Glue spreader?

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The Engels Coach Shop gent uses a piece of hacksaw blade with a handle attached. The effect on the glue is similar to a notched trowel used for tiling.
Ikea silicone brushes. Originally for cooking oil. Glue, when dry, just snaps off.

Also: look up "printer's brayer" - v. effective for large areas. As little as £3.50 from some online outlets.
I use a silicon pastry brush, with the bristles cut short so it is all a bit more solid, pva rinses off instantly, or picks off easily when dried. Also have a few pieces of milk bottles or similar, cut into cards with a combed edge