Tips & Tricks

10 Reasons You Should Ditch Your Glue Sticks For Glue Sponges

A few years ago when I decided to make the switch from liquid glue to glue sticks, I thought I was getting rid of all the issues I had with Elmer’s liquid glue. I didn’t want to unclog orange caps anymore and I certainly didn’t want to keep reminding my kiddos “A little dot holds a lot” when I knew the majority of them couldn’t help themselves. Liquid glue was just too much fun not to play with!


Unfortunately, when I made the switch to glue sticks my problems didn’t disappear. They were still there, they had just changed a bit  It wasn’t until 2 years ago when I decided to try glue sponges, that I finally found a solution that worked!


Here are 10 reasons YOU should join ME and dive right into glue sponges… Trust me, just forget about those pesky glue sticks!


Check out all the reasons why you should stop wasting your money on glue sticks. Glue sponges are the new glue sticks!

Parents Will Love You For It

Once you make a set of glue sponges, they will last you ALL YEAR LONG! That means no more having to ask parents to purchase ridiculous amounts of glue sticks. You’ll be saving them a lot of moolah, so of course they’re going to you!!!!! You’re going to love yourself too because we both know that #GlueSticksArentCheap. You’re probably spending some of your own money buying for emergencies… AKA a student loses or can’t find their gluestick.


Not All Glue Sticks Are Created Equal

No matter how many times we write “Elmers Jumbo Glue Sticks” on the supply list, there’s always those students that bring the dollar store varieties or other brands that we know DON’T WORK. It’s not that I have anything against other brands of glue sticks, but it just breaks my heart when I have kids coming up to me practically in tears because they don’t understand why their “glue is not working”.


No sweetheart, it’s not that your glue stick is not working, it’s just that your mom didn’t buy the brand on the list. This glue stick just STINKS!


Check out all the reasons why you should stop wasting your money on glue sticks. Glue sponges are the new glue sticks!

Lost Glue Caps

It never fails, every time we use glue sticks, someones cap goes missing. And then the hunt begins… Where or where is Johnny’s BRIGHT ORANGE GLUE CAP! Nope… no one seems to find it! It’s not until everyone goes home that I finally find his cap. Somehow, it made its way across the room and underneath the guided reading table. You know what that means… Johnny either placed his uncapped glue stick in his pouch will all his other supplies {Gasp- that means there’s a chance his pencil and crayons are going to get glue on them too} or he just decided to throw it away because his mom bought 59 other glue sticks anyways. Don’t laugh… you know what I’m talking about… you’ve been there too!


Drying Out

When the children forget to cap their glue or when they don’t cap them all the way, they sometimes dry out and harden. This makes it difficult for them to glue anything down. What ends up happening is one of 2 things. Either the child uses his fingers to try to remove the hardened piece #yuck or they just scrape it onto their paper anyways. This leaves hard rock-like chunks glued underneath. If you’re really lucky, that child won’t have to write anything on that side of the paper, but chances are that yep that’s exactly where the answer box is located.


My Glue Is Gone

Throughout the year you’ll hear “I can’t find my glue stick”… “Ohhhhhh, I lost it”… “My glue ran out, now what”! With a class of 20 to 30 children, there’s always those few that just can’t seem to keep track of their glue sticks.


Papers Lose Their Stickiness

I’ve started to notice that over time, papers glued down with glue sticks tend to lose their stickiness and end up falling out of notebooks. This drives me nuts! Once the paper falls on the floor no-one seems to know who it belongs to. Especially if it was something we completed a month or so ago. When my students glue things into their notebooks, I like to know that they are going to stay there FOREVER and EVER! You know what I mean?


Check out all the reasons why you should stop wasting your money on glue sticks. Glue sponges are the new glue sticks!

Painting The Paper

We all know those kids all too well… You know, the ones that think they are Picasso! They’re the ones that use WAY.TOO.MUCH.GLUE! Nooooooooooo… It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them “just draw a square along the outside of the paper with the glue stick and then an X through the middle, trust me that will be enough glue”. Nope… they prefer to ignore you and just keep on “painting the paper” with glue… And then mom and dad look at us like we’re C-R-A-Z-Y when we ask for 60 glue sticks!


Papers Sticking Together

When the kids use too much glue, the glue just ends up seeping out the sides and sticking multiple sheets together. Then the children try to separate the sheets and something rips. It never fails!


Glue-Covered Desks

If you use interactive notebooks, your kiddos are probably gluing on a daily basis. This usually means that by the end of the week, you’ll have a layer of glue covering every child’s desk. It gets pretty gross! Picture it… they have glue on their desks and then they plop their books, folders, and even book bags on top of that. Now they have a grimy, gooey mess that’s a germ magnet… NO THANK YOU!



So have I convinced you yet? With glue sponges, you’ll be able to avoid all of those issues! They’ll last you the entire year and you won’t have to worry anymore about lost orange caps, gooey desks, or too much glue. Trust me… you’ll be coming back to thank me 

Let’s Make Some…

Check out all the reasons why you should stop wasting your money on glue sticks. Glue sponges are the new glue sticks!

