Several of us were talking this week about how to finish cards and frame small projects. Someone mentioned they weren’t sure which products to use. So today’s topic is….. sticky stuff!
"An adhesive, or glue, is a mixture in a liquid or semi-liquid state that adheres or bonds items together. Adhesives may come from either natural or synthetic sources. The types of materials that can be bonded are vast but they are especially useful for bonding thin materials. Adhesives cure (harden) by either evaporating a solvent or by chemical reactions that occur between two or more constituents." (reference link)
Who knew that glue would have a long, documented history? A birch bark and tar adhesive was found in Italy dating back to around 200,000 BC. It was used to adhere stone flakes to a wood shaft to create a spear. Similar finds dating back to 70,000 BC in South Africa used plant gun and red ochre earth.
So, what other things have been used as glue throughout history?
In France, there is proof the Neanderthal used glue in their paint so that the cave paintings were protected somewhat from moisture. Animal glues from things like horse teeth can be dated back 6000 years. Tars, tree sap, and gum have been used separately or combined with other products. The Egyptians used various types of glue for furniture production with inlayed decorations. Their papyrus also contained glue. Even egg whites were used to attach gold leaf to parchment in medieval Europe. Ancient mosaics on floors and walls throughout Europe have held up over the centuries because of their knowledge of adhesives.
For centuries, people had their own special recipes for making the glue for a variety of uses. However, Holland had the first commercial glue factory in the early 1700s. England, with its fishing industries, made glue from fish parts in the middle 1700s. The United States entered the glue market with the U.S. Glue factory in 1899. This factory was established by the Milwaukee tanning industry, recycling scraps of animal hides.
As I researched this subject, I had flashbacks of the many times I have licked an envelope or stamp. I wondered what type of glue was used. The best answer was given by Jane Ormrod, of the Royal Mail, in London. "The gum on British stamps is composed of polyvinyl alcohol and dextrin. The dextrin is derived from starch (e.g. potato) and the vinyl alcohol is a synthetic derived from petroleum. The gum used on ready-stamped stationery items is a blend of polyvinyl acetate and dextrin with the exception of aerogrammes, where the gum is a blend of polyvinyl acetate and polyvinyl alcohol. Slimmers (dieters) may be interested to know that a single standard postage stamp contains 5.9 calories and Special or Commemorative stamps 14.5 calories. To avoid offending any religious groups or vegetarians, no animal products are involved." (reference link) Now who in the world would have ever thought about figuring out the calories for licking a stamp?
According to statistics, each of us uses an average of 40 pounds of glue or adhesives per year. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones.
White glue (Elmer’s) is made of polyvinyl acetate, PVA. PVA is a vinyl but not the same as vinyl siding, LP records or PVC pipe (white plumbing pipe.)
Adhesives on envelopes is made from the sap of acacia trees called gum Arabic. These trees grow in India and Africa. This substance is in many snacks like gumdrops, marshmallows and even M&Ms. Now, figuring the calorie count for the gum in these products has some use! This is a very versatile product which also has non-edible adhesive uses in shoe polish and some watercolour paints according to Rik Sargent, of the Science Museum. (reference link)
There are many brand names for super glue. This is a chemical compound called cyanoacrylate. The form we are most familiar with is a great glue for repairing broken toys, ceramics, and other important objects. If the type of alcohol in the formula is changed to butyl or octyl, it creates a chemical compound that can be used in place of stitches for humans and pets. That comes to no surprise to those of us (including me) who have glued our fingers together by mistake. The Super Glue company has a great article on how to remove superglue from your fingers (acetone) and other areas of your body where using acetone is not recommended, like your lips. (reference link)
Another product most of us use is hot glue called hot melt adhesive (HMA). This product is useful when heated with a hot glue gun. The glue is warm to hot when ready to use yet hardens within a minute when applied. A similar product is the hot-fix embellishments that are backed with heat activated glue. The glue is heated using a special tool.
Glues and Adhesives for Needleworkers
This is a tough, permanently flexible polymer film. It dries clear, is non-yellowing and water soluble. Janice Love recommends this product for attaching needlework to glass, such as night light covers or glass ornaments. For best performance and longest shelf life store Muck in area with temperature between 50-75 degrees. Please note that we cannot ship Bottom of Form
Miracle Muck when the outside temperature is consistently below freezing because it will spoil if it is allowed to freeze.
