Are you finding it’s becoming ever more expensive to buy your favourite brand of glue? Why is one brand of white glue so much more expensive than another when it’s basically all the same thing? With a few exceptions, like a matte drying white glue (eg. Ranger Multi Medium Matte Adhesive), all white glues are just the same acid free liquid PVA. Even Mod Podge is just a thinned out liquid PVA! The only real difference is the amount of water added to that glue base that will affect the flow of the glue and the amount of warping it causes to your cardstock if over applied. In short, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t buy the glue in bulk and pour it into a smaller bottle when it comes time to use it. Simple, huh? You’d think so but sadly, not all bottles are the same. The cap on the bulk bottle matters and a needle tip bottle is very different to a fine tip bottle.

Selecting an appropriate glue bottle to decant liquid PVA (aka white glue) can be a bit of a hit or miss experience, especially if you’re buying online. I’ve been scorched many times, buying what I think is the perfect solution to my glue needs, only to find the glue won’t go into the bottle without it “burping” back out all over my hands. Worse still, I can get the glue into the bottle, only to find I need the thumb strength of an iron man to get it back out again!

Decanting glues from a bulk bottle into these little bottles and out again shouldn’t be that hard but, if we want to save a few dollars and fill our own bottles so we have the perfect nozzle, we need to know a few tricks before we start. Firstly, look at the lid of the bulk bottle. Is is just a regular screw on lid or is it a nozzle? The nozzle caps are certainly the better option to fill a smaller bottle with. You can insert that nozzle in past the neck of the smaller bottle and just squeeze slowly to transfer the glue from one bottle to another. Just make sure you dont block the bottle necks, you need to allow air to flow at the same time. But, glue can still be poured from a regular open ended bottle into another as long as you take it very slowly.

Probably the biggest problem when filling these smaller bottles is the “blow back” you get as the glue forces the air out of the bottle. This is just unavoidable. Basic science easily explains the movement of one substance (the air) as its replaced by the other (the glue). The problem is that all this movement needs to take place through the same, single hole, the top of the bottle. I’ve found the best solution is to take things slowly so there’s no sudden rush of either the air or the glue in any one direction. We need to work slowly enough so the liquid flows in one side of the opening while the flow of air moves smoothly out the other.

Another thing is to pour in short “bursts”. Give the glue a chance to flow slowly enough so it doesn’t cause air bubbles to pop back out. Stopping every few seconds gives the glue a chance to settle and the air a chance to escape. And, if you find the air pockets a little stubborn to remove, tapping the base of the bottle gently on your table will encourage those bubbles to break and the glue will settle in the bottom of your bottle more easily.

I also never try to fill the bottle completely, half to three quarters full is tons! You’ll still get a lot of crafting done before you need to refill again and the empty space inside the bottle allows for expansion or contraction with temperature changes. It will also help reduce the occurrence of the nozzle overflowing should you leave the lid off at any time. While we can never prevent the nozzle from oozing completely, having space to tap the glue away from the nozzle is always better than having nowhere for the air inside the bottle to go.

Once the bottle has the glue in it, what nozzle is best to get it out again? I’ve tried needle tipped bottles and found my arthritic thumbs and fingers cramping up before the glue has even reached the opening. These tips are fine for younger hands or thinner liquids but for any liquid PVA, these openings require way too much force to extrude the glue with any real success. It’s not really the bottle’s fault, it’s just a matter of hand strength and the thickness of the PVA. Using a fine tip bottle rather than a needle tip will always work better for weaker hands. You will need to snip the tips off those nozzles but if you snip as close to the top as possible, you’ll find these plastic bottle tips much more forgiving than the metal ones that require the extra strength and effort. These tips are also easier to keep clean too because they will allow the bottle to “breathe” more easily and a quick tap on the table (with the lid on) will help the glue drain away. And, there’s one more tip on how to keep your glue nozzle clear. After letting the bottle stand upright for a moment, gently squeeze the bottle so you can hear the air moving through the nozzle. This will keep the walls of the nozzle as clear as humanly possible during its upright storage. Oh, and don’t ever store your bottles on their side, that just causes the glue to settle inside the nozzle and will cause a sudden overflow as soon as the outer cap is removed, especially during the hotter weather.

So, what am I referring to as a needle tip and which is a fine tip? The best way to answer that is with photos.
These are what I call needle tips and will require quite a bit of finger strength to get the glue to flow but the are definitely the finer of the two tips and will give the least flow.

These are the fine tips that need to be snipped. Note in the photos some are still referred to as needle tip applicators. Is it any wonder we get confused? The glue flow from these will be more than what I call needle tips but I’ve found gravity, not squeezing at all, can be enough to give the perfect glue lines that hold the cardstock firmly without any warping or wrinkling.

After all this, you may be left thinking “I’ll just buy the prefilled bottles.” and that may be fine for you. Just remember though, buying in bulk is always going to be the cheaper option and, in the case of PVA glues, the difference in price can be massive. I pay the same price for a litre of glue as they charge for bottles with just a few ounces that have a fancy label and have been packed into a smaller bottle, but the choice is totally up to you and what you’re prepared to spend or do. Me, I’m happy to buy my glue in bulk and fill my smaller nozzled bottle. It really is a small amount of time spent to save quite a bit of money. Thanks so much for spending time with me today, I look forward to next time! 😊


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