How to glue rubber to leather

Written by gryphon adams
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How to glue rubber to leather
Glues designed for shoe repair bond rubber to leather. (shoe image by jeancliclac from

When it comes to gluing things together, the types of material to bond determine the type of adhesive to use. Porous materials such as rubber and leather provide a challenge. Shoe making, shoe repair, craft and art projects, home decorating, purse making and jewellery making all include instances for gluing rubber to leather--and require a reliable bond. To work well, a bond between rubber and leather must be both strong and flexible. Learn the adhesive options for gluing rubber to leather and the techniques that assure success.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Contact cement, also called contact adhesive--available from shoe repair shops
  • Paint roller or foam brush
  • Surgical tubing or strips cut from a bicycle inner tube, if needed

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  1. 1

    Create a double layer of newspaper on the work area.

  2. 2

    Open the windows.

  3. 3

    Read and follow all of the instructions and precautions on the adhesive product label.

  4. 4

    Apply a thin layer of contact adhesive to the surface area of the rubber and leather pieces. Spread the adhesive onto the parts with a paint roller or foam brush to create an even amount of glue over the surface. Allow the adhesive to dry until it feels dry to the touch. The drying time, depending on the product, the thickness of the layer of glue and the humidity, may take less than a half hour or nearly four hours.

  5. 5

    Apply a second thin layer of contact cement to each surface. Allow the contact cement to dry until the contact cement feels dry to the touch. Attempting to bond the materials before the cement dries results in an inferior bond.

  6. 6

    Line up the items in the position you want them to bond. Stick the rubber and leather together. The contact adhesive bonds to itself. If the materials are curved, warped or in some other way difficult to keep together, tie them together with surgical tubing or strips from a bicycle inner tube. This provides clamping to hold the materials in place to assure effective bonding.

  7. 7

    Leave the items clamped together for at least an hour.

Tips and warnings

  • Bond the rubber and leather items within an hour of when the contact cement dries.
  • A thin, even coat of adhesive creates a stronger bond than a thick or uneven coat of adhesive. Apply the glue slowly to assure even coverage.
  • Because of the porous nature of rubber and leather, applying two coats of adhesive helps to create a stronger bond.
  • Avoid putting stress on the bond for a full day.
  • Medical supply stores carry surgical tubing.
  • Keep contact adhesive out of the reach of children.

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