21 Surprising Uses for Elmer’s Glue

Glue is a many-splendored thing! Elmer’s glue is King of splendor! Everyone needs to stick something together at some point in time.

In this article, we’ll give you 21 fun, alternative, (sometimes) life-saving, interesting uses for Elmer’s glue. But first, a very short history.

History of Elmer’s Glue

Let’s start at the very beginning! 

Long story short, Elmer is the bull “husband” of the dairy cow, Elsie, whose face was the logo for Borden Dairy. Elmer and Elsie had been doing milk adverts together for almost ten years, so he was a well-known guy.

Borden produced the first-ever consumer white glue in 1947, called Cascorez Glue, which was later renamed Elmer’s Glue-All. 

And if you’re wondering how a Dairy company got into the glue industry, you will be interested to know that one of the prime ingredients in this early form of glue was casein, the protein in dairy milk. 

FUN FACT: Most new glue products are made with synthetic ingredients. So, even though Elmer the bull is the mascot – you can rest assured there are no animal products in the glue!

But now we get to the good part, the part we’ve all been waiting for. How do we love thee Elmer’s glue? Let us count the ways…

Uses for Elmer’s glue: A whole new world!

Household Uses

  • Repair broken eggshells

You can use Elmer’s glue to seal the cracks in eggs that are yet to hatch. If you’re not waiting for eggs to hatch but have a cracked egg in your current supply – glue it together for later!

  • Remove splinters or other painful objects.

Imagine falling into a cactus or getting a particularly nasty thorn or other pointy object stuck in yourself. For this to work, it helps that a bit of the offending object is sticking out (for grip).

Pour Elmer’s glue over the area; wait for it to dry, or speed up the process with a handy nearby lamp, and then just like waxing your legs, pull in one go and VOILA! Spines/thorns/splinters begone!

  • Mend loose shirt buttons

Fix a shirt button that’s about to fall off. Keep it in place with the thread that remains, and put a drop of glue on it. Use a toothpick to push the thread back into the holes and wait for it to dry.

  • Repair holes in the wall

Repair small holes in the wall by applying Elmer’s glue to cotton ball wads. Push them into the hole and smooth them off. Problem fixed.

  • Whiten animal skulls permanently.

Sand down with a high-grain sand-paper your already clean skull. Brush off excess sandings. Mix some Elmer’s Glue-All with water to a watery paste consistency.

Cover all skull parts consistently so that the paste is equally thick all over. Set it aside to dry (about 24 hours) and SHABAM! You have a “naturally” whitened skull with the added bonus of being strengthened by the glue.

  • Tighten screw holes

Saturate a cotton ball or as much as you need with Elmer’s glue. Shove it into the hole you’ve just drilled in the wall. Let the glue dry and insert the screw into the snug hole.

  • Fix frayed ends

Dip the frayed ends of shoelaces or drawstrings, or anything else, like friendship bracelets, lanyard cords, whatever, into Elmer’s glue and let it dry. Boom! You’ll have nothing to be a-frayed of anymore!

  • Fix a minor cut

Don’t have a bandaid nearby? Don’t stress. Clean the minor wound thoroughly, dry the area, apply some Elmer’s glue and gently press together while you wait for it to dry. Presto! A safe, non-toxic wound seal.

  • Seal pruned plants

Wherever you’ve cut your plants or pruned them, and you don’t want them drying out or the insects getting at them – paint a touch of Elmer’s glue over the raw area to act as a seal or barrier against the nasties.

  • Repair torn book pages

Nobody loves it when a treasured book comes back torn. If you still have the pages, then here is an easy fix. Lay a piece of wax paper down and paint it with Elmer’s clear glue.

Lay the parts of the torn paper down and another piece of wax paper on top of those. Close the book and weigh it down with something heavy (to act as a press).

Leave to dry and then remove wax paper sheets. Like magic, your torn paper is repaired with none being the wiser!

