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Top 8 Best Glue for Cardboard

Whether you’re attempting to create the leaning tower of cardboard, want to add some decoration to your storage bins, or one of the many fun cardboard craft projects, you’ll need a way to bind it all together. And while you could use either duct tape or staples, these things don’t usually give you the seamless aesthetic that glue does.

But not all types of adhesives will work well on tough materials like cardboard. Only the best glue for cardboard can do that and more. And on that note, let’s look at some of the best adhesives for cardboard craft projects.

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Mod Podge
Creating a cardboard masterpiece takes time, energy, and an adhesive. So when you’re assembling your cardboard creation, try our top pick – Mod Podge waterbased sealer, glue, and finish. It is one of the many decent craft adhesives available.

This handy adhesive can bond your cardboard pieces together quickly, seal any crevices, and leave a satin finish as a finishing touch to your project. The Mod Podge adhesive works on a variety of surfaces and comes in a resealable bottle.

But the best part about this type of glue is the adhesive is all water-based. So, if you need glue to be a little more liquid, you can add a little water. You can also apply multiple coats, which makes it a nice adhesive for photo albums, poster board, and more. The only issue with this adhesive, is you need to apply the adhesive evenly with a brush.

All in all, this is the best adhesive for cardboard and cardboard craft projects alike.

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Glue for Cardboard – Buying Guide

Putting two pieces of cardboard together can be done in a variety of ways, whether it’s cutting a slit into the cardboard pieces, folding it or using a cardboard box glue. And out of these options, gluing cardboard is the best method. But not all cardboard adhesives work the same, and some may do more than bring your cardboard city come to life.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one adhesive, or need a non-toxic glue for the kids, check out our list of decent cardboard glues.

Product Rating Top Feature
Mod Podge 4.8 / 5 Water-based
Lineco Books 4.7 / 5 Non-yellowing properties
Syntrific Hot Glue Sticks 4.6 / 5 Flexibility
Gorilla Original Glue 4.6 / 5 Waterproof
Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue 4.5 / 5 All-purpose
3M General Purpose Spray Adhesive 4.5 / 5 Spray-on adhesive

Types of Cardboard Glues

There is more than one type of cardboard glue out there, and each is ideal for a different type of application. Let’s take a look at the main types of cardboard glues out there and what they have to offer.


PVA stands for polyvinyl acetate, which is a water based resin. This is actually the primary ingredient in many types of wood glue, as well as generic white glue, such as Elmer’s that kids use in school. PVA is best used for light wood, cardboard, paper, and other such materials. It does form a strong bond, it dries quite quickly, and remains flexible once dry. That said, this type of glue should not be used for weight bearing applications.

Rubber Cement Glue

Rubber cement is an adhesive polymer, usually latex, which are very strong. These are usually mixed with a solvent such as acetone to keep the glue fluid enough to use. Rubber cement dries clear, it does not cause wrinkles, and does not shrink as it dries. Therefore, it is ideal for gluing soft materials together, such as cardboard, as well as for things like crafts and scrapbooking too. Simply put, it dries into a thin layer of solid rubber.

Spray Adhesive

Spray adhesive is the perfect thing to use if you want to quickly bond some cardboard to cardboard, to paper, and to other such materials, and even for fabrics like felt too. These are designed for larger surface areas, as the spray is usually not too precise. It works well for larger art projects. Beware that general spray adhesive doesn’t form the strongest bond, so it should not be used for heavy materials, although there are heavier duty spray adhesive options out there.

Tacky Glue

Technically speaking, tacky glue is actually a brand name of glue, one that is similar to wood glue and Elmer’s glue. In general, tacky glue is designed to be, well, tacky. This means that it instantly sticks to whatever it touches, it’s very thick, and should not be runny. This is a strong multi-purpose type of glue that can be used for varying applications.

