11 Handy Substitutes for Glue (With 4 DIY Options)


Are you out of glue and don’t have the time to leave the home to pick up any at the store? Rest assured, you don’t have to stop whatever that you’re doing, you probably have a viable substitute in your home.

Let’s take a look at these 11 alternatives for glue and how they can meet your needs.

1. Velcro

Perhaps you wanted to put some fabrics together and realized that you didn’t have any glue on hand. Or maybe you were helping your children with their craft involving fabric cloth and can’t find anything to put them together. 

Many people today now have this on hand. Take out your sewing box, and you’ll probably find some velcro. Velcro keeps fabrics together when you need a smooth and fixed closure.

I didn’t even realize it until recently, but I have a roll of velcro, like this one. I really like it because I can cut the exact length I want anytime. Plus, with the sticky backs, you can quickly put a project together in no time.

2. Double-Sided Tape

Hot glue is a strong adhesive that can put one or more things together. For many projects, double-sided tape is viable replacement, especially when you are looking for adhesives to be used in paper projects and crafts. 

Double-sided tape works when you don’t want to use glue for paper projects because it can often leave the paper soggy and permanently floppy, and disfigured due to the wetness of the glue.

I recommend this type of double-sided tape, found on Amazon. It has a strong waterproof bond and hold a LOT of weight. It should work well for any craft paper Christmas (or any holiday) decoration. 

3. Staples

Glue sticks are mainly used for paper crafting projects and they are great because they don’t cause the paper to get wavy. What if one day you discover that you’re out? Well, staples are a good substitute for them.

If you have some staplers lying around, you can use staples to keep paper and even cloth together. For wood projects, you’d need heavy-duty staplers, but otherwise, the typical office stapler would suffice.

If you want to go all out, try this stapler. It can staple through over 200 sheets of paper, thanks to a long handle that gives you the leverage you handle big jobs.

4. String

Sometimes strings might work if you have a hole-puncher or use something sharp to poke a hole through the material. You can then weave a string through to stick the items together.

All types of string work for these projects, including raffia string, yarn, twine, and other types of materials. You could even use cords to tie the objects together.

5. Stitches

This substitute works if you need to put some cloth, paper, or cardboard together. Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end of the thread, then bring the needle out through the fabric from the inside of the fold of the hem to hide your end knot. 

You will then be able to bring two sides of the fabric together in the same areas on each side to hide stitches. There are other ways to make your stitches work for you.

6. Nails

Every household has this simple item, used in thousands of various DIY other home construction projects. They work as a replacement for glue if you need to put things together with wood, such as plywood sheathing for walls or installing hardwood floors.

Recently, our vacation home had a few floorboards that were loose. The obvious correct “tool” for the job was a strong adhesive. However, all I had on hand was a toolbox with a few small nails. I tacked them down and it’s held well ever since.

7. Blu Tack or Mounting Sticky Putty

Blu-tack is a permanently plastic and mouldable object that can be used for all kinds of purposes. Each pack comes with strips for ease of use, which makes it easy to stick posters on the walls or seal windows and doors. 

Another option is to use it to remove dust and hair particles from clothing. You can also use blu tac on non-porous surfaces or painted surfaces, glass, and metal. 

Fortunately, any remaining Blu-Tack material can be removed by rolling or dabbing it with another blu tac.

8. Simple Homemade Glue

Flour-in-a-Bowl

Not too long ago, everyone had a way to make some of their own products, because they were not widely available.

You can save yourself a lot of time and money by making your own glue. There are many recipes that you can use to formulate it with everyday household items.

The good news is that you don’t need a lot of materials, they all should be found within almost any household.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (4 oz) of water
  • ½ cup (72.50 g) of flour 

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix water and flour until you have a thick paste. 
  2. Place pan on the stove and cook the mixture until it boils. 
  3. Take it off the heat and let it cool down. 

Important Note: The glue will be ready once it has been cooled down. If you need to glue things to a card and you need that card right away, this next glue recipe will be useful.

If you don’t want to cook, or you don’t have a way to do so, there is a no-cook alternative you can try. Let’s look at that method now.

No-cook Paste

This one is not difficult to make and your kids can even just make it themselves. This makes a thick paste suitable for crafts. 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Measure the flour in a medium bowl. 
  2. Add water gradually while stirring until you reach a gooey consistency.
  3. Stir in a pinch of salt.

