I want to thank all of you for the scads of suggestions about rubber cement
in the classroom! It seems the general consensus is that rubber cement
really works best, but using it poses more hazards than it's worth.
Suggested replacements were: UHU STICKS (expensive but archival), TRI-TEX
(expensive, works well, water cleanup, but nauseating smell), WAX ROLLER
(expensive equipment, hard for whole class to share and not good for art on
a cart), YES GLUE, DOUBLE SIDED TAPE (cumbersome), WHITE GLUE (use
cardboard spreaders for an even coat like glue on a stamp, thin glue with
water, weight down or press to remove ripples).
Some of the cited hazards associated with rubber cement were: stories of
students stealing it, sniffing it, nervous system damage, memory loss, a TV
expose about hazards in the classroom which included rubber cement, fear of
law suits, fires in classrooms and dorms, and stories of drinking bad wine
while using it.
I heard an interesting story while discussing these posts with my
colleagues at school. A couple of years ago a 4th grade girl was asked by
the teacher to fetch the gallon of rubber cement from the closet shelf. As
she reached up to get it, the can tipped over. The cap was loose and gobbs
of glue poured onto her head. Apparently it was many tearful weeks before
the last of the rubber cement was eventually picked and brushed out of her
So to avoid these hazards AND ANY OTHERS I MAY BE UNAWARE OF, I have
decided that in the classroom I'll replace rubber cement with thinned white
glue. I'll employ cardboard spreaders and place any rippled work in my
letter press to flatten it out. I will try TRI-TEX, UHU, and YES in the
near future, so that the supply order for next year includes a better
Meanwhile, I confess that this weekend I opened the doors of my own studio
and used rubber cement as a resist for a watercolor painting I was working
Thank you all so much for your input!
1-8 art on the cart
Lee H. Kellogg School
Falls Village, CT 06031