Cosplayers don't always follow the rules, and most of the time, that's a good thing. They use supplies and raw materials for things they weren't designed to do, and that's part of the magic of cosplay, where a garage mat can be a suit of armor. However, there are some situations when, even after some experimental trial and error, the best way to use something is right in the name. This is especially true for fabric glue, the adhesive that many cosplayers turn to instead of sewing.
While fabric glue is just one choice when it comes to adhering fabrics, there are plenty of ways to use it to its best potential. In this post, we'll explain the benefits of using fabric glue in cosplay as well as discuss some alternatives to this specialized adhesive.
Best Uses for Fabric Glue in Cosplay
Fabric glue is, somewhat obviously, best for gluing fabrics together, but it's important to be aware that there are different types of fabric glue that are better for different fabric combinations. Let's take a look at some of the best uses for fabric glue in cosplay as well as which type of fabric glue to use in that situation.
- At its most basic, fabric glue can act as a substitute for sewing by binding seams together. You can use fabric glue to adhere two pieces of the same type of fabric together as well as two different fabrics to each other at a seam. In situations like this, you'd be better off using a strong, multi-purpose fabric glue, like Aleene's Fabric Fusion.
- Fabric glue is perhaps best suited for attaching fabric details like designs or pockets to other fabrics. Especially when time and sewing skills create a challenge, fabric glue can be a great choice for attaching intricate details that would be difficult and time-consuming to sew onto a fabric garment. For these types of applications, a general fabric glue would be acceptable as well as extra-strength fabric glues like Fabri-Tac.
- Fabric glue can also be a viable option for joining thicker fibers like leather and felt to fabric. Some brands offer fabric-specific glues such as felt glue. However, these applications turn out best when the fabric elements don't have to hold much weight in the cosplay.
- In some instances, strong fabric glue like Fabri-Tac has been used to glue fabric to foam elements. In most cases, you'll only want to use fabric glue with foam on parts of your cosplay that won't show, like on the back/inside of the foam pieces you're covering or wrapping with fabric.
- Finally, there are fabric "adhesives" that fit into this category that serve the sole purpose of stopping the edges of fabric from fraying. If you notice that the raw edges of a thin fabric you purchased is fraying, or if you see fraying along the edges of fabric pieces you've cut, you can use liquids like Fray Check to stiffen those edges to banish flyaway threads.
Benefits of Making Cosplay with Fabric Glue
When you're working with adhesives and fabrics, your main concerns should always be the quality of the bond as well as the look of the final product. In many cases, fabric glue can provide the benefits you're looking for in an adhesive. Keeping in mind that some of these advantages will depend on the type of fabric glue you're using, here are many of the benefits of adhering fabrics with fabric glue.
- Using fabric glue is often faster and more convenient than sewing fabric pieces together.
- It's also generally easier and less pain-staking than sewing intricate patterns onto fabric garments and accessories.
- Many fabric glues bond fabric permanently, but if you only want or need a temporary or flexible bond, other fabric glues can provide that capability. You can choose the right fabric glue to fit each individual project.
- Most fabric glues dry clear once they're completely set.
- Aside from a few select exceptions (including extremely thin fabrics and lace), fabric glue is safe for all fabrics, meaning that you don't have to worry much about which glue can work for which fabric.
- Fabric glue is strong enough to bond even heavier fabrics like leathers, denims, cottons, and felts in most cases.
Fabric Glue Alternatives
However, it's also important for cosplayers to remember that fabric glue, like all other adhesives, has its drawbacks as well. For one thing, fabric glue can't hold as much weight as some other adhesives or bonding methods. Fabric glue also isn't the best choice for thin, silky, or translucent fabrics, and won't create as strong a bond between fabric and other materials like foam or plastic as other adhesives might. If you're concerned that fabric glue might not be the right choice for your cosplay, know that you have plenty of alternative adhesives to choose from that also work on fabrics, which include:
Whatever adhesive or bonding method you choose for your cosplay, it's important to remember to research the best adhesive choice for the result you're trying to create. There's nothing wrong with choosing adhesives over sewing if that's what suits you and your process, and some projects ave different demands than others. Either way, you can create a cosplay with fabric more easily than you think as long as you have the right products in your kit.