Here’s A Vegan Glue Guide You Can Stick To, ‘Cuz Not All Glue Is Vegan!

is-glue-vegan-featured

Did it come as a surprise to you? Yep, glue is made of animal products, popularly from horses! To be exact, they are made of animal collagen, which is what gives glues that sticky texture. But perhaps, this is isn’t such a popular fact. After all, most glue bottles do not come with a list of ingredients that we vegans habitually check.

The good news is, there are lots of vegan options to replace the common “animal” glue. But with all the clueless labels, how can we tell if it’s vegan glue? Well you need this guide for that! Ready?

How Are Glues Made?

The world’s most popular adhesive comes in many types. While they’re all made differently, the main substance that gives that stickiness is often a mystery.

Mankind’s first known glue was made from the bark of the birch tree hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Around 7000 years ago, the discovery of polymers from the birch bark made an improvement in the quality of ancient glues.

However, about 3000 years later, ancient Egypt began the idea of boiling animal parts. This consists of hides and hooves from horses, allowing them to create their own adhesive. For quite some time, this became the norm. Soon after, alternative materials from fishbone, plants, milk, and even animal blood, became common.

is-glue-vegan

For thousands of years, animal glue from horses went on to be the most common type of glue.

It wasn’t until the 1930s when purely synthetic adhesives came into development, subsequently leading into the introduction of super glue in 1958.

Glue is just one of the many types of liquid adhesives. However, most people use the name collectively to also refer to other types like caulk, epoxy, and sealants. But for this article I’ll be referring to the real glue, technically speaking.

Mankind’s first known glue was made from the bark of the birch tree hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Using Animal Collagen

Obtaining the sticky collagen from animals requires hours and hours of boiling. Most manufacturers use animal scraps from bones, skin, hooves, and connective tissues. So it isn’t a surprise that the dairy company Borden is also the largest manufacturer of glue in the world.

Washing

🠋

Soaking

🠋

Rinsing

🠋

Boiling

🠋

Extraction

🠋

Reheating

🠋

Precipitation Of Impurities (may include egg whites)

🠋

Filtration (using bone chars/paper/mechanical filters)

🠋

Evaporation via Vacuum

🠋

Chilling

🠋

Final Mixing

🠋

Packaging

Horses are no longer as common as they were in the ancient times. So today, animal glues are usually made from cattle, pigs, and fish.

They are also cheaper to make especially for companies who are in businesses that already use animal sources. This gives all the scraps and wastes from their slaughterhouse another profitable use.

Most manufacturers use animal scraps from bones, skin, hooves, and connective tissues. So it isn’t a surprise that the dairy company Borden is also the largest manufacturer of glue in the world.

Using Chemicals

Synthetic glue can be made by initiating chemical reactions that can isolate compounds that can work as an adhesive. The manufacturing process will also vary depending on the choice of chemicals.

Initiation Of Chemical Reaction

🠋

Addition Of Catalysts

🠋

Polymerization

🠋

Emulsification (by using solvents)

🠋

Chemical Enhancement (to control drying time and improve shelf life)

🠋

Packaging

 

Glues made from synthetic chemicals are stronger and are sometimes cheaper. However, there is an environmental concern about the disposal of these chemicals from the manufacturing plants.

Although treatments of chemical waste before disposal is a requirement, the concerns still remain. Plus, waste treatment is an additional cost for manufacturers.

Glues made from synthetic chemicals are stronger and are sometimes cheaper. However, there is an environmental concern about the disposal of these chemicals from the manufacturing plants.

is-glue-vegan

Using Plant Sources

Glues made from “natural ingredients” are usually from plants. The most common ones are cellulose, natural rubber, resins, and starch. Be careful though, as other “natural” sources may also include animals.

A lot of glues made of chemicals also start from plant compounds. Since plants are are water soluble, addition of chemicals are often a done to make them waterproof. This also improves the glue’s bond strength.

For a lot of vegans, an ideal consumer product is not only free from animal products, but is also eco-friendly. You shouldn’t worry though, there are now more brands that have consciously made the move. Yes! Glues that are safe for the environment. But for that you have to keep reading!

