- Apr 16, 2002
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Sorry, I don't want to sound rude, but I have to debunk this.I use hot glue for everything, never heard that before? I have also heard contact cement will turn brittle after time and loose it's seal, but then again I don't think it matters one way or the other as everything crumbles in time.
There are pros and cons to contact cement and hot glue, but contact cement (assuming it's fresh and properly applied) absolutely will not turn brittle and lose its seal. I have been building puppets for almost 20 years and I have never seen that happen. The foam in a puppet is more likely to break down and crumble long before the contact cement does. If you use contact cement and that happens, you're doing something wrong.
Contact cement is a much superior adhesive to contact cement when building foam puppets. It's stronger, dries thinner and is more permanent. The trick is knowing how to apply it properly and making sure that it cures (dries) properly.
The drawback of contact cement is that it is extremely toxic. You need to use it outdoors, or in a very well ventilated area and you should always use a proper respirator and gloves. It should never be used in a basement (there is a minor, but serious safety risk if a lot of fumes come in to contact with a furnace) and using it an indoor room in a house with just a fan or a small window is a good way to shorten your lifespan and/or your family's.
Hot glue is much safer, although it's not non-toxic either - you're essentially melting plastic when you use it. The risk associated with it is much lower and a respirator probably isn't necessary unless you use it everyday, all the time. Hot glue is not as good or permanent an adhesive as contact cement. You can get much cleaner (thinner, harder to see) seams with contact cement than you can with hot glue. Hot glue is thick, difficult to control unless you keep it at exactly the right temperature (which most glue guns don't), there is always a risk you will get burned. It can also come apart if it gets hot enough, although to be fair I have only heard of that happening in hot climates like Arizona and Mexico.