Your miniature questions are welcome here!

The original Miniatures Question and Answer Blog was the brain child of Nikki Rowe from Witch and Wizards Miniatures. Lately, she realized that she was spreading herself way too thin to continue doing all the things she's involved with well.

Since we all wait in anticipation of what awesome item she'll create next and we all want her to concentrate on making those fabulous mini's that we love, I have agreed to take over the responsiblity of the Miniature Question and Answer blog.

Format is the same. Once a week, on Sunday or Monday, a new question will be posted, researched and, with any luck, answered. You are all welcomed and encouraged to comment with your own answers and suggestions.

If you have a miniature related question you'd like investigated, the best way is to send me an e-mail.

But you can also put it in the comments section as a suggestion for the following week and, hopefully, I'll find it.

Nikki will be deleting the original blog so you will have to "re-follow" here, but I have saved all the questions...and answers and comments and they will be the subject of the first post.

Sounds like fun, eh?



Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Sticky Situation....

.... in other words...GLUE!!

What’s your favorite?  What works best for you in certain situations?
There are lots of explanations/tutorials about various glues on the web and this is not intended to be another, but one of the things I find lacking in those descriptions is personal experiences.  We’ll focus on adhesive miniaturists are most likely to use.
Ya know, just because something is supposed to work in a certain way doesn’t mean it will. :-/
We have all heard of PVA glue (polyvinyl acetate).  Here’s some helpful info from the site  This to That:  I’ve add my comments in Red.
PVA (Polyvinyl acetates) are probably the most common adhesive on the market. They come in a variety of formulas, all ever so slightly different, and specific to what they are designed to glue. Here are some tips for using polyvinyl acetates.
§  All PVAs are designed to work on porous materials only. This means they won’t work very well when gluing plastic to plastic or plastic to wood, for example.  It might seem to hold initially but the bond is not permanent.  Of course, if you don’t want the bond to be permanent, that’s another story.  I use PVA to glue plastic window panes to the frames of the windows because it dries clear, doesn’t damage the plastic and I can remove them easily if I want.  It holds enough to keep them in place because there is very little stress put on that bond.  So it suits my purpose….
§  PVAs are water based, and clean up with warm soapy water.
§  PVA is only toxic to ingest, it does not emit any harmful fumes, and is not hazardous to touch
§  PVA sets best in good air circulation, at room temperature.
§  PVAs need pressure to adhere.  Only slight pressure is usually necessary, depending on what is being glued.  I use the little non-toothed clamps made specifically for electronics on paper or card.  I have some clamps for wood or I use tape.  When I use my gluing jig, the pressure from the magnets seems to be enough.
§  Most PVAs are not water proof. The yellow PVAs have a higher moisture resistance than the white ones, but neither are completely water proof.  If I want a wood join to be as strong as the wood itself, I always use a yellow “carpenter’s” glue. White glue works but not nearly as well in my experience.  Also, the yellow PVA is not flexible when dry; it forms a nice, hard bond.  Keeps the legs from wiggling on the table…
§  Never allow your PVAs to freeze. This breaks down the polymers and your glue will be rendered useless!  Found this out the hard way….
§  Yellow PVAs have a shorter shelf life than white PVAs.
§  Be wary of overpriced PVAs that claim to be for a specific use. There is very little difference from one PVA to the other and nothing that should increase the cost. Except that I find Elmer’s, while it dries clear initially, tends to yellow over time and is not very flexible.  Alene’s and Sobo both dry clear.  I personally prefer the flexibility of Sobo when I am looking for that particular trait.  Weld Bond (sometimes referred to as “Wellbond”) is also a PVA glue but, according to its manufacturer, the polymer is “catalyzed”, changing its molecular structure and, apparently, making it stronger.  Allegedly, it can glue some non-porous materials such as stone, glass and concrete but it requires clamping for up to 4 hours and 24 hours to cure.  I cannot think of an application for miniaturists except for perhaps large dollhouses…even then, I’d think wood glue adequate.
§  Although PVA is not gap filler, in some cases you can add sawdust to it to increase its gap filling ability.  I’ve never done this, nor have I felt the need…
Another use of PVA glue is as a sizing.  Meaning it helps paint to adhere to surfaces.  I got this suggestion from Nikki Rowe of Witch and Wizard miniatures when I was trying to get acrylic paint to adhere to Fimo polymer clay.  I had all but given up when she made this suggestion.  I coated the item with thinned white PVA, let it dry and then painted.  The paint went on smoothly with no streaking and peeling or flaking.  I re-baked the item and the paint seems to be permanently attachedJ. 
CA = cyanoacrylate
CA glues, better known as “Super” glues. These glues hold fast, some almost immediately, bind many non-porous things together and come in several viscosities.  Zap-a-Gap is well known to miniaturists but there are others which work in a similar fashion.   They are sometimes used in conjunction with PVA glues as the bond formed can be brittle, such as in miniature flower or plant construction.  The CA glue makes the initial bond while the PVA makes the more permanent one.  There are accelerators for CA glues but I don’t use them as I have a bad respiratory reaction to them in aerosol form.
Here is very interesting article by a model maker.
Personally, I use CA glues for adhering a variety of non-porous things together, such as tiny beads to metal or porous things to non-porous things, such as metal to wood, although I don’t use it exclusively as I find it “frosts” glass or crystal (beads and such).  I have found a CA glue which DOES NOT frost crystal or glass, however.  It is called Sinbad Glue, manufactured in Germany and available in the US.  I imagine it is also available in Europe and the UK. 
Here is an interesting review of it. It is a medical grade CA glue. I do have the accelerator for this as it can be applied to one side of what is to be glued with a brush, thus no aerosol fumes.
 I noticed several dollhouse retailers are carrying it at shows now. I bought mine directly from the importer who had a stand next me at a show several years ago.  It is a little pricy but when gluing glass or crystal beads, it is all I use now.  I have both the liquid and gel formula and I also use the Silicone Glove hand cream which does work as indicated….when I remember to use it. :-/     Sinbad Glue
E6000 Industrial Strength. 
This glue was suggested to me by a local jewelry artist and is probably my all-time favorite glue for non-porous materials.  It is a clear, multi-purpose adhesive, of medium viscosity with a self-leveling formula.  It adheres to more surfaces than virtually any other glue I’ve worked with.  Because it does not dry instantly, you have 3-5 minutes to make adjustments before the glue begins to set.  It takes 24 -72 hours to fully cure.  I use it, along with a CA gel (and the Sinbad glue) for all my jewelry-like doo-dads such as the telescopes, scales, orreries, etc.  It does have fumes that might bother some people but no worse that CA glues or their accelerators.
Is there a unique application you’ve discovered for an adhesive?  Does anyone have experience with epoxy glues?  What about glues for plastics? Any questions about the glues discussed or additions you can make?  Let’s hear from YOU!

