There are many reasons why you might need to join leather to something, the most common ones being DIY home projects, DIY crafts projects, or some sort of hobby work. Whatever the reason is, you should know that not any glue you have on hand will work well with leather.
If you do not know what kind of glue to use on leather, don’t fret. We are here to teach you about them today! In this article, we will be talking about glues you can use on leather.
Let’s get into it!
Why You Need Leather Specific Glue
Leather is a very durable material, which means items made of leather will last you for a long time. Also, leather is a heavier material. So, for leather, you need glues that can withstand the test of time. The glue also needs to be strong enough to hold leather well, which typical school glue cannot.
Also, leather is made of flesh and skin, which means it is porous. So, the glue you use on it should be able to bind leather without ruining the look of it. Leather is very malleable, too, which requires an adhesive that is flexible and will not break down if abused.
In short, the glue needs to be suitable for porous surfaces and hold the weight of heavy materials. The glue should also last indefinitely. There are several types of glues that fit the bill; keep reading to know about them.
What Kind of Glue Works on Leather?
Let’s discuss the glues that work on leather.
If you look up glue for leather, many types of glue with the name ‘cement’ will come up. Usually, this kind of glue is used on materials that are non-porous, such as tiles. Typical glues do not have the strength to hold these materials.
This glue is also a widely used leather adhesive, as it is thick enough to not get seeped into the pores of the leather. It is perfect for more challenging leather projects that utilize heavy leather.
Did I mention how strong of a bond it creates? Once a bond is made with this, do not even think about undoing it because you can’t. If you try, you will only be tearing apart the fibers of the leather. That is how robust this glue is.
If you wish to use contact cement, apply a layer of it on both of the surfaces you want to stick. Make sure to apply it on both; otherwise, it will not work. Also, make the layers even to ensure a smooth joining. Let the glue dry for about 15 minutes. Then, position the leather parts carefully and connect.
Be very careful and precise when you are doing this, as once the pieces are in contact, you cannot repositing them. Do you get why it got the name ‘contact cement’ now?
Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) Glue
Glues belonging to the PVA family are often advertised as suede fabric & leather glues. The positives of this kind of glue are that it is water-based and non-toxic, which gives you more flexibility.
You can wash the glue off if you need to, provided that it is still wet. And, you also get room to wiggle the leather into position before the adhesive dries totally and creates a strong bond. See? It is a flexible product.
However, the downside to that is that you may need to clamp the leather in place to ensure that the leather is sticking the way you want it to. So, it may not work on items that cannot be clamped.
A popular glue of this kind is the Gorilla glue. These glues are perfect for when you need to do leather repairs, and they have big gaps that require filling. As you might have already known about Gorilla glue, polyurethane glues create incredibly strong, robust, and long-lasting bonds.
Another cool feature is that these glues, despite being incredibly strong- are still flexible. So, they suit leather quite well.
If you come across adhesives claiming to be suitable for repairing vinyl, it is likely that those glues come from the polyurethane family and are perfectly suitable for leather as well.
Polyurethane adhesive is also waterproof. So, if the leather project you have on hand is an outdoor one or may be exposed to moisture in any way, you know which glue to reach for.
However, be cautious that this family of glues is toxic. So, do not skip the precautionary measures such as gloves when using one. Need I also mention that you should also keep it away from children?
If you are using this glue, moisten the leather surface and the surface of whatever you are bonding it with before the application. That will create a successful bond that is here to last.
Cyanoacrylate (CA) Glue
The good old superglue you know belongs to this family of adhesives. As you can guess from the term ‘super’ in its name, this glue is very strong. It is best used for small repairs on leather. Do not use super glue to repair larger tears on leather that requires to be filled in by the glue itself.
Superglue typically comes as a very runny sticky liquid that dries on contact. You know what that means, right? It means you need to work fast, and you need to do it precisely.
If you need a bit more leeway when positioning things, superglue also comes in gel form. This gel is more viscous, so the glue will not be running everywhere, which is often the case with the liquid form.
Also, keep in mind that this is not the strongest one when it comes to leather glue.
If you have been paying attention, you already know that craft glues will not be holding leather together that well. Then, why did they make a list despite having a very light hold on leather?
Well, that is because sometimes you may not want a permanent bond on leather. When people are sewing leather, they use it to hold the leather pieces together as they sew. This makes the work much easier.
Craft glues such as Elmer’s are great at this. It dries somewhat quickly, gets tacky, and provides enough strength that the leather does not shift around when moving through a sewing machine. And should you need it, you can pull apart the joint after you are finished.
Do not be fooled by the word ‘cement’ in its name because this glue is very different from contact cement. In fact, it is the exact opposite as it falls under the same category as the previous glue. Rubber cement, like craft glue, makes a weak bond that can be pulled off when needed.
Likewise, it is also used for applications such as riveting, sewing, and other similar works.
So, while craft glue and rubber cement are not the ones to go for typical leather gluing projects, if you want a temporary hold on leather for something, there are the ones to go for. Otherwise, choose polyurethane or contact cement.
By now, you should be fully aware of what kind of glue to use on leather and when to use them. We have tried to build a complete guide for you so that you do not need to go look elsewhere. And we hope we were able to achieve that.
That’s all for now. See you next time!