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What’s PVA glue? (Everything You Need to Know About It)

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If you're into arts and craft, woodwork, and other DIY projects, you might be familiar with PVA glue. But what's PVA glue, exactly? What does it stand for? Is it different from wood glue or Elmer’s glue? What are the applications of PVA glue?

PVA is short for polyvinyl acetates. But unless you are a chemist or scientist, that doesn't really mean anything, does it?

PVA glue is used interchangeably with white glue, Elmer's glue, wood glue and crafts glue. However, they are not all the same in intensity or strength. There are also a few different types of PVA glue.

Types of PVA glue

Regular PVA Glue

As the name suggests, it’s the common kind. Elmer’s glue, school glue, and some crafts glue fall under this category. However, they’re also not all the same. They can differ in intensity and strength and according to the purpose of use.

For instance, artists who plan on selling their artwork will opt for something stronger and more long-lasting than Elmer’s.

PVA Wood Glue

As the name suggests, PVA wood glue is specifically for wood. Unlike common PVA, wood glue is usually yellowish in color. Nonetheless, it is still PVA.

Wood glue works best if you clamp the wood together as the glue dries up. Doing this promotes a stronger and tighter hold on the glued pieces.

PVA Water-resistant Glue

As the name suggests, this type of PVA glue is water-resistant. This is ideal for pieces that are likely to get wet like outdoor furniture. Water-resistant PVA also resists moisture better, thus resisting mildew as well.

Characteristics and Advantages of PVA Glue

Most PVA glues are white but there is a yellow version that is commonly known as carpenter's glue. PVA is rubbery, flexible, and water soluble.

Water-soluble means you can mix it with water and you can do so if you want to make the glue thinner. If you do that, make sure to add the water a small amount at a time until you get the consistency you like.

Another thing about PVA glue is that it is strong. It lasts long, dries clear, and does not discolor over time. It also does not give off any harmful odor. Lastly, PVA glue is generally safe. It is only toxic if you ingest it. That said, make sure you keep it away from children!

What is PVA glue for?

What is PVA glue for

Generally, PVA glue is used for gluing porous objects. Some examples of porous objects are wood, fabric, and paper. Below are common ways PVA glue is used:

  • Bookbinding
  • Gluing wood
  • Arts and crafts
  • Gluing wallpaper
  • As a leather glue/adhesive

Can kids use PVA glue?

As mentioned earlier, PVA glue is only toxic if ingested. However, you can now find child-safe PVA glue that is non-toxic. Of course, you should always supervise kids when using glue. If it is their first time to use PVA, observe for any reactions on their skin.

Can kids use PVA glue

Where can I get PVA glue?

PVA glue is pretty common. You can find it in arts and craft stores, hardware stores, hobby stores, and office and school supplies stores. You can also find it online and in grocery stores.  

Tips on Using PVA glue

  • Clamping or adding pressure to the objects while the glue is drying allows the PVA to stick better. If the objects are loose, the PVA won't dry as strong because there are air spaces. This applies to all mediums, but mostly on wood. Keep the clamp or pressure on for about 24 hours for best results.
  • To clean PVA glue on your skin or other surfaces, use warm and soapy water.
  • For art projects with kids, use a brush to spread the glue if they don’t like touching it. You can also use something straight (like a ruler) to even out and remove excess glue.
  • For school and small-scale projects, Elmer’s glue should do the trick. It’s good enough for paper, popsicle sticks, and other craft materials. However, if you want something to last you for years and even decades, you might want to opt for something stronger. Refer to the types of glue above to help you decide what kind to get.

I hope this answers many of your questions about PVA glue. If you have any other questions, concerns, or even comments, feel free to use the comment section.





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