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How to Glue Paper to Wood: Step-by-Step Guide (with Pictures)



Gluing paper to wood seems like a simple task. And it is — if you do it properly. If not, you may end up infuriated by the small bubbles or wrinkles that’ll pop up and give your project a less than desirable look.

Fortunately, there are a few easy methods that you can employ to ensure a smooth, clean-looking finish.divider 4

Using Spray Adhesive

Best Adhesive Spray Remover

One of the easiest ways to glue paper to wood is to use a spray adhesive. This is a cheap and fast way to apply paper decals or decoration to your DIY projects. However, it can be less forgiving than other methods.

You must work very quickly as the adhesive dries rapidly, and there is more chance of misapplying the glue. Apply too thick and your paper may wrinkle and bubble. Using too little can cause your paper to not maintain a solid hold.

  • Find a good adhesive: Choosing the correct adhesive for your project is very important. There are many different types of spray glues available; however, some of them can be detrimental to your project. For example, foam or photo sprays will ruin the paper you’ll be gluing. Instead, you should opt for adhesives that are for artist use or specifically designed for paper.
  • Setup work area: Use a towel or a sheet to lay the paper down. It is best to use an old towel that you don’t use any more as this might get messy.
  • Apply a thin coat of adhesive: That is all you need when it comes to spray adhesives. Applying a thicker coat will just slow the drying process.
  • Allow adhesive to set: Wait for the adhesive to set for a much better bond.
  • Press paper onto the wooden surface: Hold the paper by the corners and press it on the paper. Make sure to get rid of any bubbles as you push them to the sides.
  • Allow to dry: Spray adhesives usually dry out after one hour. It is best to leave the wood flat instead of upright, to prevent the paper from sliding off.

Using Tacky Glue

Tacky glue is one of the better options to use in gluing paper to wood. Unlike regular glue that tends to dry and creates bubbles, tacky glue works with wood better because of its thick consistency. Its thickness allows it to stick to the wood more evenly and prevents the chances of air getting trapped and forming bubbles or wrinkles.

  • Sand your wooden surface. Before applying tacky glue on wood, it is recommended to first smoothen out the surface. Do this by sanding the wood surface with high grit sandpaper and then applying polyurethane wood sealant. The smoother the wood surface is the fewer bubbles that will form underneath the paper.
  • Pour the tacky glue directly onto the wood. Don’t be scared to pour thick layers of glue either. This is to make sure you have enough on the wood surface once you spread it throughout. Plus, you can always remove what you don’t need.
  • Use a foam brush. Get a foam brush and use it to spread the tacky glue all over the wood surface. Ensure that it gets distributed evenly on the wood surface. Again, you can pour more tacky glue if needed.
  • Paste your paper. When your wood area is covered with even layers of glue, take your paper and line it up on the wood. Start with one edge of the wood and slowly work your way down. Once the paper is completely covering the desired wood area, use your palm and run it across the paper. Press the paper from one edge to the other making sure to get rid of any bubbles.
  • Let the glue dry. Usually, it takes one hour for the tacky glue to paste wood into paper. However, this will depend on the weather and ventilation of the area. You can always check after an hour if the glue has dried out. If not, wait for another hour, or if possible, leave it overnight.

Using a Mod Podge Formula

Mod Podge is best to use for arts and crafts. You can use this on pretty much any type of surface, but it works best with wood and paper. What makes this method great is the fact that it dries clear and holds tight. Mod Podge is also easily available in hardware stores and craft stores.

  • Sand down rough areas. If you are using Mod Podge on wood, make sure to smoothen the wood surface first to make sure there are no splinters. Use medium-grit sandpaper to remove any rough areas.
  • Gloss or matte Mod Podge. You can choose between a gloss or matte Mod Podge formula. Both are just as effective. It all depends if you want to have a shiny finish — which you will get from the gloss — or if you don’t need the shine, you can use the matte formula.
  • Wet foam brush. Before soaking the foam brush into the Mod Podge, dip it into water. Then remove the excess water before dipping it into the Mod Podge. Make sure to get a good amount of the glue before brushing it onto the wood area.
  • Brush Mod Podge onto the wood. Use a back-and-forth motion when spreading the glue. Repeat the process until you’ve covered the entire surface.
  • Press the paper. Press the paper onto the wood with your palm. You can also use a Mod Podge applicator when doing so to ensure no bubbles form underneath the paper.
  • Allow the Mod Podge to dry. This is a fast-drying glue, so the Mod Podge should be dry after 15 minutes.

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Evenly Gluing Paper to Wood

Gluing paper to wood can be quite simple provided that you utilize proper techniques. Failure to do so can lead to unsightly bubbles, wrinkles, and tears. But when done correctly, you can end up with great-looking results that will last.

Featured Image Credit: Counselling, Pixabay

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