The Complete Guide to Adhesives

Rachel Harmon

Your award has been delivered and looks marvelous. But what went into it? How was it constructed? How did something so fragile and intricate arrive safely in your hands? It’s adhesives! Industrial-strength adhesives are a significant step up from your at-home arts and crafts. These tools are best in the hands of experts. 

Cristaux International has its own team of manufacturing artisans. Our people take great pride in deciding which adhesive is best for each custom creation. From surface area to material to timeline, there’s a lot to consider. It’s not as easy as grabbing a bottle of glue from the craft store. Continue reading for the basics on UV, epoxy, tape, and spray adhesives.

Ritz Carlton Hotel crystal building replica with personalized base, and etched details

What Is UV Curing Adhesive?

UV curing adhesive uses ultraviolet light to cure glueThe UV light activates super strength in the glue and creates a strong bond between two pieces. This type of adhesive is very strong and can only be removed under intense heat unsuitable for the manufacturing setting. 

What Is UV Curing Adhesive Used For?

UV adhesive best works with clear materials and smooth surfaces because the clarity allows the UV light to evenly penetrate the glue. For example, two pieces of clear crystal would work beautifully with UV curing adhesive.

Advantages + Disadvantages

On the bright side, UV curing adhesive provides a clean finish with little or no residue. Also, it works well with transparent parts. This adhesive is Cristaux’s choice option and our default when working with crystal. It has little disadvantages. For instance, it doesn’t work with opaque materials and requires professional knowledge and experience to apply. 

Wood custom trophy with digital print personalization. Metal bull cutout wrapped around the wood

What Is Epoxy Adhesive?

An epoxy adhesive combines resin and a hardener, or activator. This mixture creates one of the most popular adhesives of industrial strength. Epoxy is very strong with a similar strength to spray adhesive.

What Is Epoxy Adhesive Used For?

Epoxy is often used with rougher surfaces and materials like stone, marble, and wood. It is also used for at-home construction projects. Popular companies carrying epoxies include Gorilla and J-B Weld.

Advantages + Disadvantages

First of all, epoxy can bond surfaces that are not clear, unlike UV curing adhesive. Additionally, it is very strong. However, it can get quite messy. To apply epoxy, you have to use a special applicator. Without the proper equipment and experience, it can get everywhere. Also, note that this thick mixture will leak from the sides of the two surfaces pressed together. Be sure to clean this up for a neater finish. 

Lastly, epoxy has a strong, chemical smell. When working with epoxy, make sure you are working in a ventilated area or wearing a face mask or respirator.

Metal and acrylic building signage with qr code and brail writing

What Is Tape Adhesive?

Industrial tape adhesive is a big upgrade from what you use to wrap presents. The tape adhesive Cristaux uses is double-sided and custom cut to three different widths: ¼-inch, ½-inch, and ¾-inch. Which tape we use for a project is dependent on each product’s dimension and design.  

Industrial tape is strong but not as strong as UV, epoxy, or spray adhesive. This is the only adhesive Cristaux uses that could have a chance of removing from the product with minimal damage.

What Is Tape Adhesive Used For?

Our production team often uses tape adhesive when working with plaques and metal plates. Additionally, we include tape adhesive in packages sent to customers who request to assemble their awards and gifts.

Advantages + Disadvantages

One of tape’s advantages is its simple application. Strips of tape can be shipped to and applied by recipients. This allows our customers great flexibility and freedom with their recognition pieces. They can add to their piece without having to send it back to our workshop.  

Additionally, this extra-strength tape can be removed without drastically hurting the piece. However, removing this tape will probably cause some damage. This may include peeled paint or leftover residue. 

Brass 3D printed geometric wolf on black crystal base

What Is Spray Adhesive?

Spray adhesive is essentially sprayable glue made at various strengths. The different options are designated with a number to represent how strong they are. The higher the number, the stronger the adhesive. For example, a 77 spray is stronger than a 45 spray. Popular brands include 3M and Loctite.  

When using spray adhesive, you need to apply it quickly. Also, allow it to cure for 48 hours before shipping the product. This is a precaution our team takes to prevent exposure to extreme temperatures during transportation.

What Is Spray Adhesive Used For?

Spray adhesive is used on parts not seen. For example, you may use it on the back of a metal plate that is not transparent and will not be seen by the end user. When using spray on visible parts, ensure that you only use this with opaque materials, not clear. Lastly, you cannot use too strong of a spray adhesive on digitally printed ink. It will cause a chemical reaction and make the ink peel.

Advantages + Disadvantages

To start, spray adhesive is very strong, perhaps the strongest adhesive we use at Cristaux. Because of this, removing something attached by spray adhesive is nearly impossible and will cause damage. Also, this adhesive cannot be applied to small or confined spaces. Your product must have a large surface area. Additionally, the application of spray adhesive is not always perfect or even, given its aerosol-esque nature. 

Corporate Gift Crystal Display Cruise Ship Replica

How Adhesives Fit Into Your Recognition Program

As the literal glue that holds your awards and gifts together, adhesives are vital to successful manufacturing. Like other recognition vendors, we decide which adhesive to use for your project when the order first comes to production.  

Our decision is impacted by the choice of material, quantity of pieces, time constraints, surface area, and design. If you’re using clear crystal, then we’ll most likely choose UV curing adhesive. If you need something turned out quickly, then we may possibly use tape. No matter the task, we are ready for any challenge. 

Overall, make sure you work with a recognition vendor who will make the right call for your program. Your partners should have your priorities in mind. Whether you care most for a clean finish or an intricate design, there is an adhesive that will help you realize your recognition dreams.

Adhesives: Bringing Visions Together

Adhesives are a crucial part to production, one of the tangible elements necessary for making design dreams come true. From the hands of our craftspeople to the hands of your recipients, each piece is made with excellence, purpose, and longevity in mind. 

Contact the Cristaux team to start creating today.