Binding glue is one of the most popular and easiest ways to hold a book together. Whether you make your own notebooks, are a restoration artist, or are looking to repair a torn book, you want a strong and durable adhesive.
What is the best glue for bookbinding? The best glue for bookbinding is pH neutral and forms a super-strong yet flexible bond without altering the paper quality. PVA glue is the best glue for bookbinding, being non-toxic, acid-free, flexible, and strong.
To find out more about the best glues for bookbinding, continue reading this post, where we provide helpful insights that’ll guide you in choosing a bookbinding adhesive. We also take the tedious job of researching from your shoulders by reviewing the five best products.
Things to Look for in Glue for Bookbinding
If you don’t have much experience with glue, particularly for the specific purpose of bookbinding, all glue might appear the same to you. Unfortunately, it is not.
Book glue is not created equal. When hunting for an adhesive for binding books or a great bookbinding repair glue, you want it to possess specific properties, so as not to ruin your books. We’ll discuss a few important considerations below.
1. pH Neutral
Whenever you choose products to use with paper, the main focus will be on their pH levels. Acid-free products have a neutral pH and that is the ideal standard.
The same applies to glues for bookbinding. Check that you are selecting one which is acid-free. Acidic glues will leach the acid into the paper, then yellow, brown, and eventually rot it, destroying the spine.
Acid-free glues, on the other hand, provide archiving qualities. Even better if they’re water and UV-resistant as well.
The strength of glue is of utmost importance when it comes to binding books. Glues come in various strengths. There are light-duty and heavy-duty glues, temporary and permanent, industrial-grade, school-grade, craft-grade, and so on.
Opt for glue with a tough enough bond that can support the entire weight of the pages.
In addition to being strong, the ideal bookbinding glue is flexible when dry. When the glue has a natural give, it enables the cover and pages of the book to open as wide as possible effortlessly without resistance, wrinkling, and tearing.
A lot of people ask if they can use superglue for bookbinding. The answer is no, simply because it is not flexible when dry. It becomes brittle and cracks every time the book is opened and shut because the spine flexes while the rigid coat of superglue doesn’t.
4. Drying Color
Most times, glue will be clear or have a hint of yellow, brown, or white. While the color does not affect the effectiveness or performance of glue, it does affect the book’s aesthetic and finish.
Although it is applied to non-visible parts, the excess will sometimes spill over the edges of the paper, and you may accidentally leave marks as well. That will look horribly messy if the glue is tinted.
Pigment can also be sucked up by the paper. You’ll have less to worry about with crystal clear glue that is hiding any flaws in the application.
5. Non-Toxic Ingredients
Opt for glue made from non-toxic ingredients. This is beneficial for you as a binder, the book users, and the environment too.
Some adhesives will give off toxic fumes during and also long after the application. Please try to stay away from these glues for your own safety.
If, for some reason, you must use toxic glue, don an aspirator and move outdoors where ventilation is good. But we strongly advise against them.
One type of glue may produce wonderful results for paperbacks but not hardcovers, and vice versa. Therefore, you must select glue according to your purpose.
Alternatively, opt for a versatile glue that can serve the purpose for all types of bookbinding, especially when working with variety. It saves you money.
The 5 Best Book Binding Glue
Unlike traditional times when we had limited options -animal hide glue and wheat paste-the variety today is seriously overwhelming.
There’s a sheer number of faster drying, stronger, and cheaper glues available. It’s likely to send you into a choice dilemma. The good thing is, we have your back. Here are our best five picks.
|Lineco Books by Hand pH Neutral Adhesive
|pH neutral PVA, invisible, waterproof
|Gane Yes Paste All-Purpose Stik Flat Glue
|Acid-free, non-toxic, UV resistant, clear
|Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy Adhesive
|Water-resistant, clear, extra strong
|Perfect Paper Adhesive
|Clear, UV-resistant and waterproof
|Elmer's Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue
|Waterproof, clear, non-toxic, acid-free
1. Lineco Books by Hand pH Neutral Adhesive
Lineco Books by Hand is hands down the best PVA glue for bookbinding on the market for the glue’s satisfactory performance and the brand’s excellent quality control.