Glues made from “natural ingredients” are usually from plants. The most common ones are cellulose, natural rubber, resins, and starch. Be careful though, as other “natural” sources may also include animals.

Is Glue Vegan?

Not all glues are vegan! A lot of glues are made from animal collagen, which was the standard for thousands of years. The good news is, there are now a lot of vegan glues which are made from plants, synthetic chemicals, or both.

These are the most common animal products in glue:

  • collagen or gelatin
  • bone char (as a filter)
  • egg albumin (egg white)
  • casein from milk

Not all glues are vegan! A lot of glues are made from animal collagen, which was the standard for thousands of years.

Can Vegans Use Glue?

Wouldn’t it be too extreme if vegans can’t use glue? Just imagine! But as with any other products, vegans can use glue as long as they are do not have any traces of animals in it.

Vegan glues can be made using plant materials or synthetic chemicals which are similar to plastics. But again, keep an eye for environment-friendly vegan glues!

is-glue-vegan-2

More FAQs

1. Is hot glue vegan?

Hot glues or hot-melt adhesives are made from a combination of chemicals and sometimes, plant compounds. The most common ones are polyurethanes, polyesters, polyamides, and resins. So unlike most liquid glue, hot glue is usually vegan.

2. Is Super Glue vegan?

Yes! Super glue is made of acrylic resin, specifically, cyanoacrylate. No sticky animal products!

3. Is Gorilla Super Glue vegan?

Gorilla glue products are made from a base of polyurethane adhesives, with a mixture of chemicals. The brand is vegan!

4. Is Elmer’s Glue vegan?

The cow (or bull) in Elmer’s logo will easily make you think it’s an animal glue! But, surprisingly, it is vegan! The manufacturer of Elmer’s Glue only uses chemicals from petroleum and gas to make their popular adhesive.

As for the cow? Well the brand was a subsidiary of the Borden Company before, which is a popular dairy manufacturer with a cow mascot. There you go!

5. Is Mod Podge vegan?

Thank goodness, yes! The famous découpage varnish and multipurpose glue is made of polyvinyl acetate, which is also water-resistant. So vegans in the arts and crafts department can definitely go for Mod Podge!

Vegan Glue Brands

Now the most important part! These brands are both vegan and eco-friendly, just how it should be!

Brand:

Weldbond

Base:

water-based PVA

Products:

universal adhesive liquid

Pros:

  • multi-use
  • cruelty-free
  • non-toxic
  • water-resistant (not waterproof)
  • non-flammable
  • ecologica certification
  • phthalate-free
  • no fumes

Cons

  • not washable (can be a pro)
  • may freeze in cold temperatures

Brand:

Gorilla

Base:

PU

Products:

  • glue
  • super glue
  • industrial tapes
  • sealant
  • epoxy
  • wood glue
  • construction adhesive
  • hot glue sticks
  • spray adhesive 

Pros:

  • multi-purpose
  • waterproof
  • temperature-resistant
  • paintable and stainable
  • wide range of products
  • suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
  • industrial strength
  • eco-friendly

Cons

  • expands after application (can be a pro)
  • requires a wet surface
  • not washable
  • long cure time (up to 24hrs)

Brand:

Elmer’s

Base:

PVA

Products:

  • school glues
  • glue stick
  • spray adhesive
  • rubber cement

Pros:

  • washable
  • non-toxic
  • eco-friendly
  • wide product range
  • no fumes

Cons

  • not water-resistant
  • long drying time
  • not for outdoor use

Brand:

E-6000

Base:

epoxy

Products:

  • craft glue
  • fray lock
  • fabric glue
  • shoe glue
  • jewelry glue
  • spray adhesive
  • industrial adhesive

Pros:

  • industrial strength
  • waterproof
  • vibration-proof
  • paintable
  • for indoor and outdoor use
  • permanent bond
  • eco-friendly
  • low to no odor
  • temperature-resistant
  • non-flammable
  • photo-safe
  • flexible
  • chemical-resistant
  • washer- and dryer-safe

Cons

  • some variants contain the carcinogen perchloroethylene (solvent)
  • not washable
  • long cure time

