Foam is a wonderfully versatile craft material. It's flexible, easy to cut and can be rolled or folded into many shapes. If a piece of foam can't be joined to other pieces of foam or paper, however, it's pretty useless. Many types of foam craft pieces can be purchased with an adhesive backing. But even without sticky backing, a craftsman has other options.
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Traditional white school glue is found in almost every home. It works well on foam. Several varieties--white, wood and tacky--will all set in about an hour and be completely dry within two hours. But there are three drawbacks. Even the tacky varieties take several minutes for the glue to become sticky enough to hold the foam in place. Also, as the glue ages, it can tend to lose its flexibility and crack, allowing the foam to separate. Finally, this glue will loosen in water.
Foam glue is designed to work specifically with foam. It dries to a stiff tack almost instantly. When fully dry, this glue can still be very sticky. Read the manufacturers directions carefully. Sometimes the drying time can be speeded up by applying heat to the sealed pieces, such as a light iron or a trip through the microwave. This product is usually marketed with the word foam in the name. A drawback is that foam glue is generally not waterproof.
Hot glue is actually a polymer, or plastic that melts at temperatures between 79.4 and 176 degrees C. This adhesive bonds foam together so firmly that the foam has been known to tear before the glue loosens. This glue is usually waterproof, and, if applied in thin beads, it's flexible. But if the glue is applied in thick, large pools, it will form a hard, inflexible plastic. Also, if the gun is set at a high temperature, the tip of the gun can actually melt the foam.
Glue dots are double-sided spots of glue that are used to bond two things together. They usually come stuck between two tapes or sheets of a waxed paper or plastic. Craftsmen peel the dots off their backing and stick to the foam. The new foam piece adheres to the dot. Glue dots are easy to use and require very little clean up. Depending on the variety, they can be permanent or allow pieces to be repositioned.
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