Leather is used absolutely everywhere these days. From furniture to clothes and everything in between, repairs are going to be necessary at some point. Fear not! Let’s find out what glues work best for leather projects.
In a rush?
No time to read? The best way to repair flexible leather clothing is using a Permanent Fabric Glue (View on Amazon). The best glue for most other leather projects is Barge Contact Cement (View on Amazon).
Best Glue for Leather
Leather is an odd material to work with. It’s porous, like wood or paper but it’s flexible like fabric.
Fabric glue is typically used for flexible fabrics, but for thick leather, fabric glue won’t hold. On the other hand, PVA glues are often used for porous materials, however, if the finished project needs to be flexible, wood glue is no use since it dries solid, leading to adhesive or cohesive failure on the final product.
Using a solid glue on your leather project might not be ideal, as it will reduce the flexibility of your item. This is fine for a wallet or briefcase, but no use for a piece of clothing.
One last thing to consider is the finish of the leather.
If you’re repairing an expensive jacket or piece of furniture, you won’t want to use any glue that may damage the finish of the leather.
Let’s find out which glue is best for your project, depending on your circumstances.
Best glue for Leather to Fabric (or Flexible Leather)
Bonding leather to other flexible materials such as fabric, cloth, rubber, or another piece of leather requires that the final bond be not only strong but flexible and thin enough that it won’t alter the feel of the piece.
Fabric glue is useful for attaching fabric or cloth to leather, and for making small repairs to leather clothing.
If you have a lining coming loose in your favorite leather jacket or purse, or you want to attach a silk, suede, or fabric lining to a leatherworking project, fabric glue is definitely the way to go.
It’s made by various manufacturers and comes in both a spray and liquid format. The spray bottles are great for fabric work, it helps you get a thin layer without soaking the fabric.
I haven’t used this product for leather, but I’ve used it for a rubber patch on my rucksack and can highly recommend Tearmender Fabric Glue. It’s as flexible as E-6000 once it’s dry, but without the bulk. It’s perfect for leather-fabric applications and it’s washable, which is perfect for clothes.
Check out some of the reviews on Amazon – there are a lot of people here with very strange projects…
Best Glue for Faux Leather
Faux leather is not actually leather at all. It’s most often made from Polyurethane plastic. If you’ve read any of my review articles, you will know already how difficult it is to bond this type of plastic.
Unlike natural leather, Faux Leather is not porous, meaning there is no way for any adhesive to get into the material and form a strong bond.
If you have a faux leather repair to make, your best option is to use a strong, flexible solvent-based glue like E-6000 craft adhesive, or Gorilla Glue Cleargrip.
If you are gluing two pieces of Faux Leather together, you can achieve a stronger bond by using a plastic cement like J-B Weld Plastiweld, although you will be sacrificing some flexibility.
Best glue for Leatherworking (Leather to leather)
We use glue in Leatherworking for two different and distinct purposes, each requiring a different glue.
For permanent leather projects, the best glue is contact cement. The most popular brand for leatherworkers is Barge Contact Cement. If you ever watch leatherworking tutorials or courses online and hear someone talking about “Barge”, this is what they are talking about.
Barge Contact Cement is viscous enough to form a bond with leather without seeping into the pores too deeply. Therefore some degree of flexibility is maintained.
For temporary leather projects, such as holding the leather in place while you stitch, many people choose to use regular household CA Superglue. It’s strong enough to hold the leather down with only a couple of drops, and it bonds almost instantly.
The downside is there’s no easy way to remove it without risking damaging the leather, so keep this in mind and don’t use it anywhere that’s going to be visible in your finished project.
Well, there you have it.
In short, the best solution for Leather to Leather is probably Barge Contact Cement, unless you’re working with fabric or very thin leather where flexibility is important, in which case you will be better off with a fabric glue like Tearmender fabric glue.
Faux leather is NOT leather, it’s plastic – so it needs a plastic cement or a two-part epoxy that’s strong enough to bond plastic, like JB-Weld PlasticWeld.
Thank you for reading