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Tips on Using Spray Adhesive

From craft projects to car headliner replacement, spray adhesive is versatile, easy to use and dries quickly. Spray adhesive provides an excellent bond without the mess of a liquid glue or paste. The adhesive is easily found at craft, hardware and home improvement stores. But like other glues, spray adhesive can be messy if you spray too much, and unhealthy if you breathe in the spray's fumes.

Preparation Tips

Before using a spray adhesive, protect the surfaces around the items you want to glue with a drop cloth, newspaper, masking tape, cardboard or a combination of all four. Spray adhesive produces some overspray and tables, workbenches and other surfaces may be affected. Gather about four soft cloths or rags to wipe up any unwanted adhesive and an adhesive remover to clean up any overspray on the adhesive can or work surface.

When using a spray adhesive, work in a well-ventilated area and wear a nose mask to keep from inhaling the spray. Also wear latex gloves to keep the adhesive off of your hands.

Note, spray adhesive applies best in a workspace that is between 60 degrees F and 80 degrees F.

Applying a Spray Adhesive

Shake the can well and do not tilt it upside down. Align the can's nozzle arrow with the red or other color dot on the can. Then hold the can six to eight inches away from a piece of newspaper or cardboard. Spray a test pattern to make sure the adhesive can is working. You are now ready to spray the surface(s) or item(s) you want to bond. Always spray a light, uniform coat of adhesive. Spray the adhesive and wait 30 seconds before joining the two surfaces or items you want to bond together. Apply two small coats of adhesive instead of one large coat.

Don't stand too close to the item(s) you want to bond and wipe up any unwanted adhesive immediately from the surface or item. Try to stand two to three inches from the project's surface or item. Spraying too close will wet the surface or item you are trying to bond and cause the adhesive to clump. Clumping will extend drying times, create a weak bond and make your project look messy.

Clogs & Spray Adhesive Can Issues

Aerosol cans clog. To unclog the nozzle on your spray adhesive's can, stick a piece of wire or a straightened-out paper clip in the nozzle's hole and turn it several times to open it up. Then spray the adhesive until it comes out. To keep the can from clogging, turn the can upside down and spray until the flow stops. This will flush out any adhesive stored in the nozzle. Do this before storing the can.


Bubbles sometimes appear on the surface where you've used a spray adhesive. To eliminate trapped bubbles, spray the surface or item and then apply pressure starting from the center of the surface or item and then slowly work outward, pressing the items together.

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