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9 Surprising Problems You Can Solve With Good Old White Glue

white glue

If you don’t have a school-age child or grandchild, there isn’t much of a reason to keep a bottle of white glue around, right? That’s what I thought too, until I started seeing some brilliant ideas involving white glue popping up around the web!

As it turns out, that simple white school glue we all remember from grade school can not only help you create unique and beautiful projects, it can also help solve several of life’s everyday annoyances! And the key to the versatility of white glue comes down to the way it behaves in different states.

In liquid form, white glue is thin, easy to work with, and easily cleaned up. And once it dries, it forms a moderately strong bond while remaining quite malleable. It’s these behaviors that make white glue a true unsung hero of versatility!

To prove it, I’ve included 9 of my favorite uses for white glue below. But this list is far from exhaustive, so if you have a favorite use for white glue that isn’t listed here, be sure to share it with us in a comment at the end of this post!

9 Surprising Uses For White Glue

white glue

1. Removing Splinters

To remove a pesky splinter or sliver from your finger, coat the area in a layer of white glue. Let the glue dry completely, then peel the dried glue away from your skin. The glue should pull the splinter out as it is removed.

white glue

2. Securing Shirt Buttons

Dab a bit of white glue on the threads of the buttons on your shirts. This will help prevent the threads from fraying, and will keep your buttons on longer.

white glue

3. Repairing Screw Holes

If a screw hole has gotten a bit too big to securely hold your screw, saturate a cotton ball with white glue and stuff it in the hole. Leave the cotton ball to dry overnight, and in the morning, it will have hardened and will anchor your screw, no problem!

white glue

4. Filling Nail Holes

If redecorating or moving has exposed unsightly nail and tack holes in your walls, you can fill them with a bit of white glue. Simply squeeze a bit of glue into the hole, and smooth it down so it’s flush with the wall using a bit of plastic wrap on your finger. Let it dry, then paint over it if necessary.

white glue

5. Crafting Homemade Piñatas

Though a traditional papier mâché mixture uses flour, we used a mixture containing white glue to create these adorable custom piñatas. Get the full details and instructions at the link below.

Read More: Make Your Own Customized Piñatas

white glue

6. Preventing Fraying

Keep shoelaces, string, and rope from fraying and unraveling by coating the ends in a bit of white glue.

white glue

7. Emergency First Aid

If you get a paper cut, hangnail, cracked nail, or other minor injury, but don’t have any bandages handy, grab your bottle of white glue! Smooth a thin layer of glue over the injury and let it dry. The glue will seal out dirt and help dull the pain until you can clean it properly.

white glue

8. Cleaning Out Pores

Fashion your own pore-clearing strips out of white glue. Just smooth a layer over your nose or chin, let it dry, then carefully peel it off to peel away blackheads.

white glue

9. Crafting & Decoupage

Combine three parts glue and one part water to mix up a batch of a homemade decoupage medium (AKA “Mod Podge.”) This DIY version is holds its own with the store-bought stuff, and it’s just as easy to use! Layer it onto your project with a sponge brush, allowing each layer to dry in between, with one final layer to seal in the final effect.

Do you have a favorite tip or trick that uses white glue?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • This is a use for white glue and coffee grounds. I had a cheap clear green plastic old fashioned looking mini bathtub that in my poorer days kept bars of soap in it. I recently repainted a bathroom and while painting inside the cabinets came across it. I wanted to revamp the little tub and put some fake flowers in it. To cover the cheap clear green plastic I slathered it in white glue then sprinkled dry (unused coffee) over it. Once completely dry I painted it grey – voila – now it looks like cement.

  • Hello to everyone! Listen I just have to tell you, it’s a cold, snowy Saturday afternoon here in Iowa so I’m just laying in my nice warm bed browsing through many Jillee posts!! It’s not only fun, but I can brush up on my knowledge and learn new things! Nice!!!! :-) To all of my friends on here, stay safe during this holiday season. May God bless!

