Leather Glue: What Type is Best?

Leather Glue: What Type is Best?

Whether you’re repairing a leather sofa, a car seat, or another item made of leather, it’s very important to use glue for leather instead of trying your luck with another type of adhesive. Leather glue offers a flexible hold, so craft projects and repairs turn out looking great, with a reliable bond that stands up to the item’s intended use.

How to Choose the Best Glue for Leather

When working with leather, it’s important to select glue that is both strong and flexible. Most glue for leather is either cyanoacrylate-based or contains vinyl acetate. Some of the best leather glues resemble rubber cement and still others contain polyurethane, which makes its way into tiny crevices and creates a strong bond.

Once you start shopping, you’ll notice that there are many options available, and not all of them are designed for gluing leather only – in fact, some of the best leather glue options are very well-suited for bonding paper, fabric, and more.

Make sure that you don’t use super glue for leather. Instead, choose glue that is water-resistant as well as heat-resistant, particularly if you’re repairing leather seats in a car.

Finally, make sure that the glue you choose is suitable for the type of leather you’ll be working with. For example, some adhesives will glue leather but aren’t ideal for gluing suede since they’re likely to cause discoloration.

A Quick Note on Leather Patches

Even though we’re focusing on leather glue, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention patches for leather! Available in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures, these patches are great for repairing leather items that don’t seem to respond well to glue. Vinyl and leather patches are easy to use: check the instructions, make sure your item is clean and dry, and then peel and stick the leather patch into place.

When repairing leather with a patch, make sure that the patch is wrinkle-free. If you notice that the patch’s edges are popping up, you can use a little bit of leather glue to seal them back into place.

How to Use Leather Glue      

In most cases, leather glue is applied to both of the surfaces being bonded together. Depending on the size of the project, it might be best to apply glue for leather with a brush instead of relying on the bottle’s applicator. Be sure to check your chosen leather glue’s instructions before you get started since they might be different from our general guide.

Step 1

Ensure that all surfaces are clean and dry. Dust and other impurities can prevent you from achieving a tight bond and moisture will prevent the glue from sticking tightly to the leather.

Step 2

Apply the glue to both surfaces, but don’t stick them together until the adhesive looks clear and feels tacky to the touch.

Step 3

Press the leather together, ensuring that you have no wrinkles, and double-checking to make sure that the edges of your project are evenly aligned.

Step 4

Lay your project out flat and set heavy objects on top to weigh it down and ensure a super-tight bond. If you’re fixing a seam or an edge and it’s impossible to lay the project flat, this won’t be possible. Some projects can be tightly bonded by applying clips or clamps to the edges of the leather. If you do this, be sure to place a layer of fabric or some other kind of padding between the surface of the clamp and your item. This will keep the clamp from scratching or otherwise marring your leather.

Step 5

Check the edges of your project to see if any of the glue has oozed out. If it has, use a lint-free rag or a suitable scraping tool to remove the excess glue before it dries.

Step 6

Check your glue bottle for drying time and leave your project or repair alone for the recommended amount of time. It’s often beneficial to leave the item alone longer than recommended since this provides some extra “insurance” toward a tight, reliable bond.

Best Glue for Leather 2019

Now that you know the basic steps for gluing leather, let’s take a look at some of the best glue for leather repair, projects, and more.   

Tandy Leather Eco-Flo Leather Weld Adhesive: Best Leather Glue for Projects

While Tandy Eco-Flo Leather Weld Adhesive is a favorite for bonding leather crafts, it’s also ideal for working with other porous materials like cloth, chipboard, posterboard, paper, and more. It typically receives high marks for leather repair projects but it isn’t the best for fixing open tears. This glue doesn’t smell as bad as many other brands, which is just one more thing many users appreciate.

Aleene’s Leather & Suede Glue: Best Glue for Suede

This product isn’t water resistant so it’s not suitable for fixing the lower portion of shoes or other items that will get wet. At the same time, Aleene’s Leather & Suede Glue is popular with people who do a variety of leather and suede crafts, as well as with those who simply want to fix leather items around the house. This product works on just about everything – besides forming a tight bond on leather craft projects, it’s great for fixing leather purses, belts, shoes, and more. It’s one of just a few leather glues that are suitable for use on suede.

It’s worth noting that some people have had trouble getting this glue to stick to shiny, finished leather, i.e. affixing patches to leather jackets, etc. The glue will hold for a while, but eventually, the bond will break. This is a common issue since finished leather isn’t porous. The best way to get around the problem is to stick your patch on with this leather glue or another brand, and then sew the patch into place so it doesn’t come off later.  

Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive: Best Fast Drying Leather Glue

Strong yet washable, Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive is one of the best leather glues for small repairs. This product does have a very strong odor – in fact, it’s highly flammable while it’s wet. Even so, it’s excellent for fixing seams in leather jackets and bags, repairing small tears in leather upholstery, and many other projects. Like many other adhesives that are suitable for leather, this one works well on other materials including wood, fabric, and more.

MastaPlasta Self-Adhesive Patch for Leather: Best Leather Repair Patch

For repairing large tears in leather car seats and fixing leather furniture, MastaPlasta Self-Adhesive leather patches are among the easiest, best options available.  It’s true that patches cost more than glue. At the same time, this brand gets rave reviews not just for its ability to repair gaping tears that aren’t easy to fix with standard leather glue, but also for the fact that its leather patches come in a vast range of colors, sizes, and patterns.

Fortivo Leather and Vinyl Repair Kit: Best Glue for Leather Shoes, Handbags, and More

The Fortivo Leather and Vinyl Repair Kit is great for fixing small tears, holes, scratches, and other damage on shoes, bags, belts, furniture, car seats, and more. This innovative product comes with colors and mixing instructions so you can create the perfect color match for the item you’re fixing. It does take a while to dry but the results are pretty amazing in most cases. If you’re looking for a way to repair leather shoes, this product might be ideal. For problems around the lower seam area of the shoe (i.e. leaks) Sugru Moldable Glue might be a better option.

Good luck with your project! With the right kind of leather glue, it’s easy to create a strong, reliable bond and make a worn or torn item look like new.