What is PVA material and glue? Surprising applications From slime to painting

PVA (or Polyvinyl acetate, Elmer’s glue or white craft glue) is a glue and sealant that has been around for hundreds of years. In the modern-day, it has been used to make items such as crafts but also to adhere plaster to a well. It is a manmade material that has a lot of applications. It is a polymer so it has chemical elements that are repeated. Temperature can affect the state of PVA as it can get solid when it is colder and liquid when it is hotter. 


The main use for PVA is in woodworking, textiles, and paper because it is waterproof and can be used in humid conditions. Today, it is also frequently used as a sealant in a wide variety of materials so that they are more durable. It can sometimes be used around food as well. As you can see, it has a lot of applications in different industries. It has been around for more than 100 years so has proven its durability.  

Applications of PVA

There are plenty of benefits of using PVA. One of the most popular is that it’s waterproof. PVA is also a quick-drying sealant, so you don’t have to wait long for it to harden and dry in order to touch or handle it. Pva sealants are also flexible, which allows them to be used on a variety of different materials. It has a low odor, making it easier for people who have allergies or sensitivities. Since PVA is a general term, there are many different types available with different levels of durability and quality. You can choose the best one that fits your needs and budget as well as your project needs.

It is easy to clean as it dissolves in water so if you spill it, you can just remove it with water. It is faster to clean it with hot water. This process is called hydrolysis

It is biodegradable and splits into elements that are not toxic to the environment. 

It also doesn’t adhere to a lot of dust or polymers and is therefore great for items that have to remain clean. Lenses are an example of this. 

Given these benefits, people are still trying to find new applications. One of the newer ones is using it to 3D print items with it. It has been popular to make slime with as well.

PVA is quite cheap and can be bought in big quantities. It has a lot of applications at home. Plumbers sometimes use it for repairs if they had to open up a wall. PVA can then be used as a primer before the wall is painted. There are more modern primers but PVA works quite well and is cheap to use.

There are different qualities of PVA glue so make sure that you get the right one for your application. Cheaper ones might contain less PVA and more water. They are therefore less strong. Often the glues are adjusted to the applications. PVA glues for wood are for example stronger than ones that are used for paper applications such as scrapbooking. This is often mentioned on the packaging. 

How is PVA made? At home and industrial

You can create PVA glue at home if you want to. Just buy PVA powder and add the desired amount of water. Then you mix everything. Once this is done, you can heat it up and you will get glue that you can use for your arts and crafts projects. It can take up to 12 hours to let it cool down before you can use it. Make sure that you don’t use pots and pans that you cook with as this material can get quite sticky.

 Some people prefer to create it from scratch. This is done by taking flour and sugar and some water. Boil 8 oz of water. Add 3TBS of flour to 2 oz of cold water. Stir it and add it to the 8 oz of boiling water. Finally, add about 1.5 TBS of sugar to this mixture and stir it. Let the pan cool down after this. Congratulations, you have homemade PVA glue! It can take some experimentation to get it right and the glue won’t be as strong as if you would use powder but it can work pretty well. It can be a great glue for light paper projects but don’t expect to hang heavy objects with it.

In an industrial setting, PVA is produced from an alcohol and acetate solution. This process creates a polymer that binds to itself, creating a long chain of polyvinyl acetate molecules. It can be cross-linked with other polymers or materials, such as acrylics, to make it more durable. 

It is often made in big chemical plants to ensure its consistency. This is essential if it has to be used in production processes so that the result is the same every time.

PVA is often transported in powder form. The users can then add water to it. This saves on transportation costs. Once it is heated up, it starts to create clumps. For this reason, it is recommended that a mixer is used before it is heated up. This disperses the powder over the water and makes it easier to get the desired structure. More modern mixers work more efficiently and can also work with hot water. 

To conclude, we can state that PVA is a type of odorless, white material that is often used as glue. It has a wide range of applications, from craft projects to advanced industrial processes. It has been around a long time and is a great product as it breaks down into harmless components. PVA is cheap and has a lot of applications. For this reason, this material will remain popular in the future as well.