Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Machine Binding Using Elmer's Glue Stick

This is a super quick and not super pretty how-to on using plain old Elmer's Glue Stick (washable) to temporary tack quilt binding down for machine quilting. I've seen tutorials on using Elmer's with a fine tip applicator, but I don't have that, so when I was trying to quickly bind my daughter's Meadow quilt in time for her birthday, I didn't want to fuss with Wonder Clips and missing bits on the back. So I grabbed the glue stick.

I was able to glue down the entire 84" x 96" Meadow quilt binding using this method in minutes and there were no spots on the back that I had to go back and stitch over again. I've been using it to tack down the binding on fiddly curved binding for potholders and even a placemat. I took a few pics while I bound my placemat last night for anyone interested in my method. I apologize in advance for my scorched ironing board.

Here is the Meadow quilt binding:

Machine stitch binding to the front and then press the binding seam away from the quilt top. I do this with all of my binding because it helps the fabric flip to the back.

Turn the quilt over to the back side and apply a line of glue stick along the raw edge of the quilt back, making sure to stay behind the seam line. Doing it behind the seam line will also make it easier if you want to hand stitch the binding using this method because glue can make the fabric stiff and harder to hand sew through.

My glue stick is purple when wet so it's really easy to see where you applied, but clear works too. Work in shorter sections so the glue doesn't dry before you press down the binding. I work in approximately 8" sections. (I made that up. I don't know how big the sections are, but probably less than 12")

Fold binding down in the section you glued so that it covers the binding seam line by a little less than 1/8" or 1/8". It's really hard to take pics of this by myself so it doesn't look perfect, but you get the idea.

Set the binding with your hot iron. Work around the perimeter.

Mitered corners - glue all the way to the corner of the backing, then just press down.

Add a bit of glue to the corner fabric that will fold down over the binding on the side you just finished, add glue to a section of the quilt backing on the next side, then fold down and press as you did previously. Try to match the corner folds for a perfect miter.

Turn the quilt back over to the front and stitch in the ditch on the front, catching the back binding. I didn't do my best work with this last night because I used 2.5" binding which is wider than my usual preferred 2.25" binding (2.5" wide binding gives me more poof in the front and obscures the ditch somewhat, in my opinion. I also used a contrasting thread color, and sew in a cave so I couldn't see the ditch. And it's a placemat, not a special piece. Haha. Anyway, I set my machine stitch length to 3 and use my walking foot.

Close up of the front of the finished piece:

Close up of the back:

Full placemat front and back:

Also a view of my "ish quilting" - 1/4"ish, straightish, good enough.


  1. Perfect!! I have to try this, all of my efforts at machine done binding have been ... well, a total hot mess!

  2. I'm definitely going to try this!