You know PVA glue well. Every art and crafts project in elementary school included it, every fall school list required it; it is that white bottle of sticky glue you grew up with in every classroom. PVA glue, or Polyvinyl acetates, is a water-based adhesive, and comes in many different formulas. It is one of the most prevalent adhesives out there today. Don’t be freaked out by the name, it really is that same glue, yes that’s right, Elmer’s glue!
PVA glue has a variety of different formulas for different purposes, and can be used on paper, paper mache, wood, vinyl, handicrafts, and leather work. There are two commonly known forms of PVA glue, yellow and white. Yellow PVA glue is generally known as carpenter’s glue, and is most often used in woodworking. Unless you are working with water, PVA glues are most likely what you want to be using!
PVA glue is safe, although toxic if swallowed, it is otherwise perfectly safe; it does not emit harmful fumes, is non-flammable, and it can be used safely without gloves. So make sure you don’t eat it, but other than that, it is a great glue to have around the kids. It also washes off very easily with water! PVA glue is heat-resistant, flexible, dries clear, and is acid free. Lastly, PVA glues are cheap!
PVA glues only work on porous materials, such as cloth, paper, and wood, therefore slightly limiting what it is applicable to. PVA glues are not water-resistant, so a bond may loosen if constantly exposed to moisture. There are many environmental factors that need to be taken into consideration when using PVA glue – freezing temperatures and high moisture levels should be avoided.
PVA glue dries best when set in controlled environments at room temperature and in well-ventilated spaces. Make sure you apply pressure after the glue has been applied to guarantee a firm and lasting bond. Do not let PVA glue freeze before use, as it will turn out to be useless when applied. Yellow PVA glues have a shorter life span than do white PVA glues, so careful how much you purchase at one time…buy what you need! However, in general PVA glues do have a long shelf life. Yellow glue has a shorter drying time (and slightly higher resistance to moisture) than white glue, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the material you are using. Also important to note is that while white glue dries clear, yellow glue dries yellow! Nevertheless, when working with wood, the dried yellow tint is typically not visible.