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How Do I Choose the Best Leather Glue?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 16, 2024
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Glue is an adhesive that binds substances together, and some varieties work better on specific materials like leather. Certain types of glue are renowned for their adhesive and wear-resistant capabilities, such as polyurethane glues, cements, and cyanocrylate-based glues. These glues are thus particularly strong when used as a leather glue, as are glues that are water-resistant and flexible. Further, leather glues should have durable lid sealants and lid applicators that best match the glue's use.

Of course, the most effective leather glue will possess durable adhesive abilities. A polyurethane glue may be useful for leather, as it creates a foam that seeps into small fabric gaps and forges a stronger bond when exposed to moisture. Rubber cement also works well as a leather glue because due to its fast evaporation and the rubber seal that is left behind when it evaporates. In fact, individuals that often work with leather like shoe makers and movie props workers frequently utilize rubber cement.

A good leather glue should have many other properties. For one, since leather is often worn, the glue should possess flexibility. Rubber cement is known for this quality. In addition, a leather glue should be largely water resistant, heat resistant, and it should withstand the wear that often accompanies leather use. All of these qualities characterize the animal rawhide that constitutes leather, so leather glue should be reflective of these particular properties.

Leather glue products that contain a base known as cyanoacrylate are particularly long-lasting as well. These glues are so effective because they contain no solvents that tamper with the drying process. When refrigerated, this glue can last for years, whereas other superglues might dry out and prove unusable after only one application. Further, cyanoacrylate-based glues do not typically discolor leather.

Methods of application might be affected by the particular area where the glue will be placed. Squeeze tubes and brush-on applicators, for example, are convenient for large surface areas. If you only wish to seal a small area such as a tear, however, then you might opt for a dropper bottle. For more precise area applications, a push point applicator might be the better bet.

Opinions on products are diverse, but consumer review sites can provide a good overview of a glue brand's benefits and drawbacks. Many of these sites also offer expert opinions, comparisons, and ratings. For a more targeted evaluation of glues for leather, you might peruse the message boards of companies that sell leather products or of hobbyists that make use of leather products like motorcycle riders.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon978787 — On Nov 20, 2014

Leather -- thicker leather -- will not really absorb a glue. Maybe a thinner suede will because it is actually a leather split. Patronio's leather glue is cement-like and kind of toxic as far as inhalation, yet I used this through my college experience ( went to school for accessory design at FIT) and I'm still alive. It will bond well to the leather and creates a pretty permanent bond. It does have a brownish tint so be careful where you place it so that it is not a sloppy job (don't color outside of the lines in this situation) and make sure you give it time to dry on each surface before you join them. It is very strong and will work. You should use it in a ventilated area.

By anon978770 — On Nov 20, 2014

I want to glue a leather pocket on the inside of my riding boots, which are made of leather. I am worried the glue will absorb into the leather and show on the outside of my nice boots. Does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks. --Sharon

By anon966862 — On Aug 22, 2014

I just took apart the cuff seam on a very expensive leather jacket and it's clearly rubber cement. Makes a nice flexible bond that can be taken apart for repair/alterations without much damage.

By anon945651 — On Apr 14, 2014

Do not use Gorilla glue on leather, especially for shoes. It's strong, it's waterproof and the seal holds, but it stiffens the leather to the point that the shoe is very uncomfortable to wear. Look elsewhere for bonding glue for leather.

By ddljohn — On Dec 26, 2012

@turquoise-- Yep, contact cement works great, I've been using it for years.

Can you tell me what you will be gluing leather to? It actually makes a difference what the other material is. If you're gluing leather to leather, I recommend cement. Cement will also work for other materials like plastic, metal and wood. So you should be fine just getting this.

If you are going to be using other fabrics and if you're worried about discoloration, you might want to buy a "leather glue," also called "leather weld."

By SarahGen — On Dec 25, 2012

@turquoise-- I have not tried contact cement.

I usually use an all purpose rubber type glue from the fabric store that lists leather among the type of ingredients it can be used on. The one I have works really well, it's durable and flexible. I'm not sure what the active ingredient in it is but I'm sure if you get a glue that says it's for leather, it will work.

By turquoise — On Dec 24, 2012

Has anyone used contact cement for leather?

Does it hold up? Is it too stiff?

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