The assembly stage of any cosplay is one of the longest stages you’ll go through. Bonding each of the pieces you patterned and cut out can feel like it takes forever, especially when you have large surface areas to work with. Applying the glue and getting it done fast enough can be another added struggle during this stage. How can you get the glue on faster? Well, one way is to spray it on.
A can of spray adhesive can really speed up the assembly process on larger applications, but it does have plenty of other uses, too. In this post, we’ll explain the best uses for spray adhesive in cosplay as well as the benefits and challenges of working with this handy glue.
Best Uses for Spray Adhesive in Cosplay
If you’ve never used spray adhesive, it’s almost exactly what it sounds like: it’s an aerosol-based glue that comes in a small spray can. It’s often used in crafts for mounting or fastening, but it has several useful qualities that make it great for cosplay applications.
First, spray adhesive is a viable option for foamsmithing. This glue will work with both EVA and insulation foam. Because it’s applied by spraying, you can cover large areas of foam very quickly compared to other options like contact cement or hot glue. While the spray adhesive may not be strong enough to hold end seams together, it’s ideal for situations where you’re attaching flat pieces of foam to one another or layering pieces of foam for thicker designs.
Spray adhesive also makes a great alternative to sewing when used on fabric. Again, spray adhesive may not be the best choice for permanently fastening seams, but it’s perfect for adding emblems, patches, trim, or appliques that lay flat on your piece of fabric. Unlike many other glues, spray adhesive is also fine to use on thin, transparent fabrics, so if you wanted to layer a see-through fabric over a solid color fabric, for instance, spray adhesive would be perfect.
Aside from those larger-scale applications, spray adhesive can also be used for smaller things you need to stick down quickly. In general, spray adhesive can be used on paper and cardboard, felt, canvas, and more. Additionally, there are maximum strength, specialized spray adhesives for materials like rubber, vinyl, wood, and metal.
Benefits of Spray Adhesive
There are several advantages to working with spray adhesive in the right situations. Here are just a few spray adhesive benefits:
- As we’ve mentioned, spray adhesive can cover large surface areas extremely quickly.
- Spray adhesive can be applied in thin layers , meaning it won’t add much weight or bulk to your materials and can fit in some tight spaces.
- After bonding, you can cut through spray adhesive without losing bonding power or gunking up your cutting tool.
- Spray adhesive is relatively easy to find in craft stores as well as at general retailers.
- You can also find different types of spray adhesive that are designed for particular materials or in different strengths.
- Spray adhesive is washable, at least up to a few washes, if you use it on a fabric cosplay that you might need to clean after wearing.
- Spray adhesive is a multi-surface product that can bond different types of materials to each other.
- It won’t “eat through” or melt insulation foam, a notoriously finnicky material.
- Spray adhesive dries clear.
Spray Adhesive Challenges
On the other hand, there are unique challenges to expect when you’re working with spray adhesive too. Here are just a few things to be aware of:
Spray adhesive is incredibly messy to work with. You don’t want overspray on your workspace or else EVERYTHING will be sticking together. It’s probably best to spray large quantities of spray adhesive outside, or at least away from anything that you don’t want glue all over.
- Additionally, if you’re spraying a large quantity of spray adhesive, you’ll probably want to do so in a well-ventilated space or wear a mask.
- Certain spray adhesives don’t necessarily provide a permanent hold. You’ll need to be careful about which type you buy.
- Spray adhesive can be somewhat expensive.
- While spray adhesive does have a quick apply time, it only has a middling dry time.
- Foam (and other smooth surfaces) will need to be sanded down before application to give the spray adhesive something to stick to.
Spray Adhesive: Sacrificing Strength for Speed?
The case for spray adhesive is generally made by the speed of its application. But when you can cover a huge piece of foam or fabric with spray adhesive in a matter of seconds, it begs the question: is this time advantage worth the trade-offs that come with spray adhesive? In the end, it all comes back to personal preference. While spray adhesive will work for cosplay, it’s not usually as strong as something like contact cement or hot glue. However, there are ways to improve the strength of a spray adhesive job. Sanding the surface to clamping your pieces together during dry time are just a few of the ways you can compensate for spray adhesive’s bonding strength in order to take advantage of the speed benefits it provides.