MAU Art & Design Glossary

Wood Glue



Wood glue is a water-based adhesive containing vinyl acetate resin. It hardens when the water contained in the glue is absorbed by the wood or evaporates. It is mainly used on wood, paper and cloth. It is not used on plastics and rubber. Being water-based and easy to handle, it is widely used for home carpentry, handicrafts and on wooden models. It is white prior to use but gradually turns transparent as it dries and hardens.

Usually, it is applied on just one of the two surfaces to be bonded before they are pressed together. It is a good idea to use tape to hold the part in place or to place weights on the top until the glue sets. It becomes relatively hard after several hours or around half a day, but it is best not to move or use the item for at least 24 hours. To glue a large piece of paper or cloth, wood glue can be diluted with water and applied with a brush. Any glue protruding from the bonded surface can be wiped clean with a wet cloth. Some types of wood glue become very hard after they set. When processing or applying a finish to the bonded object, because the glue is hard, care must be exercised so as not to shave the glue off too much or damage a blade on it.

Wood glue products are normally labeled “wood glue”. Fast-drying types may take half the time of normal glue to dry and there are also products which come with a narrow nozzle which is useful for detailed work. They come in various sizes ranging from those that can be held in one hand (50g) to those in large containers for school and group use (5kg). If the glue gets on your skin accidentally, you should wipe it off immediately and wash the spot with soap and water. Read the instructions on the package carefully before use. Wood glue can be purchased at stationery stores, DIY shops and home centers.