Knowhow-Now Article

Fabric glue is a significant crafts tool. Unlike paper that sticks easily, fabric glues need to be composed differently to ensure adhesion of surfaces. Glues and adhesives that stick paper get simply absorbed by cloth. Even if you use a heavy-duty paper and cardboard adhesive on cloth and fabric and it sticks on, the bond will not be a long-lasting one. Time or usage, both will ensure that fabric or cloth bonded using paper glue will not last for long.

Decoration and home crafts

Fabric glue is of different types. For home crafts use, you might look at a light-weight glue that is enough to keep together two surfaces together. Depending on how you intend to use the finished product, you can choose a heavy-duty fabric adhesive or a lighter one.

When used to decorate cloth with color or patchwork objects, fabric glue replaces the need for physically stitching two surfaces together. Glue can be used on both surfaces before they’re simply stuck together. The traditional way of attaching decorative objects like patches or crystals and beads to clothes or wall panels etc. has been to stitch these down. Most crystals and beads have holes bored through them to enable this. But the advantages of using glue are several:

> Fabric glue makes for faster and more convenient applications for these decorative items

> An adhesive also changes the aesthetics or the look of the object

> Where earlier an elaborate cross stitch or blanket stitch would be used, in bold colors, fabric glue makes for smoother and seamless attachments

> Attaching objects with glue is faster than the time taken to stitch it.

The craft of gilding

In gilding, adhesives are referred to as size. Size is adhesive that is an integral part of the gilding process. Appropriate type of size, or fabric glue, in the case of cloth, is needed to ensure that the gilding material sticks on to the surface of the fabric and does not give way on exposure to time or usage. Gilding is not just limited to home crafts and there are a number of variants and type of size or fabric adhesive and glues used to bind metallic leaf, such as gold or silver, to fabric.

> Care needs to be taken when using size or glue while gilding fabrics. Cloth has the tendency to immediately absorb whatever is put on it. In the case of gilding, the fabric could either soak up the size and cause the color to appear different, or it could show up through the metal leaf and ruin the entire effect.

> Size or glue must be applied to the fabric in the right quantity; too much of size can show up through the gilding and change the entire look of the object

> Excess size may seep out into the cloth and change the color

> Bubbles and blotches may be caused by excess volume of size; it can also stick to the gilding irretrievably, causing wastage of time and effort. In case 22 carat gold is used, excess glue can cause immense wastage in terms of money as well. Gold leaf is extremely delicate and can stick on to skin as well, if not handled with great care

Where is fabric glue used, ideally?

> Decorative objects can benefit from fabric glue, but if you plan for the object to bear weights or even small amounts of loads, you need to choose heavy duty adhesives or choose to stitch surfaces together

> If you're looking specifically at decorating by means of gilding, you should use a good quality size for the purpose. Size comes in several variants, depending on the surface to be gilded. For example, water-based size may not be suitable for outdoor usage, while the oil-based ones may need a more experienced hand to use them.

> Size, if used, does not behave in the same way as normal glues and adhesives. It is better to follow instructions when gilding or using size. Oil-based sizes take some time to reach the right consistency where they can receive the gold or silver leaf. Leaf cannot be used on wet size directly.

About the Author:

Neuberg & Neuberg Importers Group, Inc., (NNI) is a respected global name in the gold industry. The company is associated with producing the Wunda Size, invented by Sam Neuberg, the Founder of Easy Leaf Products (a division of NNI). Wunda Size is the first-ever water-based size. The company is a member of the Society of Gilders and specializes in gold leaf( ), fabric glue( ), high grade and quality bronze and other metallic powders, and adhesives, etc.

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