I can’t believe I haven’t dedicated a post to glue yet, so here it is! Now, I know art teachers all have different methods for managing the “sticky situations” with glue in the art room, but for what it’s worth, I want to share what I do, and hopefully my tips will help you “un clog” some really good ideas to manage your glue. (Too many puns already?)
Glue bottles are not fun. In keeping it real, I will admit: Sometimes I pawn off the job of refilling them on my volunteer (Sorry, Lois!). Sometimes I even just crack open some new bottles instead of refilling old ones (I was pregnant and tired, do you blame me?). But like you, I do prefer to refill. It’s much more cost effective, good for mother nature and just smart. If you are indifferent about refilling glue bottles you could try shopping the Back to School Sales. You can find glue very cheap, stock up, and have lots of backup bottles. Even better, you can get some half full bottles donated to you by asking for supplies from other teachers
at the end of the year and simply use up someone else’s leftovers. I do all of the methods in combination to make glue work for me. It all just depends on my time, level of frustration, and the projects we are doing at the time.
Pump it Up!
I purchase the gallon Elmer’s refill and the pump that goes in it. You will love the pump. It’s only like 10 dollars and should be in the glue section of any art catalog. Then you just squeeze down (like the ketchup at Mc Donalds) and a few squirts will fill the bottle. I put the gallon right in the sink as I fill so all drips go in the sink and not on my counter. I soak the lids in warm soapy water while I am doing this to loosen up the gunk. I did purchase the Crayola thicker no drip anti clogging glue and it was ok, but a little too thick for the little hands to squeeze out. Plus the caps are not attached so they can easily get lost.
To Encourage students to use less glue, I do two things:
1. Use the chant “A dot dot dot is a lot lot lot” and model examples and NON examples of how to use the glue, which I teach in a mini lesson one day, allowing them to practice. I can’t stress the importance of non-examples enough. Making a big show about a river of glue or a kid who just keeps squeezing and squeezing (which I demonstrate on the Elmo
, and then CRY a river because I just wasted so much glue, right in front of the kids. They love it!)
2. If a kid is squeezing too much and I know it’s not a fine motor issue (ie: they are just being careless) I sanction them to a “Tap and Glue” – which only lets out a little tap of glue when you push down. Look up “Tap and Glue”
– they are red caps you attach to bottles and some teachers love them and others hate them. I occasional use Tap and Glue with the younger kids and if you buy the special bottles that go along with them (as seen in the photo below), they work better. I don’t mind the tap and glue, but that is me. You just have to be ruthless about cleaning off the tops or you will constantly be picking off “Glue Buggers” as I call them to the kids. Ewwww!
I also enlist students to help me. I send a kid around with a damp rag at the end of a glue-y class period and wind down and wipe off the tops of the glue lids. This makes all the difference in clogs. Remember how I now keep the glue bottles on the tables
instead of on my supply shelf?
It’s still working out well I am happy to say!
What Not To Do When a Bottle Clogs
When a student approaches me in the middle of class and says my glue doesn’t work here is what I DON’T DO. I don’t try to unclog it. It’s maddening for me to sit there with 5 others kids who need my help and try to stick a little paper clip into a glue bottle. If it seems to be a quick fix, I’ll do it on the spot. Otherwise, I will just set it on the counter and deal with it later. I simply give the kid a new glue bottle or an extra from the table that is working. Easy!
Other Stuff About Glue:
I’ve tried off brands of glue (Blick, etc) and they work fine, too, but I would have to say my favorite is just the Elmer’s School Glue. You can’t beat it! Also do not be afraid to just throw away gunky old bottles. You can’t save them all and remember: time is money. Is 15 minutes of soaking, unclogging and scrubbing worth 30 cents? I didn’t think so. But maybe I am too quick to give up. Still, I value my time
and mother earth, so it’s all about balance.
I’m pretty sure I don’t even need to prompt you to share your own Drippy Dilemmas and Sticky Solutions(am I almost too much for you in this one? I thought so!) Tell me about glue and link up any blog posts you have done about the topic, too, in the comments section below.
PS. I was not paid or perked for mentioning any of these products, I just happen to like them!