What Is the Best Glue to Use on Styrofoam?

As a crafter, you’re probably familiar with Styrofoam as it can be used for many different projects.

Styrofoam is so versatile that it’s also used as insulation in buildings and roads! This material can be used for many different things, but it does require specific glue.

What is the best glue to use on Styrofoam, foamular, and other crafting foam? The best glue to use on foam is hot glue from a glue gun. Make sure the glue gun has a low-heat setting because high heat will melt the foam. You can also use liquid Elmer’s glue and Liquid Nails as alternatives.

In the following, you’ll learn which glue to use on Styrofoam, the difference between Styrofoam and polystyrene, and what exactly EPS and XPS foams are.

There are a few glue options that are great to use, but they do have their downfalls, so it’s important to look at each one carefully to choose the correct one for your project. 

Recommended Glues

Styrofoam is a great material to use in crafting because it’s sturdy, durable, and waterproof.

You need to make sure you use the correct glue so all the pieces will stick together and not fall apart.

The best glue to use for Styrofoam is hot glue from a hot glue gun, but you can also use other forms of liquid glue. Let’s look at the top recommendations.

Surebonder Auto Shut Off Hot Glue Gun

The Surebonder hot glue gun is recommended because it can switch between high and low settings.

Styrofoam can melt with hot temperatures, so it’s important that the glue gun you use has a low setting.

Melted Styrofoam might ruin your project and it will be difficult to fix, even with the proper tools, if it can be fixed at all. 

This particular glue gun has an insulated nozzle, so it won’t get hot enough to burn your projects.

It’s important to use a glue gun with a nozzle that won’t get too hot so you can position the glue gun however you need to in order to get the glue where you need it to go.

If you can’t get glue in a corner because the nozzle will melt your project, you’re not using the right tool for the job.

This glue gun is a great option because it has a kickstand. You can set the glue gun down without causing the glue to spill out.

It also has side fins, so you can lay the gun on its side and the glue will stay in place.

It shuts off after 30 minutes of it not being used, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving it on once you’re finished with your project.

This glue gun plugs in with a cord, so you don’t have to worry about the batteries dying while you’re using it.

This means you can work for several hours, especially since it has an ergonomic handle.

Elmer’s Glue-All Multi-Purpose Liquid Glue

Elmer’s liquid glue will work on Styrofoam and is a great option if you’re on a budget. It dries quickly and you don’t have to worry about the glue being too hot to melt your project.

Plus, you might already have some sitting around your house! The nozzle on the bottle will allow you to get in small or hard-to-reach places.

The only issue with this option is that the glue must be exposed to air in order for it to dry properly.

You might have issues with this if you’re gluing two pieces of Styrofoam together and they’re so tightly pressed together that air is unable to reach the glue.

You might have to wait longer for it to dry, so if you’re pressed for time, this may cause some problems.

Liquid Nails Project and Foamboard Adhesive

Liquid Nails glue is specifically designed to stick to Styrofoam. It’s heavy duty so it will work great for larger projects that need a lot of glue to stick together.

The tube it comes in has a long nozzle, so you will be able to easily apply glue in hard-to-reach areas, like corners, or in between small spaces.

Styrofoam can be used as insulation in buildings, and Liquid Nails glue is often used to adhere the insulation to the walls because the glue is water and temperature resistant.

Should your project get caught in the rain, the pieces will likely stay together, although the rest of the project might not.

What’s the Difference Between Polystyrene and Styrofoam?

As you shop around for foam to use in projects, you might notice that there are two versions out there: polystyrene and Styrofoam.

What’s the difference? Styrofoam is a trademarked brand of polystyrene that comes in a specific color.

There are a few elements that make them different, so let’s go over them quickly.

Polystyrene

Polystyrene is made from styrene, so it is a synthetic material. It can be solid or foam and is brittle, hard, and transparent.

Colorants can be added to it, which is why we rarely see it in its transparent form.

The material is solid at room temperature, but if its temperature reaches 212°F (100°C), it will begin to melt.

The glue in glue guns is capable of reaching this temperature, which is why you need to use the low setting on the glue gun, if available. 

Once melted polystyrene cools down, it returns to a solid state. So, if you melt your project and let it cool, it will have a new shape.

That’s not exactly what you want, though, so it’s best to use glue that isn’t too hot.

Think of it like candle wax. The dripping wax cools down at the bottom of the candle and sits there. Your project might end up looking like that.

Styrofoam

Styrofoam is a trademarked brand. It’s an XPS foam, which will be explained more in a minute.

Styrofoam is typically light blue because that’s the colorant they add to it to make it a well-known brand. Unlike polystyrene, Styrofoam is always found as a foam, never a solid.

Styrofoam boards are used for insulation in buildings, in roads, and by florists, to name a few.

Although the Styrofoam brand has become the common term for polystyrene, Styrofoam is mostly used as insulation rather than as craft material because it is a harder foam.

What Is EPS Foam?

EPS foam is expanded polystyrene. It’s created by expanding the polymers found in polystyrene. These polymers are created from the styrene that was mentioned earlier.

So, the basic process begins with styrene, then polymers are formed, then they are expanded to make EPS foam. A lot of chemical reactions happen during this process.

This expanding process creates a white foam plastic, just like what you usually find in packaging.

If you’ve ever opened a brand new electronic or kitchen appliance, you’ve seen EPS foam before.

What Is XPS Foam?

So, what is XPS foam? This foam is extruded polystyrene, but you can call it Styrofoam. Instead of the polymers being expanded, these are extruded.

This is also a chemical reaction process, but it’s a little different than what EPS foam goes through.

Styrofoam is typically light blue, so colorants are added during the extrusion process.

The extrusion process creates a slightly tougher product which is why Styrofoam is most often used during construction.

It’s typically made into boards that are flat that can fit in between walls to regulate temperature and keep out water. 

Both EPS and XPS foams can be used for waterproofing and insulation. Each one functions differently, so your insulation needs will determine which one you use.

The same idea goes for crafting, too. If you need a sturdy base, XPS foam, or Styrofoam, is probably what you should use. 

Conclusion

Hot glue is the best glue to use on Styrofoam, but make sure you use a low heat setting because it can begin to melt if it gets too hot.

You can also use Elmer’s liquid glue and Liquid Nails glue as alternatives. Elmer’s glue might not dry completely, however.

Liquid Nails is made especially for foam, so that would be best if you have a large project and need large amounts of adhesive.