Want to glue a puzzle together but not sure how to or what puzzle glues are right for your purposes. You’re in the right place.
In this article, we will explore the best glues to use when gluing a jigsaw puzzle together, how to do it properly, and answer a few frequently asked questions related to gluing puzzles together.
Got no time to read? Here’s a quick summary of the best puzzle glues and why we picked them.
|Best of the best||MasterPieces Accessories, Jigsaw Puzzle Glue|
|Best buy||Mod Podge Puzzle Saver|
|Best sponge head||PHILODOGS Jigsaw Puzzle Glue with New Sponge Head|
|Best peel and stick||Puzzle Presto! Peel & Stick Puzzle Saver|
|Best adhesive sheets for big puzzles||RECHIATO Puzzle Saver|
|Best for general use and puzzles||Plaid Mod Podge, Matte|
|Best quick-drying puzzle glue||Gluetacular Jigsaw Puzzle Glue with Applicator|
|Best puzzle glue for kids||MasterPieces Accessories – Jigsaw Puzzle Glue Bottle with Swivel Spreader Cap|
Best Puzzle Glue for Wooden Puzzles
Best of the Best- MasterPieces Jigsaw Puzzle Glue
MasterPieces Accessories is a small business that is making a big name for itself by offering superior Jigsaw puzzle accessories at very reasonable prices. Their jigsaw puzzle glue offers a preservation quality finish that won’t yellow or flake with time.
It comes with an easy applicator designed specifically for coating the complex shapes formed by interlocking puzzle pieces. Intended to be used as a one-coat finish on the front and back of the puzzle. It makes conserving finished jigsaw puzzles as simple as it can possibly be.
Most Economical- Mod Podge Puzzle Saver
The Mod Podge name is familiar to most people who have been involved in arts and crafts for any length of time. Their reputation and the quality and value of the glues and varnishes they offer are well established.
On a cost per penny basis, Mod Podge Puzzle Saver offers one of the most cost-effective ways to preserve both paper and wooden jigsaw puzzles. Even better, they offer this complete kit that contains everything you need to glue and seal your finished jigsaw puzzles and make them ready for display or framing.
The kit includes:
- Three pairs of gloves
- 4-inch rubber brayer
- Three foam brushes (1 inch, 2 inches, 3 inches)
- Five plastic spreader tools
- Three plastic spreaders (5 inches, 4 inches, 3 inches)
Best Sponge Head- PHILODOGS Jigsaw Puzzle Glue with Sponge Head
PHILODOGS Jigsaw Puzzle Glue is worth buying on its own. It gives you a solid bond that can be built up into layers for more depth and to make the colors in your puzzle really pop. What truly sets it apart, though, is the applicator.
It is made from PVA in an environmentally friendly process, and just like the glue it is used to spread is completely non-toxic, earth-friendly, and meets all international standards for child safety.
This glue has a high-gloss finish and is backed by PHILODOGS 100% Satisfaction Service Guarantee.
Best Peel and Stick- Puzzle Presto! Peel & Stick Puzzle Saver
Puzzle Presto produced the first Peel and Stick Puzzle Savers back in 2007. The company was founded by a group of puzzle enthusiasts who wanted a simpler, easier, and less messy way of preserving their finished jigsaw puzzles than using regular puzzle glue.
What they came up with was a backing material coated with an adhesive that could be applied to a finished puzzle to keep it in its natural state.
Along the way, they have added a few twists like self-adhesive hangers to make displaying your puzzles on the wall easier. What they haven’t changed is the simplicity of applying their peel and stick puzzle savers or the secure bond they form to the back of paper wooden jigsaw puzzles.
Proudly made in the U.S.A.
Best Adhesive Sheets for Big Puzzles- RECHIATO Puzzle Saver
This one is kind of a no-brainer. If you have a large puzzle together and want to display all of your hard work, then it is likely that the RECHIATO Puzzle Saver pack will be able to handle the job and then some. With enough self-adhesive sheets to cover over 40 square feet of puzzle, you would be hard-pressed to find a puzzle or even several that it won’t handle.
