While making leather crafts, precise binding of surfaces is important for neat outcomes. Therefore, one of the ways besides sewing for clean and usable leatherworks is using leather glue. Particularly, we recommend applying the best glue for leather, depending on the leather project at hand.
To help you get the best glue for leather, we have put together a detailed buying guide. However, for a better background of the products in context, let's first understand the essence of leather glue.
What is Leather Glue?
Leather glue refers to the adhesive materials that are used to bind leather materials. Accordingly, the bonds formed by leather glue might be temporary or permanent. If the bond is temporary, leather bonding can also be complemented with sewing for strong bonds. Additionally, leather glue can be used for repairs and new leather creations.
In addition, there are different types of leather glues that are applied by leatherworkers. While at it, it is important to understand the application techniques for each of the leather adhesives. Having understood the concept of leather glue, let's look at the five best products in this category.
What is the best glue for leather?
1. Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue
- Superior Performance: Heavy-duty cyanoacrylate super glue works faster...
- Fast and Easy: Super strength formula sets in 15-30 seconds with no...
- Maixmum Control: Features an extra-long, pinpoint nozzle for precise...
- Versatile: Works well on a variety of porous and non-porous surfaces...
- Invisible Repairs: Super glue liquid formula sets quickly and dries...
Our first choice for the best glue for leather is the Loctite liquid professional super glue. Specifically, we recommend this glue for its fast drying speed. Additionally, this incredible adhesive product comes with a pinpoint application tip that can be used for the smallest leather surfaces. As a result, your leatherworks tend to be precise and neat while using this Loctite leather adhesive.
Also, when this glue dries, it gives out a transparent outlook with a shiny aesthetic. However, the application of this adhesive might be too noticeable, making it have a bad impression on stain and paint. Also, this adhesive is resistant to water and freezing temperatures, but resistance isn't adequate to withstand excessive moisture and cold temperatures. Even so, this adhesive is resourceful in making quick leather fixes as long as you follow the manufacturer's consumer guide.
2. Gorilla Clear Glue
- Bonds virtually everything: wood, stone, metal, ceramic, foam, glass &...
- Crystal clear
- Water resistant
- Incredibly strong and easy to use
We also recommend the Gorilla glue, which is water-activated and can be used widely. In addition, we like this adhesive for crystal-clear impression and its formula that is non-foaming. You can use this glue comfortably for both outdoor and indoor purposes.
When it comes to application time, you simply need to dampen one surface, apply glue to the other, and achieve a strong bond. For a successful bond, you should clamp the glued surfaces for a minimum of two hours and leave the leatherwork for at least a whole day for a full cure. Furthermore, while working using this glue, you need to be cautious because adjustments might damage your leatherworks after curing. However, you have a short time, around 180 seconds, to clean the excess adhesive after application.
When it comes to durability, this gorilla glue is made water-resistant and temperature resistant but not waterproof. These features mean that the glue can withhold intermittent moisture exposures but not continuous water immersions and exposures that might risk the bond strength. However, if this glue remains after your project, it is recommended that you store it in a dry and cool environment with light access to avoid the yellowing of this adhesive.
3. Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement, 4 oz
- Fiebing's Leathercraft Cement is an easy to use, quick drying glue for...
- Water-based contact adhesive can be used for a variety of crafts and...
- Super high strength, permanent bonding with long lasting results.
- Safe, non-toxic and non-flammable formula. Dries clear.
- Manufactured by Fiebing's. 4 oz bottle.
Our third choice for the best glue for leather is the Fiebing’s Leathercraft Cement. This contact cement on our list is easy to apply and is fast drying on leather and other materials such as rubber, faux leather pieces, wood, felt, and plastic. Taking the trademark of adhesive cement, Fiebing's cement has an ultra-high bond strength that is non-flammable and stable. Something else we like about this glue is that it doesn't stiffen your material when applied.
This cement adhesive takes around 4 hours to completely dry and a whole day to fully cure during application. Subsequently, you can make adjustments to your projects when using this adhesive. On the applied objects, the Fiebing's cement is water-resistant and waterproof for easy cleaning and worry-free exposure to excess water like rainwater.
Moreover, this adhesive can be applied to diverse leather items, including boots, jackets, shoes, belts, car seats, and furniture. It is also ideal for unique leather creations like baseball gloves. Luckily, you won't have to worry about this glue being messy, particularly because of its smooth consistency.
4. Aleene’s15594 Leather & Suede Glue 4oz
- Includes one (4 fl. oz.) bottle of Aleene’s Leather & Suede Glue
- Ideal for bonding leather to leather; suede to suede
- Nontoxic formula dries with a clear, flexible bond
- Won’t soak through or stain leathers and suedes
- For best results, lightly roughen surfaces before bonding
If you are into DIY designs and suede fixes, we also got you covered. Accordingly, we recommend using Aleene's leather suede glue that is versatile and easy to use. We also love this suede adhesive for its quick-drying speed and doesn't stain the bonded materials. Another advantage of this glue is that it is non-toxic and natural for your safety.
