Can Glue Work on Plastic? A Simple Guide With Video

Have you ever tried to glue two pieces of plastic together and realized that the glue just wouldn’t stick? Gluing plastic can be quite challenging because you have to choose the right kind of glue for the type of plastic you want to glue.

So, can glue work on plastic? Glue can work on plastic, however, some kinds of glue work better than others. The best kinds of glue to use on plastic are super glue and epoxy glue. These glues will create a strong bond between the two pieces of plastic and will hold up well over time. Meanwhile, regular white glue or PVA glue will not bond with plastic at all.

Keep reading to learn more about the best kind of glue that you can use for different kinds of plastic.

How to Determine the Kind of Plastic You Have?

plastics to show how can glue work on plastic

The first step in knowing which glue to use for your plastic project is to determine the kind of plastic you are working with.

On most kinds of plastics, there is a recycling symbol that will help you determine what kind of plastic it is. This symbol is normally embossed or printed somewhere on the plastic item.

Take a look at the following table to learn what different recycling symbols indicate about the kind of plastic used

Recycling SymbolPlastic TypeCommonly Uses
PETE or PET or the number 1Polyethylene terephthalatePlastic Containers and Bottles
HDPE or PE-HD or the number 2High-density polyethyleneBottles, Recycling Bins, and Plastic Outdoor Toys
PVC or V or the number 3Polyvinyl ChloridePipes, Shower curtains, and Children´s Toys
LDPE or PE-LD or the number 4Low-Density PolyethyleneMost containers, dispensing bottles, and tubing
PP or the number 5PolypropyleneAuto Parts, Food Containers, and Dishware
PS or the number 6PolystyreneToys, general plastic utensils
OTHER or O or the number 7Other Plastics like acrylic, polylactic acid, and any combinations of different plasticsSome bottles and safety shields for glasses.

Plastics in categories 1, 2, 4, and 5 are very difficult to glue and might require more time for the glue to bond properly. While plastics in categories 3, 6, and 7 can be glued more easily and require less time.

What Are the Best Glues to Use on Plastic?

Super Glue and Epoxy Glue are the best glues to use on plastic as these two kinds of glue form a strong bond with most kinds of plastic surfaces.

Super glue is also known as crazy glue. It’s made from a base chemical component called cyanoacrylate which requires a degree of moisture on the surface to react and bond quickly.

Epoxy glue, on the other hand, is made from two starting compounds which are the resin and the hardener. These two compounds typically come in separate containers and need to be mixed before application in order to bond effectively.

If you are looking for a quick, easy fix, then it’s best to go with super glue. However, if you need a longer-lasting bond, then epoxy glue is the best choice for you.

Best Glue Products for Plastic

Here are some of the top-rated glues for plastic surfaces  that you can purchase on Amazon:

Loctite Super Glue Plastics Bonding System

This super glue works for all kinds of plastic.

It might seem like an epoxy glue at first because it has a two-step process, but it’s actually a super glue that comes with a primer to help prepare smooth plastic surfaces for bonding.

You won’t need to mix the glue and the primer together. You just need to apply the primer on the plastic and let it dry, then apply the glue.

The glue will start to set in a few seconds, but you should give it 12 to 24 hours to fully cure.

Gorilla Super Glue Gel

This super glue works for all kinds of plastics with the exception of polyethylene and polypropylene plastics.

The gel-like consistency of the glue is thick which makes it easy to control when applying it.

It will start to set in a few seconds so you won’t you won’t be stuck holding the plastic parts together. However, it’s best to give it 24 hours to fully cure

Gorilla Epoxy Glue

This epoxy glue works for all plastics, except PVC, polyethylene, and polypropylene.

It comes with a syringe design that conveniently keeps the resin and the hardener separate until you’re ready to glue.

It’s recommended to roughen up the surface of the plastic before applying the glue then you’ll have about 5 minutes to work with the glue before it begins to set

It’s also recommended to let the glue cure for 24 hours.

How to Apply Glue on Plastic?

To ensure the glue will bond properly with the plastic, you need to make sure the surface you’re applying the glue on is prepared to take on the bond.

You need to clean the plastic from any dust or oil using a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol then leave it to air dry.

If the plastic surface you’re applying the glue on is too smooth, the glue might not bond properly. So, it might also be a good idea to roughen it a little before applying the glue. You can easily do that by running fine-grid sandpaper lightly over the surface.

When applying the glue to the plastic, make sure you have enough of the glue and spread it across the surface. You can use a toothpick or a Q-tip to help you apply the glue in hard-to-reach places

After applying the glue to plastic, you need to hold the two parts in place until the glue is fully cured. You can use some type of easy-to-remove adhesive tape such as simple plastic tape or scotch tape. You can also use weights or clamps to hold them together.

Here is a simple video explaining how to apply glue on plastics:

How Long Does It Take Glue to Dry When Applied on Plastic?

Super glue and epoxy glue dry can take about 10-20 minutes to dry when applied to plastic. However, it will take up to 24 hours for the bond between the two plastics to be fully cured

Also, keep in mind that there are many factors that can affect the speed of the drying process such as:

  • The kind of glue you’re using.
  • The amount of glue and how many layers are applied to the surface.
  • The temperature of the room you’re working in and the level of humidity.

I have a complete guide for the reasons some glues won’t dry here where I also discuss the ways you can use to make them dry quickly.

Related Questions

How to Remove Glue from a Plastic Surface?

If you need to remove the glue from a plastic surface, you can use acetone or nail polish remover. These solvents will help soften the glue and make it easier to remove. Just be sure to test these solvents on an inconspicuous area of the plastic first to ensure they won’t damage the surface.

Will Glue Dots Work on Plastic?

Glue dots will not work on plastic because the surface isn’t porous enough to allow the glue dot adhesive to penetrate and bond with it properly. However, these dots can be used for other kinds of surfaces such as wood, fabric, paper, and drywall. Meanwhile, it’s best to use super glue or epoxy glue for plastic.

What Kind of Glue Is Best for Wood?

The best glue for wood is animal glue. That is because this kind of glue forms a strong bond with wood that does not wear out over time. It dries clear, so you can apply multiple without becoming too clumpy or noticeable. It can also be softened with heat which will allow you to separate the glued surfaces by applying heat to correct any irregular fits.

Helpful Resources 

Types of Plastic and how they’re used

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