Brand:

Green Solutions Ecoglue

Base:

PVA

Products:

  • wood glue

Pros:

  • non-toxic
  • no solvents
  • eco-friendly
  • water-resistant
  • heat-resistant
  • paintable
  • industrial strength
  • for interior and exterior use

Cons

  • not easily available

Brand:

Stix2 Anything

Base:

silicone

Products:

  • acid-free glue
  • glue pen
  • tape
  • mount n’ stamp foam

Pros:

  • fast bond
  • permanent bond

Cons

  • products are mostly for crafting only

Brand:

UHU

Base:

synthetic resin

Products:

  • all-purpose adhesive
  • paper glue
  • glue pads
  • super glue
  • tapes
  • wood glue
  • construction adhesives
  • contact adhesives
  • textile glue
  • shoe and leather glue

Pros:

  • fast-drying
  • temporarily adjustable
  • eco-friendly
  • sustainable
  • solvent-free (not all products)
  • wide product range

Cons

  • may contain highly flammable solvents (not all products)

Brand:

Mod Podge by Plaid

Base:

PVA

Products:

  • all-in-one glue
  • spray on glue
  • different glue finishes

Pros:

  • non-toxic
  • easy to clean
  • flexible
  • also works as a sealer and finish

Cons

  • product range is for crafting only

Brand:

Crafter’s Pick

Base:

polymers

Products:

  • super glue
  • fabric glue
  • jewel bond
  • basting glue
  • wood glue

Pros:

  • multi-purpose non-toxic
  • child-safe
  • water-resistant
  • flexible
  • works on both porous and non-porous surface
  • environmentally friendly
  • non-flammable

Cons

  • long drying time
  • glue may thicken in its bottle

Waterproof Vegan Glue

  • Mod podge
  • E-6000
  • Gorilla

Vegan Wood Glue

  • Green Solutions Ecoglue
  • Gorilla
  • UHU

Vegan Glue Sticks

  • Elmer’s
  • UHU
  • Gorilla

BONUS: To learn more about vegan glue brands. check out the video below!

Vegan Glue Recipe

Commercial glues can easily beat out homemade glues when it comes to convenience and strength. However, if you have big projects that calls for a lot of glue, homemade ones can be the practical choice. It will take a bit of effort but you’ll definitely save a lot!

Also, if you’ll be working with kids, homemade glues are much safer. Because let’s face it, chances are they might end up eating it. And while a lot of glues are “non-toxic”, they are of course not edible.

Cornstarch Glue from Look At What I Made

Ingredients

  • 30 ml corn starch
  • 120-150 ml cold water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar/few drops of clove or mint extract as preservative

Ratio for bigger or smaller yields:

  • Cornstarch and water – 1:4 or 5
  • Vinegar and water – 1:10

Procedure:

  1. Mix cornstarch and 30ml of water until you get a paste. Transfer into a saucepan in low heat. Add the remaining water while stirring constantly.  Once it starts to look thick and firm, remove the saucepan from the heat and use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture vigorously.
  2. Put the saucepan back to the heat and keep stirring until your paste looks like petroleum jelly in color and consistency.
  3. Turn off the heat. Put the vinegar in and mix until even. Allow to cool. Stir the mixture a bit more before you put it in a container for storage. Make sure your container seals completely properly.  

Note:  You can experiment with the amount of water to get the consistency you prefer. Less water might make the mixture too stiff and a bit solid. On the contrary, more water can make it runny. So start with a small amount and just add water gradually.

Uses

  • For sticking labels semi-permanently on glass containers
  • Lick-and-stick glue (let dry first)
  • For paper to paper/cardboard/wood sticking
  • As a washable fabric glue
  • Single-use lash glue (remove vinegar)

You can also try combining arrowroot powder and sugar water for another vegan glue!

Conclusion

Glues are commonly made of animal collagen. Fortunately today, more adhesives are being made from synthetic chemicals. However, it’s important to choose glue products that are also eco-friendly especially when they’re made of chemicals.

What brands of adhesive do you use as a vegan? Have you also done a DIY vegan glue before? Let me know on the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.