How to glue inner tubes with contact cement

Inner tube craft tutorials | Bicitoro

This is the fourth part in a series on crafting with inner tubes. You can find the introduction, learn about how to choose and clean inner tubes, and how to cut inner tubes by following the links.

Hello, and welcome to week two of the Bicitoro crafting with recycled inner tube series. I’ve really been enjoying myself researching this and putting it all together, and I hope you’re learning some new tricks, too.

This week I’m going to be talking about gluing inner tubes. There’s a couple reasons you might want to do this.

  • Double-thick inner tube rubber won’t curl in on itself (I used this principle to make earring charms).
  • It’s an easy, secure way to finish off a small project (like this zipper pull).
  • It can also help waterproof seams, for a bag or some such.

Contact cement

Last fall I spent a couple hours with my dad out in his shop, trying to figure out how to glue layers of inner tube rubber together. I had pitched Momentum Magazine a couple of DIY tutorials for their winter issue, one of which was making a reflective mudflap out of recycled inner tubes. I was sure it would work, but as usual I’d put off writing the article until the last minute.

So here we were, only days before my deadline, hunting through his shop for something–anything–that would work.

We decided to try some vulcanizing rubber that he uses to patch holes in tractor inner tubes, because that seemed like the best bet. It was also similar to the glue used in bicycle inner tube patch kits, so I figured most cyclists would have easy access to it. We dutifully scuffed up the rubber with the little cheese grater thing, then applied the glue according to directions.

Nothing.

We were stumped. None of his fancy spendy glues would do the trick.

Panicking slightly, I set out to the hardware store. In the adhesives aisle I spotted a lowly tube of contact cement. Now, I’d brushed aside contact cement as an option earlier–surely I’d need something more specialized, I thought.

Nope. Contact cement really does the trick. I made up the mudflap, wrote up the article, and breathed a sigh of relief. I rode with the mudflap all winter, and it’s still as solid as ever!

Tips for gluing inner tube rubber | Bicitoro

Come back Friday, when I’ll post the original mudflap tutorial that first turned me on to contact cement.

Have you ever tried to glue inner tubes? What products have you used? What are your favorites?


Want more inner tube crafts? Check out my ebook Crafting with Inner Tubes.

Crafting with Inner tubes | Bicitoro bikes and crafts

4 thoughts on “How to glue inner tubes with contact cement

  1. Pingback: 3 ways to hand-sew inner tubes | Bicitoro: bikes and crafts

  2. Pingback: 3 tips for machine-sewing inner tubes | Bicitoro: bikes and crafts

  3. so what brought me to this site is when I typed in will contact cement melt my bicycle inner tube, this was the first thing Bing brought me, so, thank you! for confirmation that my idea isn’t a possibility. P.s. what I’m doing is repairing my bike tube right where stem connects to rest of tire, which snapped when hanging bike up on train. My hunny Rube Goldberg-ed for me with bubble gum and saran wrap(I was SO proud of him!) and it has held air for 2 wks + and I have been riding on it every day! I’m going to try taking an old tube, cutting a strip, cementing it around where stem connects to tire, let dry, then take another piece of old tube, make slit, then slide over stem and strip, then cementing down…yay to ingenuity!

    • That’s a great idea! And I’m glad to help confirm that contact cement won’t melt bicycle inner tubes. I’m curious to hear how your fix works – because I have so much fun crafting with my inner tubes, I’m super lax about actually repairing them for riding use. Good for you!

      The bubble gum and saran wrap idea is fantastic. You’ve got yourself a keeper. 🙂

Leave a Reply