What is PVA Glue and When Should You Use It?

Are you into crafts? Do you have a pending woodwork project lying around at home? If yes, you will most certainly require some PVA glue for the completion of your task. But what is this PVA adhesive? Where can you find some and how useful is it to you?

This article will answer all the queries you have about this form of adhesive.

What Is PVA Glue?

It was first discovered in 1912 by a man called Fritz Klatte. PVA glue is a synthetic polymer derived from a substance known as polyvinyl acetate. It falls in the family of polyvinyl esters, but that is the scientific description. This adhesive is known as white/carpenter’s/wood adhesive which you can use for both interior and exterior work.

Being non-toxic and allowing firm adhesion, PVA glue has become quite a popular option in the world of timber adhesives. This element is a thermoplastic that is moldable at a specific temperature. On cooling down, it solidifies with a high bond strength, turning clear.

Types of PVA Glue

PVA Wood Glue

As the name suggests, this adhesive is meant mainly for woodwork. It is yellowish in color and creates a strong bond, which is why it is good for wood crafts. PVA wood glue has a benzene carbon ring in its structure. This ring is the reason why this adhesive becomes a rubbery polymer when applied on wood surfaces.

PVA Water Resistant Glue

If this adhesive comes in contact with water, it will easily absorb it. However, PVA water resistant glue is not the same as waterproof glue. When put it water, this adhesive will resist both moisture and mold. However, at some point, the glue will start to come off.

In damp conditions, and even during harsh weather situations, this adhesive is great for any tasks and crafts. It will not come off instantly with the slightest contact with water, unlike other adhesives. If you want, you could make use of this glue on the outside of a house, without having to worry about it being washed off due to rain and snow.

PVA – Polyvinyl Acetate

Most of the glue you have around the house is probably a PVA. Polyvinyl Acetate is a type of PVA glue. In fact, it is the simplest form of PVA glue. It is perfect for use especially when it comes to paper crafts.

PVA can be found in almost all crafts stores, mall, etc. It dries white and can be used to seal papers, to bind books and more. After it dries, there is still some flexibility in PVA adhesive, which is one of its best features.

PVA Glue Top Features

PVA is a superb adhesive option for several reasons:

  • Most PVA adhesives have a long shelf life, which means that one purchase should last you a long time. Hence, this adhesive is economical for the user in the long run.
  • This product works quicker than other adhesives, which means tasks take less time, and work is hassle-free on most occasions. This is especially if you know your way with glues in general, and have worked with PVA glue at least once before.
  • It will cool and dry up to become apparent. This means that none of your crafts will look strange due to white or yellow adhesive residue sticking out like a sore thumb.
  • It is quite affordable, and a little will go a long way. Instead of this glue, if you make use of other ones, you might require more product in comparison. Therefore, you will end up having to purchase a large bulk, especially if you have a big task at hand.
  • Application is pretty simple, which is why a lot of people prefer PVA glue over other adhesives.
  • The gum capability of this adhesive is high, and this bond will last for a long time
  • The pH of this adhesive is neutral, which means the product is not toxic. As long as you do not ingest it by mistake, it should be fine to work with.

What is PVA glue used for

There are several uses of this form of adhesive, such as:

  • PVA glue is flexible and not acidic like other glues. It does not contain any solvents.
  • It’s also soluble in water as an emulsion and useful for gluing paper, wood, and cloth, all of which are porous materials.
  • Additionally, you can use it like leather and fabric adhesive as well.
  • Unsurprisingly, it is superb for binding books, and arts and crafts, regardless of the scale of these crafts.
  • At the same time, you can use PVA glue as a drywall primer as well as a filler, but only if you add sawdust to it first.
  • You could also utilize it for gluing wallpapers and even envelopes.
  • There are some unique uses of this adhesive that many do not know. For instance, sometimes plants get wounds due to pruning. When these wounds are not taken care of, the plant could wither away slowly and die. Applying one even layer of PVA glue helps the plant avoid any form of infection.
  • Another unconventional use of this adhesive is ensuring that a screw stays in place, and a layer is added to the screw hole before twisting the screw on.
  • One more unconventional use of this adhesive is removable of splinters. If you happen to have a small one in your finger or another part of your body, all you need to do is apply a layer of the PVA glue over it. Once that dries, you can rip it off just like a band-aid. This will undoubtedly take the splinter out even if it is tiny and hard to reach without the aid of the adhesive.

