Today, more people are enjoying the fantastical worlds and complexity of miniatures than ever. Not only can you create a piece of art, but you can take your tabletop roleplaying experience to a new level. Or, if you’re like me, you simply appreciate the incredible models and figurines you can build. Whether you’re interested in figurines, die-cast models, or even dollhouse miniatures, heed this fair word of warning if you’re just getting into the hobby…
If you invest in any supply or even buy only one thing, you need high-quality glue. Sure, there are all sorts of differences between paints, finishes, sealants, or whatever else you’ll use in this hobby, but those differences are minimal. The difference between the best glue for miniatures and the worst one is massive. Think of it this way: you’re restoring a (life-size) vintage car. You invest all your money in a sweet paint job. Nice! Your car falls apart and is unusable. Not nice! Now you have a shiny piece of metal. Or, an unrecognizable pile of plastic or metal parts you can’t fully appreciate in all its miniature goodness.
So, what is the best glue for miniatures? One thing to consider before we jump in is that different glues work best for specific material types. In this guide, we’ll cover the best glue for plastic miniatures, the best glue for metal miniatures, the best glue for wooden miniatures, and finally, some options that work as a one-size-fits-all for any material type. We’ll go in-depth on the pros, cons, and best aspects of each brand. We’ll also see what some users (and pro hobbyists) have to say themselves.
If you’re worried about getting the wrong glue, there’s no need to worry! These brands have been around for years, and have been vetted by hundreds of artists. Any of these glues will make a great pick for those just starting in the hobby, as well as those who know their way around. When you become more aware of the differences between these glues and how you can use them to your advantage, then you can start to be more discerning of your glue choice. So, without further ado, let’s look at the top five choices for the best glue for miniatures!
A great value for this glue specifically designed for plastic miniatures
- Great price, includes .7 ounces
- Long applicator nozzle
- 3-5 minute cure time means fewer mistakes
- Melts plastic pieces together to create a seamless finish, may be a learning curve for beginners
The Citadel Plastic Glue has hundreds of five-star reviews by fans of the miniatures hobby. The folks over at Games Workshop designed this glue with the art of miniatures in mind, specifically for plastic materials. That means that this glue will not only create a secure bond but “melt” the pieces of plastic together to create a seamless finish. When you’re working with such small pieces, a dob of glue between joints will stick out like a sore thumb. This glue will bond your pieces together in a way that makes it look factory made.
If the whole idea of plastic being chemically bonded to more plastic makes your head spin, there’s no need to worry. For one, this glue has a 3-5 minute cure time, which allows you plenty of time to adjust pieces and make it perfect. After it’s cured, you’ll have a tough time trying to undo any pieces you’ve glued. But that’s to be expected in the hobby, and something you’ll find for each of the glues on this list. Many of these glues share the same chemical components as super glue, so you can guide yourself using any experience with that (we’ve all glued our thumb to our finger, right?). Because of the longer window you get between the first application and the final cure, this glue is great for beginners, and advanced hobbyists will appreciate the seamless finish you can achieve.
Used by your grandma for her dollhouse, stolen by your cousin for his DnD miniatures
- Huge value at 4 ounces
- Quick-dry, quick grab, and crystal clear finish
- Waterproof and acid-free
- Thick application, may cause overflow on joints
Beacon! The age-old classic. This glue works for everything. Seriously, everything. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s been a staple of crafter’s workshops for decades. Beacon enjoyed new heights of fame with partakers of the dollhouse hobby, as those people tend to work with mixed materials, and this is a great multipurpose glue. I myself work in dollhouse miniatures, and I can swear by this glue. Fabric? Boom. Wood? Boom. Paper? Boom. Plastic? Boom, boom. I think one reviewer put it best when she described it as a thicker, more durable school glue.
