Elmer’s Gluesticks Review and Guide

Elmer’s is the darling adhesives company of every school in America. Their cheap, non-toxic, no-mess glue products are known the world over. Let’s take a look at Elmer’s Gluesticks and see what makes them so great.

Quick Overview

Elmer’s glue is known across America and the world. Founded in 1947, Elmer’s has been providing glue products to school kids for generations. 

Their distinctive purple disappearing gluesticks are famous the world over, the purple color makes it easy for young kids to use them too, and the safe, non-toxic and washable formula makes them a favorite with parents and teachers alike.

Pros and Cons:


  • Disappearing purple color
  • Safe and non-toxic
  • Easy to remove by washing
  • Great value for schools
  • Works for most arts and crafts


  • Not suitable for heavy duty repairs

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Product Features

Elmer’s All-Purpose Glue Sticks are the original gluestick, known and loved across America for their ease of use and innovative disappearing purple color.

Disappearing Purple

Probably the biggest selling point of Elmer’s School Glue over any other is the clever disappearing color of the glue when it’s first applied. The glue goes on purple, so kids (and adults) can see where they already applied it, but once it dries it becomes clear and invisible.

It’s perfect, especially for younger kids and schools.

Non Toxic

Another huge selling point for Schools and Teachers – Elmer’s Gluesticks are specifically formulated to be safe and non-toxic, perfect for younger kids. This is actually true for all Elmer’s School glues – whether you get the clear or purple glue sticks or the Elmer’s White School Glue in a bottle.


Elmer’s glue sticks are completely washable, (even the purple ones!) meaning if you accidentally get a little on your clothes, skin, or hair, it will wash right out with warm soapy water, even after it’s dried.

This is a huge benefit to Parents and Teachers of younger children who are more prone to being messy!

As soon as you wet the glue, it will turn purple again so you can see exactly where it is and you’ll know once it’s clean.

Sticks almost any art material

It’s no secret that ANY gluestick isn’t going to be useful for woodworking, or auto repairs, but for arts and crafts – it’s perfect!

Elmer’s all-purpose gluesticks stick to paper, cardboard, foam board, tissue, glitter, tissue, felt, ribbons, and just about any other light arts and crafts supply.

It’s perfect for scrapbooking, making cards, and art projects.

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How to use Gorilla Super Glue Gel

The product was designed with young children in mind, so it’s as simple as possible to use!

1: Open the glue

Remove the cap from the Gluestick. Keep it in a safe place, since the glue can dry out if it’s left exposed to the air for a long time.

2: Apply the glue to one surface

Apply a layer of Elmer’s to the surface. You only have to apply it to one of the surfaces. Glue right up to the edges and corners to ensure a good stick.

3: Attach the other surface

Press the other surface together with the first. Depending on the material, make sure no air is trapped between the surfaces.

4: Apply pressure for about 10 seconds

Elmer’s dries very quickly, apply some pressure to the project for about 10 seconds to ensure good adhesion. Elmer’s (and most other gluesticks) aren’t super strong, so this is an important step if you want your project to last.

5: Ensure you put the cap back on to stop it drying out

To ensure the glue stick doesn’t dry out when you store it, make sure the cap is back on each gluestick.

If you do forget and you find your gluestick has dried out, you can try to soften it by leaving it in some lukewarm water for a few minutes.

What are Elmer’s Gluesticks good for?

Elmer’s glue sticks are great for decorative projects, arts and crafts, school projects, scrapbooking, etc.

Elmer’s glue sticks work on almost any material, however of course it has some limitations.

It’s not waterproof, if it gets wet it will dissolve (great for washing!) so it’s not suitable to be used outside.

Good for:

  • Paper
  • Stone
  • Cardboard
  • Ribbon
  • Foam
  • Polystyrene
  • Glass
  • Felt
  • Tissue Paper
  • Scrapbooks

Not good for:

  • Anything outdoors
  • Heavy duty repairs
  • Where strong adhesion is required

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What are the ingredients?

All glue sticks are pretty similar, containing approximately 40% water, and 40% acrylic polymer which helps the glue bond once it dries. In addition, each stick contains soap, glycol, and emulsifiers, to keep the glue moist and to help the glue apply smoothly with no lumps. 

The purple version of the gluesticks contains a wetness indicator dye, such as cobalt chloride, which gives the glue the purple color when wet.

Is Elmer’s glue edible?

According to the manufacturer, Elmer’s glue is food-safe and non-toxic. Bear in mind that this is not the same as being “edible”. “Non-Toxic” usually means it will pass through your system without causing any damage, but it doesn’t mean you should eat it. 

Food safe means if it touches your food, the food is still safe to eat, but it’s not a recommendation to eat the glue.

How do I remove it?

Elmer’s gluesticks (and all other Elmer’s products) are water-soluble. This means you can remove the glue quickly and easily from skin, hair, clothes, or anything else simply with warm soapy water.

The glue will turn purple again when you wet it, so it’s easy to see when you’ve got rid of it all.

Can I buy it in bulk?

Elmer’s definitely know their target audience! Schoolteachers and savvy parents are often looking for a great deal, and Elmer’s gladly oblige by offering several bulk options for most of their glues.

For the All Purpose Glue Sticks, they are available on their own, or in packs of various sizes.

In addition, Elmer’s also produce a clear version (without the purple) and a repositionable version, which dries a little bit slower for more flexibility.

How does it change color?

The secret of Elmer’s Disappearing Purple is the moisture indicator inside the glue. This is usually a mineral called Cobalt Chloride, which becomes purple and opaque when it’s wet.

The glue is made up of about 40% water, and once it’s applied in a thin layer, the water can evaporate – causing the moisture indicator to turn clear.

If you wet the glue again once it’s dry, it will turn purple and lose its stickiness almost immediately.

Can I use it for 3d printing?

If you’ve spent any time with a 3d printer, you’ll know a slippery base can completely ruin a print. The solution to this is to apply a very thin adhesive layer before you start, to stop the print from sliding or budging out of position.

There are specifically made adhesives for this purpose, in spray form, tapes, and adhesives but Elmer’s all-purpose glue works just as well and for a fraction of the cost.

Even if you’re not 100% convinced – Elmer’s is 100% water soluble so you can give it a try. Each stick is incredibly cheap and it won’t damage your build surface (you can clean it easily with warm water)

Check the Amazon reviews for more information – lots of reviews rave about the efficacy of Elmer’s on their printing rig.

Safety Data Sheet

Also known as SDS, or REACH compliance in the EU. Every manufacturer and distributor of hazardous chemicals has to provide a copy.

If you need the datasheet for Elmer’s All-Purpose Gluesticks, here’s a link to it below:

Elmer’s All-Purpose Glue Sticks – Chemical Safety Data Sheet

Is Elmer’s Glue good for makeup?

Admittedly, I can’t verify this with personal experience! 

Judging by the Amazon reviews, Elmer’s seems to have a place dear in the hearts of many cosplayers and makeup lovers for its ability to flatten eyebrows for special makeup looks that require a flat surface.

Check out the reviews on Amazon, there are quite a few reviews mentioning this as a selling point!

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