  • When I was a kid, we used white glue to make “stained glass” ornaments for our Christmas tree. You draw a design on paper, then lay it on cardboard and tape a sheet of plastic wrap over it. Use some gold or silver crafting cord and glue that to all the lines of your design on the plastic wrap. Once that is dry, fill the open spaces in your design with more glue and stir in a drop or two of food coloring in whatever colors you want in each section, and use toothpicks to stir and fill in each section completely with the glue (make sure the space is completely filled to the cord borders.) If you want, you can also place sequins or other beads or embellishments into the section to make a design. Let it all dry, and since the glue dries clear, you are just left with the pretty colors. Peel the plastic wrap off the back and use a needle to put a small hole in the top, use more cord or ribbon to make a hanger and place it on your tree! A great easy craft for kids!

  • I use Elmer’s school glue to baste my quilts. It’s awesome! Drizzle it on the quilt, wait overnight, then start quilting. It washes right out and doesn’t gum up my needles. It’s truly a godsend for quilters.

  • Quilters use Elmers School Glue to secure the binding for sewing. After sewing the first side, it can be wrapped around to the other side, apply glue and press with an iron- it sticks immediately and you don’t need pins or clips. Just stitch around the binding. Washes out the first time the quilt is washed.

    This would also be a handy tip for a hem that has pulled out – it would get you by temporarily.

  • Great ideas! I never thought white glue could work as pore strips.
    My wife often buys nose band-aids for removing blackheads but sometimes it doesn’t work so I’ll let her know!
    Thank you for the tip.

  • Another great use is when painting fingernails, first cover sides of fingers and cuticles with a thin layer of white glue. If you accidentally get polish on your fingers instead of just on your nails, it just peels right off!

  • I would think that using white glue to remove splinters would be especially helpful when the splinters are very tiny glass slivers, or the almost invisible hair-like cactus spines on some small cactus varieties, such as bunny ear cactus. You can feel them but it’s all but impossible to see them for tweezing. The glue solution sounds perfect for these!

  • You can also use white glue to make a peel-off base coat for your nails. Just take an empty nail polish bottle and make sure it’s completely clean. Then mix the glue with some distilled water (I just shake the bottle to blend) until the consistency feels right and use it to paint your nails before you use your colored polish. This stuff is great if you want to use glittery polish since it’s so hard to remove. It also works well for dark colors as well and makes them less likely to stain your nails. And if one fingernail gets messed up somehow, you can just peel it off and re-do it. Peel-off base coat is one of my absolute favorite mani/pedi tricks, and it’s SO simple to make.

  • As a blind crafter, I am always looking for non sewing alternatives. I recently covered some old cork backed placemats for a party using kids glue and polka dot fabric. They were a big hit.

  • You can make an awesome “clay” using a piece of white bread (crusts torn off) and about a tablespoon of white glue. Just tear the bread in pieces and knead in the glue. This airdries to a lovely, durable, almost china like finish.
    I have only used it for small things like jewelery and fairy dishes etc.

  • I had completely forgotten how very handy this glue can be! Thank you for reminding me of its many uses plus some new ones, especially the bandage fill-in.

  • I’ve also used (white) toothpaste to fill a nail hole in the wall :) Thanks for sharing, this is by far my most favorite go-to for almost everything cool and useful!

  • Cute bowls out of Vintage Doilies…. Saturated with white glue !
    Simply dunk doily in bowl of glue plus water ( ratio to the hardness you prefer)
    Then, press out some of the glue btwn towels, then gently lay Doily over upside down bowl that has plastic wrap over it. Allow to dry maybe a day or so. Peel off gently. Cute bowl !
    Love your posts ! They make me happy I’m at home!

  • I use white glue to de-flake my hands. In the winter they can get really dry and flakey if I don’t keep up with hand lotion–especially if I’m tending a woodstove a lot. I just smear on the glue and let it dry, and then peel off all that scales skin. Plus, I’m one of those people who likes from peel, so I get that bonus satisfaction.

  • Love these ideas! Who knew! Thanks so much for all you do for us Jillee! I’ve gotten so many great ideas off your daily posts. I look forward to them every day.

  • Love these ideas! Another one I’ve seen lately is to use glue to make a pattern on fabric, like curtains, or clothing. Then when it dries, dye it for a batik effect. There are tutorials on Pinterest for this, but I haven’t tried it yet.

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