I will go over their advantages and disadvantages as well as their best use cases.

Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive

It is undoubtedly one of the best flexible glues for bookbinding out there.

It is clear drying and you don´t have to worry about wrinkles appearing on paper when the glue drys.

Furthermore, be it case bound books, covers, or text blocks, Lineco is an impressive glue for everyone looking for a premium quality product.

Although it can be pricier than the rest of the brands around, it’s totally worth it for what it can do, in my opinion.

In addition, for anyone looking for a really good white glue that dries clear and lasts a very long time, Lineco is a paradigm of these qualities.

It also never gets brittle as time passes, so it really will keep your book together for a very long time.

Lineco Neutral is also non-toxic!

You can buy it at your local crafts store or right here on amazon.

Acid-Free Glue By Helmer

Another splendid neutral PH glue is Acid-Free Glue by Helmer.

Specially designed for bookbinding purposes, it’s quite rare nowadays to get a glue that dries clear and is non-toxic at the same time.

If you are looking for a glue that offers a bond that is flexible and never gets yellow, then this would be my number one recommendation to you.

You can use it not only with the cover of your book but also for the book spine.

And it is not even that expensive either. If you are just getting started with bookbinding, then this is a very solid choice for you.

Perfect Paper Adhesive

This is my second favorite glue to use for bookbinding.

Perfect Paper Adhesive comes with a UV resistant formula so it will not yellow when it is exposed to the sun for longer periods of time.

This glue has a watery consistency, which makes spreading it evenly very easy.

It is an acryl-based glue and not a PVA glue. It is as strong as any other PVA glue but it is a little bit easier to glue paper flat down without wrinkles with this glue. Which is also, why I like it so much.

This glue is a little harder to come by. A well-stocked crafts store may have this but you can also always buy it on Amazon right here.

Elmer’s Cross Bond

Probably one of the more known brands out there. Elmer´s glue is well known for its wood glues.

Elmer´s Cross Bond is a solid choice for bookbinding but it has a few drawbacks as well.

This glue is very easy to come by. You can simply buy it at your local hardware store or crafts store.

But Elmer´s Cross Bond tends to dry very quickly, making it hard to use for bigger books or more complicated covers.

So if you just want to try your hands on bookbinding with a small project, then I would recommend this glue. But if you want to create a more intricately designed book or if you have a bigger bookbinding project planed, then I would say, stay away from this one.

Contact Cement

Contact Cement is a strong, flexible, and versatile glue.

The glue is flexible, thanks to the high-quality chemicals used. Plus, it really impresses with the fact that it can not only be used for bookbinding but it can also be used to glue rubber, wood, and plastic.

So it is a very versatile glue.

However, this glue smells very badly. It is quite normal for contact cement to have strong fumes, so I am used to it. Still, I would recommend using it in a well-ventilated area or outside.

You can get contact cement at your local hardware store, crafts store, or right here on Amazon.

Things To Keep In Mind Before You Make Your Choice

There are some things, that you might want to consider before buying any of the glues, that I mentioned above.

Non-toxic

The very first thing to consider before buying any glue is to make sure it’s non-toxic.

There are a lot of glues available, that contain toxic chemicals. The choice is up to you whether you want to buy them or not but I generally tend to use non-toxic glues.

While there are a few types of glues, that can´t be non-toxic, like some plastic glues and a few extremely strong types of glues. But most glues used for bookbinding are non-toxic or at least there will be a non-toxic alternative.

Acid-Free

The next thing to consider is to opt for an acid-free glue.

Acid-free glues should be considered when you want a reliable high-quality glue, that does not change the color or properties of the materials used.

What I mean by that is, that acidic glues can change the color of the paper amongst other things. So if you want a consistent and reliable glue for your projects, then I would recommend using an acid-free glue.

Clear Drying

If you want to avoid stains on the cover of your book then using a clear drying glue is very important.

The advantage of using dry-clear glue is that it doesn’t leave any visible marks or stains on the book. So you don´t have to pay too much attention to hide your crimes.

So when it comes to choosing a glue for bookbinding I would highly recommend using glue, that is clear drying.

Dry Flexible

Before you apply glue on the spine of your book, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check whether it is flexible once it has dried or not.

If the glue isn’t flexible when it has dried, then it’s difficult to easily open the book because of the stiff spine.

If you use hard drying glue on a book, then you run the risk that your book is very short-lived.

Every time the book is opened or closed, for example, the glue will break a little more slowly breaking free, and eventually, your book will come apart.

So a flexible drying glue is a must when it comes to bookbinding.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect glue for your bookbinding project isn’t as easy as it seems.

The best tip, that I can give is asking yourself what kind of glue you need for your personal project. If you use thin paper, then maybe a thinner glue might be better or if you want to bind you book in leather, then using contact cement makes more sense because it can glue leather reliably. And so on.

So try to ask yourself what kind of glue you need for your project and then, based on what I told you about the different glues above, consider which one would be the best one for your project. It´s as easy as that, just don´t overthink it.

Is Gorilla Glue good for bookbinding?

Gorilla Glue can be used for bookbinding. The glue is strong enough for bookbinding and waterproof but Gorilla Glue can wrinkle thinner paper when it dries, so it might not be the best choice for every kind of bookbinding project.

Can you use super glue on books?

Super glue can not be used for bookbinding because it is a hard drying glue. So while it will work initially the glue will eventually come loose. This is because the cover and pages inside a book will move slightly when your open or close the book. Flexible glues won´t have any issues with that but hard drying glues will crack and eventually break free.

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