Do you find yourself in the glue section of a store whimpering like a lost puppy? You, my dear pup, are not alone. There are so many things to consider when identifying the best adhesive. In an effort to keep it simple and targeted towards common burlesque needs, we’ll *stick* to a handful of options and how they may be used.
I tend to use the dark toned glue as nature intended, on my eyelashes. I use the clear/light on the occasion I’m gluing rhinestones or other objects to my face. I haven’t used eyelash glue for anything else, but at the rate I’m going, who knows where life will take me.
I don’t really use this for much, but I have seen people use it for pasties and adhering other items to their body. It’s not skin safe and it’s a pain to clean off, so I don’t recommend doing this. (Future post about pasties and corresponding adhesive will happen.)
Mod Podge can be used as a sealer. I’ve used it when making pasties bases or on the inside of headpieces I’ve dyed to keep it from coloring my forehead. My most substantial Mod Podge Masterpieces are my Cake hair and my Hatter Hat. Both were built with soft items like ribbon or fabric strips. Layer by layer, I coated each strip in the glue and formed into place. It was a test of patience, because I am not built to wait for things to dry (or for reading instruction manuals). I had to fight my natural instinct to mess things up by not waiting. As the layers would dry, they would harden, and then I could continue to add more. One note: Do not leave your Mod Podge prop in your car during a hot summer day, because it will shape shift. Fortunately for me, my incident was minor and I was able to use a blow dryer to heat it up and get it back into form.
The “base” of the Madam Hatter hat was made with paper plate and some craft foam, stapled into the vague shape I wanted and then covered with ripped pieces of my old bedsheet. The “base” of the Let Me Be Cake hair was a plastic pretzel container that I cut and layered with pieces of ribbon I curled into place as they were wet with Mod Podge.
There was a time that everything I made was hot glued, because I didn’t know how to do anything. Those times were short and as frustrated as learning new things can be, I’m so glad my days of being a hot-glue-hottie are in my past. Hot glue is handy for a quick fix in emergencies. I mainly only use hot glue now when I need something to dry quickly to proceed with the making process and the end result won’t be only the hot glue holding it together. A hot car will wreck your day if your costume is comprised of hot glue. My most important tip for performers is the same as when I work with little children using it for the first time. If, or when, you get some on your fingers, rub it quickly so it will roll away and not burn your fingers like witches on stakes.
Also known in my house as “Cancer Tube”, “The Beast”, and the thing I buy anytime I’m at Joann Fabrics with an extra coupon to spare. This is what I use most often when it comes to costume and prop building. It comes in many forms. Look at them there all lined up like it’s killer family portrait day. E6000 is toxic! Be sure to protect your lungs with a mask and wear gloves or at least thoroughly wash your hands after use. There is no need to go full out Hazmat suit like you’re Marty McFly and 1950s George is your craft project.
What is needed is a respirator mask that is available online or at home improvement stores. Once protected, there are some decisions to make. Personally, I only use the liquid kind in the tube. They have black, white, and clear. I tend to stock up on clear. They do sell options for the liquid form that have tiny application caps. I’ve tried a handful of times and I end up making more mess when I use these than just being strategic with the standard cap. For rhinestones or other small work, my application method of choice is to take a kabob stick and dab it slightly in glue. That will form as a way to tack the item onto the stick and into the dot of glue where it will live on your costume. There are wax pencils and other specifically designed tools for this. I’m frugal and my cheap method works well enough for me. I also know I would likely lose any tool I spent money buying. Just re-dab as needed when it starts to lose that pick-me-up attraction.
I haven’t used this myself, but I’m told it’s a non-toxic alternative to E6000. This is good for anyone with family or pets who can’t be in a ventilated or separate area when gluing.