Best Glue for Acrylic

Best Glue for Acrylic
By Bill Wyatt
November 6, 2020
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Acrylic is a type of hard plastic, found everywhere from aquariums to fake nails. Adhering Acrylic is difficult, as most household glues won’t work on it.

Depending on your project, there are a few special glues available that work well on Acrylic. Let’s take a look at them.

How to glue Acrylic

No matter what your project is, if it involves Acrylic you will not be able to bond it with regular household glues (PVAs or Polyurethanes).

That being said, how you choose to bond Acrylic really depends on your project. Acrylic can be bonded very strongly with other acrylics, but not as strongly with other materials.

Which glue you need will fully depend on your project. Read on and find the right section of this article to suit your project.

In a rush?
No time to read? The best glue for Acrylic only projects is Acrylic Cement. For bonding Acrylics to other materials like Glass or Wood, you have to use a CA Liquid Glue alongside a CA Accelerator, as CA glue on its own will struggle to bond to acrylic.

Why can’t I just use a regular glue?

Acrylic can not be bonded with most regular glues like Gorilla Glue or PVA glue. The reason is that these glues work by forcing themselves in to the pores of the material and reacting with the water to form a bond.

Acrylic is non-porous and so has very little moisture content. This makes it difficult even for super strong and fast glues like Cyanoacrylates to bond acrylic.

Best glue for Acrylic to Acrylic:

Acrylic is difficult to bond with other materials, but it’s also a thermoplastic, which means we have some other options aside from traditional glues.

Thermoplastic materials can be melted and reshaped without losing any of their physical properties. 

For acrylic-only projects, this means we can use a special acrylic cement, which will chemically fuse one piece of acrylic to another without the use of traditional glue adhesives.

Acrylic cement is easy to use and fast acting, it usually comes with a very fine applicator used to inject the liquid between the two surfaces.

How to glue Acrylic to Acrylic:

  1. Ensure both surfaces are smooth and clean
  2. Position the acrylic in place
  3. Apply the Acrylic Cement to the joint. Ensure the entire joint is saturated with the liquid
  4. Hold both pieces together until the parts fuse. 
  5. The pieces will be strong enough to work with in a few minutes, but may take up to 48 hours to fully cure.

Best glue for Acrylic to Glass:

Acrylic to Glass is a very difficult combination of materials. While there are glues which work for either one, there is no single adhesive product that hold the two together with a lot of strength.

The best adhesive solution (especially if both surfaces are very smooth) is to use a CA glue like Loctite liquid CA (don’t use the Gel version!) along with a CA accelerator spray.

Use the CA on the acrylic, and the accelerator on the glass and press them together immediately.

For small scale projects, you may be able to use a strong polyurethane glue like Gorilla Glue to form a bond, but it will not be strong enough for any structural projects where there will be stress on the joints.

Both the CA and Polyurethane joints will not be as strong as a mechanical fastening, and neither will hold up well to movement or vibrations.

For structural projects or projects that are going to involve any pressure or stress being placed on the joint, I recommend you use a mechanical solution to fix the Acrylic to the Glass.

Something like a small bulkhead screw or a heavy duty glass hinge would work well. You can then use a silicone sealer like Flex Shot to create a waterproof seal if necessary.

Best glue for Acrylic to Wood

Bonding acrylic with wood is simpler than bonding acrylic with glass because both wood and acrylic can be mechanically fastened together much easier than glass.

You can use regular screws to fasten acrylic to wood, then use a silicone sealant like Flex Shot to seal the joint from moisture if required.

If mechanical fastening is not an option, a Polyurethane or two-part epoxy glue is your best option.

Something like Gorilla Glue will work fairly well, but it won’t bond as strongly to the acrylic as it will to the wood, leaving a potential point of failure, especially in high-stress applications.

You can help to overcome this by roughing the acrylic first with course sandpaper for a better adhesion.

How to glue Acrylic to Wood:

  • Carry out any mechanical attachment first (screws or bolts)
  • If you’ve attached them mechanically, go over the joint with a silicone sealant like Flex Shot
  • If you’re going to glue the acrylic instead, roughen the surface with course sandpaper
  • Apply a strong two part epoxy or polyurethane glue (Gorilla glue will work) to both the wood and the acrylic
  • Press the two parts together, and clamp in place until the glue is dry

Bear in mind Polyurethanes bond very strongly to wood, but not very strongly to Acrylic.
If your project is structural, or if it will experience pressure you should always use mechanical fastenings.

Conclusion

It’s true that Acrylic is tough to bond, but it’s not impossible.

Thermoplastics in general present a unique challenge for us, but with the right tools it’s possible to make it happen.

For the most part, unless you’re bonding acrylic to acrylic, you will be better off using some kind of mechanical fastening. (Screws or hinges etc)

For Acrylic bonding, your best bet is

Hope this helped, and good luck with your project! If you have any questions please feel free to let me know on the contact page, I’ll be sure to help if I can!

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