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A handy glue guide

Gluing fabric to plastic: Easy crafts and repairs

When it comes to gluing fabric to plastic, the key to success is using the right adhesive. In this guide we’ll help you pick a product and show you how to attach fabric to plastic easily. 

The best glue for fabric to plastic: Choosing a product

With so many glues to choose from, it can be hard to pick the right one.

The best glue for fabric to plastic is one that’s specially formulated for those materials. Look out for a specific adhesive that mentions fabric and plastic (in the product name or on the packaging). 

A specially formulated glue will do a much better job of gluing fabric to plastic than standard adhesives, creating strong, long-lasting bonds.

Another thing to consider is flexibility. When you’re choosing a glue for fabric and plastic, make sure it’s flexible, so it doesn’t crack when the materials move.

Finally, before you get started, consider the size of the repair. If you’re dealing with a sizeable rip or tear, you could try using a cloth or fibreglass patch. Inserting a patch will make it easier to repair the fabric.

How to glue fabric to plastic: Techniques to try

Gluing fabric to plastic is a simple, straightforward process. 

In the sections below we’ll show you how to attach fabric to plastic, both for general bonding and for repairing rips and tears. 

These general guidelines cover the basics of gluing fabric to plastic. For specific details, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your chosen adhesive.

Remember to take safety precautions when working with adhesives. Work in a well-ventilated space and wear gloves.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • adhesive for fabric to plastic
  • sandpaper
  • masking tape
  • cloth/fibreglass patch (for repairing large tears)
  • cloth
  • acetone (such as nail polish remover)
  • blade

Gluing fabric to plastic: General bonding

Here’s how to glue fabric to plastic with a specially formulated adhesive:

  1. Prepare the surfaces. The fabric and plastic should be clean and dry. To improve adhesion, try roughening the plastic with sandpaper.
  2. Apply the glue. Familiarise yourself with the adhesive, taking particular note of any safety precautions. Apply a small amount of glue to both surfaces, then press together and hold in place while the glue sets.
  3. Leave the glue to dry. Avoid using the object until the glue has cured. Check the product instructions for further information.
  4. Remove any excess adhesive. Remove any excess wet glue immediately using a damp cloth or acetone. Be aware that acetone can damage or discolour some materials. Remove dried glue with a sharp blade, taking care not to damage the surface.

Gluing fabric to plastic: Repairing rips and tears

Here’s how to repair rips or tears of any size, using adhesive for fabric to plastic:

  1. Prepare the surfaces. Make sure the materials are clean and dry. Roughen the plastic with sandpaper to improve adhesion.
  2. Apply masking tape. Put some masking tape around the edge of the tear. This will help to create a clean seam.
  3. Insert a patch (optional). For larger tears, reinforce the area by inserting a cloth or fibreglass patch under the tear.
  4. Apply the glue. Apply glue to the edges of the rip or tear, then press the edges together. Keep them in place using masking tape while the glue dries.
  5. Leave the glue to dry. Don’t use the object until the glue has fully dried.
  6. Remove any excess adhesive. If you notice any excess wet adhesive, clean it up immediately with a damp cloth or acetone. Acetone can damage some materials, so use with care. To remove dried adhesive, carefully cut away the excess glue with a sharp blade.

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