The easy-to-use peel and stick sheets provide a secure hold without the worry of making a mess with too much glue or having streaks because your liquid glue didn’t spread evenly. It comes with a squeegee to help you make sure the sheets are evenly glued in place, and the sheets can be trimmed to any shape or size with scissors or a hobby knife.
Best for General Use and Puzzles- Plaid Mod Podge, Matte
Plaid Mod Podge is considered by many to be a crafter’s best friend. Yes, it can be used to glue a puzzle together, but it is much more than just puzzle glue. Basically, just a refind, white glue, this non-toxic, child-safe glue can also be used as a sealant, varnish, and adhesive.
It dries quickly, allowing you to apply a second coat without a lot of time for dust and other mishaps to ruin the finish, and it is self-leveling to provide a slick finish.
Best Quick-Drying Puzzle Glue- Gluetacular Jigsaw Puzzle Glue with Applicator
If you need a puzzle glue that dries clear, stays streak-free, holds firm, and dries in a hurry, then Gluetacular Jigsaw Puzzle Glue is just the glue you are looking for. Unlike other glues, it doesn’t take hours or days to dry. One hour and it is completely cured and can be handled.
One reason it is on our favorite glue list is the easy applicator on the bottle. It makes the gluing process super easy. Just glide the applicator over the puzzle pieces, and it leaves a smooth, even coat. No need for a foam brush or any other tools as with many application methods.
Best Puzzle Glue for Kids- MasterPieces Accessories – Jigsaw Puzzle Glue Bottle with Swivel Spreader Cap
This is the second entry on our list from the folks at MasterPieces. This small American-owned company is currently producing some of the best puzzle and game accessories on the market. As their company statement says, they are game and puzzle enthusiasts themselves.
With this kind of perspective, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have created a puzzle glue with children in mind. It comes in a fun puzzle-piece-shaped bottle. is completely non-toxic and child safe and actually fun to use.
The applicator is reminiscent of the glue bottles many of us grew up with. All the kid has to do is give a little squeeze and drag the bottle across the puzzle.
It is that easy for even youngsters to fill in all the spaces between the pieces and successfully glue a puzzle with little to no mess and zero danger.
How to Glue a Wooden Puzzle
What You Will Need
- Clear working space
- Puzzle glue
- Spreader, squeegee, sponge brush, or paintbrush
- Parchment paper or wax paper
- Backer board if desired
1. Prepare Your Working Area
It is best to have a clear open working area to glue a puzzle in. When you are trying to create a smooth, clear finish, it can be irritating to be bumping your elbows on things or have to strain to reach areas. For some puzzle glues, it is best to work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
Spread out a piece of parchment or wax paper. It should be several inches larger than your puzzle on all sides.
Depending on how well the pieces of your puzzle fit, sometimes glue can seep through cracks, and you want to avoid gluing your puzzle to the work surface.
Layout your glue, any needed tools, and clean-up supplies in a convenient area close by. You want them close enough you don’t waste time, but not where they interfere with you gluing puzzles or where the puzzle glue will get knocked over.
2. Position Your Puzzle
Next, position your jigsaw puzzle, picture side up, onto the center of your parchment paper (wax paper). With better fitting puzzles, you may be able to simply slide it over.
If you are having trouble moving a jigsaw puzzle without it falling apart, you can slide a piece of poster board or stiff card stock under the puzzle to help support it.
3. Clean Your Puzzle
Before going any further, it is important to make sure that the surface of your jigsaw puzzles is clean. They should be free of any moister, dust, or other contaminants.
Dust can easily mar the finish of your glued puzzle, making it look fuzzy, dirty, or pitted. Moister, whether water or oils, can prevent some puzzle glues from bonding properly and cause clouding.
Take your time and work carefully. Make sure the surface of your puzzle is as clean and smooth as possible. If some pieces of your jigsaw puzzle have feathery edges, these can be removed using a pair of nail clippers or a hobby knife.
4. Add Glue to Your Puzzle
Begin by adding a moderate amount of glue to the center of your jigsaw puzzle. You don’t want to start with too much glue, or it can become difficult to spread it evenly. Liquids flow, and the less you have to chase runs, the easier it will be to keep things level. You can always add more glue later if needed.
