Glue sticks are a type of child-friendly adhesive that can be used for all sorts of mediums, from sticking popsicle sticks together to construction paper to tissue paper. But have you ever wondered how large a glue stick is?
A typical glue stick tube will measure around 3 inches long and ¾ of an inch in diameter. Mini glue sticks will be about 5/16 of an inch wide and about 2-1/2 inches in length.
That said, the exact measurements of a glue stick will vary from brand to brand. In this guide, I’ll cover the dimensions of common glue stick brands, what you can use glue sticks for, and how they differ from other types of glue.
What Are Glue Stick Sizes?
If you take a stroll down your local office supplies store, you might encounter dozens of different glue sticks made by dozens of different brands. As such, the dimensions of one glue stick might be vastly different from another.
For instance, Elmer’s All-Purpose Glue Sticks measure 3 inches in length and ¾ of an inch in diameter. Meanwhile, Gorilla Kids Disappearing Glue Sticks stand 4-1/4 inches tall and are 1 inch wide. And even then, there are different Elmer’s and Gorilla glue stick variants that come in different sizes.
Does Glue Stick Size Matter?
Now, you’re probably wondering to yourself: why does glue stick size matter? Are smaller glue sticks better than large ones or vice versa?
Generally speaking, the size of a glue stick will not affect how well it sticks sheets of paper together, nor will it play a role in improving gluing accuracy. The only real reason you should consider getting a larger glue stick tube over a smaller one is if your child is unaccustomed to using glue sticks.
A thicker tube might be easier for your child to handle, whereas narrower tubes might require a bit more dexterity to get the hang of using.
So, will the size of the glue stick affect how quickly it dries out? Sort of, which is a direct result of there being less surface area on smaller glue sticks. But the difference in the rate of drying between glue sticks is negligible at best.
How Long Does Glue Stick Last?
There are two ways of looking at this—how long will it take for the glue stick to dry out when uncovered, and how long is the shelf life of glue sticks?
To answer the first question, glue sticks have an incredibly short “open time” of between two and five minutes. The good news is that you can rehydrate dried glue sticks by dipping the exposed glue into a bowl of warm water, leaving it for 20 seconds, and then gently scraping off the dried exterior.
However, the longer you leave the stick uncovered, the harder it will become. When it fully sets, you will have to purchase a set of new glue sticks.
As for how long the shelf life of a glue stick is, like most adhesives, glue sticks last for up to two years after opening. Even when covered properly, the glue stick can become as hard as a block of plastic. And when this happens, no amount of hydrating will bring it back from the proverbial grave.
What Are Glue Sticks Used for?
As previously indicated, glue sticks are used almost exclusively by children to stick sheets of paper to each other. That’s why your child’s list of school supplies might include a stick of glue and not a bottle of liquid glue, especially for kids in the third grade and under.
Glue sticks are mainly used for arts and crafts to come up with creative designs. However, you can use glue sticks at home for a million different things, including making picture frames and covering holes in drywall, and you can even use the tube to hide a few dollar bills while you’re out in public with your family.
How Do Glue Sticks Differ from Other Glue Types?
Apart from their appearance, there are several notable differences between glue sticks and other types of glue.
Liquid glue is another child-friendly type of glue. It comes in a bottle that has a twist nozzle at the top to allow students to pour large or small amounts of glue with every squeeze. Compared to glue sticks, liquid glue takes longer to set, and it can be quite messy, especially if a student has no idea that a little bit of glue goes a long way.
Rubber cement is a type of quick-drying adhesive that has a texture straight from the tub. It can be used for all sorts of applications, but it shines best as an adhesive for photography projects.
Glue dots are another type of hassle-free adhesive. Instead of coming in a bottle, tube, or tube, you remove them from a roll before sticking them onto paper. Applying pressure to the dots will release their inner stickiness.
Glue pens are pen-shaped sticks that release clear, liquid glue when squeezed or rubbed on a surface. They’re great for filling in tiny cracks, but they’re mainly used for arts and crafts projects.
Hot glue is a type of glue that requires heating via a glue gun to use. The heat liquefies the solid glue stick, which is then squeezed out through a tiny nozzle. Hot glue dries quickly, is stronger than arts-and-crafts glues, and is a great adhesive to have around the household.
Super glue is a quick-drying glue that is used to construct figurine models, as well as stick pieces of leather, wood, glass, and metal together. The glue requires a clean surface to create a strong bond between two objects. When you get super glue on your fingers, the glue will take several minutes of scrubbing with soap to release.
Are Glue Sticks Non-Toxic?
Glue sticks made for children are non-toxic. If you read the label on kid-friendly adhesives, they will almost always mention that the product is non-toxic, acid-free, and washable. So, if you’d like to let your child express their creativity in a safe way, try getting them a few glue stick tubes!