People use spray adhesives for many day-to-day jobs because sprays tend to be convenient and fast. However, sometimes sprays fall short in functionality or present significant health risks to users. There are many adhesive alternatives out there, though you need to make sure your alternative is appropriate for the particular task at hand.
Traditional Glues and Interfacing for Fabric
Spray adhesives are often used in fabric crafts because of the versatility and ease of application, but you can find alternatives in many forms. Companies such as Saveoncrafts.com offer a variety of adhesive products, including traditional fabric glues that dry clear in minutes or hours. Typically the longer the dry time, the stronger the bond. Another alternative is fabric interfacing, a textile used to stiffen and bond different parts of clothing like the areas where buttons will be sewn. Interfacing is set in place and then fused to the fabric using the heat from an iron.
Adhesive Caulks and Foams for Drywall
Spray adhesive can be convenient for bonding drywall in hard-to-reach places, but you can find alternatives on the market that are just as good. Adhesive caulks offer great strength and hold and come in many different mixtures. The drying time for adhesive caulks is generally more than a few hours. For instance an adhesive caulk called Liquid Nails needs to cure overnight and requires up to seven days to completely set. Charles Johnson from the Journal "Construction Dimensions" recommends foam-based adhesives because many new foams "are not flammable,have no solvents, no CFCs (so they are ozone friendly) and no fumes." The foams cure in minutes or a few hours and may cut costs considerably. Johnson writes, "One 32-ounce can of some [foam] products may equal 40 quart tubes of drywall adhesive caulk."
Rubber Cement and Organic Glues for Paper
For many paper projects spray adhesive is the preferable choice, but according to Artpaper.com spray adhesives "are messy and unhealthy." Rubber cement is a good alternative because it dries clear and quickly and is water resistant, though the bond created with rubber cement tends to weaken with age. Another alternative is an organic adhesive. Organic adhesives come from animals and plants and offer a bonding method for people who want to recycle products naturally occurring in the environment. Organic adhesives such as Rabbit skin glue and wheat starch paste are prepared by mixing powder with boiling water. When the substances are cooled and mixed they are ready to use.