Sometimes patience is not a virtue. When you’re trying to get a last-minute project done, waiting for glue to dry is worse than watching paint dry. We want our crafts and projects to be made well and to last, but that leaves us wondering how to make glue dry faster when we’re on a tight schedule.
Let’s find out how long it takes different types of glue to dry then look at some tips for making glue dry even faster.
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How long does it take for glue to dry
We know we want our glue to dry quickly, but how long does it actually take for glue to dry?
The length of time it takes for glue to dry depends on the kind you’re using, but most crafters will see their glue set up in a half an hour to a few hours. A full cure happens overnight or within 24 hours. Super Glue dries the fastest within ten minutes, while craft glue takes up to an hour to dry.
If you need to bond something quickly, reach for Super Glue. However, most people find that Super Glue’s bond does not last as long as others, so if you need longevity in your project, it’s worth the wait.
How to dry glue faster
If you’re short on time or feeling impatient, there are a few ways you can make your glue dry faster. Obviously, there’s only so much you’ll be able to do to make glue dry faster, but at least you can make sure you’re not getting in your own way.
To make glue dry faster, make sure you’re using as little glue as possible and working in a dry environment. Glue will dry fastest with a thin application in dry conditions. Try heating the glue with a heater or hairdryer or pointing a fan at it. You can use a product called accelerator on Super Glue.
Let’s break a few of these down to try to understand how these factors affect your dry time.
Your environment: Heat and humidity
Many glues, like Super Glue, rely on airflow to dry and set up properly. In a dry climate, glue will dry very quickly, but in a humid climate, there’s often too much water in the air. The moisture in the glue will have a harder time evaporating, leading to longer dry times.
Heat is also a factor. The warmer the air, the faster the dry time. Just don’t get your glue too hot, or it will reach its melting point!
Type of glue you’re using
As we mentioned earlier, different glues have different dry times. Super Glue has one of the quickest dry times out there, doubly so if you use an accelerator product. Always follow the instructions on the package.
Wood glue, or PVA glue, typically takes half an hour to dry and 24 hours to cure. They market “fast dry” versions that will set up in 10 minutes and cure in 18 hours.
Epoxy glue, which we have thoroughly discussed in our article on epoxy tumbler decorating, dries within half an hour and will cure in two hours. Note that it’ll be much longer to cure for a tumbler since you’re using way more glue than you would in a bonding project.
Elmer’s craft glue, white glue, or craft glue all take around an hour to dry and a full 24 to cure.
Amount of glue you’re using
But remember, no matter the type, strength, or “quick dry” marketing, if you use too much, you’ll be waiting around forever.
The amount of glue you put on matters. A thin application will dry the fastest, and often, will also end up being the strongest bond. It seems counterintuitive, but trust us, these glues were designed to use a thin application. It’s tempting sometimes to use a really big glob, but if you’re concerned with dry time, resist this urge.
What material you’re gluing together
According to Permabond’s website, glue works sort of like a zipper. It digs into the surfaces you apply it to and holds them together on a microscopic level. Some surfaces, like wood, are porous, so there will be lots for the glue to hold onto. Others will need a little help.
Wood, fabric, and other porous surfaces will take glue just fine, but others like plastic will need to be roughed up a bit first with some sandpaper.
Glass requires a glue that is specially formulated to bond with its smooth surface.
Techniques to dry glue fast
Here are some techniques you can use to help glue dry quickly. You might see some tips floating around involving chemical reactions, but we would caution against doing anything so extreme. Simple heat and air will get you there quickly enough.
- Heater – place a heater in the room with your project
- Hairdryer – point a hairdryer directly at the glue
- Electric blanket – place it under or over your project
- Compressed air – apply directly to glue
- Accelerator product – for Super Glue only
Try leaving your project outside, too, if you have a sunny day. All the heat and airflow will help your glue dry quickly.
How to make Elmer’s glue dry faster
Elmer’s glue or PVA glue is the most common glue you’ll be using for projects. Sometimes called craft glue, it’s what we reach for most of the time.
To make Elmer’s glue dry faster, apply it to your project in a thin layer. Then, set it somewhere dry and well-ventilated so moisture can evaporate from the glue. Use a heater, a hair dryer, or an electric blanket to help speed the drying process along. Try leaving your project outside in direct sunlight.
The key to making glue dry faster is heat and dry air, so stick to these tips, and your glue will set up quickly.
How to make Super Glue dry faster
Super Glue already dries with lightning, but how do we make it happen even faster?
To make Super Glue dry faster, there are two things you can try. First, spray a can of compressed air directly onto the glue in short bursts. Super Glue sets when exposed to air, so compressed air will work well. To achieve dry glue even faster, purchase an accelerator product like Starbond.
Compressed air will work best on a stronger joint. If you’re gluing flimsy pieces together, they’ll probably just blow away!
Accelerant is a great choice to just diffuse a small amount into the air while the glue is drying. It rapidly increases the dry time from about a minute to ten seconds. If you want to learn all about accelerators, check out Adam Savage’s video testing them out.
We’ve seen some websites and blogs discussing the use of baking soda to make Super Glue dry faster, but if you don’t need to play around with chemicals, you shouldn’t. We know it sounds crazy coming from us, but a DIY solution is not always the best. Many of these websites also caution against burning yourself. For us, it just isn’t worth the risk when simple, safe methods will also dry Super Glue quickly.
How to make fabric glue dry faster
One of the best things about fabric glue is it makes hemming pants and clothing an absolute breeze. Fabric glue dries in around 2 to 4 hours, but what if you’re making that hem at the very last minute?
To make fabric glue dry faster, be sure to apply a thin application with a paintbrush and allow it to dry in a warm, dry place. Put a heater in the drying room to speed things along or use a hairdryer directly to the glued area. Don’t use an iron to dry or the glue will be too hot to dry properly.
Aleene’s makes a quick dry formula that would be good to have on hand if you need things done fast.
How to make hot glue dry faster
Hot glue also cures very quickly, but you came here because you wanted the fastest dry time possible.
To make hot glue dry faster, try a can of compressed air. When you use compressed air, it will instantly chill the glue, hardening it fast.
Be careful when working with hot glue, especially if you’re in a hurry. Hot glue is, well, hot! It’s easy to burn yourself, so work carefully.
Do glue accelerators work?
Some people swear by glue accelerators, while others claim they don’t work. What’s the truth?
Glue accelerators are designed to work with Super Glue and other CA glues. Glue accelerators won’t work on other types of glue like wood glue, hot glue, or craft glue unless the packaging states otherwise. Most accelerators on store shelves will exclusively work when paired with Super Glue.
A product works best when used for its intended purpose. Because we’re working with chemicals here, you can’t mess with the formula. A glue accelerator will only work with Super Glue.
Let’s dig into some frequently asked questions about making glue dry faster.
Does glue dry faster in the freezer?
Most glues will not harden more quickly in the freezer because they work through evaporation, which happens best in dry, warm temperatures. Even hot glue will become unstable and peel off when exposed to extreme cold.
Does water make Super Glue dry faster?
The moisture in the air is more than enough to dry Super Glue. Some websites recommend applying water before glue, but for the best bond, use the product the way it was designed and as the packaging dictates.
Does glue dry faster in hot or cold?
Most glues will dry fastest in hot. Follow package instructions for the best results.
How to make glue dry faster: Final thoughts
So there you have it! Next time you find yourself with a last-minute project on your hands, you’ll know how to best apply your glue for the fastest possible set time.
Have you tried any of these tips? Which ones have worked best for you? Let us know in the comments how you’ve made glue dry faster.