Added:  Here a few links for Quick Grab.  And Here also.


Debie Lyons said...

Tabs I think you have covered all this perfectly. I use E6000, superglue and I LOVE Fabrictac and Magnatac.

Lorra Luffies

Debie xxxxxx

Tabitha Corsica said...

Ooops....I never even touched on FabriTac and its permutations. Great fabric glue when used in tiny amounts but it does seem to get out of hand for me sometimes. heheheh...meaning that it just oozes out of the top of the bottle and there's no stopping it! But my mother claims this glue has been around for years and was simply known as "milliners glue".

Dark Squirrel Victoria said...

Great post! I use E6000 and superglue, going to try Sinbad. I also use an acid free glue stick for paper and tacky glue for some applications. I agree on wood glue, nothing like wood glue for wood. I used to use a glue called Quick Grab but can't find it anymore, it wasn't as good as E6000.

Victoria ♥

joy said...

These are the glues i could hate to be without ~

Super glue gel
Fray stop glue
"What Glue" by Jomil EVA adhesive that dries clear.

Tabitha Corsica said...

Ah Vicky...I also meant to mention Quick Grab. This was a great glue for wood shingles especially. In 2003, the company that made it was sold, however, apparently the chemical manufacturer who bought it continued to make the glue under the name of "Omni-Stick". Here is the links..

I haven't tried it so I cannot say if it works the same. There is a product out called "Quick Grip" but it is definately NOT the same.

Glenda said...

My favourites are:
PVA and Aleene's Tacky Glue - for porous surfaces.
Superglue - for metal and plastic (the surfaces must match exactly) but not for glass.
Diamond glaze - for glass.
Grrrip - haven't tried it much yet, it seems to be much like PVA
Crafter's Pick - it says it's a water-based, non-toxic, superglue to be used on all sorts of surfaces. So far I've had good results - I'll do some more tests and report back. No freezing.
Can't stand stringy glues!! They drive me crazy!!
Hot glue goes stringy and doesn't seems to last long.
Epoxy (5-10 minutes to set) - the stuff that you mix from a double syringe - excellent for a strong hold on wood - you have a small amount of time to wiggle the pieces to get it right.

As for E6000 and quite a few other similar glues - the fumes are poison to me :( BTW some versions of E6000 are carcinogenic - ventilate well!!

The freezing thing - does that include airmail postage? How cold do plane cargo holds get?? It would affect overseas sales of minis!?

Kathi said...

I just bought some Instant Krazy Glue craft formula. I haven't tried it yet. I haven't had any success with any super glues. Too messy, too stinky and watch out if it touches you!
Thanks for posting all of these tips!

Tabitha Corsica said...

Glenda, I think the caution regarding freezing of PVA glue was for "uncured" stuff still in the bottle. Apparently the freezing breaks down the polymers and in addition to a very weak bond, it dries milky white instead of clear. That was the problem I had when I put my glue in checked baggage during the winter instead of carrying it on. Of course now it might be difficult to carry it on the plane.... I am told there are suppliers who will not ship if the temperature will be less than 40F. Once it has dried on your item, I don't believe there is a problem.

E6000 and similar glues all have fumes that should not be inhaled so always use these with adequate ventilation. Even FabriTac should not be inhaled.

I've never tried the two-part epoxy glue though I do have some on my shelf. I have an acquaintance who makes mini electrical fixtures and that is all she uses.

Tabitha Corsica said...

Kathi, CA glues have their place; I prefer the gel formulas as there is more control, longer working time and less opportunity toi stick your fingers together! The "improved" Krazy Glue with "skin guard" was demonstrated to stick fingers together just as fast as the regular formula so it pays to be careful. An ice cube helps to unstick does acetone nailpolish remover, though that can be harsh on the skin.

The Silicone Glove cream from Sinbad is very effective in preventing stuck fingers but also in preventing the staining of skin when using dyes or inks. It feels a little odd (but no more than regular latex or vinyl gloves) on your hands at first but you get used to it and it really does work. It washes off with soap and water so you have to remember to reapply...and one only needs a tiny dab.

Lorraine Escapita said...

I wish I'd been on my game and read this before fogging my "glass"! I'm going to try and find some Sinbad. Thanks so much for all this wonderful information!!!!