Leather also may need to handle temperature extremes and moisture. Accordingly, you must find a glue that can handle immersion and hot and cold temperatures. With this guide, you’ll be able to find the correct adhesive for your leather project.
1. E6000 Craft Adhesive – Best All-Around Glue
In addition to leather, E6000 is ideal for many uses. It’s waterproof, and with its ability to withstand extreme temperatures, this glue is appropriate for use on almost any material. Moreover, E6000 can be put through the dishwasher or washer and dryer with ease.
An Adhesive for Multiple Uses
E6000’s durability is a boon for any leather project. Moreover, it retains plenty of flexibility, even when dry and cured. Hobbyists and makers further may appreciate the ability to shift and separate the pieces they are working with for five minutes before the adhesive becomes permanent.
However, note that this glue does not dry instantly. After application, the glue won’t begin to set for five minutes. This lets you make last-minute adjustments. The manufacturer recommends allowing this product to sit for a minimum of 24 to 72 hours, depending on what you’re using it for. Consequently, you’ll need to select an alternative adhesive if you need the project to be done immediately.
E6000 is recommended for a vast array of uses. It’s inexpensive yet incredibly effective. The only things to be aware of are that it takes time to cure and that you must take care of replacing the cap after use as you might permanently glue the tube closed.
|Dries white and can be stained or painted||Requires 24 to 72 hours to cure so it’s not for projects with immediate need|
|Takes time to dry so you can make necessary alterations||Closing the cap requires care|
|Remains flexible after curing||–|
|Withstands water and temperature extremes||–|
2. Barge All Purpose Cement – Easiest to Spread
Barge spreads easily on all surfaces, including leather. The product is applied, then allowed to dry for less than half an hour before the two pieces that are being adhered together are placed in contact. It’s necessary to work quickly and carefully at this stage. Once the items are stuck together, they won’t come apart. Nonetheless, Barge recommends allowing the glued pieces to cure for 24 hours before use.
When this adhesive dries, it has a bit of color. Also, the manufacturer does not specify being able to paint or stain it. Proceed with caution if you prefer that the glue be invisible for your project.
|Strong, flexible hold||Requires 24 hours to cure|
|Durable and waterproof||Doesn’t allow for adjustments once items are stuck together|
|–||Dried glue has some color|
3. Gorilla Original Gorilla Glue – Best Leather Bonding Glue
This product is remarkably strong as it expands to three to four times its initial volume after it dries. Through this process, a stronger bond is ensured.
Before starting, understand that Gorilla Glue is not flexible. Use it only for stiff leather that you don’t expect to flex or bend.
|Incredibly strong bond||Not flexible|
|Expands to fill porous cavities||Dries brown and cannot be stained|
|Waterproof and temperature proof||–|
4. Loctite Liquid Professional Super Glue – Best for Immediate Projects
When speed matters, the perfect choice is Loctite Liquid glue. The tip of the applicator is pinpoint-sized for even the smallest jobs.
This adhesive dries transparent with a bit of shine. It may be too noticeable on some applications, and it may not respond well to paint and stain. The formula is “resistant” to freezing temperatures and water, which suggests that an excess of cold or moisture may cause it to fail.
|Dries in seconds||Misapplications are difficult to fix|
|Transparent when dry||Won’t always stand up to water immersion and extreme temps|
|No clamping or curing required||–|
5. Super Glue Gel – Best for Precision Application
This gel formula is perfect for working fast without drips. When you’re in a hurry and don’t want to deal with a mess, Super Glue Gel is a smart selection.
Also, the manufacturer doesn’t claim that this formula is waterproof, so it may not be appropriate for use outdoors or where it might get wet.
|Gel doesn’t run or drip||Can’t make adjustments once items are stuck together|
|Dries in seconds||Not waterproof|
Your goal will decide the adhesive you use. If you’re working on a large leather piece, then the applicators on the Loctite and Super Glue will be too small for practicality. Moreover, you must consider how much flexibility your finished product requires. Gorilla Glue is rigid, as are Loctite and Super Glue. Projects needing flexibility are better served by E6000 or Barge.
Of course, if time is of the essence, then Loctite and Super Glue are excellent choices. Projects that must withstand continued use will be better served by the other three items on this list.
How to Glue Leather
There are dozens of different brands out there that are made specifically to glue leather. Now, you can go to the home store and buy other contact cement, but if you’ve ever seen a kitchen where the Formica is delaminated after a while, there’s a reason for that, it ages, it cracks, that kind of stuff. Leather cement doesn’t do that.
This stuff tends to evaporate. And if you want, you don’t have to, but if you’re going after a lot of quantity, that kind of stuff, occasionally you can throw in some cement thinner. If this evaporates out and gets thick on you, you can throw some cement thinner in and do that.
Now when you’re glueing leather, there’s a flesh side, that’s the rough side, and the smooth side, that’s the outside. That’s the outside of the cow. The flesh side is the inside. Most of the time you tend to glue the flesh sides together, but there’s going to be a time when you glue the smooth side, and so on. What you want to do there is, wherever you’re going to glue, take a piece of sandpaper and roughen that up so that the contact cement has a good purchase. Otherwise, it’s going to pop off.
When you’re glueing this stuff, and putting some of this glue on, what happens is, especially when you rough it up on any side, like that. What happens is it goes in and disappears, and it soaks into the flesh side especially. What you’re looking for if you want a shiny surface all the way across. Now, this one we did earlier, and you can see some shine there, but you can’t see any shine there, and shine there. The glue is going to fail right in that area and that area. It’s not showing up in the camera, probably, but you get the idea. Now, here’s shiny on the smooth side, and you can see that it looks wet, but it’s actually dry.
This has chemicals in, and you don’t want this stuff on your skin. Now, here we put some glue across this whole backside, but it really soaked into several spots, and that’s where your bond is going to fail. What you’re going to want to do is come back and put another coat on. Once that dries, and you can see that’s dry. But if you touch two parts of it, it’s going to tack up, like that, and it’s going to glue what you’re going to do then hammer. Don’t mark it; use the flat. That’s stuck together.
Now, that bond is going to continue to cure for the next 24 hours. And, in 24 hours, that bond will be stronger than the leather itself. If you try and tear it apart, the leather will fail before the bond will. That’s glueing up with contact cement.
How to Remove Glue From Leather
A little bit more on glueing up leather with contact cement. Lots of times you get a little drizzle that goes across the leather, and on the front, when you’re going to dye it, that acts as a resist, and you don’t want that on your leather. Here’s a piece that had some glue on it, and when we put the dye on it and then saw that it was sticking out, we rubbed it off, and we ended up with that blotchy thing.
Here’s a little trick. If you drizzle some on there and you see some on there, take a pencil eraser, this is mechanical, we didn’t have a regular, and erase that out. Gently erase and keep going until the pencil eraser actually lifts up that glue, and I won’t do the whole thing, but you can get the idea. You can see there, where it’s removed that, and you’ll minimize a lot of that glue resist line. Sometimes you just can’t save it, sometimes you can. Use a pencil eraser and take care of those little drizzles on the front side. Doesn’t matter on the back side, you’re not concerned about that. But on the show side, take some of that resist off.