Hot Glue

Hot glue is also ideal for cardboard gluing purposes. It is very thick and does not run, it dries very quickly, and it forms a very strong bond. That said, if you don’t know what you are doing, it can be a bit messy.

Safety Precautions

Let’s quickly go over some important safety precautions to follow when using glue for cardboard.
• Always wear gloves when using this kind of glue. It can quickly stick to fingers and pull your skin right off.
• Always read the directions on the label. Some glues have strong fumes which may require you to wear a mask or respirator.
• Always use this type of glue in a very well ventilated area.

How to glue cardboard

Figuring out how to glue cardboard together is simple. All you need is a decent cardboard box glue, some cardboard, and time. To bind your cardboard together, add some adhesive to both pieces of cardboard. Then bring those pieces together and let them dry. You can repeat this for the edges of the cardboard as well.

Best way to glue paper to cardboard

Gluing paper to cardboard can be tedious if you use the wrong glue. So to avoid soggy wrapping paper, you’ll want to use either a gentle water-based adhesive, spray adhesive, or tacky glue. These types of adhesives will allow you to press the paper onto the cardboard without soaking the paper in the process.
Water-based glues and tacky glue adhesives will offer the most maneuverability. Spray adhesives will give you the best bond in a short amount of time.

How to glue fabric to cardboard

Before you glue fabric to cardboard, make sure the glue you’re using is adhesive enough to bind to both materials. Thicker adhesives will often work best for bonding fabric to cardboard since it won’t soak through the fabric material. Water-based adhesives will work too, but it may take longer to dry and could ruin the fabric.

Can you use wood glue for cardboard to wood bonds?

Yes, wood glue adhesives are good enough for gluing cardboard to wood. Cardboard comes from secondhand paper materials, and it will easily adhere to the wood.

The Best Glue for Cardboard

Product Rating Best for
Mod Podge 4.8 / 5 Decorating cardboard and bonding other types of children’s arts and crafts projects
Lineco Books 4.7 / 5 Professional artists, photographers, bookbinding, and more
Syntrific Hot Glue Sticks 4.6 / 5 Large cardboard projects and gluing small pieces
Gorilla Original Gorilla Glue 4.6 / 5 Sealing cardboard boxes edges, home repairs, and more
Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue 4.5 / 5 Arts and crafts projects and gluing fabric to various surfaces
3M General Purpose Spray Adhesive 4.5 / 5 Covering cardboard and poster board with paper

Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue, and Finish – for thick cardboard

Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue, and Finish

Mod Podge is a name brand craft adhesive that is known for being the best when it comes to gluing things together. It provides a decent adhesive bond between materials, including cardboard. You only need to apply the liquid glue via a paintbrush.
Cleans up easily with soap and water
Can be sanded smooth
Dries clear with a subtle sheen
May not work for all types of materials

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Elmer’s X-TREME School Glue

Elmer's X-TREME School Glue

If you like normal Elmer’s school glue for arts, crafts, and other small projects, then you will really like this Elmer’s X-TREME School Glue. It is just like the regular version of Elmer’s, but just much stronger.
It contains larger quantities of the active ingredients which helps to form an extremely strong bond. This is an extra strength formula with a very long lasting bond.
This stuff is great for kids, because it features a 100% non-toxic formula, and if not yet dry, it can be easily washed off with nothing more than soap and water.
Elmer’s X-TREME School Glue works really well for paper, fabric, cardboard, and other such materials. That said, do not use it for extreme weight bearing applications. It does form a solid bond, but it cannot handle too much weight.
Strong bond
Long lasting
Easy to clean
Great for smaller arts and crafts
Not ideal for heavy materials

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Scotch Quick Drying Tacky Glue

