Hello DIY-ers and Latex enthusiasts,
Today I wanted to talk all about gluing latex. I have done a ton of research before actually trying anything out but there is nothing like experience to really corroborate your findings.
So let’s start at the beginning. (Also feel free to check out my podcast Nerdy Latex and the episode this week where I show everything that is talked about here dealing with glue and latex)
All About Glues
When I decided to start making latex accessories I took some time and really looked at pieces that were already made. Obviously they were not sewn together like most normal fabric fashion wear. Instead you could notice that most of the latex fashion is actually glued together. Well that would make my life alot easier, or so I thought. The first thing I had to ask myself was what kind of glue was being used. Of course not just anything would work but I quickly learned that there is such thing as rubber cement but then came another dilemma, which was that most of the research I was doing was for designers who are from the UK and the rubber cement they use is not readily available over here in the states. So the one I was looking for was not the same thing and I did eventually find the name to a great adhesive but then couldn’t find it anywhere. I was looking for something called, Best Test Rubber Cement. I kind of gave up looking at the local craft stores until I found an actual art store online (and later found in their physical store) and just had to wait for it to be mailed to me. Thank you Pearl Art Supplies (this is the rubber cement here).
This is the glue that I have been using while making gloves and the few other pieces I have been experimenting with recently. There are two different kinds of rubber glues that you can use to work with when it comes to making latex fashion. They both are good and can really be used based on the person’s own preference.
Water Based Glues:
These are glues that are not as flammable and have a lesser chance to curl the latex when applied. Takes quite a long time to dry as well and both sides of a piece being glued must have the glue applied for it to bond to itself. This type is good for use on seams that do not get alot of stress because over time it can become worn and turn white and even break if you use in a high stress area, like the seam on a skirt. The guise of this type of glue is known in the states as Liquid Latex. You can find it really at any art store or theatrical warehouse. Also try online, I was able to find some here.
Solvent Based Glues:
This type of adhesive has a solvent within the glue mixture. In the case of the Best Test it is mixed with Heptane (). This is considerably a harder adhesive to work with because it will curl the latex when you apply it. It is best to wait until both sides are dry and sticky before putting them together to get a better long lasting bond. This would be the type of adhesive to use on any kind of seam and can create a waterproof bond that will be difficult to get apart if you mess up. For this kind of adhesive it is good to get a solvent that you can mix with it to thin out the glue in a separate container to use for thinner latex sheeting or just to not overwhelm a seam.
Bestine is the solvent that is made for Best Test and that is what I use. In a separate container I will put a small amount of the solvent and add the glue, cap and shake until I get a thinner consistency to work with.
There is really no right or wrong way to actually glue onto the latex but the preparation is actually the key to the success of it all. It is very important to clean the latex in the places where you will be gluing. If this is your first time I would suggest to take two small pieces to practice with, just so you get a feel for how this is all going to work.
The way I do things is simple. I have my seam and use a cloth dipped in the solvent and lightly clean where I will be gluing. After a few minutes of letting this dry I get my glue and apply it to the seam as evenly as I can. A great way to make sure it is evenly spread is to use a credit card along it just to make sure the entire area is covered. When using a solvent based glue, like Best Test, it is good to wait about 5 min for the glue to get sticky and this also gives the latex a chance to uncurl. Don’t worry if your seam does curl, that is normal. If you are finding it hard to uncurl the pieces it may be beneficial to either dilute the glue a little further with the solvent for next time or even use a tape to hold latex in place and keep it from curling too much. After the 5 min have passed slowly put the pieces of the seams together until the entire seam has been attached. You can either use your fingers to pinch it or even a wooden roller to smooth and makes sure there is no bubbling. Make sure you take your solvent soaked cloth and clean the seam of any excess glue.
The hardest part is waiting at least 24 hours before putting any significant pressure on the seam though. I guarantee after that time period though if you try to pull the seam apart you will probably cause a rip around it before actually getting it apart.
This is a cool tutorial from latex designer, Latex Kitty, from her website, www.Makinglatexclothing.com.
That is really about all you need to know when it comes to gluing seams for latex outfits. When it comes to zipper or snaps though there is another process because you need to reinforce the seam around the zipper to keep the damage done to it from the stress while it is used. I will be sure to provide an entire tutorial about that process because it can be very time consuming but if done right can really make all the difference in the lifespan of an outfit.
Thanks for checking out all about glues this week and keep checking back for any cool articles I find or other tutorials that may help. Also make sure to watch my podcast Nerdy Latex where you can see me working on my own latex fashions in preparation for a full costume to wear to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Happy Latexing everyone!