How to Use PVA Glue

To get the best results with PVA glue, you will have to use it correctly. Here are a few steps you should probably keep in mind while working with this substance:

Applying It in Generous Amounts

Whatever the surface is that you are making use of the glue on, you will have to apply a generous amount of the adhesive. Since the glue does not have an invincibly strong adhering strength, you will have to spread it across a wider area. The more extensive the coverage, the stronger the joint will be.

Forcing the Two Surfaces Together

The two surfaces that you will join together has to be pressed against each other, and with a rather hard force. This application of pressure is known as clamping, and it is a reassuring method. It helps to remove the air pockets between the two surfaces and gives you a stronger, more firm bond.

Wiping off the Excess

After application, the excess glue that flows over the edges should be wiped off with a tissue or microfiber towel, preferably wet. Since the PVA is water-soluble, the damp towel will soak up the glue that crossed the edges. As the glue gets harder to clean when dries, you should do it while the glue is still wet.

Resting the Product

Depending on the amount of glue you used and the material of the items you merged, the period of resting will be different. But it is recommended that you must rest the item after the application of glue for at least an hour. When using wood glue, the hours multiply by quite a lot.

Allowing Proper Ventilation

Rest the glued items after application in a well-ventilated area because the flow of air helps the glue to dry faster. The air circulation also allows the glue to hold the items stronger. Hence, we recommend you to keep the things outside, so they receive the air better.

Benefits of PVA Glue

The glue will not become yellow over time. Furthermore, it will certainly not break down, making your craft fall apart.

PVA glue dries clear and surprisingly remains flexible. Unlike certain types of adhesives, this does not give off strong, bad, harmful fumes that could give you a headache.

Moreover, if the adhesive comes in contact with any papers or materials, it does not meddle with the pH balance.

PVA glue is not toxic, but that does not mean you could ingest it! It sets quickly, making all kinds of crafts tasks a breeze to finish.

What to Lookout When Buying PVA

There are a few things you must keep in mind before and during the purchase of your PVA adhesive, especially if you are looking to make good use out of it:

The Variety of PVA Glues Available

Depending on what it is that you require your PVA adhesive for, you should compare the kinds available for purchase. Each type has a set of uses and features that make it suitable for only specific tasks. Also, each type has its limitations, which is another thing to make a note of.


Without a doubt, you have to think of the budget you have set for purchasing your glue. Some of these PVA adhesives in the market are costly than others, offering just a small amount to work. The key is to find specific brands that have good or even rave reviews, and see if it falls in your budget.

Based on the quantity of the glue, and how cheap or expensive it is, make your decision. Be wary of extremely affordable PVA adhesives either as they might not give the quality you are looking for. However, there are exceptions, in which case you will have to go through reviews from third parties thoroughly.

What It is You are Looking for from This Adhesive

Keep in mind your workload, and estimate the amount of glue you need to take care of the task at hand. There are some sizes available when it comes to PVA glue, and you might find one that fits your requirements with a price tag just right for you.


This is a critical issue to tackle, but you need to be cautious about all the reviews you come across for each PVA adhesive you take a look at. Many third-party reviews will leave you confused or even duped. This may lead to you purchasing a product that you might not be too pleased with.

Therefore, what you could do is go through several reviews, and get a general idea of how most customers feel about the glue.

Likewise, one crucial thing to make a note of when reading reviews is to see why the person has used the PVA glue for. Depending on the task they performed, you might get a clear idea of whether or not a specific PVA glue is going to be right for you.

Besides, the reviews mentioned above could give you an inkling of which brands you could easily trust.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is PVA glue waterproof?

A lot of people assume that PVA glue, especially the water-resistant kind, is waterproof, but that’s not the case. This substance will be able to withstand mildew, harsh weather situations, mold, etc. So, if you submerge it in water, the glue will not remain solid for a long time.

Q. How to remove PVA glue from wood?

You could put a hairdryer on, and put the steam on the glued spot on the wood for a few minutes. Then try to scrape the glue off with a paint scraper once you see that it has softened down.

Q. Is PVA glue the same as white glue?

Yes, white glue contains PVA. Therefore, they are technically the same thing.

Q. Where could I purchase PVA adhesive?

Malls, crafts stores, home improvement shops will have this product. There will be a few kinds and brands available, so you will need to pick one based on your needs.


With time, PVA glue may creep, but that is a solvable problem. Keeping that aside, this adhesive is an excellent option, especially when it comes to woodwork, carpentry, and furniture.

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David has been a Craft & woodworking enthusiast for 10 years, and in that time has written huge resources on Sander, woodworking, and tools.

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