Spray adhesives are an excellent tool for adhering one material to another with pristine, wrinkle-free results. Traditional water-based glues, such as white glue, are often absorbed into materials, resulting in warping and bubbling as the water unevenly changes the composition of the materials. With spray adhesives, glue is applied in a thin, even layer via aerosol. Most glue droplets are not absorbed into the materials, preventing warping, staining, and yellowing. When applying spray adhesives, use a ventilated spray hood or box (or take your work outdoors), and wear a mask, gloves, and goggles. Spray adhesives are excellent for use with paper, cardboard, mat board, wood, plastic, and fabric. Note that many spray adhesive are extremely flammable; apply in a well-ventilated area away from heat and flames. For our favorite spray adhesives, read on.
1. Krylon All-Purpose Spray Adhesive
Do you need an exceptional spray adhesive for use with a wide variety of art materials? Krylon’s offering adheres papers, fabrics, and other lightweight materials together in a strong bond. It dries slowly, allowing time to reposition components. In fact, its slow drying time makes it great for stenciling: Lightly spray the back of your stencil, affix to the surface, paint, and then lift the stencil to achieve crisp, clean edges. (You’ll have to work quickly, though; the stencil will be removable for only a few minutes.) Krylon’s adhesive is also great for mounting drawings and photographs, for collages, and for general art gluing needs.
2. Gorilla Heavy Duty Spray Adhesive
Gorilla is known for its heavy-duty glues and tapes, so it’s no surprise that this spray adhesive is extremely strong. Its nozzle sprays with a fine, even stream, and the canister sits comfortably in the hand. Objects are repositionable for 10 minutes; upon drying, the bond is permanent. This formula is ideal for lightweight materials such as papers, mat board, and photos, and also works well with wood, metals, and fabrics. Test before using on plastic, vinyl, and foam; it works with some types but may damage others. The adhesive has a strong smell that lingers. It dries clear and is water resistant.
3. Aleenes All Purpose Tacky Adhesive Spray
Aleene’s adhesive spray is an excellent way to quickly and easily adhere flat objects to each other, such as lightweight woods, papers, boards, and vellums. It also works fairly well with fabrics, glitter, and found objects like seashells. Repositioning is possible for approximately 60 seconds, after which it dries crystal clear, without residue. Aleene’s is not waterproof and not ideal for outdoor use. Apply with caution: It has a strong smell and can irritate eyes, skin, and respiratory tracts. It cleans up and washes off hands more easily than most adhesive sprays. It is acid-free and permanent, so artworks will remain stunning for years to come.
4. 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive
Professional artists reach for 77 when they need a strong adhesive spray. When evenly applied to paper and lightweight objects, it has little soak-in and won’t stain. Materials are repositionable until the adhesive dries; its bond time is 15 to 30 seconds. Because there is minimal soak-in, materials won’t warp or bubble—they dry flat and even. Yet the adhesion is strong enough to hold relief sculpture components to a wall. The non-yellowing formula is ideal for mounting photos and drawings and for use with paper, fabric, plastic, foam, wood, leather, and just about any other material. This adhesive works like magic, producing astonishing results.