This Aleene's leather suede glue is ideal for repair works and new projects such as bags, home decors, and clothing. While at this dual functionality, this glue provides a clear drying impression and can be used alongside stitching for further leather reinforcement. Considering it has an irreversible bonding, you should be careful to make adjustments because its drying speed is slow to allow for this.
Moreover, this adhesive comes with an adjustable tip that you can customize for easy application, depending on your glue flow needs. Additionally, you should also ensure you work on this glue using gloves. Eventually, you can easily wipe this glue when dry, but you cannot wash it off to achieve a neat leather job.
5. Barge All-Purpose Cement Rubber Leather Shoe Waterproof Glue
- Provides a superior bond Waterproof, will not freeze Easy to spread
- DRY TIME: 10-15 Min.
- OPEN TIME: Up to 4 Hours
Our list wouldn't be complete without the Barge all-purpose waterproof cement adhesive. This solvent-based glue provides a transparent finish after drying. In addition, we like this cement adhesive for its balanced features relating to convenience, strength, resistance, and easy cleaning. Moreover, this barge glue cement can bind rubber, fabric, cotton, PVC, and leather pieces.
Another advantage of this barge all-purpose cement is that it is waterproof and once fully cured, and it is resistant to extreme heat and cold temperatures as well as bending. Additionally, it only takes 10 minutes for this contact cement to stick leather, and with an open window, it can take 10 hours to cure fully. If you want to hasten the drying process, you can activate this adhesive using heat. Even so, you should avoid using fire because it is flammable.
If this barge all-purpose cement remains, you should avoid storing it in high temperatures, but it is freeze resistant. After storage, you should shake the container when you want to use it. Moreover, cleaning up messes caused by this adhesive is easy using a thinner and acetone.
Types of Leather Glues and Adhesives
Any glue or adhesive even wood glue can bind leather surfaces, but the question will remain how long and effective a bond can hold. In that case, there are certain glue types that we recommend specifically for leather. The leather glue types to be discussed feature effective bonding of natural leather surfaces with fibers and porous leather material. Also, the glue types to be featured are ideal for new leather creations or to repair leather.
1. Leather Glue
Leather glues are usually dry clear and white, making them versatile across different leather finishes and colors. These leather binders are also flexible and can be used by those who love to wear latex. In addition, the durability and strength of the glue type are ideal for either a leather repair kit or for new projects.
You don't have to glue both surfaces for this adhesive type, but instead, one is adequate for an effective bond. Leather glues have the advantage of easy application and can be used before stitching. However, leather glues contain volatile organic compounds, which cause nausea and headaches. Examples of specific leather glues include Aleene's leather and suede glue and Tandy's Eco-flo leather adhesive.
2. Contact Cement
Another type of leather adhesive is contact cement which is remarkable in forming a strong bond. Precisely, this type of adhesive is used to bond leather surfaces permanently and can be used without the need for sewing. However, if you pull apart surfaces bonded with contact cement such as shoe glue, it is most likely to tear the fibers before the glued comes apart.
When applying craft cement, you should apply it on both surfaces before bonding. Luckily, if you apply leather cement evenly, you can be sure of achieving a smooth, clean, and flexible bond. Thus, you can use the crafting cement on shoes, jackets, bags, and other flexible materials. Nevertheless, these adhesives contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which require users to wear face masks when applying them to avoid nausea and headaches.
3. Gorilla Super Glue Gel
This third type of glue is specifically appropriate for repairs due to its fast-drying nature. Accordingly, super glue is made in diverse formulas that can work on different leather goods. However, besides its effectiveness in patching up leather, this adhesive type is not ideal for long-lasting and flexible leatherworks. Therefore, if you seek a permanent bond, gorilla glue is less effective than its cement and leather glue counterparts.
Furthermore, gorilla glue has the qualities of a cyanoacrylate adhesive that doesn't require moisture to activate it. Ideally, cyanoacrylate adhesives such as super glue are renowned for their strong but delicate binding. On the delicate part, gorilla glue cannot work on smooth surfaces or in the presence of friction. Therefore, Gorilla Glue is ideal for quick repairs but is not the best option for flexible leather creations and might have exothermic reactions with organic materials like leather.
How to Use Leather Glue
When crafting new leather items or doing a shoe repair, you should remember to follow certain tips for your select leather glue to yield long-lasting bonds. Below is a brief explanation of the standard process you can follow when applying glue on leather.
- Space preparation. This includes ensuring there is adequate ventilation to avoid chemical smells as you do your leatherworks. Also, ensure that your working surface is covered to avoid unnecessary stains when working.
- Material preparation. This second step ensures that the bonding surfaces have enough fibers for a permanent bond and are neat enough for clean bonds. Material preparation also ensures that you have the right glue for the material at hand. For instance, porous materials are best suited by PVA glue, and this can only be matched during material preparation.
- Ensure you apply the recommended safety equipment. For instance, most leather glue manufacturers recommend applying face masks and gloves to avoid nose and skin irritation. Also, you should use cotton or nylon gloves for better skin protection, unlike PVC gloves that can have adverse effects on your hands if you are using PVA glue.
