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Best Glue for Canvas – Product Options and Usage Guide

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Written by: Jeremy Sanchez


Best Glue for Canvas – Product Options and Usage Guide

If you’re a seasoned artist or just dabbling in painting, you may need to use glue at some point.

Gluing canvas or paper beads to canvas can’t be done unless you have the right glue.

A good adhesive works wonder on canvas; artists only use specific brands when bonding their canvas. In this article, I’ll tell you more about this!

This buyer’s guide will tell you all about working with canvas, the best types of glue for canvas, how you can use them, and more.

I’ll tell you how to bond various materials to canvas and what you need to know before starting.

Recommendation – Elmer’s E431 Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue is my number one pick for this list. It’s a water-based PVA glue that’s quite strong when used alone. It’s not great for weighty applications but it’s excellent for canvas bonding. You can also wash it in the washing machine without affecting the glue’s integrity.

Keep reading if you want to know more about bonding canvas!

Types of Glue for Canvas

In this section, I’ll tell you about the four types of glue you can use for canvas bonding.

Each one has special characteristics and instructions that you should pay attention to. Here are the three types of canvas glue you should watch out for:

PVA Glue

By far, PVA or polyvinyl acetate glues are the best ones for canvas and artistic projects involving paper and canvas.

The water-based glue will dry immediately after the water evaporates from it.

Its bonding strength isn’t out of this world, but it’s excellent for canvas and lightweight applications.

Some PVA adhesives are waterproof, heat-proof, and impact-resistant (somewhat). However, most PVA glues aren’t waterproof.

If you need great glue for bonding canvas, PVA glue should do a great job compared to other glues on this list.

PVA glue can be used to glue rhinestones on fabric and shoes.

Fabric Glue

You’ll often need to bond fabric to canvas and other materials in artistic projects.

So, manufacturers have started designing their fabric glue to bond perfectly to canvas.

There are several fabric glue types, mostly split into two categories – lightweight and heavyweight.

You probably won’t need fabric glue with industrial-grade strength and lots of hazard resistance for artistic purposes.

Depending on the project you’re working on, you may need to buy a stronger fabric glue.

If you want to bond clothing to canvas, for instance, then a simple fabric glue won’t work.

Fortunately, plenty of fabric adhesives out there will do a good job!

Spray-On Adhesive

Spray-on adhesives aren’t strong and won’t resist tearing or other impact damage.

Instead, this type of glue is best used for collages and scrapbooking, lightweight projects, in other words.

For canvas and artistic projects, you’ll need a spray-on adhesive that dries clear and is waterproof.

The other adhesives I talked about usually don’t dry clear, which makes spray-on adhesives a bit better.

You can easily use this type of glue on top of photographs, which will be invisible.

But if you’re not using photographs or visually-sensitive materials, then PVA and fabric glue are better options.

Super Glue

Super glue is both strong and extremely resilient to most external hazards.

You may not want to use it for photographs, but super glue is ideal for long-term projects.

Super glue is a great option if you know you won’t be moving the bonded objects too soon!

Glues unsuited for canvas are tacky glue, wood glue, foam board glue, normal gorilla glue, and hot glue.

Super glue also works great as glue for shoes.

Best Glue for Canvas

Here are my recommendations for the best glue for canvas.

1. Elmer’s E431 Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue


  • Compatible with oil paint canvas
  • Great fabric adhesive option
  • Comes with a glue gun
  • Compatible with spray paint and acrylic paint canvas


  • Takes some time to dry

Elmer’s Fabric and Paper Glue is a great option for when you have to bond fabric and canvas to other materials.

It’s what every professional uses for artistic projects that aren’t weighty. Its bonding strength is more than acceptable, as well.

However, you can only use it for lightweight projects that don’t require too much tensile strength.

Thankfully, Elmer’s Glue is also resistant to water and heat so you can wash the fabric without much trouble. The glue won’t be dissolved!

The squeeze design of the bottle increases its usability and simplicity of use, as well.

Elmer’s also has a precision applicator cap that ensures you won’t make a mess when applying the glue.

Lastly, this glue dries clear and is versatile because you use it for scrapbooking, collaging, and various materials like wood, fabric, paper, and canvas.

Despite this, the glue takes quite a while to dry, and it’s also not ideal for weighty applications.

2. Mod Podge CS11301 Sealer, Glue, and Finish


  • Perfect for stretched canvas and loose canvas
  • Great for any type of canvas board
  • Is very versatile


  • Low water resistance

Mod Podge is one of the best glues for artistic projects, especially thanks to its non-toxic nature, which makes it great for kids.

