I bought the crappiest glue sticks at the beginning of the school year this year, and I got so mad, I threw them all away. They didn’t last very long, anyway, and when the projects dried, the pieces all came off. The sad thing is that these glue sticks are the only ones you can purchase through my district, and I wasn’t about to spend my supply money making the same mistake by buying them again. My only other option is glue in bottles, which is another headache — since I have both pre-school and special needs students, bottles are just as problematic.
So, one day, I was scrolling through Pinterest, and I found an awesome solution — glue sponges!!! I had to give it a go.
Basically, you need these things:
- roughly 4 oz of glue per sponge (I eyeballed it, from a large gallon jug of glue.)
- a container with a tight fitting lid, as close to the size of the sponge as you can find**
- a spray bottle with water in it (for moistening the sponges at the end of the day)
- a drop of tea tree oil for each sponge, to prevent molding* (see note, below)
To prepare the sponges, simply place each sponge in a container, and dump 4 oz of glue on each sponge. You want to saturate the sponge with glue, but not have glue puddled up on top of the sponge. Put a drop of tea tree oil on each sponge. Set the sponges somewhere overnight to absorb. The next day, flip the sponges over, and they’re ready to use. At the end of each day, flip sponges over and give each sponge a spray or two of water to replace the moisture that evaporated during the day. You only need to add more glue when the glue seems less “sticky” — according to many articles on Pinterest, that’s not super-often.
Students simply dab their papers to be glued onto the sponges. They don’t even need to press — the glue is on the sponge. Paper doesn’t get wrinkly, and the perfect amount of glue goes on the paper. No puddles, no fighting over who gets to hold the glue stick, no leftover plastic glue bottles and glue stick containers to put in the trash… I’m pretty sure the person who came up with this idea deserves a Nobel Prize or something. Obviously, I will keep some glue bottles around for line work, glitter, etc… but this is a great solution for collage work.
I tried these out a few weeks ago, and have been SO THRILLED with the glue sponges! I am making a set of them for each school, and I’m throwing out ALL my old, stupid glue sticks and glue bottles.
* I am not sure the tea tree oil is all that necessary. I erred on the side of caution and included it, but many glue sponge users do not and nobody seems to have any problem with molding.
** In hindsight, I do wish I had purchased a shorter container, with the lid a little closer to the sponge. It is possible to stack another sponge on top, but then more glue is stuck inside the sponge and not out on the surface for use. I will be on the lookout for smaller containers. You really want one that is just big enough for the sponge so air doesn’t get trapped inside the container to dry out the glue, especially if you’re going to use them from year to year.