Made with the highest standards in the US, this glue is everything you want in a bookbinder; strong, archival, invisible, flexible, and waterproof when dry.
It is manufactured using harmless ingredients with a balanced PH that keeps your pages in their original state without any long-term yellowing or discoloration.
The formula dries clear and remains flexible enough to allow pages to flip effortlessly. It is workable within the first 3-4 hours. So, you have ample time to reposition and align edges well. Full dry time is about 48 hours.
It comes in a convenient bottle with a precision pouring tip. The consistency is thin, making application a breeze.
Lineco bookbinding glue is worth every penny because a little goes a long way, and it works like a charm. You get 16 oz of glue that needs to be applied very thinly for the toughest bond, which is ample product for a mountain of books.
2. Gane Yes Paste All-Purpose Stik Flat Glue
Better known as Yes Paste, this all-purpose glue possesses all the features you’ll want for binding your scrapbook, notebooks, journals, and even textbooks.
It is a water-based dextrin paste that is safe for use by crafters of all ages, even kids. It doesn’t have any offensive odor nor toxic chemical ingredients.
What’s more, it is archival glue that is acid-free and UV resistant. This only means your book is safe from both chemical and light deterioration.
One more thing that makes Yes paste so great is that it dries flexibly. It has a long setting window that allows you to execute the various steps of binding carefully, and allow repositioning.
A little goes a long way, and this pint jar will be your partner for many paper projects to come, whether small or large scale. The paste comes out of the jar white but dries clear.
Its consistency is rather thick, nearly like cream cheese. But nothing is stopping you from thinning it with water if you need to. It will work just as effectively as it does without thinning.
3. Gorilla 2 Part Epoxy Adhesive
Gorilla is a dedicated adhesive brand that needs no formal introduction. They strive to invent specific glues for various applications maintaining the same effectiveness in quality and strength.
While there’s nothing expressly made for bookbinders, this two-part epoxy glue is the best Gorilla glue for bookbinding in its product range. It forms a strong permanent clear bond that is water-resistant.
The glue comes in a two separate barrels system for epoxy and hardener with a precision control tip. The adhesive is dispelled and mixes in just the amount you need, minimizing waste.
Like the many other types of glue under the Gorilla umbrella, this is a heavy-duty adhesive and is recommended for new bookbinding of all types of books, even the thick ones. It is also the best bookbinding repair glue.
4. Perfect Paper Adhesive
Perfect paper is another alternative PVA glue for binding books.
Slightly thinner than other PVA glues such as Elmers, this glue has what it takes to be many crafters’ bookbinding choice of adhesive.
Applied in thin coats, it creates a robust bond that is archival, resistant to UV aging, waterproof, and barely visible.
This US-made glue is ideal for small DIY books, scrapbooks, journals, and notebooks. However, it may not hold up well on something like a thick Bible or encyclopedia.
5. Elmer’s Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue
Elmer’s brand is a household name in schools, offices, art galleries, photo studios, and woodworking spaces – the list is endless. They have a glue for every need, and this particular one heeds to the call of bookbinders.
Craft bond paper and fabric glue are thin adhesives with incredible strength. It forms a permanent bond that cannot be destroyed by water.
And because it is suitable for both paper and fabric, it is ideal for anyone using a muslin cloth or other open weave fabric for bookbinding or repairing.
Each bottle comes with 4 oz of clear glue that dries transparent hiding any imperfections in the application. The pointed tip, however, makes laying down the glue easy and mess-free.
Elmers’s glue is non-toxic and acid-free too. The bond flexes with relative ease as well. It is the perfect bookbinding glue for the spine if you want a book that bends further back.