How to Glue a Puzzle Without Losing Your Sanity

So you've completed a puzzle and want to preserve your hard work! Or maybe you're looking for a new challenge and want to glue your puzzle and hang it on the wall. Whatever your reason, we're here to help you get started. Gluing a puzzle is not as difficult as it may seem, but there are a few things you need to know before getting started. We're going to talk about steps gluing puzzle glue choices! 

The glue you use to solve a puzzle is important because it will affect how quickly your work and make sure everything bonds properly. Transparent drying glues are perfect for puzzles as they're both strong enough but also lightweight, so applying them won't take too long! Puzzle Glue is a great option, specifically designed for jigsaw puzzles.

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Kinds of Glue

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of gluing a puzzle, let's talk about the different kinds of glue you can use. You may be tempted to use whatever you have lying around the house, but not all adhesives are created equal—and some may do more harm than good. Here are the types of glue that we recommend using on your puzzle:

Wood Glue

Wood glue is, as the name suggests, designed for woodworking projects. But it can also be used on puzzles! It's a strong adhesive that will securely hold your puzzle pieces together, and it dries clear, so you won't have to worry about any unsightly residue.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is another great choice for gluing puzzles, especially when working with a large one. It's a bit more expensive than wood glue, but it's also stronger and has a longer drying time, which gives you more leeway to position your pieces correctly.

Puzzle Glue

This is, without a doubt, the best option for gluing your puzzle together. Puzzle glue comes in a bottle with a precision tip, making applying the adhesive easy without messing. And because it's specifically designed for puzzles, it's not too runny and dries clear, so you won't have to worry about any unsightly glue residue.

Mod Podge

Mod Podge is a type of decoupage glue found at most craft stores. It's slightly thicker than puzzle glue, but it's still easy to apply and dries clear. The main downside to using Mod Podge is that it's not as precise as puzzle glue, so that you may end up with some glue residue on your puzzle.

White Glue

White glue, also known as Elmer's glue, is the most common type of adhesive and can be found in most households. It's very runny, so applying it without making a mess can be difficult.

How to Glue a Puzzle

Completing a puzzle is a challenging and gratifying process. Once the final piece is in place, leaving the puzzle as-is is tempting. However, if you want to ensure that your puzzle retains its shape and doesn't get jostled and broken, it's best to glue it. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to glue a puzzle.

What You'll Need

Before you start, make sure you have the following materials on hand: 

  • A clean, flat surface on which to work
  • Plastic wrap or wax paper
  • A sharp craft knife or box cutter blade
  • The glue of your choice
  • Spatula or card

Step 1: Cover Your Work Surface 

One of the keys to success when gluing a puzzle is ensuring you have a clean, flat surface on which to work. Otherwise, your puzzle pieces could slip and slide around while you're trying to glue them down. To achieve this, we recommend covering your work surface with either plastic wrap or wax paper. Tape the edges of the plastic wrap or wax paper, so it doesn't move while you're working. Do not use newspaper as your work surface, as the ink can transfer to your puzzle pieces.

Step 2: Setting the Puzzle on an Even Surface

Before you start gluing your puzzle, it's important to make sure that you place it on a solid, even surface. This will help ensure that the glued puzzle is straight and level. If you're planning to glue your puzzle to a new surface, like a poster or decorative board, you may need to transfer the puzzle pieces beforehand. However, if your puzzle has lots of small pieces, it's best to glue it first and then transfer it to its new home.

When gluing your puzzle with epoxy resin, put something underneath it that will prevent the epoxy from sticking. For example, a sheet of silicon or plastic can help protect against unwanted adhesion.

Step 3: Clean Your Puzzle from Any Debris

Use a soft, dry cloth to clean your puzzle of any debris. If there are any pesky pieces of paper or cardboard stuck to the back of the puzzle, use a sharp craft knife or a box cutter blade to remove them carefully. You don't want anything interfering with the glue's ability to adhere to the puzzle pieces.  

Step 4: Apply Glue 

Grab your glue and get to work spreading it evenly across the surface of your puzzle. You have a few options for spreading tools - from plastic paddles to cardboard and even sponges or brushes. Whatever tool you choose, seal the edges as well so that no pieces can slip out.

No matter what tool you choose, the most important thing is to be gentle and methodical in your application. Too much glue can cause your puzzle pieces to warp or even break, while too little may leave areas exposed and vulnerable to erosion.

As you continue to coat your puzzle piece by piece, you begin to notice the occasional air bubble forming beneath the surface of the glue. While these can be frustrating, they will eventually disappear as the glue dries completely. And with patience and attention to detail, your puzzle will be fully sealed within just a few hours.

Step 5: Let It Dry Completely 

Once you've applied glue to your entire puzzle, it's time to let it dry. Depending on the glue you used, this could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Read the manufacturer's instructions to know how long you need to wait.

If you're using a clear-drying glue, like epoxy resin, you'll want to let it cure for at least 24 hours before handling it. This will give the glue plenty of time to set and dry completely.

Step 6: Mount and Frame It Up! 

Now that you have completed your beautiful puzzle, the next step is to mount it to a foam board before framing. Without this step, your puzzle may warp or fall apart over time due to the stresses of being exposed to changing temperatures, humidity levels, and more.

To begin mounting your puzzle, you will need first to purchase a foam board that is perfectly sized for your finished puzzle. The board size needs to account for any outer edges that may be covered by the frame you choose, so it is important to measure your puzzle carefully before making any purchase decisions.

To start your puzzle board, begin by loosening the puzzle from the cover paper and placing it design-side-up on your board. Then, mark the puzzle's outline on your board using a pencil. If your board is large enough to accommodate the entire puzzle without extending it further, you can cut along this outline using a hobby knife. However, if you need to extend your board to fit your frame, carefully measure how far you need to extend and mark that larger outline with a pencil. Finally, cut along this line using a hobby knife or other appropriate tool.

Once your puzzle is marked out on your board, it's time to add glue. Spread an even coating of glue over the area where you'll be placing your puzzle down, ensuring that no bubbles are left behind in the glue and that all areas are properly covered. Then, carefully line up your puzzle and place it down onto the glued area, gently pressing and making sure not to shift its alignment as you do. Finally, leave the finished puzzle board to dry completely before framing and hanging it proudly on your wall!

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