10 Unusual Uses for Elmer’s Glue

Unusual uses for Elmer's glue
By Bill Wyatt
November 6, 2020
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Everyone knows Elmer’s white school glue, it’s been filling the classrooms of America for almost 70 years! But have you ever thought about what else it might be useful for? Check out these 10 unique and creative (and downright creepy!) uses for Elmer’s school glue.

10 Creative uses for Elmer’s School Glue

Every kid in America knows what Elmer’s school glue is. The signature orange cap and white bottle are widely recognized across North America and the world, but have you ever wondered why Elmer’s might be used on a skull? 

Well, if you have then wonder no longer and check out this list of 10 unique and interesting uses for Elmer’s school glue!

#10: Give your wood pieces an aged crackling effect

A great way to give your wooden art pieces an aged, cracking/splitting effect using Elmer’s school glue.

This would look amazing on a photo frame, jewelry box or on some modern furniture.

This is pretty easy to do – just apply a layer of Elmer’s over a dark undercoat, and once it becomes tacky (2-3 minutes), apply a topcoat of acrylic or latex paint over the top. The paint can not grip to the Elmer’s and cracks as it shrinks, forming a unique pattern.

#9: Create a Stained Glass effect

Mix your Elmer’s glue with a little bit of black paint to simulate the lead lines in real stained glass pieces.

Apply the glue to your glass and let it dry overnight.

Once it’s done, you can use a mixture of glue and acrylic paint to give a thin layer to the sections you created, creating a nice looking stained glass effect.

#8: Preserve your puzzles for mounting

If you complete a jigsaw puzzle and want to preserve the final piece ready for mounting, you can use Elmer’s school glue instead of an expensive specialized glue like Mod Podge.

The effect on the front is great and you’ll be able to attach the puzzle to some posterboard or cardboard to make it more rigid if you want to mount it on the wall.

Elmer’s school glue is a very easy and cheap way to preserve puzzles.

#7: Create a rust weathering effect for your models or dioramas

This technique makes use of the fact that paint doesn’t stick too well to Elmer’s to create a very realistic looking rust effect.

Apply a rust colored undercoat to the model and apply patches of Elmer’s with a torn sponge.

After you paint the next layer on top, you can easily remove the paint from the spots where the glue is, while it will stick to the rest of the piece.

#6: Use Elmer’s and water for paper maché

There are lots of methods to create the paste for paper maché, but some of them aren’t a great option.

Some people recommend using flour and water, but this causes so much mess! You will get flour everywhere, especially if you are working with kids.

Other people like to use wallpaper paste, but this is a bad idea for kids too, because it contains various chemicals like anti fungal agents which make it toxic.

The best option is to use Elmer’s school glue, mixed with water and a tiny bit of salt! This little known recipe is completely safe and non toxic, and the salt helps protect your item from mold.

#5: Mix salt with Elmer’s to create a unique watercolor effect

I found this video on youtube and was a bit skeptical, but the outcome looks great! It creates a nice effect that could be used to represent rain, falling leaves, or dandelion seeds floating in the wind.

#4: Use dilute Elmer’s as a pouring medium

If you’re in to fluid painting, you probably know pouring media is pretty expensive.

The good news is you can get comparable results using a mixture of regular cheap Elmer’s glue mixed with a little bit of water.

You mix the paints just the same way you would with a regular pouring medium.

#3: Decoupage

Decoupage is the art of decorating something by sticking decorated paper (often cutouts from magazines or newspapers) to it, and covering it with a decoupage medium.

The most popular decoupage medium is probably Mod Podge, but it’s very expensive. The great news is you can use watered down Elmer’s PVA as an alternative to Mod Podge, and get a similar result for a fraction of the cost.

Elmer’s is easy to use, easy to apply, and won’t break the bank!

#2: Use Elmer’s school glue to whiten animal skulls

Bet you didn’t see this coming right?

I was amazed when I found this video, but the results look great.

Applying a thin coat of Elmer’s glue helps protect bone and make it ready for mounting to be displayed.

Not going to lie, this is kind of gross, but it’s definitely a unique application for Elmer’s!

#1: Make Slime with Elmer’s Glue

Of course! Of course… you knew this would be number one, didn’t you?

There are thousands of recipes for this stuff. Over the last few years, slime has really taken off and become extremely popular among young kids.

Elmer’s are cashing in on this trend with their premade slime products, but before you go shelling out for those, consider making it yourself with Elmer’s school glue (which is much cheaper!) and a few household ingredients.

Conclusion

I hope you found this interesting! I had no idea Elmer’s was so versatile, it was fun researching this article.

If you know any other strange or unusual uses for Elmer’s school glue, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Thanks for reading

-Bill

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