This is one of those projects where less is actually more. Thinner coats of puzzle glue will dry faster, allowing you to add a second coat sooner. Too much glue can also cause some puzzle pieces to curl.
5. Spread The Glue Over You Puzzle
Work from the center towards the edges adding more glue if necessary. Pay close attention to the tiny crevices where your puzzle pieces interlock. The object is to get a thin, smooth, and even coat over the entire puzzle surface without missing any joints.
Some glues don’t work well with a sponge or paintbrush. If you are having trouble getting a smooth coat of puzzle glue, and your glue didn’t come with a squeegee or spreader of some type, then a kitchen spatula or old ID card can sometimes be used as a substitute.
Be advised, though, that it can be difficult to remove puzzle glues from some materials. We don’t advise spreading glue with anything you want to keep.
6. Remove Any Excess Glue
As you near the edges of your jigsaw puzzle, try to scoop any excess glue you see accumulating off your puzzle. If you are working with a brush, you can simply push them over the edge onto your wax paper. Do not leave puddles of glue on your puzzle.
As previously noted, too much glue can damage puzzle pieces and at best, you will be left with a lumpy finish.
7. Allow the Glue to Fully Dry
All glues are different. Some glues take a day or longer to harden. Others dry in less than an hour. Practice patients. Read the directions on your glue and allow the glue to dry according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Attempting to move your jigsaw puzzle too soon can deform the glue joints and ruin your work. If you are really in a hurry, you can use a fan or hairdryer to speed the drying process. Be aware though, that some glues can cloud or become brittle when dried too fast.
8. Flip Your Jigsaw Puzzle
Once The glue on the front of your jigsaw puzzle has hardened, it should be solid enough that you can flip it over. If it’s not, you may want to add a second coat to the front of your puzzle and allow it to set up before you go any further.
When you flip your puzzle once again, be sure to position it as close to the center of your paper as possible.
Sometimes you will find that some of the glue has seeped through the seams in the puzzle and adhered to the parchment underneath. If this happens, don’t panic.
It is a common occurrence. You can take a spatula, plastic card, or hobby knife and gently work it free.
If your puzzle is simply too fragile to risk flipping without support, you can work a piece of cardstock underneath it and place another on the top. Then you can flip the cards with your jigsaw puzzle sandwiched between the two cards.
9. Glue the Back of Your Jigsaw Puzzle
It is not absolutely necessary that you glue the back of your puzzle, but we do highly recommend it. Adding puzzle glues to the back of your jigsaw puzzle will make it more rigid and better seal it from elemental damage.
The process for gluing the back of a jigsaw puzzle is almost exactly the same as it was for gluing the front. Follow steps two through seven as outlined above, and you should end up with jigsaw puzzles that are sealed and can be displayed for your friends and family with pride.
Be aware, though, that puzzle glues will naturally deteriorate over time, and pieces found come loose. To avoid this happening, it is always best to mount your finished jigsaw puzzles. Even if you plan on framing them, it is better to mount them on a solid backer board.
10. Mount Your Jigsaw Puzzles
Mounting your finished and sealed puzzle is a very simple process.
- Coat the back of your puzzle with a thin layer of glue.
- Cut a piece of backing material slightly larger than your puzzle and lay it on top. We recommend corrugated cardboard like used in frame shops.
- Place books or other heavy flat objects on top of the backer board.
- Allow the glue to set.
- You now have a glued, sealed, and mounted jigsaw puzzle ready for display or framing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you glue the front or back of a puzzle?
You should always glue the front of jigsaw puzzles. Gluing the back is considered optional. That said, we always recommend gluing both the front and back. We also feel that it is a good idea to glue cardboard or other rigid materials to the back of the puzzle.
Can you glue wooden puzzles?
Yes, you can glue wooden puzzles. The process is exactly the same as you would use to glue a cardboard or paper puzzle.
Can I use Elmer’s glue on a puzzle?
Yes, you can use Elmer’s glue to glue a puzzle together. The one catch is that you will need to thin it slightly with water. Be careful not to add too much water, or you will end up damaging your puzzle. If you are familiar with Mod Podge, it is, for all practical purposes, nothing but thinned white glue like everyone used in school.