9. Homemade Craft Glue

Homemade-Craft-Glue-With-Finger-in-It

Another way to make DIY glue that is safe for kids has the following ingredients and steps.

Ingredients

Instructions 

  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and mix well with a whisk until there are no lumps. 
  2. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the ingredients to boiling point. You will notice that the mixture will start to thicken and turn translucent within minutes of boiling.
  3. Once the mixture is translucent you may take it off the heat to cool. 
  4. Remove the amount you need and add some hot water from the kettle until it resembles the thickness you need. 
  5. Once it’s cooled down enough to touch you can use it on your projects. 

Note: This recipe makes about 4 cups (32 oz) of glue, and it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for three months.

10. Homemade Waterproof Fabric Glue

What do you use when you need to fix your pants, but you don’t want to sew them up? If you use regular glue, it might wash out the next time you do laundry. You know that waterproof fabric glue is the best option for this project, but you don’t have any at the moment. 

Well, you’re in luck. 

This homemade waterproof fabric glue is the ideal solution for those quick fixes. Make up a batch now, so that when you need some, later on, you’ll have it. Of course, you might decide that you like this version better than the store-bought glue.

Ingredients

  • 12 tbsp (6.26 oz) water
  • 4 packets gelatin
  • ​4 tbsp (2 oz) white vinegar
  • ​4 tsp glycerin

Instructions

  1. Heat the water in a medium saucepan until it has reached boiling point. 
  2. Remove the pot from the burner.
  3. Then, add the gelatin and whisk the mixture to remove lumps. Make sure that there are no more lumps before moving on to the next step.
  4. Add the glycerin and the vinegar, and stir thoroughly for about five minutes. Ensure that the mixture is smooth.
  5. When the mixture is warm to the touch and becomes a gel-like compound, you can use it.

You don’t have cornstarch around the house? Let’s look at another recipe to make fabric glue from everyday products. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Baking soda
  • 15 ml (0.51 oz) White vinegar
  • ​Skimmed milk powder
  • ​Water
  • Funnel (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add enough water to the skim milk powder to make approximately 100 ml (3.38 oz) milk. 
  2. Then, put the milk and vinegar in a medium saucepan.
  3. Place the pot on the stove while you are stirring constantly. 
  4. When the mixture curdles, remove it from the stove.
  5. You can use a paper towel as a filter inside a funnel to pour the mixture into the funnel. This will separate the curds from the mixture. 
  6. Wash the curds so that you get rid of any extra vinegar.
  7. Put baking soda into the mixture and stir until the consistency is just right.

11. Homemade Natural Paper Mache Paste

Flour-Dough-in-a-Bowl

This is a homemade natural paper mache paste that uses basic kitchen ingredients. It is a thin flour-based glue that you are able to paint onto paper strips, or even moisten the strips with the help of the glue and then apply them. It dries to a smooth and rough finish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz) water
  • ¼ cup (36.25 g) flour
  • 5 cups (40 oz) boiling water

Method 

  1. Using a large saucepan, heat 5 cups of water until it boils, then remove from heat.
  2. Add flour to 1 cup of water and stir until there are no more lumps.
  3. Whisk this mixture into the boiling water.
  4. Allow the paper mache glue to cool down.

Note: If you’re not using it immediately, add a pinch of salt to prevent mold and store the glue in a sealed glass receptacle.

Why Homemade Glue Might Become a Staple In Your House

When you run out of glue at home, you can make homemade glue, which might become a new routine for you. Why? Because it can be cheaper and more fun than buying glue at the store. 

Also, whenever you run out of glue, you don’t have to postpone your sewing, craft, or other projects. Simply think beyond only using glue to stick your objects together and instead use other materials.

The best part? You won’t have to spend a lot of money and you should have the ingredients in your home already.

Bonus Sunstitute: Washi Tape

Want a beautiful alternative to glue?

Use washi tape! These are exquisite tapes produced from rice paper. They are often available in multiple colors and designs, as well as utilized for crafting and decorating craft projects. 

This kit from Amazon gives you 30 different colors to choose from when decorating your scrapbook, greeting cards, or even your phone case. Or, if you want patterns, this set gives you stars, hearts, neon lights, gradients, and other decorative doodles to spice up your craft project.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you find the perfect replacement for your lack of glue. Just make sure you don’t stretch too much and try using something like nails for a kids book project. Make sure the tool fits the task.

Thanks for reading!

For more, check out What Can I Use Instead of an Eraser? | 4 Easy Substitutes.

Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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