The Sweetest Glue In The World

Perhaps we’re not alone in having a penchant for gummy sweets, but we have to admit to never following the train of thought shared by [Lost Art Press]. Upon finding that a hide glue ingredient was raw gelatin obtained from a confectionery company, they stored away the knowledge and eventually tried making some glue using Haribo Goldbears from a gas station.

Melting the anthropomorphised sweets in a pot with a little water produced a thin glue, which was tried on a couple of bits of wood. The test joint duly stuck together, and after a few weeks for it to set it was time to test it. Simply hitting it with a hammer caused the wood to fracture, but using more traditional hide glue dissolving techniques with water or alcohol gave the expected result of parting it.

So a pretty usable hide glue for woodworking can be made using gummy sweets. We think it’s pretty cool, but perhaps given how easy it is to buy either the real thing or a PVA-based alternative, that this is one for the MacGyver file. Should you ever find yourself stranded in a gas station unable to save the world for want of a bit of glue then now you have the crucial bit of knowledge. Until then, leave out Haribo Goldbears alone!

Thanks [Aaron Tagliaboschi] for the tip!

19 thoughts on “The Sweetest Glue In The World

    1. Pianos too! Most of the action is held together with hide glue to facilitate repairs and maintenance. Really amazing how you can keep an instrument in good shape for centuries with this technique.

  1. I used to chat up a check out girl at the grocery store
    who said that her main passtime at work was figuring out ways to assemble the various offerings in the store
    into usable weapons for use in case of zombee attack
    which would of course include glue,in fact where cant
    you get glue?,but yes I see it,the zombees have taken
    the arts and crafts section and we are holed up in aisle
    nine with nothing but kitchen ware and candy

  2. You can buy gelatin at the grocery store.
    Back when overhead projectors were still a thing, I used to dissolve it in hot water with rubbing alcohol and a little alum to coat transparencies for my inkjet printer.

  3. Anthropomorphised means ‘made in the shape of people’… These were Gummi Bears, not Gummi Folk.

    Pedantry aside, this was some fun research on the part of LAP; one of the reasons their blog is so worth reading.

    1. Um, anthropomorphized means given human qualities, not just shape. The vast majority of cartoon characters are anthropomorphized animals. If they walk bipedal (or sit upright on their rear) and speak, that certainly fits.

      1. You’re right: my definition was a bit too narrow.

        Taking the broader definition you suggest… I still don’t think it applies. Haribo Goldbears are stylized representations of bears, but they’re not anthropomorphic: no human features, no characteristics a bear couldn’t also have – bears also can walk on two legs and sit on their rears. I think the bags may have cartoon images that, yes, are anthropomorphic, but not the candies themselves.

        As to your last point, I really, really hope goldbears *can’t* speak: that would be unsettling at the best of times, far worse if they’re getting melted down for glue as in the LAP blog posts. ;-)

  4. Until then, leave out Haribo Goldbears alone!
    .. leave OUR … perhaps? By the way, where it the Hackaday Edit button I wasn’t promised in 1999?
    /me waits for the legendary Hackaday anti Troll rat to pursue him off he page.

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