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What is Fabric Adhesive?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 16, 2024
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The name fabric adhesive encompasses a variety of products that provide temporary or permanent ways to attach fabric without sewing. Some of them are available simply as applications, while others are sold already applied to a fabric or material, with the adhesive being activated while incorporating that material into a project.

Household glue. While designed for other purposes, white school glue or glue stick can act as a fabric adhesive, temporarily holding fabric until it is sewn and eliminating pinning. Using this kind of glue can be particularly useful for felt and other thick fabrics. One advantage is that, unlike pins, which can cause ripples, these glues leave the fabric flat. They do not wash out, so the amount used must be carefully judged.

Spray Fabric Adhesive. Spray fabric adhesive is useful and neater to apply than glue, but not permanent if the fabric is cleaned by laundering or dry cleaning. Also, unlike the recommended glues, it has toxic fumes and must be used in a well-ventilated space.

Fabric Glue. There are several different types of fabric adhesive that go under the name of fabric glue. Glues for attaching rhinestones, sequins, glitter, and gems to fabric are made in both washable (permanent) and non-washable formulas, the first for clothing and other items that need to be cleaned, and the second for decorative fabric arts. Some fabric glues form a permanent bond between two layers of fabric, a sort of liquid fusible web that can be used in no-sew projects. There are also specialized fabric glues to control fraying and stretchable glue for adding ornamentation to stretchable fabrics.

Bonding Fabric or Fusible Web. Another type of fabric adhesive is iron-on bonding fabric, sometimes called fusible web, a layer of adhesive material placed between two layers of “regular” fabric to fuse them together permanently. It comes in tape and sheets, with or without backing paper. Some fusible webbing has pressure sensitive adhesive on both sides to hold items in place temporarily before they are ironed to fuse them. Another kind has a grid printed on it to assist with cutting to fit.

The bonding fabric can be cut to shape first and fused to both the appliqué and the backing fabric by being sandwiched in between and heated with a steam iron. Alternatively, a whole sheet of fabric may be turned into bondable fabric by fusing the bonding fabric to it with the backing sheet left on the other side. The newly created bonding fabric can then be cut to any size and shape, and used as an appliqué by removing the backing sheet and fusing it to other fabric.

Fusible web in tape form can be used for hemming garments, pillow cases, blankets, table cloths, and curtains. Tape widths include ¼ inch, 5/8 inch, ¾ inch and 1¼ inches (~6.4 mm, ~15.9 mm, ~19 mm, and ~32 mm). To hem with fusible web, place it between the hem allowance and the garment or other item, setting it down a bit from the edge of the hem allowance. Pin it and iron according to directions. For heavy material, a wider strip up to the depth of the hem allowance is used to give the hem more strength. This kind of tape can also be used in no-sew projects, including quilts.

Fusible Interfacing. Fusible interfacing includes fabric adhesive already bonded to a material. Both regular and sculpting woven interfacing are available in fusible versions, along with non—woven styles. Fusible interfacing can be used for garments, window shade backing, handbags, and other projects. It also comes in a variety of materials, including tricot, 100% polyester, and various polyester/nylon blends, and in specialized forms for different fabric weights.

Other Fusible Material. Besides fusible interfacing, there are several other products that have fabric adhesive pre-applied to a material. There are fusible fleece and fusible cotton batting for padding quilts, pillows, and other items; fusible bias tape in ¼-inch and ¾-inch (~6.4-mm and ~19-mm) widths for hemming, edging, and similar applications; fusible ink jet printable sheets for applying graphics and photos to clothing, pillows, ans so on; and fusible thread for basting, appliqué, and other applications.

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Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for HomeQuestionsAnswered, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.

Discussion Comments

By banti1975 — On Sep 10, 2016

Does anyone here know how to make no sew fabric glue?

By ccvora89 — On May 08, 2014

Glues for attaching rhinestones, sequins, glitter, and gems to fabric, washable (permanent). Where can I get this type of glue at a cheap rate and as many bottles as possible?

By espbob — On Dec 09, 2013

How can I glue polyester jersey to make a flexible bond for an infinity scarf (Buff type scarf)?

By anon319241 — On Feb 11, 2013

I have a patch of an owl that I would like to attach to a sweatshirt, but be able to remove and put on another shirt without re-gluing.

By anon274089 — On Jun 09, 2012

Which product works best to adhere cotton fabric to burlap? Does heat and bond work or is there something better?

By anon234141 — On Dec 10, 2011

I used "Heat and Bond" adhesive for my drapes but I needed to modify them. I pulled the two items apart and I got rid of the sticky adhesive using fabric softener sheets. I placed the fabric softener sheet on the sticky part, and used the iron with the steam on high. Use your judgment for the material you have. --BGS

By anon233947 — On Dec 09, 2011

I have seen boas attached to dresses, etc. I know the boa cannot be laundered, so what can I use to attach the boa so it can be removed and reapplied?

By anon189627 — On Jun 23, 2011

If you are looking for an adhesive that sticks on denim and stays on wash after wash and dry cycle after dry cycle, check-out Iron Patch products. This product is available as your standard denim patch, but they also sell their adhesive in sheets to use any fabric and cut into any design. Also great for Girl and Boy Scout badges.

By anon188095 — On Jun 20, 2011

I am looking for the peel and stick that they use for embroidered hat stickers. Does anyone know where I can buy it.

