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Glues for Seashell Crafts

Updated on September 20, 2015

Introduction to Glues for Seashell Crafts

Seashell crafts require glues to put them together. The glues should be permanent once they dry, so that humidity in the air doesn’t tear apart your seashell art. White glue and hot melt glue both work well. Their characteristics allow putting together crafts with seashells to be done easily and with minimal fuss.

I’m sure there are other glues in the market that could also be used when putting together shell crafts but these are the ones I use. They are in-expensive and easily found in most stores such as craft supply, discount, home improvement and dollar stores.

White Glue for Seashell Crafts

White glue is used for many crafts other than seashell crafts. This glue is made by a bunch of different companies and easily found across America and the internet. The one I use the most often is Elmer’s Glue All multi-purpose glue.

This glue stays wet long enough to place seashells where they belong and allows for repositioning the seashells when not quite where they should be. The wetness is also a welcome characteristic when adding sand to the seashell projects. It allows the sand to cling to the glue and bonds permanently when the glue finishes drying.

Here are some things about white glue for you:

  • It is a member of the drying adhesive family.
  • For standard white glue this means that the adhesive hardens as the water it is dissolved in evaporates into the surrounding air.
  • The glue generally stays wet for a few minutes before it begins to gel and get hard.
  • It becomes more or less clear as it hardens and, if not too much is used, can become almost invisible.
  • It can bond to most materials – both non-porous and porous – to various degrees.
  • Clean-up is easy as long as you do it before the glue dries – just use a damp cloth to wipe it up.
  • It is not made from animal’s (that’s what I read on most of the sites I visited for information) but rather is made from man-made chemicals mixed with an evaporating solvent (usually water).

This glue has been used for just about everything from school projects to light home repair. Besides using it for making crafts with seashells, I have also used it to repair ceramic figures that have had pieces knocked off accidentally and to bond pieces of wood.

When doing seashell crafts and other projects, leaving the glue exposed to the air for too long will cause it to gel. Make sure to keep the cap closed on the bottle too, so the glue stays fluid until you need to use it again.

Hot Melt Glue for Seashell Crafts

Hot melt glue, like white glue, is useful for seashell crafts. It can be used to attach seashells and other items directly to things like wreaths, walls, and each other.

It can also be used to fill in seashells. Use it to make faux pas oceans and islands for your seashell crafts. Then use it to bond the island or ocean onto another seashell or item on. Quite a few of the shellcrafter designs use this method to create unique shell crafts.

For home use it comes in round sticks between 4 inches (most common) and 12 inches long. The sticks are used with glue guns which will melt the sticks as you press the trigger. The hot glue will come out of the nozzles and stick to whatever the tip of the gun is near. Make sure it’s not you as the hot glue can burn.

There are at least two sizes of guns for home use (industrial sizes are another story altogether), and two glue stick diameters to support these guns.

The first is what is called the standard size (or regular size). They use glue sticks that are about 7/16 inch in diameter. The second size is known as the mini glue gun and uses slightly thinner glue sticks that are about 5/16 inch in diameter. Either can be used for seashell crafts.

Both guns work the same way. You plug them into an outlet, let the tips get hot, and use the trigger near the handle to push the glue sticks into the tip. The element in the tip gets it hot enough to melt the glue which then comes out of the tip ready to be applied to the seashell craft.

The advantage of the larger size is faster application of larger amounts of glue – great for filling in those seashells. It can be done with the smaller gun also – just seems to take longer.

Here are some bits of information on hot melt glue gleaned from an internet search:

  • Hot melt glue is also known as hot adhesive, hot melt adhesive and thermoplastic adhesive.
  • They are thermoplastics that are melted to be applied and which turn solid on cooling.
  • Most hot adhesives sold for crafts are an ethylene-vinyl acetate compound that can form strong bonds between different materials.
  • The hot glue sticks and the guns that use them can also be bought as either high heat or low heat.
  • The hot glue can solidify from a few seconds up to 60 seconds or more depending on heat type of the glue.

The advantage of the low heat glue guns for use at home is that there is less of a chance of getting a severe burn. The disadvantage is that the bonding of materials is not as good.

The advantage of the high heat glue gun is that it creates great bonds between materials. The disadvantage is that the melted glue or the tip of the gun can cause severe burns if handled.

For seashell crafts either heat type will work.

Seashell Crafts Glues Conclusion

These are the glues that I use when designing crafts with seashells. Most of the time, the glue of choice is the all-purpose permanent white glue. The glue guns and sticks come in handy when a large volume (such as the inside of a large seashell) needs to be filled in to form the base for an “ocean” or an “island.”

What Glue do You Use for Crafts and Household needs?

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