Handy tips to help you repair children's plastic toys

Handy tips to help you repair children's plastic toys

Let’s face it all children break toys but it’s not as common for us to fix them as it is to buy a new one (or hide it away and hope they forget about it). Normally it’s a piece that has broken off that you’d love to re-attach but don’t really know where to start.

broken plastic toys

The biggest problem is that not all plastic toys are made from the same plastic so this is actually where you need to start.

The majority of plastic toys produced worldwide are made from just a few plastic materials including high density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinylchloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). If you are lucky the type of plastic can be easily identified from the recycling number printed on it.

plastic recycling number

Let’s take them in order:

  • HDPE – Plastic recycling number 2 this is a heavy duty and durable plastic– used for toy trucks including ride-ons and toys that are subject to impact as HDPE is impact resistant. It’s used for chairs, tables, storage containers as well as outdoor play equipment like slides, water tables and swings.
  • Unfortunately there isn’t an adhesive that will stick this plastic. It’s actually the material that glue bottles are made out of so it’s designed not to stick!
  • PVC – Plastic recycling number 3 this is a soft and flexible plastic – used for dolls, balloons and toy car tyres. This can be a tricky plastic to adhere but we stock an adhesive designed specifically for the job. PU PVC / ABS Adhesive Kit - P1002 ensure s a secure bond because it is resistant to plasticisers, it is also resistant to sea water and chemicals.
  • PP – Plastic recycling number 5 this is a tough, flexible plastic and used for indoor and outdoor educational games, tricycles, garages and carriers. It also resistant to fatigue which means that it can be repeatedly deformed or strained without cracking. The way to distinguish PP as against other plastics such as ABS is that PP floats in water whereas ABS sinks. Unfortunately due to it’s low surface energy polypropylene is incredibly difficult to adhere so we wouldn’t recommend glue, mechanical fixings are the better way to go.
  • PS - Plastic recycling number 6 is a hard solid plastic – used for board game cases, toy components and structures (cranes, garages, toy tea sets), rattles, puzzles, tiles, replica toys and doctor’s bags. We stock a single part adhesive specifically designed for polystyrene, Polystyrene Adhesive - WC111 is fairly slow drying so allows plenty of time for re-positioning.
  • ABS – Plastic recycling number 7 is a sturdy and tough plastic- used for Hasbro's Transformers toy line and in LEGO. We stock a weld adhesive perfect for bonding rigid ABS, PVC / ABS Adhesive - WC137 is used in the plastic moulding industry.

If you are looking for a good all rounder adhesive which is suited to a number of plastics then take a look at our superglue Superglue for Difficult Surfaces - B300. It is useful for a huge cross section of materials including polystyrene, PVC, ABS and polycarbonate as well as a range of other applications so is a great addition to your DIY toolkit.

Fixed Plastic toys

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