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The best glue for cardboard

By: Daniel Smith




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Hours of research


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Field tests done

Are you wondering what is the best glue for cardboard? The paper structure of cardboard often does not bond very well with regular glue.

On top of that, once the glue dries it often is not strong enough to hold two pieces of cardboard together.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. In this article, we will tell you exactly which glue you should use for your next DIY project!

What glue should you use for cardboard?

The best type of glue for Cardboard is either Contact cement or PVA glue. These glues are both very strong and will bond nicely to any type of cardboard. For most precision, you have to go for contact cement. However, this glue can get really expensive. PVA glue is slower to dry and is often used as a more affordable alternative.

If you are looking for a glue that will work for cardboard as well as for wood, we recommend our guide: The strongest wood glue

The best glue for cardboard

gorilla glue for cardboard

Clear Gorilla glue

our score: 9.7
  • Clear glue, usable for all surfaces
  • Dry in about 2 hours
  • Non-foaming glue
  • Strongest glue

Are you wondering if you can use gorilla glue for cardboard? Stop wondering. Gorilla glue is the strongest glue on this list.

This glue is ideal for everyone that needs a strong adhesive at home. With clear gorilla glue, you can repair everything from glass to metal and of course, cardboard!

The only drawback of gorilla glue is that it takes a bit of time to dry. If you want to know exactly how long it takes read our guide: How long does it take for gorilla glue to dry

bearly glue for cardboard

Bearly Art craft glue

our score: 9
  • Specifically made for craft and DIY
  • Bearly glue dries in about 1-2 hours
  • Clear glue for a nice finish
  • Very strong

This glue is specifically made for your craft and DIY projects. Bearly art glue dries clear and is perfect for cardboard and other paper-based materials.

This glue is not used for things like glass and metal therefore a bit less diverse than gorilla glue. However, it comes with a lot of precision attachments which we really like.

For people that do a lot of DIY projects where the finish is important, this glue will be perfect.

elmer's glue for cardboard

Elmer’s craft tacky glue

our score: 8
  • Made for craft and DIY
  • Dries in about 1 hour
  • Clear matt glue
  • Strong glue

Elmer’s craft tacky glue is another great glue you can use on cardboard. This adhesive will bond well with the paper-like structure.

Elmer’s craft tacky glue might not be the strongest but it is the quickest to dry.

This glue is perfect for people that have to do a lot of projects, and don’t want to wait before the glue is fully hardened.

Tip: Use a hot glue gun for cardboard

Without a doubt, if you are looking for the best and quickest way to glue cardboard: get a hot glue gun.

These tools are great for this kind of project. The glue dries almost instantly, and the bond of a hot glue stick is very strong.

Why use a hot glue gun for cardboard?

With the heat, the glue gets so liquid that it will stick to the cardboard and any other material in the most efficient way possible.

The only downside of using a hot glue gun is that it will cost you a bit more. However, in the long run, you will probably save some money by not having to buy new pots of glue.

gorilla hot glue gun

Gorilla hot glue gun

our score: 9.2
  • Dry in 10 seconds
  • Very strong
  • Ideal for a lot of DIY projects
  • less beautiful finish

How to glue cardboard

If you ever tried to put glue on a piece of cardboard you probably noticed it is not that easy. This is because cardboard is made from paper pulp and does not have a hard surface. Therefore, regular glue does not bond with cardboard very well.

The best way to glue cardboard is by using one of the clear glue on this list. with these you can glue the following materials to cardboard:

  • Sand
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Styrofoam
  • Felt
  • Shells
  • Rope
  • Glass
  • Sprinkles
  • Puzzles

How to glue fabric to cardboard

Gluing fabric onto cardboard can be a difficult task. Your best bet would be to use a hot glue gun. This glue will stick the best to the fabric as well as the cardboard. In general, all-purpose glue will not work for this type of project.

How to glue sand to cardboard

Sand can be glued to the cardboard using clear glue. To do so put a layer of clear glue on the place where you would like the sand to stick. Use a small brush to divide the glue evenly over the cardboard.

After that, you can sprinkle the sand over the wet layer of glue. Let it dry for 1-2 hours and the sand will be stuck to the cardboard.

How to glue a puzzle to cardboard

To stick a puzzle to cardboard we recommend clear glue. This will give the strongest and most even bond

  1. Finish your puzzle

    First, you want to have a finished puzzle so you can stick it to the cardboard in one go.

  2. Prepare a piece of cardboard

    Cut out the piece of cardboard with the right dimensions. Always cut out a bit more than you need. This way you can correct small mistakes after the glue is dry.

  3. Transfer the outer ring of the puzzle

    Without glue on the cardboard yet start to transfer your puzzle to the piece of cardboard. Layout the outer ring of the puzzle.

  4. Position and adjust

    Once all the pieces of the outer ring are on the cardboard adjust them to your liking.

  5. Glue the outer puzzle pieces onto the cardboard

    Start to glue the pieces one by one to the cardboard. Remember to still only do the outer ring of the puzzle.

  6. Finish by gluing all the pieces to the cardboard

    Once the outer ring is in place and fixed to the cardboard you can fill in the rest. Put glue on every individual puzzle piece. Work your way from the top left corner to the bottom right.

Frequently asked questions

The best glue to glue paper to cardboard is one with a clear finish. In general, regular superglue is too watery. When you are gluing paper to the cardboard you don’t want the glue to seep through the paper.

Wood glue can be used on cardboard. However, you just have to keep in mind that it takes a long time to dry. If you have no other glue at hand wood glue will bond perfectly with cardboard. You can check out our list of the strongest wood glue

The Author
Daniel Smith
My passion for power tools and work clothing started when I was a kid. My father and I used to build tree houses together, he taught me all the tricks of the trade! Meanwhile, I'm a 28-year-old with more than 7 years of experience on various job sites.

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