Friday, May 8, 2009

Glue Pots

When I first began teaching, I took PVA to classes in plastic squeeze bottles. While this is a good way to store and travel with glue, a squeeze bottle delivery system isn't always the best for controlling the amount of adhesive on the gluing surface. Either too much comes out and you are forced to remove the excess before proceeding, or not enough comes out and you must race to squeeze out more while the initial application quickly dries before your eyes. And then there is the annoying little red cap that is always missing, so the nozzle clogs up and you have to use your pokey tool to get the glue flowing again. 

You'll have much better results if you store PVA in a wide mouth container that allows you to dip in your glue brush, taking up as much or as little as you need for the task at hand.

Some PVA is sold in wide mouth plastic jars with screw on lids, and they work well until you forget to wipe off the rim and the lid sticks. While you can add a little petroleum jelly or oil to the rim to prevent this problem, I've found that using a ceramic kitchen storage container, with a tight clamp and a rubber gasket in the lid, will solve all these problems and more. You can dispense the glue directly from its original container into the ceramic jar, or you can place the wide mouth plastic jar -- minus its lid -- directly into the storage container and you're good to go. Just remember to close it up tight when you're done.

When I'm working with a mixture of PVA and methyl cellulose, I mix up a small batch, a little more than I think I will actually need, and store it in the same type of container, but a smaller size. These are easy to find at the dollar store or Wal-Mart. The PVA-methyl cell mixture will last up to two weeks in this container, if stored in a reasonably cool room. Don't refrigerate this mixture or your PVA. Ever.

I mix up methyl cellulose from the powder form, about 8 ounces at a time, and store it in my refrigerator in a tightly closed plastic jar. I find it will keep for several months this way. 

You'll still want to keep a squeeze bottle of PVA around the worktable, as it comes in handy for gluing small jobs.

BTW, I've started posting the white models at right. The first one was quick to do, exciting to learn something new. In order for you to see the stitching clearly online, however, I had to abandon the white thread and replace it with color. Watch for new additions, and I'll do a follow-up post next week when I have a few more under my belt.


  1. I'm so glad you started this blog. Love the tip about the ceramic containers. Definitely will be looking for some of those now!

  2. Your blog is making me so happy! And it's making me want to get back to a little book-binding which I haven't done in too long!

  3. Hi Pam,
    Just a note to say thank you for your wonderful postings. I am enjoying my daily visits. Looking forward to more!