Speaking of school glue, don’t use school glue. Use this instead. School glue is made using this stuff called PVC, which gives it that milky white appearance. We’ve all heard of Elmers, but not many people realize that brands like Mod Podge and Tacky Glue are also PVC based glues. While I’m sure there are more finite differences between them, from my perspective, they’re all the same glue, just at different levels of dilution. Tacky glue is incredibly thick, mod podge is slightly runnier, and Elmer’s glue is–well, like water. For this hobby, you’re going to want to shy away from the milky white glues. If it’s clear, that probably means it’s incredibly strong and dries fast, unlike school glue.
Beacon is a great pick for a basic, multipurpose craft glue that dries clear and has a strong hold. It’s instantly tacky and dries not much longer after that. It’s much more beginner-friendly too since it doesn’t create any chemical bonding or plastic melting. Beacon: the noncommital super glue. School glue on steroids. Jokes aside, this glue definitely earns one spot in the competition for the best glue for miniatures.
A favorite among scrapbookers, dollhouse makers, and diorama artists
- Comes with three applicator nozzles
- Works great for paper crafts
- No shipping or temp control issues
- More effective for paper and wood rather than plastics
Bearly Art is gaining traction on the market since it comes with a variety of applicator nozzles to elevate your precision in placement. It also comes with a good four ounces, which makes it a great value. Although, it’s important to consider that smaller glues aren’t usually a lesser value. More often than not, that just means that the glue is ultra-potent (think of your average super glue tube and a giant squeeze bottle of Elmer’s glue). The larger volume of this glue means that it’s not the absolute strongest, but like Beacon, it can be used for a variety of different materials and mediums. Even if you do use it for plastic or metal, its strong hold means that you probably won’t experience too many issues with breaking anyway.
But what this glue is absolutely fantastic for (and the best choice for) are these two materials: paper and wood. And glitter apparently, according to the hundreds of reviewers. But let’s assume we won’t be working with much glitter in our miniatures today. Bearly Art is the best choice for natural materials because of its unique formula that prevents warping, cracking, and wrinkling. Dollhouse and diorama artists know how glue can easily bubble and warp underneath a piece of paper, no matter how much you try to evenly coat it or scrape any excess off. This glue doesn’t bleed through paper, unlike a lot of other glues on the market. When smoothed out, it stays that way, giving your item a flawless finish.
This glue is great to have around, even if you work primarily with plastic miniatures. That glue you use for plastic isn’t going to have the same effectiveness as paper glue, and vice versa. More often than not, people who make plastic mini-figures also partake in tabletop gaming, which means you’ll be interacting with paper materials such as cards or deck boxes. Even if you don’t think you’ll need a paper glue for what you’ll be working with, I recommend having some on hand.
There’s nothing worse than trying to use your plastic glue, and you only end up wasting product (and ruining whatever you work on). One other added benefit of this product is the fact that you won’t encounter any shipping issues due to temperature control. What that means is that this glue will retain its effectiveness even if it’s frozen due to cold temps while shipping. That’s usually only a PVC glue issue though, so don’t worry about that for any of the other glues on this list.
Hailed as the best glue for metal miniatures, works great for all materials too
- Works great for both metal and plastic
- Very strong hold
- Anti clog design with precision applicator
- Dries fast!
Gorilla glue! You’ve probably heard of the name before, and perhaps you associate it with their (fabulous) line of wood glues. Gorilla glue’s patented strong hold technology isn’t just exclusive to wood, however. This precision super glue gel works fantastic for metal on metal joinings, as well as plastic. Because of the weight of metal materials and their lack of flexibility, you’re going to need an instant dry, stronghold glue like Gorilla. You might be wondering something along the lines of, why do I need a super strong glue? These metal pieces are as thin as paper. I could bend them easily. Why can’t I use a craft glue? The answer to that lies in the molecular structure of the materials you’re working with. Without getting too much into specifics, glue tends to not bond as well on metallic structures.
