The Best Glue

The best glue for working with cardboard is a toss-up between Elmers and Hot Glue. Elmers—not Elmers School Glue—is highly recommended, but it takes some time to dry, so your cardboard needs help to hold its shape while the glue dries. You can tape, clamp, weigh it down, or add hot glue while it is set up. Wood glue is another good alternative to Elmers.
Now, my least favorite art teacher task of all time is filling up a glue bottle. The inevitable air bubble and the mess it would cause. It was a happy day when I finally had enough of a budget to skip buying glue in bulk and having to fill up bottles. I wish I had known this trick! Use a syringe to fill up glue bottles.

Hot Glue from a glue gun is another option that art teachers recommend. Hot glue guns make a good, quick bond. The downside is that you must have plenty of glue guns if you have a class doing the same project and plenty of glue sticks, as you will run through the sticks quickly. And, of course, there are safety issues, too. You need to consider the safety of the heat level used with the gun and how many outlets you have available for students working with the glue guns and cords that may create a tripping hazard. Of course, cordless glue guns exist, which may be a consideration if you have a budget that allows a splurge. Hot glue guns come in high, low, and ultra-low heat. With high and low heat options, the potential for burns still occurs. Training students on correctly and safely using the tool is necessary. A safety hack is using gardening gloves to protect students’ hands.

I can recommend this brand of cordless glue gun. (I have no arrangement with any manufacturers to recommend the products I write about in this article).

To increase the strength of the cardboard, layer pieces against each other with the grain of the cardboard (the interior corrugation). Check out this one-minute YouTube video that explains it.

Best Cutters

CANARY Corrugated Cardboard Scissors are a great product to consider investing in. Due to the length of the blades, these scissors make relatively short cuts, which allows for more control. They allow for much more precision and controllability than a utility knife or regular scissors.
Another teacher favorite is the Fiskars Power Cut. It boasts “two times more cutting power than traditional scissors; Great addition to art supplies and crafting tools for your next project.” It’s great with cardboard, but you’ll find many uses beyond cardboard in your classroom.

CANARY Corrugated Cardboard Cutter Knife is another great tool. These cutters are also available sold with sheaths in packs of five.

Fold cardboard like a pro with this Scoring Tool. It’s difficult to fold against the grain of cardboard without using a tool like this.

Storage Solutions

Storing cardboard is tricky, but this GLOBAL INDUSTRIAL Stackable Bulk Container w/ Collapsible Solid Wall is a great solution. Another option is Rubbermaid’s Collapsible Laundy Cart.