- Apply your leather glue. After ensuring that the working area, material, and yourself are ready, you can now apply the adhesive you have depending on the project at hand.
- Bonding process. This step involves positioning your glued pieces together to initiative the bonding process.
- Applying pressure on bond. Ideally, you can use bond clamps, rubber bands, or a small mallet to apply pressure on the glued seams. This process also helps in speeding up the drying and bonding process.
- Allowing the glue to cure. Curing refers to the complete drying and adhesion of the glued surfaces. In most cases, it can take up to two days for full curing to happen. Moreover, full curing depends on the climatic conditions around your working area and the glue thickness applied.
- Cleaning up. Applying glue can be messy, and it is necessary to do a cleanup to remove the excess glue for clean leatherworks. If glue is stuck on unintended surfaces and objects, you can wash off the mess after completing your project.
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Glue For Leather
1. Leather Surface
Different leather glues work differently on different leather types and leather creations. For example, when making a knife sheath or a wallet, a basic leather adhesion will work. Nonetheless, while creating a favorite leather jacket, complex bag, or other complex leather works, the best leather glue would be leather cement. Understandably, contact cement is responsible for almost permanent bonds, and it is the right glue for bonding leather in more intricate projects like leather shoes and boots.
Also, when doing high-grade leather repairs, you will need a strong leather binder, considering that the leather surface is also spent. For instance, super glue would effectively glue after stitching projects like furniture, car seat, and shoe repairs. In the end, the leather glue you settle for should be suitable for the leather surface and whether the item in question has a thick or thin layer for flexibility.
2. Waterproof vs. Water Resistant
Leather goods are considered to have a durable material that is suitable for wet conditions. Particularly, bridle and latigo leather materials are known to be treated with oils and waxes that enable them to be water-resistant and waterproof. For differentiation, waterproof glue can withstand water immersion, but water resistance can only withstand small intensity splashes and moisture.
Subsequently, the best adhesive to bond leather should be waterproof and water-resistant. This consideration will ensure that your leather goods don't let in water or fluid along the bonded leather joints.
Accordingly, leather contact cement is the best binding compound for items that may be exposed to rainwater, such as shoes, briefcases, or backpacks. In addition, contact cement is the right glue for waterproof items because it is chemical in nature and tacky to provide a durable bond in damp conditions. Additionally, super glue is also waterproof and water-resistant.
3. Drying Speed
While gluing leather, you should also consider the drying speed of the type of glue your choose. Particularly, sticking leather surfaces can be challenging considering it is a natural material with diverse reactions to various chemical fabric glue types. The drying speed also depends on the leatherworks done, whether crafting new items or undertaking leather repairs.
Nonetheless, the right leather glue should dry relatively quickly, depending on the size of the leather project you are undertaking. To better understand the different drying speeds, below is a brief analysis of each type of leather adhesive.
- Leather cement dries the quickest. After applying the contact cement evenly on leather surfaces, you will only wait a minute or two and stick glued seams. Immediately the glued surfaces touch, a permanent bond is formed.
- Leather super glue also dries fast within a few minutes. However, the fast-drying speed of super glues doesn't allow adequate time to assemble leather works. Therefore, super glue is ideal as a leather repair glue.
- Leather glues dry the slowest, often needing 10-20 minutes to bind leather surfaces. Even so, this type of leather binder allows for minor adjustments before the leather bonds hold.
Moreover, depending on the adhesives you choose, you should also consider the application process of each type. Yes, applying glue on leather goods might not be rocket science, but proper application preparations for each glue type matter for the best outcomes. Across all glue types, scuffing a smooth surface is necessary to increase the surface fibers for better adhesion.
Under application, it would help if you buy leather glue with a squeeze bottle to make the flow smooth as you apply your glue. When it comes to contact cement, you should consider a product with an acid application brush to reduce the mess. Leather cement is particularly stretchable, tacky and flexible, and should be applied carefully along seams using a brush. Finally, when it comes to superglues, they are easy to apply from container tips to leather surfaces.
After applying glue, it is also important to consider if the used glue requires pressure for forming better bonds. In most cases, leatherworkers prefer to pound glued leather seams using a small hammer for even and good bonds.
5. Environmental Considerations
We have already covered the aspect of water resistance and waterproof adhesives. Even so, there are other environmental factors that may affect the glued leather bonds besides water. For instance, extreme temperatures may render glues ineffective on leather goods. Consequently, it is best to buy leather glue that is resistant to temperature during and post-application.
Still, under environmental consideration, we also recommend that you buy glue products that are harmless to the environment. Accordingly, water-based leather adhesives are eco-friendly, unlike glues made with toxic contents that increase carbon emissions and pollute the environment.
Frequently Asked Question on the Best Glue For Leather
1. Is Gorilla Glue good for leather?
Gorilla glue is not ideal for use on leather creations. The reason for this is that it dries quickly and doesn't allow enough room for adjustments. Additionally, it is appropriate for flexible leather works because it makes bonded material stiff. Nonetheless, Gorilla super glue is ideal for quick leather fixes and repairs.
Image source: bobvila.com