Thursday, May 9, 2013

A sticky situation...which glue is best for you and your balloons? Updated October 2016

When it comes to sticking balloons and other materials, there are many different adhesives to choose from, but which is the best glue or adhesive tape for the job?

Latex to Latex
What could be more perfect than a rubber adhesive?  A latex-based glue! In the U.S, Elmer's® make a rubber cement that works perfectly — it dries fast and makes a strong bond. When I first wrote this post in 2013, it was not easy to find Elmer’s in Europe, but today it is readily available in a number of different stores.

Advice from Robbie Furman, CBA, when using rubber cement.

“So you are going to use rubber cement in your design?  Well, there is a lot to know about rubber cement before you get started.  
Always use acid-free and wrinkle free - The best that I have found is Elmer’s. It is the one in the orange jar.  
Letting your glue get thicker - I recommend when you first buy your rubber cement, you open up the jar and leave the lid/brush off for a day. This will thicken the rubber cement up, but it will not dry it out. Rubber cement is very liquid when you first buy it, and if you spill the jar, the rubber cement will come pouring out and making a big mess. Having it thicker will help to avoid these problems. (Keep the brush in a cup of water whilst doing this process so it doesn’t dry out.)

Static electricity - When you are using rubber cement, keep in mind that any dripping rubber cement will form into tiny thin strands. Often our balloons contain a little static electricity and this will attract the dripping rubber cement, and without you realising you start to get it all over your balloons. When you go to touch the balloon, you will leave thumb prints and make a big mess.  Keep your balloons far enough away from the jar to avoid this problem.  

Constant use of rubber cement - If you have to continuously use the rubber cement, the trick is to NOT put the brush back into the jar, but leave it sitting up on the table.  This will avoid the time it takes to keep wiping off the excess rubber cement. When you need to use the rubber cement again, just dip the brush a little into the bottle and this will save you time.

Gluing a small area - When you need to add a dab or a little bit of rubber cement to a balloon, the trick is not to swipe the brush over the area you need to glue, but swipe the balloon over the brush.  This will give you more control of how much glue goes onto the balloon and will give you more control of the area to be glued.
I hope that these tips help you in your work!" 

Balloonfully yours,

Another adhesive that works extremely well for securing latex to latex is 
Click-Click™ Balloon Bond®.
This is a two-sided adhesive that is perfect for connecting latex balloons and other materials to balloons.

In 2013 (when this post was first posted)  this tape was very new and its benefits had not been truly realised. However, today it is very much a tape that professionals keep in their tool boxes. 

Luc Bertrand, CBA, of Waw Balloons in Vichte, Belgium.
“I mainly use Balloon Bond for latex to latex balloons, but it works very well for securing foil/foil and latex/foil details. Balloon Bond may need some practice to use, but once mastered, it is a perfect glue for adding details and elegant as a bonus, as it is barely visible.”

For more information regarding Balloon Bond, check out my post Balloon Bond Saved the Day!

Foil to Foil

"Stretchy Balloon Tape is my number one tape by far. I use it a lot! It is the only sure connection for foil balloons without putting any stress on them. When using stretchy tape I take one side of the backing tape off and reposition across in the middle, I then take away the other half of the backing tape. I then position the stretchy tape on the two foil balloons that I am connecting. The repositioned backing tape now shows the distance that will be taken between the two foil balloons. Now turn the balloons around, take away the backing tape and an additional piece of stretchy tape on top. This gives a result of two foil balloons with only a few millimetres between only using the double stretchy tape. The tape kind of ‘melts together.’ I find that this is the best way to make very strong connection points onto foil, Bubble, and latex balloons. The fact that it is stretchy or elastic makes it a stronger connection as it can shrink, grow, and move with the balloon construction. In short, 
Stretchy Balloon Tape is a must in my tool box.” Best regards Luc!

I agree with Luc that Stretchy Balloon Tape is an essential item in a professional’s tool box. A few days ago, I was preparing designs for a class that I was teaching and accidentally pierced an inflated Microfoil
® balloon that I was using in one of my designs with a sharp floral wire! Rather than discard the balloon and replace it with a new one, I placed a tiny piece of Stretchy Balloon Tape over the hole and then re-inflated the balloon—perfect repair and good as new! See picture for the repair, you will need to look at the close-up to see the tape!