Elmer's X-TREME School Glue

If you need some really simple and affordable glue for cardboard, paper, fabrics, and even for light pieces of wood, this Scotch Quick Drying Tacky Glue is a good option to keep in mind. What stands out about this glue is of course its tackiness.
It is very thick and easily sticks to whatever it comes into contact with. It doesn’t need any clamping and it dries very quickly too, thus making it very easy to use. It also comes in a no-run formula, so it stays where you apply it without having it run everywhere and make a big mess.
We do also like how it comes complete with a fine tip applicator, so you can be precise with the application process. Something else you might appreciate is that this glue dries clear, thus making it perfect for arts and crafts. It also won’t cause paper and cardboard to wrinkle, like so many other glues do.
Mess free
Great for arts and crafts
Dries clear without wrinkles
Thick formula for tackiness
Cost effective
Too thick for some applications
Not for weight bearing applications

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Lineco Books by Hand pH Neutral Adhesive – non-toxic cardboard adhesive

Lineco Books by Hand pH Neutral Adhesive
Lineco Books by Hand is a type of neutral adhesive that bonds paper-based materials to cardboard. The adhesive is strong enough to bind to paper without soaking through the cardboard. This adhesive comes in a resealable bottle and has dosing instructions for diluting the adhesive solution with water.
Dries clear
Fast-drying formula
May not work on thick cardboard

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Gorilla Original Gorilla Glue – waterproof glue for paper

SGorilla Original Gorilla Glue
Gorilla glue is one of the many well-known adhesive brands on the market. Their formula is capable of binding any material, including paper and cardboard. This adhesive comes in an easy to use, resealable bottle.
Expands to fill in crevices and cracks
Dries and cures quickly
Sandable, paintable, and stainable
Binds to skin
Potential skin and eye irritant

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Syntrific Hot Glue Sticks – for cardboard boxes

Syntrific Hot Glue Sticks
Syntrific hot glue sticks make assembling cardboard boxes easy. These hot glue gun sticks are compatible with most types of glue guns. They melt fast, have few bubbles, and come in four-inch sticks with a .28 diameter.
Transparent when dry
Durable bond
Will bond most materials including glass, cardboard, jewelry, and more
May not be compatible with all types of glue guns

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Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue – for gluing fabric to cardboard

Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue
Aleene’s is a trusted craft glue brand that brings the best adhesive magic to any craft project. This glue is thick enough to bind fabric materials to cardboard without issue. The adhesive comes in an easy to use bottle and is resealable.
Non-toxic formula
Dries clear
Works on paper, wood, cardboard, metal, foam, and more
Flexible tacky bond
May not work on all types of plastic

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3M General Purpose Spray Adhesive – strongest glue for paper

3M General Purpose Spray Adhesive
For the projects that need all the sticky without the mess, 3M general purpose spray adhesive is here to deliver all that and more. 3M adhesives are a decent spray adhesive brand that makes it easy to glue and seal almost any craft project. It is an ideal adhesive for paper-based projects and won’t soak through the paper either.
Works on cardboard, metal, plastic, cork, and more
Dries fast and clear
Photo safe
pH neutral
Flammable liquid
Has toxic vapors

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Does wood glue work on cardboard?

Yes, wood glue will work on cardboard since cardboard is a wood-based product.

Does hot glue work on cardboard?

Yes, hot glue works on cardboard the same way it would work on any other paper-based material.

Does super glue work on cardboard?

Yes, super glue and other similar adhesives will work on cardboard. But this will also make the cardboard very rigid.

What is PVA?

PVA is known as polyvinyl acetate. It is a synthetic polymer that is usually a part of non-toxic PVA adhesive formulas. It can bind porous materials such as cement, wallpaper, plaster, and more.

Does epoxy adhesives work on cardboard?

Yes, the epoxy adhesive will work for bonding cardboard. But this cardboard material is not as strong as glass and may tear away over time. Thus the epoxy may outlast the cardboard.


Cutting and binding all those pieces of cardboard can be tough if you don’t have the right tools for the job. With our top pick or any of the other decent adhesives for cardboard, you’ll have your craft project looking great in no time. We hope this guide helps you find the best glue for you and your cardboard crafting needs.

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