This glue is 100% water soluble, pH neutral, dries clear and flexible. Instead of pinning or basting your edges, apply tiny glue droplets with the applicator tip. The Glue becomes tacky immediately and dries in 3 to 5 minutes. The glue will hold until washed out with soapy water. You can even iron it. This glue is great for temporarily placing appliqué pieces. It is made in the USA. It also comes in a 2 oz. size (6620). View video on how to use it.
This is a permanent, washable adhesive that works perfectly for punch needle embroidery, securing stitches on the back of the fabric designs especially if the threads are going to be cut or brushed. It dries clear and flexible plus it is machine washable and dryable.
Stitchery tape is a contact adhesive and is great for framing your needlework. This is the ultimate double-sided tape, perfect for mounting needlework to mat board, foam board or stretcher bars. This acid- and solvent-free archival quality tape is coated on two sides and will adhere to fabrics as delicate as silk, linen, or velvet without adhesive bleeding through and damaging the fabric. Repositioning is possible for up to 48 hours. This tape is also ideal for other crafts including scrapbooking and card making. Also available in 1.5" x 30 feet (7409).
Another set of products are quite popular with needle workers, those that stop fraying.
Stop cross-stitch fabric from fraying safely with this nontoxic, nonflammable product. To use, first shake the bottle well. Then apply a small amount on the edge of the fabric and let dry. It dries soft, clear and pliable. It does not say whether it is washable or not. That may be why it clearly states "cross-stitch fabric" on the label. This comes in a 1 oz. squeeze bottle.
The packaging says that this product prevents fraying on fabric and ribbon. It dries quick, clear, soft and flexible. It is washable and dry cleanable, so it can be used on more than just your cross stitch fabric. To use this product you run the tube under hot tap water for 3 minutes and then shake it for 30 seconds. Poke a tiny hole at the end of the tube and screw the applicator cap back on the tube. Place your fabric on a thick paper or cardboard so it doesn’t leak through to the surface of the table. Apply the glue with the tip of the tube against the fabric. Experiment on a scrap first to get your squeeze pressure figured out, because it comes out faster than you think. You should pre-test your fabric if it is in an area that discoloration might show. This product is flammable so don’t use near heat or flame. This product is Made in the USA and comes in a 1.5 ounce tube.
According to the Fray Check label, it prevents fabrics from fraying and secures thread ends. It is washable and dry cleanable. Fray Check will not discolour or stain most fabrics. Always test on an inconspicuous seam to be sure. To use, place a piece of cardboard between area being treated and other fabric layers. Unscrew the blue cap and puncture tip with fine pin. Gently squeeze the bottle to apply a very small amount of Fray Check. Allow to dry for 15-30 minutes. This product is flammable both as a liquid and as a vapor so do not use near heat or flame or where there might be a chance for sparks. It is made in the USA and comes in a .75 fluid ounce squeeze bottle.
I came across an on-line forum comparing the usage of these three products. I have only used Fray Check, so I found their comments interesting. Here are two of them that recommended Fray Block over Fray Check. "I greatly prefer Fray Block. I have had Fray Check leave marks and it definitely dries stiffer. I have also had it change the sheen of embroidery thread. They serve the same purpose but I only buy Fray Block now." "I was told that Fray Check might wash or dry clean off, but not Fray Block…I use the Fray Check to temporarily stop fraying on fabric, but use the Fray Block on a finished project." We will post a comment on Facebook this week to see what people think.
The manufacturer calls this next product glue-less, but it does some similar stuff, so I thought I would include it here.
From the label, use Hugo’s Amazing Tape anywhere you would use rubber bands, tape, or duct tape. This super strong, reusable clear tape is glue-less, just overlap the ends to secure it. Keep thread spools from unwinding, hold projects while glue dries, and stop a ruler from sliding while cutting. It’s not just for crafters! Works for gardening ties, sealing freezer packages, and securing hot dish lids during travel. Each roll is 1″ wide by 50 feet. I can attest to how well it works to hold a crock pot lid in place while in transit. I have also used it to wrap unruly electrical cords. The key is to have enough length to have a couple inches of overlap.
Perhaps this newsletter will keep you out of some "sticky" situations! Have a great week!
We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!
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“The following article was written by Debi Feyh of Nordic Needle and published in their weekly e-mail newsletter. Permission was granted by Nordic Needle to share this article in (name of your publication). For information on subscribing to their weekly e-mail newsletter, visit www.nordicneedle.com. A free mail-order catalog is available to you upon request if you live in the USA or Canada.”