You’ll need a few supplies… grab some Elmer’s liquid glue, sponges {I usually buy a pack of 3 from the dollar store}, scissors, and a sturdy plastic container. I bought the ones pictured above at the Dollar Tree. They come in packs of 3 #DollarTreeForTheWin. What I love about them is that they snap shut tightly, they come in bright colors {colors make me happy} and they’re small enough to fit in the caddies I have at each group. This year I’m planning on having two students share a sponge. One for a table of 4 is just not enough #LessonLearned


Now comes the fun part! Cut the sponge so that it fits inside the container. Then generously pour enough glue to cover it. That’s it… snap on the lid and let it sit for a couple of hours. The glue will seep through the sponge leaving it tacky on top. Whenever you start to notice the sponge getting a little dry, just squirt some water on the sponge and voila you’re ready to get gluing some more. Some people like to add a splash of mouthwash to their water to prevent any mold from growing on their sponges. I’ve never had that happen to me, but just to be on the safe side go ahead and add some. It won’t hurt… it’ll just smell minty, LOL!

Check out all the reasons why you should stop wasting your money on glue sticks. Glue sponges are the new glue sticks!

Check out all the reasons why you should stop wasting your money on glue sticks. Glue sponges are the new glue sticks!

Will you be joining me and ditching the glue sticks this year?

If so, make sure to come back and let me know how it’s going… I’d love to hear from you!


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  • Reply
    Amber Humphreys
    August 2, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I ran into a fellow teacher at the Dollar Tree today, and she encouraged me to purchase containers like yours above. (all red) She said to check out Pinterest for sponge glue, so now I really get it! Looking forward to not filling old bottles with that big jug, nor cleaning the orange tips of Elmer’s throughout the year, in addition to spending oodles of time during projects getting everyone a bottle that works. Thank you!!!

    • Reply
      August 7, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I totally get you Amber! Refilling those glue bottles are a pain, and what I dreaded the most were those clogged orange caps. It always seemed that no matter what I did, they always clogged up or wouldn’t work when I needed them most. Teachers don’t have time for that!!!! I’m so glad you saw my post… these glue sponges are going to save you so much time. And the kids LOVE THEM too :0)

  • Reply
    September 26, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I love the idea of these and have tried using them in my class last year and this, but I have found they sometimes aren’t as sticky and not working, which really makes them pointless. Have you ever encountered this and how would I fix such a problem? Thanks!

    • Reply
      October 1, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Hi, Vanessa… I’m so sad to hear you’re having problems with your glue sponges. A few tips that I have found to be helpful are that I store my sponges upside down. This keeps the glue on the top of the sponge and keeps them tacky for when we’re ready to use them. Also, every week or so (depending on how often we use them) I mist all the sponges with a small spray bottle filled with water. I’ll occasionally even add a splash of mouthwash so that they stay fresh. Before you give up, try these little tips. Let me know how it goes :0)

  • Reply
    Linda Beck
    December 6, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    I guess I don’t get how the glue is applied to a larger piece of paper. Does the sponge sit up high enough to slide large paper across? Doesn’t that make a mess on the edges?

    • Reply
      December 16, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Linda…
      Great question! You actually have 2 options depending on your needs. In my classroom, we don’t usually glue down large sheets of papers so my glue sponge containers are smaller in size. However, if my students need to glue something larger such as a half sheet of paper, I’ve taught them how to press down the edges of the paper on the glue sponge rather than the entire sheet. I’ve found that if the edges are glued down, then the rest of the sheet usually stays in place. However, you can also create larger glue sponges using plastic sandwich containers. The first year I used glue sponges, I actually made them inside of sandwich containers. So if you need a larger surface, try that out and see how it goes. Just remember to teach your kids that they don’t have to “wet” the entire sheet. As long as the edges have glue on them you should be good to go :0)

  • Reply
    June 30, 2018 at 2:33 am

    Sorry, very late comment because I’m doing the summer search for a solution to my glue stick problem. Maybe this is a stupid question, but don’t the kids fingers get all gluey?

    • Reply
      April 6, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Actually, they don’t because they’re not really touching the glue. Also, the glue has soaked into the sponge so the amount of glue they’re getting on the paper is minimal.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Does the sponge have to fit the container completely? My containers I bought are just a bit wider.

    • Reply
      January 13, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      Nope… I just buy the cheap ones at the Dollar store and then just cut a few to fit the container I’m using.

  • Reply
    September 3, 2018 at 5:32 am

    Silly question I guess, but are the kids using their fingers to get the glue off the sponge & onto the paper or on an art supply piece? I don’t get it???

    • Reply
      January 13, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      No question is silly… No they actually tap the backside of the paper on to the sponge. You shouldn’t even be able to see the glue, but you can feel the paper getting moist. The students fingers should never really touch glue at all with the sponges :0)

  • Reply
    May 4, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    I’m thinking of making the switch to glue sponges for next year! I tried out a few this year and I loved them! I used the same snack containers, but they dried out completely after about a month or so. I thought maybe they just didn’t have enough of an airtight seal… Would spritzing them with water, like you mentioned before, maybe help with this? Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 14, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      Yes, that’s what I do! About once a month I open up all the containers and spray them with some water to dampen the sponges. I’ve even added mouthwash to the water to prevent any bacteria from growing. Plus I love the minty smell they add, LOL!

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