What is Canopy Glue and How is it Used in Model Building?

Canopy Glue does an excellent job sticking materials like cardstock, metal, plastic, and wood together. That is why canopy glue is frequently used in model building since it’s compatible with different materials and is very beginner-friendly. 

From the name itself, they created canopy glue for aircraft modelers. Aircraft modelers had been struggling with gluing the airplane canopy, which has a transparent plastic molding, and the foil frame together. Then they developed the canopy glue, which is helpful in building model airplanes because of its different features. 

Among the features of canopy glue that make it ideal for airplane modelers are, first, it doesn’t damage and crack plastic materials. Aside from that, it glues two different materials together, such as plastic to wood and metal to plastic, very well. Canopy glue also doesn’t turn yellowish when it dries out. It remains clear and glossy, making some excess glue minimally visible to the eyes. And probably the best thing about canopy glue is that even if it dries out, the glue is still flexible, which would greatly help if you want to make any changes and modifications to your model building. 

How is it Used in Model Building?

Choosing the right glue for the model building has a huge contribution to the success of your model. If you want your model and other miniature structures to stand for a long time, you need to pick the best glue compatible with your materials. Ensure that the glue you are using will not damage or deform your materials or make it hard to do some finishing steps, such as painting or varnishing. 

There are different glues you can use for model building. If you are dealing with plastic materials, it is ideal to use canopy glue, cyanoacrylate glue, epoxy glue, plastic cement, or white glue. Glues like these are great for binding plastic materials together, but canopy glue is probably the best option if you are a beginner in model building. 

Before being widely used for different model buildings, they used canopy glue exclusively for aircraft modeling. A canopy glue is similar to white glue but better. A canopy glue is strong and sturdy and, at the same time, easy to handle.

You can use it to stick different surfaces, even porous materials, together without encountering any problems, especially damage to the materials. You can also attach the surfaces of metal to wood, metal to plastic, cardstock to plastic, etc., using canopy glue. Canopy glue also works well with etched materials, and it doesn’t make these materials pop off, unlike with other hard adhesives. 

This glue is also beginner friendly, perfect when encountering errors during the building process. Canopy glues are water-based, so you can clean them easily using water. It allows beginners to fix their errors and re-do their models until they are satisfied with the result. 

To clean the glue, you may use wet cotton balls or cotton swabs. You may also soften a newly dried canopy glue by submerging it in water, and then you are good to go. However, once the glue has already been dried for several days, it might be hard to soften it. 

The disadvantage of using canopy glue in building models is that it can sometimes get in the way of the painting process. It would be hard to apply paints that use water-based solvents to materials that have canopy glue since the glue is water-based. So you might want to ensure that you are using the right paint when using canopy glue to avoid experiencing many errors. 

How long does it take for canopy glue to dry?

A few hours after a canopy glue dries out, you may still be able to make some adjustments and modifications to your model. However, if you clamp or tape together different materials with canopy glue, the glue will strengthen and clear out after approximately 24 hours. Still, the humidity and temperature in your area affect the drying time of the glue. 

Canopy Glue vs. White Glue

man applying glue on wood

Some people think of canopy glue as just white glue. They might be similar, especially in their color, and they are water-based, but these glues have many differences that could hugely impact the model building process.  

Canopy glue is tackier than white glue. It also has incredible strength and durability compared to white glue when it completely dries out. Unlike white glue, canopy glue gets pretty strong after several hours of application. It develops its full strength and durability when it completely dries out after about 24 hours of application. 

Both the canopy and white glue have vinyl acetate polymer as an ingredient. However, white glue does not hold as strong as canopy glue does. It’s probably because of the different quantities of the polymer on each type of glue. Some manufacturers also develop products like Tacky Glue, but they still have weaker strength than a canopy glue’s hold when completely dried. 

Where can you get a Canopy Glue?

working desk of a man with a gray model airplane

Another disadvantage of canopy glue is that it isn’t accessible, unlike other types of adhesives. You may buy them online, but they are most likely available in airplane model stores only. You may also find them in several hobby stores, specifically in the model aircraft section. Some arts and craft stores also have canopy glue available. However, the best way to access canopy glue is probably through online stores like Amazon. 

Is Canopy Glue Ideal for Beginner Modelers?

a child assembling a wooden house

Yes, canopy glue is beginner-friendly and probably the best glue to be used by beginners when model building. This glue produces a strong hold while still being easy to clean – perfect whenever you encounter errors during the building process. You wouldn’t have to be concerned about using plastic materials for your model because canopy glue doesn’t melt or damage plastics. 

It’s water-soluble and can be softened easily by submerging the material with canopy glue in the water. So for beginners who still aren’t that experienced in handling model materials and glue, canopy glue would be an excellent choice. 

You have various choices in the market when it comes to model building. You may use whatever glue you like that you feel the best for you, but always consider the material you’re using, the strength and durability of the glue, and the convenience it could give you. So if you are a starting model builder, one of the best choices would be canopy glue, which is strong, durable, and easy to use – perfect for beginners.