This guide will show you how to glue plastic together using the three most common plastic adhesives. Find out how to make the best choice for your project.
How to glue plastic to plastic: primary methods
With so many types of plastic, and so many adhesives on the market, it’s not surprising that people are unsure about what the best adhesive is to glue plastic together. We can help take the mystery out of the decision.
In general, the most common types of adhesives to glue plastic together are super glue, plastic bonding systems, and epoxy. Let’s look at the advantages and qualities of each.
Super glue is great for small repairs and quick fixes because it is easy to use, dries quickly, and bonds to a wide variety of surfaces. Keep in mind though that all super glues are not made for the same applications. Check the label to make sure the type you use is compatible with the plastic you intend to apply it to. Certain plastics, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), can require a specialized glue for bonding.
That’s where special plastic bonders come into play. These are adhesives made for all types of plastic including those “hard to bond” varieties mentioned above. Also, if you are doing plumbing work and using PVC pipe, the best choice is using PVC primer and glue since it is designed specifically for that material.
At times, you may need to make a repair or a bond between plastic parts that were broken or may not fit together precisely. You will need a “gap-filling” adhesive that is rigid enough to span those areas without breaking. That’s where epoxy is useful. When epoxy hardens, it forms a very durable material. Durable enough to sand, drill, and machine if needed. There are epoxy formulas especially designed for plastics.
So, there are many choices, but once you determine the needs of your project, you should be able to quickly narrow it down. We’ll have some high-quality product suggestions below.
Instructions on how to stick plastic together
Here are basic instructions on how to use each of these adhesives.
No matter which adhesive you use, always make safety a priority. Wear nitrile gloves and safety glasses when working with adhesives and make sure there is adequate ventilation in your work area.
How to glue plastic together using super glue
- Pre-fit the parts. Ensure the parts to be glued fit together closely and are clean and dry.
- Apply the glue. Apply a small amount of glue to one surface. (A little super glue goes a long way. Often just a drop or two is needed.)
- Press the surfaces together immediately and keep them still for about 15–30 seconds or until a bond begins to form.
- Allow to fully dry. For maximum strength, leave the plastic undisturbed for 24 hours. This will allow the bond to cure.
- Clean up any excess wet adhesive with a damp paper towel. Dried adhesive can be carefully scraped away with a razor blade, then remove remaining residue with acetone.
How to glue plastic to plastic with plastic bonder
Many special plastic bonding systems include an activator as a preliminary step. This prepares the surface of the plastic to accept the adhesive and creates a stronger bond.
- Pre-fit and clean the parts as above.
- Apply activator to both surfaces and allow to dry for one minute.
- Apply the adhesive as you would with super glue and join the parts.
- Let it dry by waiting at least 10 minutes before moving the combined parts. Leaving the glue to dry overnight will typically yield best results.
- Clean up is the same simple process as the one used for super glue listed above.
How to glue plastic to plastic using epoxy
Epoxy is a two-part system consisting of a resin and hardener. Once these are mixed, a reaction begins, and you have a required working time. Most epoxies come in a dual-syringe dispenser, making it easy to measure out equal parts of the two components.
- Dispense an appropriate amount of resin and hardener onto a disposable surface.
- Thoroughly mix the two components, then use the epoxy immediately.
- Apply the adhesive, press together, and allow the epoxy to set. (See packaging for drying time since this will vary among different formulas.)
Best way to glue plastic together: our top picks
Simple household repairs can be completed in seconds with Loctite Super Glue XXL Liquid. This highly versatile glue will bond to most surfaces and is resistant to water, temperature extremes, and shock.
For larger repairs, or when you are unsure of the type of plastic involved, the best way to glue plastic together is Loctite Super Glue All Plastics. As the name implies, this two-step system will bond almost any type of plastic in just seconds. Just apply the activator to both surfaces, wait 60 seconds, then apply the adhesive to one surface and join the parts.
When you need the extra strength of epoxy, your best choice for gluing plastic is Loctite Epoxy Plastic Bonder. The special formula bonds to PVC, ABS, FRP, Mylar, Delrin, and many other plastics and reaches handling strength in about 20 minutes. It won’t shrink and is resistant to water and most solvents.