Today I wanted to talk about one of those customising faux pas that have affected all of us – and if you claim it hasn’t then you are blatantly lying :p
I’m talking of course about that God awful ‘superglue haze’ that comes when you apply either too much superglue or you don’t provide adequate ventilation during the drying/curing process – and there’s nothing more frustrating than carefully gluing tiny parts of your custom creation together only to come back later and discover a layer of white!
Today I wanted to touch on this sensitive topic by first putting my hand up and admitting that yes, I regularly have this problem when assembling customs. But what causes it and how can we stop it happening, or at the very least, remove it when it does happen? Let’s investigate..
Why Does Superglue Leave a White Residue?
The residue is a byproduct of the cure process of the adhesive. Once the monomer is in vapor form, it will react with moisture in the air, cure, and settle on the surface around the bond area. For the scientists among us –> Cyanoacrylate cure is triggered by trace amounts of moisture on the substrate surfaces. For myself and everyone else –> Moisture is bad! (now why didn’t I just say that in the first place?!) Source
How To Prevent ‘Glue Haze’ and White Residue
It’s one thing to talk about all the ways to remove that ghastly white residue from your custom work in progress but as the expression goes, ‘Prevention is better than a cure” – so let’s look at how to ensure we prevent or at the very least, minimise the damage our superglue does.
I have found a number of ways to ensure that glue haze doesn’t make an appearance and it starts with you throwing out that bargain basement cheap ass superglue you bought in a ten pack at your local dollar store. This sort of glue is made from inferior bonding agents and it is these inferior ingredients that can sometimes almost guarantee you get white residue, regardless of how well you follow the rest of the tips in this article.
I used to use the cheap stuff and whilst I was able to minimise the residue through the steps outlined below I was never able to prevent it from appearing completely. Once I changed the superglue I was using I instantly noticed the difference.
*You can also use a 2-part epoxy glue as these will NEVER leave white residue regardless of how much moisture is in the air. In fact Epoxy is the strongest of the reactive adhesives and is resistant to high temperatures, low temperatures, solvents, UV light and impact. Epoxy cures in 2 to 60 minutes (longer is stronger), reaching full strength in 24 hours.I personally don’t go this route as the two part epoxy glue can be annoying to work with, espcially when you are dealing with the smallest of parts (like gluing a wing mirror to a Hot Wheels which you want to set in a matter of seconds… I’m not sitting there for 2 minutes with tweezers holding a wing in place – it’ll move I guarantee it!)
Ok so we’ve got the right glue (a bad workman always blames his tools right?) it’s time to use it and ensure the white residue has the day off – like forever!
As we established earlier, the white residue is a result of moisture in the air. Moisture is caused by two things:
- Cold temperatures
- Lack of ventilation / air flow
It therefore goes without saying that if you want to ensure no white residue appears that you address these two factors when doing the actual glueing.
What I have found works effectively is to do the following:
- Ensure you are using a decent quality superglue. This means avoiding glue that comes in packs of 10 or more and sticking with brands like Loctite and gorilla grip
- When I am applying the glue I always put a drop onto the end of a Hot Wheels axle (the end with the cap on it so the glue doesnt just slide off) – never apply the glue directly to your model
- Turn your desk lamp on and keep it close to the model. The heat emitted from the light will be enough to keep any moisture away
- Make sure that whatever you are glueing is open to the elements and allows for air to flow over and through without being impeded. (If you glue a window in place for example then turn the casting upside down so the air can get in)
- After about 10 minutes or so move the position randomly – repeat every 5 minutes as this will ensure even air flow and no moisture or cold can build up.
Follow these steps and you’ll either prevent the white residue from appearing completely or at the very least only allow for the tiniest (almost unnoticeable) amount of glue haze to develop.
This is all well and good for those about to start on a custom but it’s not really helpful for anyone who already has white superglue residue all over their creation. So let’s get rid of it completely.
How To Remove White Glue Residue From Your Custom Models
Need to remove superglue residue or ‘Glue Haze’ from metal or glass (or even wood?) – Use a heatgun and watch the residue magically dissapear. This will be permanent too. See video below for example.
Need to remove superglue residue or ‘Glue Haze’ from plastic (the most common place we end up with this residue since it’s usually interior parts or small plastic/styrene additions that we are attempting to glue on)
Simply use Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly) to get rid of the residue – even on the plastic ‘glass’ inserts. See video below from Rockin H Farm Toys for example
*This video also provides a little bonus tip on how to make new window and glass inserts – love your work Rockin H!
Big thanks to both video authors for allowing me to use their content to help everyone here. Show your appreciation by giving them a like and a comment <3
BONUS: How to Remove Superglue from your Skin (link opens in a new window)