As you can imagine, hair bows get pulled, squished, loved or hated and it is kinda good that they don’t fall apart in the process. That’s a tough one, because there are so many kinds of bow materials and so many types of glue. I’ll share my experience with the most popular materials used to make “faux leather” bows, but here is a short list in order of popularity:
- hot glue
- shoe glue
- super glue
- glue for vinyl
- white craft glue (never use this for faux leather)
- fabric glue
Maybe the classic choice in the crafting universe is the high temperature hot glue, but not always the best. Especially if you are making hair bows to sell. Your customers will expect them to hold for a certain while and keep shape. The same way you carefully choose the glitter canvas to be non-shedding or the faux leather to be soft, choose the glue. It is a vital part of your product and thankfully here you have options.
Can I use shoe glue for hair bows?
As I mentioned in the article about cutting faux leather, some leathers are treated to repel dirt, so they repel any glue that doesn’t penetrate the coating. In these cases your best option is a solvent type of glue like the shoe glue. Right, the stinky stuff that takes forever to dry. I know, but it’s probably the best at the same time. It has solvents in it’s composition and successfully penetrates most coatings to grab the actual faux leather. Sometimes it can dissolve the rubbery layer if you apply too much, therefore you know…, test and test again.
Use scrap pieces to glue and test how much glue to apply, how long to wait, face to face, face to backing etc. Also with solvent glues, make sure to work in a well ventilated area and follow the manufacturer instructions.
How about super glue?
Shortly said, yes.
Another kind of popular hair bow material is the kind covered with glitter or pearlescent shimmer. This thing is hard to stick and hold with hot glue. The glitter is most often made of shredded polyester film, which doesn’t stick well to hot glue. My solution is Super Glue Gel. It holds well enough and dries quickly. A thing you have to keep in mind about super glue is that it is brittle and doesn’t take any movement well.
Below picture is of the Mermaid bow templates, for which we used chunky glitter material and a pearlescent faux leather. A classic example of hard to stick materials.
Is glue for vinyl a good choice? Well, yes. The best.
Another glue that will hold well is the solvent based glue for vinyl. This glue works on every piece of faux leather and glitter canvas I have! You can find it in a hardware store. It’s used to repair pools and tents. Often it comes in set with a vinyl patch for repair work.
What about white PVA craft glue? Umm, please don’t!
Never try to glue non paper with white glue. Even if you manage to keep it stuck for awhile, it will eventually pop and fall apart.
So I should throw away my glue gun? No, wait, who throws away a glue gun?!
What about hot glue then? I still use it when I make soft leather bows, when the backing is fairly fuzzy textile it could work. If the leather is thin and soft the temperature of the hot glue melts the rubbery layer and holds well. Also when I need to whip a quick test for a certain template it works great.
A good example for project that uses entirely only hot glue is the faux leather wallet. All you have to glue there is backing to backing, so there are fibers for the glue to grab and hold.
What about fabric glue?
It depends. Some fabric glues are designed to just help keep the fabric together until it’s sewn, so a big no for them.
Most of what I’ve stumbled upon in fabric glues was acrylic based, so I honestly doubt it would work. The point is fabric glue should hold fibers together and faux leather or glitter canvas have only textile backing, so the front has no fibers to be caught. Let me know in the comments if you have different experience. I’ll make sure to also test it these days.
Just test. I know I’m repeating myself.
The point is with any glue – it should be able to grab some of the material to hold it securely. Make various tests and keep them in a baggy for future reference or just go straight for solvent based glue.
Hope sharing my experience is helpful to you.
If you have tried other glues or have different experience than mine, I’ll be happy if you share it in the comments, so we can all learn something new 🙂