By anon183798 — On Jun 06, 2011

We manufacture fabric adhesives, and there are a number of options available on the market that will help with some of the projects listed below.

For a permanent fabric adhesive, try Fabri-tac (available at most craft stores)

For a temporary fabric adhesive try Lapel Stick (available online and at many sewing or craft stores).

By anon145729 — On Jan 24, 2011

I'm doing one prototype project where i need to make detachable multiple use cloth pocket for a men's shirt. so i have one surface to play with.

If you can suggest any material or adhesive product or tape which I'll sew on the pocket and use the other side on the shirt, I will appreciate your help and suggestions.

By anon141374 — On Jan 10, 2011

I'm making children's aprons, using fabric and felt. i want to know if i can hot glue the felt on the fabric and if it's washable. thank you.

By anon135041 — On Dec 16, 2010

I would like to cover a scrapbook with faux suede. What type of glue should I use?

By anon133470 — On Dec 10, 2010

I am looking for a glue to use to keep my daughter's chair bottom from rolling under her belly. Any suggestion.

By anon129202 — On Nov 22, 2010

capgar did you get an answer to your question?

By sharon1936 — On Nov 12, 2010

how do I get fusible web glue off ultra suede?

It's on a beaded wall hanging, can't toss it in washing machine. Ordinary washing doesn't take glue off.

By anon100520 — On Jul 30, 2010

what is the best way to attach a sequined/beaded applique to chiffon material?

By anon95863 — On Jul 13, 2010

How do I remove the glue from the iron on two way tape? I want to take out the hem on my cotton drapes. I can get the tape off, but I'm wondering how to get rid of the sticky glue film left behind.

By anon91744 — On Jun 23, 2010

does anyone know what i can use to bond spandex to spandex quickly and permanently? even though it's not halloween?

By anon82371 — On May 05, 2010

use unibond impact adhesive. It is perfect for every fabric even leather.

By anon75231 — On Apr 06, 2010

i am trying to find the right type of fabric glue to use on a manchester united soccer top. the plastic strip down the back has started peeling off from the rest of the material. what type of glue should i use for this? Thanks, NerishaB

By anon63798 — On Feb 03, 2010

Can anyone help with heat gluing or sewing nylon rip-stop together, as well as any places that do it in the UK? Thank you.

By anon58175 — On Dec 30, 2009

I am looking for a glue that will stick name tags on shirts and be easily removed and used again several other days.

By anon48536 — On Oct 13, 2009

Im looking for adhesive fabric paper for printing.

By anon44237 — On Sep 06, 2009

I have silk curtains, and a small fold part exposed to the sun is disintegrating.

Is there a fine adhesive web backing sheet, with glue on one side that I could iron on to reinforce the fabric? The hemming tape would work except that it has glue on both sides.

By Dammika — On Aug 15, 2009

what are bonding tape types?

By anon39972 — On Aug 05, 2009

I require glue for sticking paper board with fabric/foam. Require in liquid form because we have machine whereby this liquid has to be sprayed using machine. This is for leather goods industry where we make wallets, check books etc.

By anon37147 — On Jul 17, 2009

I am trying to attach ladies hankies 8x8 squares to make a small quilt for new granddaughter, anyone have any ideas ( very old thin hankies )that will be a keepsake. Should I use fusible web and a backing? Need help!

By anon36102 — On Jul 09, 2009

How do I remove the glue from the iron on two way tape. I want to take out the hem on my cotton drapes. I can get the tape off, but I'm wondering how to get rid of the sticky glue film left behind.

By capgar — On Mar 03, 2009

does anyone know how remove fusible bonding from fabric after it's been steamed on?

By anon25897 — On Feb 05, 2009

I'm looking to connect two cotton based fabrics together using an iron. I'm looking to create a water proof layer between the two so that liquids can't seep from one layer to the other.

Any suggestions how I can do this or what type of fusion materials can give me this desired outcome?

Oh BTW it has to be machine washable as well.

Thank you.-Gene

By juliablanden — On Jan 25, 2009

Hi, I am attempting to make a tennis ball fancy dress costume!!! and need a strong glue that will stick foam together. Any ideas/suggestions?

By lorich — On Oct 17, 2008

I am trying to adhere red felt letters to the back of a polyester wind suit for Halloween. I want the adhesive to be temporary so that the suit can be worn without the letters after Halloween.

I don't know what kind of adhesive to use - or if I should lightly stitch them into place. I am afraid of leaving a residue on the material once it is removed or leaving holes in the fabric. Help...

By tamytamv — On Jul 16, 2008

I need some kind of fabric adhesive for some costumes I am making. I am new at this so your help is appreciated. I have a piece of lightweight cotton material. I need some kind of adhesive that will be on this strip of material that can be permanently adhered to denim. I need it to be permanent and wash resistant. Is there anything I can apply to the cotton strips then they could take these strips pull off a paper protecting the sticky side and adhere it to the denim permanently without ironing and sewing? HELP! I have been to every fabric store looking for answers. Tammy

By marilynk — On Apr 15, 2008

I want to find an adhesive that can be added, in powder form, so that when mixed with cloth, metallic fibers and a small amount of water will adhere to ceramic bisque, will stick and become hard.

I'm thinking that this result could also be achieved if the adhesive were "washed" into the fibers and then dried and ultimately when water was added you could achieve the same result.

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks

By anon10528 — On Mar 28, 2008

anyone know how to remove fabric glue?

Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth

Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for HomeQuestionsAnswered, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
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