Uglu Dashes and Strips (Oasis©)

For me, finding this product was a complete revolution. It is not a product that has been readily available in the U.K., however it is now available from many UK balloon and party wholesalers.  Speak to any balloon professional and they will all tell you that Uglu Dashes and Strips are the best. David Mahoney of Balloons Everyday, in Dallas, TX, U.S.A says, “They stick to almost everything, the dashes are clear so clients won't see the mechanics that much.  The fact that they are pre-cut it makes it simpler to use.”
Anne McGovern, CBA, of Elegant Balloons in Pearl River, NY, U.S.A.  “I prefer to use the Uglu Strips. Firstly, you can cut them to size and into thin strips, which is great for attaching foils.  I find they are even more sticky than the dashes, and never lose the stickiness. Working with the roll is horrible. I found it stuck to the scissor when I cut it, but this does not seem happen with the strips.  Another thing I found out while setting up at an event is that it is very hard to get any glue dots or Uglu to stick to Super Agate balloons! I make sure that I have rubber cement if I am working with Super Agate balloons.”
Tommy DeLorenzo, CBA, of Balloons by Tommy in Chicago, IL, U.S.A. “I like Uglu because it holds very well and is easy to use because it is already in little pieces. We use it to stick all sorts of balloons together as well as to connect Lomey poles to tiles. Balloon Bond is great when you need a larger surface stuck together, just be careful because in cool temperatures it doesn't hold as well.”

Glue Pens are great for personalising balloons. You use them like a regular marker to write names or messages and then sprinkle with glitter to give beautiful results!

I don't suppose many people consider Hi-Float to be an adhesive, but it certainly is! I use Hi-Float to coat latex balloons so that I can add glitter to the outside, or you can do the same internally to create some truly great effects!

The 5" Balloons in this design have been “glittered” using the Hi-Float method! I wrote a BLOG on how to make his design:

There are a few adhesives that I have not mentioned in this blog, so I will just touch on them now.

Glue Dots and Balloon Sticky Dots

Works well with latex, Microfoil and Bubble Balloons. Easy to use for quick adhesion of elements, such as this red nose on the Smile Face balloon.

Lomey® Adhesive is a glue that has been designed to securely bond Lomey Design System components such as dishes and poles. It is waterproof and dries clear. I have used it on other plastic dishes and it does work, but it takes a long time to dry. Once it dries, however it’s permanent. Once it's dries, however, it's permanent! I tried it on glass and it did not work.

Low temperature or Cool Melt Glue Guns
You would probably think that glue guns and balloons would not be a good combination, however, low temperature or cool melt glue guns work perfectly well when making designs. They are particularly effective when building  Mosaic Frames for Balloons and also when adding the balloons to the frames. 

Be aware,  even cool glue is very hot, and yes, it can pop a balloon, so you need to be very careful when working with one. The main problem with this type of glue is that it reacts with temperature; if it's cold, the glue sets very hard and brittle, and in the heat it can soften off.

Gorilla Glue™
Earlier this year, I had a job where I needed to secure Lomey poles to floor tiles. I needed to find an adhesive that would glue to two different surfaces and that would be strong. After a little research I found Gorilla Glue.
The product that started it all. Original Gorilla Glue built a name for itself with its incredible, industrial holding power and versatility. Water activated, it expands into materials to form an incredibly strong bond to virtually anything. As your solution for almost any project or repair, Gorilla Glue is 100% waterproof, weatherproof, you-name-it-proof. It's safe for indoor and outdoor use and strong enough to stand up to intense heat or cold. Sand it, paint it, stain it. Simply stated, it’s the Toughest Glue on Planet Earth.

Pan Glue was something that I only ever used to see in the U.S. It always looked very messy to me, but those who used it would say not! It's a glue that can be used on both latex and foil balloons. It's a strong glue that dries fast, easy to work with, and is not effected by atmospheric changes.
The downsides of pan glue is that it’s difficult to be specific on application, can weaken the seams on foil balloons, and does not dry clear.
Colin Stewart, CBA, of Alliston, ON, Canada has been using this type of glue for many years. In 1997, Colin and his team built these Christmas Bells and he still uses the same method today.

Let me know your favourite adhesive when working with balloons and why you like using it, and I will add it to the blog!

Happy ballooning!

Follow me on Instagram @suebowler


Unknown said...

What about super glues? Are they suitable for that purpose?

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing useful stuff information about GLUE.

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