Arts & Crafts

  • Secure sand sculptures

Are you tired of your beach sand sculptures eroding quickly or coming apart? Mix a little bit of Elmer’s glue with water and spray liberally (with flair) onto your artwork. Once it dries, it creates a little outer layer that slows down the erosion process. Who knew?

DID YOU KNOW? Elmer’s glue is non-toxic, safe, and washable? The company has even produced an Earth-friendly alternative to the regular school glue, which does not harm the environment.

  • Set finished puzzles

Finished a puzzle, and now you want to frame it? Who needs Modge-Podge? You can achieve the same sealant effect without the cost. Have a look at this cool video to show you how:

  • Make a glue “stamp pad.” 

Pour Elmer’s glue liberally onto a sponge, place it into a sealable container (so it doesn’t dry out). When you want to paste cut-out pictures and other such things, gently press onto the pad and stick! No mess, no fuss.

  • Make a portable fingerprint.

Because the Mission is no longer Impossible! Pour hot glue onto a piece of paper. Wait for it to cool a little. 

Wet your finger slightly with water. Push it gently into the cooling hot glue.

Pour Elmer’s glue into the fingerprint impression. Wait for it to dry and peel off carefully. Boom! Portable fingerprint. 

  • Make stained glass with homemade puffy paint.

Mix Elmer’s glue and cornstarch to a thick consistency. 

Add black Guache and glitter and mix completely. Put mixture into a squeezy bottle.

Place your pane of glass over the picture you want to trace. Use the cornstarch mix for the outlines.

Mix clear Elmer’s glue with watercolor paint and apply it to the glass to color between the outline! Tah-dah! Homemade stained glass!

  • Make slime 

Use colored Elmer’s glue sticks by melting them in a bowl in the microwave. Add a drop of Borax to the still-warm glue and mix. There you have it! Amazing and flexible colored slime!

  • Master the Acrylic Paint pouring technique

You know that really cool acrylic paint pouring art that’s so popular these days? Well, you don’t need to be a pro to get it right. Watch this easy-to-follow video on how to do the same, but with Elmer’s glue!


  • Remove glitter nail polish easily. 

Paint clear Elmer’s glue onto your clean nails BEFORE applying your nail polish. When it’s time for a change, peel the nail polish off in one go. 

  • Do a mess-free manicure.

Never have a messy manicure again! Add some glitter to clear Elmer’s glue and apply it to the skin around your nails. Wait for it to dry. Paint your nails with reckless abandon!

Once your nail polish is dry, any accidental over-paint is simply removed when you peel away Elmer’s glue. You can thank me later. 

  • Elmer’s glue lip stain. Yes, you read me right! 

Mix Elmer’s school glue with your choice of food coloring. Do that a drop at a time until you get your desired color opacity.

REMEMBER: The actual color that dries on your lips will be a shade lighter than the mix.

Paint the lip stain onto your lips and let dry open-mouthed (for about 10 minutes); like you’re catching flies. Gently peel off to reveal your (not-so-natural) rouged lips!

I love how you’re warned not to eat the glue. Seriously?!

  • Temporary hair highlights

Just water down your clear Elmer’s glue to the consistency of skimmed milk, add as much food coloring and/or glitter as you like, mix and paint streaks (or chunks) of your hair like a highly paid colorist!

To wash out, just jump in the shower, and wash your hair with warm water and shampoo. 

It’s a wrap!

Disclaimer: Some things like fixing minor cuts, repairing loose buttons, or making highlights are only temporary because Elmer’s glue is water-soluble.

But other things like sealing puzzles and acrylic paint pouring are going to be permanent because they’re not swimming through your next wash cycle.

So, whether you’re in it for either the temporary or permanent fix, we’ve certainly found an array of interesting uses for Elmer’s glue, and we hope that they’ll be useful and fun to try out!

About the author

Jennifer is a stay-at-home Mom who loves everything DIY and crafting. She contributes to Just Use Glue in order to share her practical knowledge of how to glue all the things.

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