Mod Podge is water-based, which means it’s incredibly easy to clean if you make a mess. Once it dries, you can clean it with a damp cloth.

If you got it on your clothes, throw them into the washing machine, and the glue will dissolve immediately.

Mod Podge is also very versatile so you can use it for collages, scrapbooks, decoupages, photos, and more.

It’s a cost-effective adhesive that provides various finishes and dries clear. However, it doesn’t do well with moisture and water.

Its water resistance is very low, so you should be careful when using it for canvas bonding!

3. Ranger TDA47933 Tim Holtz Distress Collage Medium


  • Compatible with oil paint canvas
  • Compatible with spray paint and acrylic paint canvas
  • Works on paper and cardboard too


  • Is not 100% transparent

Ranger Collage Medium is perfect for layering and sealing mixed-media art projects, as you might imagine from its name.

So, if you plan on using canvas, felt, paper, cardboard, and other such materials, Ranger adhesive is a perfect choice.

Related guide: Best glue for cardboard

Despite not being 100% transparent, you’ll still make good use of Ranger glue because it’s translucent and partly mat.

It may not be good for photographs, but it does well enough on collages and scrapbooking.

It’s a non-toxic and acid-free adhesive that offers a permanent and water-resistant bond with a matte finish.

Even though it’s not fully waterproof and doesn’t work for photos, Ranger still brings a lot of tensile strength and resilience to the table.

You shouldn’t use it on fabrics because the washing machine will clean off this glue completely.

Lastly, Ranger is very easy to use, and it’ll be difficult to make a mess unless you’re deliberately trying to.

4. Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive


  • Great for damaged fabric
  • Is non-toxic
  • Is completely waterproof


  • Small bottle

This particular glue is best used to fix damaged fabrics, denim, canvas, and leather.

It’s not made for artistic pursuits but rather for repairs. You may want to try it for art, but it works best when mending torn-up fabrics.

Tear Mender Adhesive works like super glue as it sets in a couple of minutes and forms a permanent bond.

The curing process will take three minutes in total. The glue only comes off if you decide to wash it within 15 minutes after applying it.

After it dries and cures, it becomes completely waterproof and temperature-resistant, so putting the fabric in the washing machine is safe.

It doesn’t contain any acids, is non-toxic, and is even somewhat UV-resistant.

Once cured, Tear Mender Adhesive retains some of its elasticity and flexibility that should help with fabric materials.

5. Gorilla 6301502 Spray Adhesive


  • Works on nearly all types of material
  • Is water and heat resistant
  • Works also on clothes


  • Not eco-friendly

This is the only spray-on adhesive on this list, and it’s very easy to use without making a mess.

It dries clear and even works on photographs because the adhesive is invisible.

It works on several materials, including metal, glass, foam, fabrics, plastics, paper, leather, wood, and more.

Once it bonds to something, it becomes fully waterproof and temperature-resistant, but it’s repositionable within those few minutes before it dries and cures.

It won’t yellow over time, so it’s a permanently-clear glue perfect for photograph and collage work.

Its VOC content meets all quality standards, so it’s also non-toxic. However, the aerosol can is not eco-friendly, as you may know.

It will also stain clothes if you’re not careful enough. Though, if you put the fabric into a washing machine before the glue dries, you may still salvage it.

How Do You Make Collages on Canvas?

This is a step-by-step guide on how to make collages on canvas:

  • Choose either a thin or thick canvas, as well as a good size, depending on your needs
  • Choose an adhesive. Ideally, you should go for Elmer’s E431 Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue because it’s one of the best glues for canvas
  • Use a brush and apply a thin and consistent layer of glue to the canvas. However, if you’re doing collages, you should apply the glue on the paper rather than the canvas.
  • Place the glued paper on the canvas and smoothen it with your hands
  • Use a cloth or brush to clean away the excess glue
  • Apply a thin layer of glue on top of the paper and wait for 20 minutes for it to dry
  • Add more glue layers and pictures or papers, depending on your collage goals
  • After placing all your photos and papers, you can apply a final layer of glue to seal everything nicely

You should follow several safety tips while working with canvas glue, though.

Follow the instructions on the glue itself, and ensure it’s non-toxic.

Work in a well-ventilated area if the glue is toxic, and use a respirator and gloves.

Wrap Up

Elmer’s E431 Craft Bond Fabric and Paper Glue is our top pick for arts and crafts projects because of its versatility, strength, and clear dryness.

It’s also heat and water-resistant and non-toxic. Kids can use it without too many problems! If you want to use another glue, you’re free to do so.

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