If you don’t believe me, you can try a little experiment. Take your generic, household super glue and put some on a piece of metal, like a washer. Put some on a piece of plastic as well. Now see how long it takes for them to dry, side by side. What you’ll find is that the glue on the plastic piece dries instantly, whereas the glue on the metal piece remains tacky for a very long time. Metal and diecast model enthusiasts usually combat this by using a clamp or holding the two pieces in place for quite some time. The pressure and extra help allow it to dry faster, and in the position you’re looking for. But fortunately, thanks to Gorilla’s Super Glue Gel, we don’t have to do that anymore.
The unique gel formula grabs pieces instantly and holds them in place, eliminating the need for any clamps (or tired arms). Then, it dries in 10-15 seconds, although my experience indicates sooner. You’ll be looking at a good 2, 3, or even 5 minute cure time for other glues when working with metal, but with Gorilla, it’s all the same, regardless of what material you’re bonding. It goes without saying that you have to be exceptionally precise with superglue, and there’s often no going back. But that’s the same with the glue of years past, and what used to happen is the crafter returning to his bench a few minutes later, and his pieces have dried–after falling apart! Huh? Why does my tank have a missing side? It’s supposed to be that way. It’s actually underneath the tread. Yeah, you’ll have a hard time navigating around that mistake.
With the micro-precision tip (and anti-clog technology), you can measure twice, glue once, and never have to worry about things shifting around in the process. It has over 1500 rave reviews, and some reviewers claim they even use it for…nails? Well, it’s a little known fact that nail glue and super glue are almost chemically identical, both being made of something called cyanoacrylate. Still, you might want to avoid putting this glue anywhere on your body, as good as it is!
At a glance sentence, biggest features
- Heavy-duty strength
- Quick open/lock bottle design
- Very, very strong–beware of spillage.
Did we save the best for last? We sure did! Loctite is a brand that’s been around for almost 50 years, and they have a reputation for being an ultra-strong, reliable glue. If you don’t believe me, check out the 3,458 reviewers who agree! If you’re looking for the ultimate strength for gluing your miniatures, this is the best glue for it. Like Gorilla, it dries in about 10-15 seconds, and after that, you have a permanent, strong bond. It’s an exceptionally strong bond, which means you want to be as precise as possible. While it doesn’t have the cool nozzles and ultra-precise tips that some other glues have, you don’t have much to worry about as long as you abide by the less-is-more philosophy.
The stronghold means that this glue works excellently for metal and plastic pieces–in particular, heavier or larger pieces. If you work with dioramas or larger scale models (trains included), this is a great pick. Like the first glue on this list, Loctite is also known to chemically bond plastic together, which makes it a great pick for plastic miniatures. According to one reviewer, however, he accidentally glued the bottle to his desk…and it’s still there. In fact, it can even support the weight of the table when lifted. That speaks to how good this stuff is, but also to be careful!
The Best Glue for Miniatures is What Works Best for You
The world of miniatures is a diverse and creative hobby, with thousands of possibilities. In this guide, we covered the best glue for plastic miniatures, the best glue for metal miniatures, as well as some glues that are multipurpose or work best for natural materials. If you’re still a little puzzled about what glue is right for you, consider this: what kind of miniaturist are you? Do you work with small scale, plastic miniatures, such as the ones often used for Dungeons and Dragons or tabletop RPGs? Perhaps you work with metal miniatures for RPGs rather than plastic, and you need both strength and precision. Maybe you have no idea what an RPG is, but you do know what a colonial or Queen Anne style dollhouse is. You want a multipurpose glue to accompany all the paper, wood, plastic, and mixed media you’ll be working with. Or, you’re an O scale train hobbyist looking for maximum strength for your large builds. There’s a glue for that too!
If you’re a beginner to any of these hobbies, these glues are great for both those starting out and those looking for something a little more advanced. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with any of these five glues. Buy a few (or all!) of them to see how they bond, and what works best for you. In time, you’ll discover what in your eyes is the best for glue miniatures. Which of these glues did you try today? Let us know in the comments below!