Elmer’s White School Glue Review and Guide

Elmer’s School Glue is perhaps the most well-known Elmer’s Product. Extremely safe, easy to use, and easy to clean, Elmer’s School Glue has been gracing America’s classrooms since 1968. Let’s take a look at what makes Elmer’s so popular with kids and adults alike.

Quick Overview

Originally developed in 1968, Elmer’s School Glue is a beloved brand, especially among teachers and parents.

It’s a PVA-based glue, which means it doesn’t have any nasty fumes or odors, and it’s completely safe and non-toxic. (perfect for kids!)

Elmer’s School Glue is not an industrial strength glue, but it’s not designed to be. It’s perfect for arts and crafts and it’s loved for its safety and ease of use more than its sticking power.

In recent times, Elmer’s have crafted an interesting niche for themselves in the “slime” market. If you don’t know what slime is, you’re in for a treat. It’s PVA glue with an activator added to it to increase the viscosity, making it fun to play with. Basically, a sticky mess that kids love.

Kids can add glitter, color, beads, and anything else they can get their hands on to their slime for added mess entertainment. Elmer’s glue is perfect for slime because it’s non-toxic and easily washable. 

Read more about using Elmer’s glue for slime here.

Pros & Cons


  • Completely safe and non toxic
  • Comes out of clothes in the wash
  • Dries clear
  • Works on most arts & crafts materials
  • The best glue for making Slime
  • Available in both white and clear options
  • Great value


  • Not a very strong glue
  • Doesn’t work on plastic
  • Not waterproof

Click here to view the current price on Amazon!

Product Features

Elmer’s is more valued for its ease of use, safety, and no-fuss formula than its abilities as an adhesive, but it still works great for arts and crafts projects. Here are some of the great features of Elmer’s School Glue:

Completely safe and non toxic

Probably the biggest selling point of Elmer’s school glues – their safety.

Elmer’s school glue gives off no harmful fumes or odors, and it’s completely safe and non-toxic.

Even if you accidentally ingested Elmer’s School Glue, it wouldn’t cause any harm, meaning it’s perfect for schools and parents, especially with younger children.

Bonds most craft materials

Elmer’s School Glue isn’t really that strong, but it will bond to most arts and craft materials just fine, including paper, cardboard, felt, and wood.

Some things Elmer’s might struggle with include glass, plastic, metal, or any heavy-duty repairs.

Perfect for making slime

Not usually listed as a benefit for most glues, but we have to accept that many people looking for PVA glue are looking for glue to make slime.

Check out the FAQs if you’re making slime: How to make slime with Elmer’s School Glue

To make slime with Elmer’s glue, just add some Elmer’s Magic Liquid slime activator to some Elmer’s Glue and mix it together.

Super easy to wash up

Elmer’s School Glue is extremely easy to clean up. 

Elmer’s washes off surfaces and skin with only a little warm water. 

If you get any on your clothes or other fabrics, it will wash out in the wash with no problem, even if you let it dry in.

Click here to view Elmer’s glue on Amazon

How to use Elmer’s School Glue

Elmer’s made their School Glue as easy as possible to use, just apply the glue to your project and let it dry!

If you’re using Elmer’s to make slime, check out the video below!

1: Make sure you have a clean surface

Make sure the surface is clean and dry, and free from any dust or oil since this will prevent the glue from sticking properly.

2: Apply the glue to your surfaces

For paper, card, wood, fabric, and other porous materials:
Apply a thin layer of glue to one surface, spread evenly and thinly across the entire surface.

For non-porous materials like glass or ceramic:
Elmer’s School Glue can glue a number of materials, but it’s best used for light repairs where there will be no stress on the joint. It won’t adhere well to Glass or Metal etc, but it will be enough to stick on paper or card.

Apply a thicker layer, and make sure to apply to both surfaces. If adhesion fails, try scuffing up the surface first with sandpaper. 

For more heavy-duty repairs:

You will probably want to use stronger glue like cyanoacrylate (super glue) or polyurethane (gorilla glue).

3: Allow the glue to cure and clamp if necessary

Elmer’s doesn’t need to be clamped if you’re just using it for card and paper, however, if you’re using it for larger projects it’s advised to clamp the pieces together until they are cured.

After about 30 minutes a thin layers of Elmer’s School Glue will be dry to the touch, but it may take up to 24 hours to fully cure, depending on the humidity and temperature, and how much glue you used.

4: Clean up any spills with a damp rag and store safely

Elmer’s is easy to clean up, so any spills can be taken care of easily with a damp cloth or rag.

Store Elmer’s in a cool, dark, dry place away from direct sunlight or any source of moisture.

What Materials does Elmer’s School Glue Gel work on?

Like most PVA glues, Elmer’s isn’t super strong on non-porous materials, but it does form a strong bond on porous materials like paper and card if it’s given enough time to cure.

