February 27, 2024
Learn how to glue a puzzle and preserve it with ease. Check out our step-by-step guide, recommendations for the best glue, and DIY solutions to prevent bubbles, lumps, and wrinkles.

I. Introduction

Completing a puzzle is a worthy accomplishment that requires patience, skill, and dedication. But after all that effort, what’s the best way to preserve your completed puzzle? Gluing the puzzle is a common solution and can transform your puzzle into a beautiful piece of art. However, if you’re not sure how to glue a puzzle, it can be a daunting task. Never fear! In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to gluing a puzzle, recommend the best glue for the job, and offer DIY solutions to common problems.

II. Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to glue your puzzle:

Choose the Right Glue

First, determine which glue is best for your project. Water-based and solvent-based glues are two common options. Water-based glues like Mod Podge are easy to clean up, non-toxic, and dry clear. Solvent-based glues like Aleene’s Tacky Glue are more durable and water-resistant. Solvent-based glues work best for large puzzles or if you plan to hang or frame your puzzle.

Prepare the Work Area

Cover your work surface with a protective layer. Wax paper, parchment paper, or plastic wrap can help protect your puzzle from sticking to the surface.

Apply the Glue

Use a foam brush or a scraper to apply the glue evenly across the puzzle surface. Avoid clumps and excess glue which may cause bumps and bubbles.

Drying and Flattening

Let the glue dry for at least 24 hours or until the glue is completely dry and clear. Make sure the puzzle is on a flat surface while it dries to avoid warping or bending. You may need to add additional weight to the puzzle to keep it flat while drying.


If you plan to frame your puzzle, measure and cut a backing board to fit the frame. Lift the puzzle and place it on the backing board. Trim the excess backing material and secure the puzzle to the backing board with adhesive or double-sided tape. Place the backing board and puzzle inside the frame and secure in place.

III. Video Tutorial

A video tutorial can be an excellent way to learn how to glue a puzzle, especially for visual learners. We’ve included a helpful video tutorial below to guide you through each step of the process:

[Insert Video Tutorial Here]

Here are some additional tips for success:

  • Work in small sections of the puzzle.
  • Remove excess glue with a scraper or a finger (if using water-based glue).
  • Use a rolling pin to flatten any excess bubbles.
  • Wear gloves to keep your hands clean
  • Remove any protective layer residue using a damp cloth or sponge.

IV. Best Glues for Puzzles

Choosing the right glue for your puzzle can make a big difference in the quality of the finished product. Here is a breakdown of different types of glues and when to use them:

Water-based vs. Solvent-based Glues

Water-based and solvent-based glues have their pros and cons. Water-based glues are easy to clean up, non-toxic, and dry clear. Solvent-based glues are more durable and water-resistant. It’s best to use water-based adhesives for smaller puzzles, or if you plan to keep your puzzle as a flat display. Use solvent-based glues for larger puzzles, or if you plan to hang up or frame your work.

Beyond Glue

If traditional glue isn’t your forte, you might consider trying puzzle glue sheets. Puzzle glue sheets adhere to the back of your puzzle pieces and create a durable finish. They’re easy to apply and avoid the mess of traditional glue.

V. Common Gluing Problems and How to Solve Them

Despite your best efforts, things can go wrong when gluing a puzzle. Here are three of the most common problems people encounter, and how to solve them:


To avoid bubbles, use a scraper or rolling pin to smooth out any lumps or bumps in the glue. If bubbles do occur, poke them gently with a needle or toothpick and fill the space with a small amount of glue.


Lumps are often caused by too much glue. Remove excess glue with a scraper or your finger.


To avoid wrinkles, lay the puzzle on a flat surface and work quickly. The glue should be in a thin, even layer to prevent wrinkles.

VI. DIY Glue Recipes

If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly or cost-effective way to glue your puzzles, consider making your own glue. Here are three tried and tested DIY puzzle glue recipes:

Flour-Based Puzzle Glue

  • Ingredients: 1/2 cup flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vinegar, 2 cups water
  • Steps:
    1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and whisk until smooth.
    2. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens. You should have a smooth, gluey mixture.
    3. Allow the glue to cool.
    4. Apply the glue to the puzzle with a foam brush or scraper.

Salt-Based Puzzle Glue

  • Ingredients: 3 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • Steps:
    1. Combine all ingredients in a pot.
    2. Whisk until well combined.
    3. Cook the mixture over low heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the glue thickens.
    4. Let the glue cool before using.
    5. Apply the glue to the puzzle with a scraper or foam brush.

Gluten-Free Puzzle Glue

  • Ingredients: ½ cup white glue (Elmer’s or any liquid glue), 1½ cups water
  • Steps:
    1. Mix glue and water well together.
    2. Thoroughly cover the puzzle’s front and smooth with foam brush or scraper.
    3. Allow the first coat to dry completely and repeat with a second coat.
    4. Sanding lightly with 400 grit sandpaper will create a smoother surface that will reduce overlap between pieces.

VII. Preserve Your Puzzle

Glueing your puzzle is a fantastic way to keep it in pristine condition over the years. To protect the puzzle, consider mounting it on foam board or framing it under glass. Avoid hanging the puzzle in direct sunlight or a humid area, this will prevent pieces from fading or discoloring over time.

VIII. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of glue is best for puzzles?

Water-based glues like Mod Podge are best for smaller puzzles. Solvent-based glues like Aleene’s Tacky Glue work best for larger puzzles or if you plan to hang or frame your work.

How much glue should I apply?

A thin, even layer is sufficient. Avoid applying too much glue, as it may cause bumps and bubbles.

How do I prepare the puzzle before gluing?

Make sure the puzzle is completely dry and that all pieces are securely in place. The back of the puzzle should be clean, so you may need to wipe down with a damp cloth beforehand.

IX. Conclusion

Gluing a puzzle doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow the right steps, choose the right glue, and prepare the area and your puzzle thoroughly. Remember to protect your puzzle from direct sunlight and dampness to preserve it for years to come.

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