Use the right adhesive for gluing fabric to metal, and you’ll have a strong permanent bond. Get the details on methods and materials below.
Gluing fabric to metal: What you need to know
There are many choices to sift through when looking for an adhesive, so this article will help you make the best choice when gluing fabric to metal. This is a somewhat unusual combination, but we’re here to prevent confusion about what adhesives work best.
Most importantly, the glue needs to be compatible with your fabric and the type of metal you want to bond it to. There are four main types that you might use:
- all-purpose glue (liquid)
- spray adhesive
- fabric adhesive
In many cases, the two most likely candidates will be spray adhesive or fabric adhesive, as detailed below. All-purpose liquid glue may very well bond to the materials, but you must ensure it doesn’t bleed through the fabric or stain.
Epoxy may be the choice if an extra-strong inflexible bond is needed since most epoxies will dry rigidly.
How to attach fabric to metal: Two best ways
In most cases, the best ways to glue fabric to metal involve spray adhesive or fabric glue. We’ll cover these two methods below. Always check for compatibility on a scrap piece of fabric before you begin.
Gluing fabric to metal with spray adhesive
- Prepare your work area and lay out your materials. Ensure that all surfaces are clean and dry.
- Apply the adhesive. Shake the can 10–12 times. Spray an even coat on both surfaces. Hold the can vertically and about 25 cm (10 inches) from the materials.
- Allow the glue to become tacky before joining the materials (approximately 10 minutes).
- Press the fabric into place. Smooth it, removing any creases or wrinkles. Allow the glue to dry completely before normal use.
- Clean the nozzle of the spray can by inverting the can and spraying for two seconds. Then wipe the nozzle with some mineral spirits.
Gluing fabric to metal with fabric adhesive
Most types of fabric glue are a thick liquid, similar to contact cement.
- Prepare your work area, ensure all surfaces are clean and dry, and roughen smooth surfaces with sandpaper for better adhesion.
- Apply the adhesive. Apply some glue to each surface and press together until set. If using as a contact adhesive, allow the glue to dry for 10 to 30 minutes before assembling.
- Allow the adhesive to fully cure before using the item.
- Remove excess adhesive with acetone.
No matter what type of adhesive you choose, always work safely. Set up your work area in a well-ventilated spot and wear safety glasses and nitrile gloves. Avoid allowing the adhesive to contact your skin. If it does, acetone (nail polish remover) will soften and remove most types of glue.
How to glue fabric to metal: The right adhesives
Here are our top recommendations for adhesives to glue fabric to metal.
Spray adhesives work well for larger areas and more porous fabric. The glue is unlikely to show through the material, and you can quickly spray an even coat on both surfaces.
If you need a flexible adhesive that will not give out when the fabric moves, you’ll want Loctite Vinyl, Fabric & Plastic Adhesive. It’s perfect for repairing vinyl seats, cushions, and outdoor gear. Strong enough for weather stripping and repairs on your automobile, this glue will bond to glass, leather, wood, fabric, plastic, and metal. It dries transparent and won’t yellow or crack with age.
Have a small tear to fix? Give Loctite Extreme Gel a try. It also stays flexible, and its high-viscosity gel formula will bond and repair almost any surface. Thick enough to fill gaps, it cures quickly and dries clear. The gel is also durable enough to use outdoors.
In need of the rigid strength of epoxy? Loctite Epoxy Gel will bond to metal, glass, most rigid plastics, as well as fiberglass cloth. It creates a durable patch and can be used as a gap-filling adhesive and for surface repairs. The gel formula will not drip or run and is easily measured when dispensed from the dual syringe.