I’ve listed a few materials like Glass and Metal here under the “no” column, HOWEVER, it will form a weak bond if you are sticking a piece of paper to metal or a piece of card to glass, etc.

School Glue is great for:

  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Card
  • Fabric
  • Leather
  • Felt
  • Foam

But not much use for:

  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Glass

Click here to read customer reviews on Amazon


Elmer’s School Glue Bulk Options

Elmer’s is great value, but if you are making slime or working in a classroom, you can save a lot of money by buying one of the larger bottles Elmer’s has for sale.

Elmer’s School Glue Gallon Bottles:

Elmer’s sells their White School Glue in a useful Gallon bottle, which can be used to refill any small bottles you already have, or decanted into jars or bowls as required.

Can Elmer’s School Glue be used on Wood?

Elmer’s School Glue is PVA glue and is very similar to their carpenter’s glue.

The difference between School Glue and Wood Glue is that the school glue is much more dilute.

It will be fine for arts and crafts projects, but if you’re repairing a piece of furniture, or if your project will be in contact with moisture, you will probably want to use a stronger wood glue like Elmer’s Carpenter’s Glue or Titebond Wood Glue.

I’ve written a complete guide to both options here on this site, take a look if you’re not sure what glue is best for you.

Elmer’s School Glue Drying Time & Curing Time:

As with all glues, there’s no exact drying time, it depends on how much glue you used, and what conditions you’re working in.

As a rough guide, a thin layer of Elmer’s School Glue will be dry to the touch in about 30 minutes, however, it will take anywhere up to 24 hours to fully cure.

How to make Elmer’s School Glue Dry Faster?

Typically, there isn’t really much you can do to drastically alter the curing time, but here are a few tips you can try:

  • Use a thin layer when applying your glue
  • School Glue dries quicker on porous surfaces like wood or paper
  • Ensure the temperature is not too low (anything above 30 °F is fine)
  • Avoid letting your project dry where there is high humidity

Does Elmer’s School Glue work on Fabric?

Elmer’s glue is great for fabric, it will stick to most fabrics and leather without any problem.

Remember that Elmer’s School Glue is not waterproof though, so it’s not great for clothing repairs or customizations.

If you need a strong, flexible glue that is waterproof, works on fabric, and can be put in the washer and dryer, try E6000 adhesive instead. (Click here to read my review and guide for E6000)

Safety Data Sheet

Elmer’s School Glue is completely safe and non-toxic.

If you need the safety data sheet (MSDS), I’ve attached a link below:

Elmer’s White School Glue – MSDS

Does Elmer’s School Glue work on Plastic?

There’s a long answer and a short answer.

The short answer is no, Elmer’s School Glue really won’t form any kind of meaningful bond with plastic.

The long answer is, for some types of plastic you will be able to affix light objects with a large surface area (like flat paper) if you allow it to cure long enough.

For best results, scratch or sand the plastic to roughen the surface first, and just be aware that it won’t be a strong bond, so it’s not going to work for any project where you’ll be putting weight or stress on the bond.

Is Elmer’s School Glue good for slime?

Elmer’s is perfect for slime! It’s safe and non-toxic, has no smell, and cleans up very easily.

There are great value bulk options like the gallon bottles so you can make a lot of slime without breaking the bank.

Elmer’s also sells special Slime Kits, which contain everything you need to make slime, plus extra things like colors and textures to add. It’s cheaper to make it yourself (see the instructions below), but you will have to buy any additional additives yourself too.

How to make slime with Elmer’s School Glue:

There are loads of recipes online for creating slime, many of them involving different quantities of baking soda or borax.

However, there’s an easier way!

  • Get yourself some Elmer’s Slime Activator. It’s cheap and makes it much easier to make.
  • Simply add your glue to a bowl for mixing, and slowly start adding the activator liquid.
  • Mix the slime constantly as you slowly add the activator liquid, until it stops sticking to your skin.

Your slime is ready! You can add additional things like foam beads, food coloring, or shaving foam to create different textures and looks.

Elmer’s School Glue for removing Blackheads?

Thanks to the non-toxic and dilute nature of Elmer’s school glue, many people use it as the base for a facemask to remove blackheads and clean their pores.

This is a dumb idea. Please don’t do this.

Even though Elmer’s is non-toxic, you don’t want to risk it getting in your eyes, and it takes 30 minutes to dry anyway. There are better products on the market designed to be kind to your skin and safe to use on your face.

What color is Elmer’s School Glue once it’s dry?

Elmer’s school glue is white when it’s first applied (unless you have the clear version), but as it dries it turns clear/transparent.

Is Elmer’s School Glue acid free?

Elmer’s white school glue is completely acid-free, safe, and non-toxic.

It won’t damage your surfaces or clothes and comes out in the wash.

What is Elmer’s School Glue made from? (Ingredients)

Elmer’s school glue is a dilute PVA glue. (Polyvinyl Acetate)

Click here to check out Elmer’s School Glue on Amazon!