So you have finally finished this 100, 1000, or 10000 pieces Puzzle and now you want to proudly present it to everyone visiting you, or maybe you just like the image of the puzzle and now you want to frame it and hang it on the wall. But in order to do that you have to glue the puzzle and I personally had the same issue, I didn´t know the best way to permanently glue an already finished puzzle. But after some trial and error and after asking some Puzzle-experts I can confidently teach you everything about gluing Puzzles and Framing them!
So to glue a puzzle a clear drying and strong glue is needed. Regular Puzzle Glue is the best choice for gluing a puzzle. Simply apply the liquid glue on top of the puzzle and spread it evenly with a plastic spatula. Leave it to dry overnight and the puzzle will now be permanently glued together.
Don´t worry if that explanation was a little too short and too general I will go over each and every step in more detail down below.
Choose the Right Type of Glue for Gluing A Puzzle
There is a wide variety of different types of glues out there and every single one of these glues is good for its specific use. But only a few of them are good for gluing puzzles. I tested the most recommended glues for puzzle gluing and I also tested a few types of glues, that nobody seems to speak about when it comes to gluing puzzles.
So the best glues for gluing puzzles are transparent drying glues, that are strong and liquid. Puzzle Glue, Wood Glue, White Crafts Glue, and Epoxy Resin were the glues that achieved the best results. All of these glues are perfect for gluing Puzzles but the easiest to use is regular Puzzle Glue.
I personally like to use either white wood glue or regular puzzle glue to glue my puzzles. Both of these options are easy to come by and both of these glues are very easy to use.
They are not that expensive and the results were always very good. Just make sure, that the wood glue, that you plan on using, dries transparent. There are also alternatives to wood glue, that work really well if you donßt want to use wood glue.. There are also alternatives to wood glue, that work really well if you donßt want to use wood glue..
White crafts glue, like Mod Podge, is also a very solid choice. The only reason why I don´t like it as much as Wood Glue or Puzzle Glue is that it tends to create a little bit of a weak bond.
So depending on the puzzle and how it was printed (heat-treated or paint sealed print) the White Crafts Glue sometimes has a hard time to glue the individual pieces to each other. So the results were sometimes not that great.
And finally, you could use Epoxy Resin. This is probably the strongest and most durable bond, that you could create but Epoxy Resin is not easy to work with.
Epoxy Resin has to be mixed before you can use it. It will run through almost any crack or gap, so you have to set your puzzle on a surface, that either will be permanently fused with the puzzle or you have to put something like silicone under your puzzle to prevent the resin from sticking to the underlying surface.
Resin is also slightly toxic when it drys so you have to glue your puzzle in a well-ventilated area or outside. On top of that Epoxy Resin can take quite some time until it is completely dry (up to 24 hours).
But like I said Epoxy Resin will protect your puzzle as well as no other glue, that I mentioned above, could. So if you want to really make your puzzle hold for an eternity, then use epoxy but if you want to simply glue your puzzles, then use Puzzle Glue or transparent Wood Glue.
Gluing a Puzzle Step by Step
Now, that you know what type of glue is best for gluing puzzles its time to finally glue the actual Puzzle. Even though it may seem like a simple endeavor there are still a couple of things, that should be considered when gluing a puzzle.
Preparing the Surface for Glueing Your Puzzle
First off we have to prepare the surface of your Puzzle. After you assembled the puzzle for hours on end you probably touched every single piece of the puzzle multiple times. This naturally left some oil from your fingers on the surface of the Puzzle surface.
Oil, dust, hairs, and other kinds of dirt can hinder the glue from bonding as strong as it would normally do or, even worse, the dirt could be permanently glued to the surface of the Puzzle. So to avoid this you should clean the surface of your puzzle very carefully.
I normally use some water with a little bit of rubbing alcohol mixed into it to carefully clean the surface. Use a clean piece of cloth and make it wet with a little bit of the water and alcohol mixture. Don´t make the cloth dripping wet with the mixture, just a little bit will be more than enough.
Then carefully go over the surface of the Puzzle without using to much force. Once the Surface is clean let the alcohol and water mixture evaporate for a minute or two until the surface is completely dry. Then move on to the next step.
Set the Puzzle on an Even Surface
Make sure, that you place the Puzzle on an even surface before you glue it. This will ensure that the glued Puzzle will be straight and even.
If you plan on gluing the Puzzle to a surface, then maybe now is the time to transfer your puzzle to the new surface. But if you have a very big puzzle with a lot parts, then maybe you should glue the puzzle first and then transfer it to the new surface.
If you plan on glueing your Puzzle with Epoxy Resin, then you should transfer your Puzzle to the new surface now or you should put something underneath your puzzle, that epoxy doesn´t stick to like silicon for example.
Apply the Glue to the Puzzle and Spread it Evenly With a Spatula
Now its time to finally apply the glue to your Puzzle.
This is the moment where we finally add the Glue, depending on the kind of glue applying it may differ a little bit.
If you are using White Crafts Glue, Wood Glue, or Puzzle Glue, then simply apply a good amount of glue to the surface of the Puzzle and then spread it evenly with a plastic spatula.
Try to carefully spread it and don´t push down on your puzzle.
Then let the glue dry overnight. And you are done, you have successfully glued your Puzzle. If you want to mount it or frame it, then simply glue the Puzzle to a surface and mount it or glue it to a thin piece of wood and put the frame on.
If you want to use Epoxy Resin for your Puzzle then mix the two-part epoxy together and pull it over the surface of the Puzzle. Spread it with the spatula and make sure, that there are no bubbles in the epoxy mixture.
The epoxy will be completely dry after 24 hours and you will have a very solid and permanently glued Puzzle.
Do You Glue a Puzzle on the Front or Back?
When I wanted to glue my first Puzzle I was actually asking myself this exact question. I wasn´t sure if I had to glue the Puzzle to a wooden surface one piece after another or if I had to flip my Puzzle on its head and then glue the wooden backing to the back of the Puzzle. I eventually figured the best way out after speaking to a lot of puzzle enthusiasts.
So to glue a Puzzle it does not have to be glued on the back. While it is possible to glue a Puzzle on the back it is way more complicated and prone errors. Gluing the Puzzle on the front with regular Puzzle Glue is the easiest and best method.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.