Polyvinyl Acetate

Not soluble in water

Dries very quickly

Does not penetrate easily

Forms a relatively thick layer between the layers that it is joining

Sticks very reliably

Dries flexible, very nice to use on the spine of a book because it is rubbery and allows the spine to open nicely

Very good for joining walls together in box making because it dries quickly and sets up fast so you don’t have to hold them in place for a long time.

Very little time for repositioning

Different types available;

PVA, Jade 711, Lineco Brand PVA - typical names for PVA, all of these would be considered equal

Acid pHree, Jade 403 - Trade names for pva that is a bit more expensive because it is more conservation friendly, but this does not mean that it is fully reversible.

Please note, while it looks similar Elmers glue is a different polymer than PVA. It dries stiffly and it is not encouraged to use it for bookbinding.

MIX - a mixture of PVA and Methyl Cellulose

Ideally 60% PVA and 40% Methyl Cellulose, but an approximate ratio of 50/50 will do

Water soluble, good choice for some conservation applications

More open time/ slower to tack up

Penetrates more than straight PVA and less than wheat paste

Dries flexible, but less so than straight PVA

Good choice for bookcloth and paper because of slow dry time/time to reposition

Sticks very reliably

The methyl cellulose extends and thins the glue out without loosing the adhesive quality that would be lost if the glue was simply thinned by water.

Protein Based Glue/ Hide Glue

These glues come in solid bricks or crystals that are melted before use. Although a different material, the properties of this glue are comparable to the properties of MIX.



Wheat Paste

Completely water soluble

Takes a long time to tack up, so lots of open time/ working time

Slow drying time

Blends and melts into the layers that it is joining

Dries stiff

Ideal for making paste papers and working with leather

Rice paste is similar

Different types available;

Wheat Paste or Wheat Paste 301 - Pre-Cooked Powder that can be mixed with cold water

Zen Shofu or Gin Shofu Wheat Paste - Very refined powder that requires cooking


Methyl Cellulose

Very light tack

Dries slowly

Used to reverse protein based adhesives in book repair

Another good medium for paste papers

Can be applied to muslin to make super/crash/mull

Pure starch similar to what is used to make starch filled bookcloth

Sold as a powder to be mixed with cold water

Where to Purchase Adhesives

Lineco brand can often be found in store at art and craft stores like;

Arch  - www.archsupplies.com

Blick - www.dickblick.com


Can be ordered online or over the phone from the following companies;

Colophon - www.colophonbookarts.com

Hollander - www.hollanders.com

Ernest Schaefer - www.ernestschaeferinc.com

Talas - www.talasonline.com

Amazon - www.amazon.com