Thursday, April 20, 2006

Adhesive Trials

I promised to post the results of my search for a glue to adhere metal to fabric, and then promptly forgot to do it. Hell to get old, as my father used to say.

First, my criteria: The adhesive needs to bond without using an iron. It must dry clear and flexible and be supple enough to allow machine stitching through it once dry. It must work on a relatively large piece of medium weight foil like candies are wrapped in ( not as heavy as aluminum foil and not the product used for "foiling") without the foil needing to be wrinkle free. I must be able to apply it to the entire surface as there will be no sheer overlay to hold things in place. And it should be safe to use on fabric - i.e. archival.

Some of the results were predictable as in, yeah, I didn't really expect that to work. Others surprised me, as I expected them to work based on the description that came with the adhesive, but they didn't. In retrospect, I may have skewed some of the results because I didn't think to rinse the foil before bonding trials. One glue was very specific about both surfaces needing to be clean and free from oils - makes perfect sense. So for the last few tests, the foil had been soaked in an ammonia solution, rinsed and left to dry. It also occurred to me that I might not be getting an even application of the adhesives on the foil which would result in what might look like failed adhesion, so was more careful about that in the last samples. Almost all of the glues required lengthy drying time - at least 24 hours - which I think was mostly (but not entirely) related to, how soon they could be immersed in water and still hold.

I should also note that Vicky Taylor-Hood from the Surfacing Yahoo Group recommend I try Jones Tones Plexi Glue, stating, "It's available all over the place," but I couldn't find it in my area. If I ever run across it, I will buy some, because Vicky has used it a lot with excellent results.

  • Permanent Glue Stic: Not specifically for fabric but rated acid free. Loved the way it went on, foil peeled right up.
  • Fabri-Tac by Beacon: This works so great fabric to fabric, but here peeled even more easily than Glue Stic. Clear adhesive that dries clear.
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue: I found a reference suggesting this for foiling, but it doesn't work here. Lack of heat? Should have let it dried some before pressing together? White glue that dries clear.
  • Mrs. Glue: Supposed to attach glitter, sequins, beads (& more!). Took longer than the 24 hours suggested to dry and still the foil peeled off. Also is thicker and stiffer than others tried so far. White glue that dries clear.
  • Loctite Super Glue: Yeah, it surprise. Also no surprise that it dries rock hard and was difficult to apply partly because it dries so fast. Clear adhesive.
  • Gem-Tac by Beacon: I really liked the ease with which this glue applied. I didn't press the foil down very firmly on the fabric so it didn't soak into the fabric as much as some of the other glues. That may account for why the foil reluctantly peeled back in some places but held firm in others. Or perhaps I didn't get it spread evenly enough on the foil. Nice & flexible. I want this one to work. White glue that dries clear.
  • Quick Grip by Beacon: This was more like a super glue - clear with lots of fumes - but it didn't set instantly making it easier to apply than I anticipated. Dries clear and flexible, although it felt a little stiffer than Gem-Tac. Best of all, the foil is Really Stuck Tight to the fabric! Not clear how it might effect fabric over time although it definitely says it is for use with fabric.
I have to say I'm quite impressed with the Beacon line of adhesives now that I've run these tests. They really do what they say they will do. (Plus, for those for which this is important, it is made in America.) Since both the Gem-Tac and Quick Grip were the only glues in these trials that work, they were the only ones that I tried sewing through. I put together a small sample to test couching threads over the glued down foil using metallic thread through a #80 Metallic needle and a zig-zag stitch. Absolutely no problem sewing through either whether it was through a single layer of fabric or layered with backing and a thin poly batt. I also was more careful about good coverage over the foil on these samples and got a better result with the Gem-Tac. Since it is odorless and Quick Grip is not, Gem-Tac won out as my choice for this particular application.

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