How to Glue Plastic to Wood

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How to Glue Plastic to WoodWondering how to glue plastic to wood? You have come to the right place.

Here, we will look at how to glue plastic to wood, the best glues to use, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions related to the subject.

Let’s jump right in.

How to Glue Plastic to Wood

Gluing wood to plastic is a lot more complicated than it may seem. To start with, there are many different species of wood that ranges in density from very soft Balsa to Quebracho, which is over 500 times denser and harder. Then you have to consider that wood can be untreated or treated.

When you add plastic to the equation, things can get very complicated. Common types of plastic include;

  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (Vinyl)
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam)

Each of these has unique characteristics, including different porosity, density, and oil content.

While all this may make it seem that it is almost impossible to pick an adhesive that will work consistently, the task is not impossible. In this section, we will outline the methods we have found can work for gluing plastic to wood.

We will look at using:

  • Wood glue- Not the best choice when you want to glue plastic to wood. Wood glue only provides a temporary bond at best.
  • Hot glue- Can be used on many plastics, provided you use high-temperature glue sticks.
  • Polyurethane glues- Great multipurpose glue that can be used on most plastics and wood. Our personal favorite for everyday use.
  • Epoxy glue- if you want to glue plastic to wood or any other surfaces together, then Epoxy glue will likely give you the strongest, most durable, and waterproof bond you can have.
  • Silicone caulk- Silicone caulk works well with many hard plastics. It is usually reserved for large projects with big surfaces.
  • Superglue- Some super glues work well with plastics. For the best results, look for super glue that specifically lists plastics on its labeling.
  • Contact cement- Contact cement works well with most plastics provided there is sufficient surface area and materials are properly prepared.

Wood Glue to Bond Plastic to Wood

holding two wood applied with white glueWood glue, or polyvinyl acetate (PVA) as it is more correctly called, will bond wood and plastic, but only temporarily. PVA is best used on porous materials. It will work well with styrofoam and some other soft plastics, but hard plastics will quickly break free.

Wood glue should only be used as a temporary adhesive until a mechanical attachment can be made or more durable glue can be found.

Using Hot Glue on Wood and Plastic

Hot glue guns are part of almost every crafter’s arsenal. They are great tools for bonding a wide variety of materials, including wood to PVC and many similar plastics. Unfortunately, hot glue won’t work with all wood and plastic combinations. So, it is best to try them out before you commit too much effort.glue gun and glue sticks on the table

It is best to use high-temperature glue sticks for bonding wood and plastic.

Polyurethane Glues for Bonding Plastic to Wood

Polyurethane glue is waterproof, resistant to most solvents, and will bond plastics, wood, stone, metal, foam, glass, ceramics, concrete, and much more. Some people refer to polyurethane glue as a super adhesive because of its versatility and durability.

The one drawback we have noted when using this type of glue for bonding plastic and wood is that it does set fairly quickly. You need to be properly prepared to place all your pieces without wasted motion.

Use Epoxy to Glue Plastic to Wood

squeezing two tubes contains epoxy glue ingredientEpoxy is a two-part adhesive. You must mix the appropriate amounts of resin and hardener before applying it. It comes in many different formulas and can cure in as little as five minutes or stay workable for several hours. Likewise, it can take anywhere from a few hours to two days fully cure and reach its maximum strength.

Epoxy glue will bond almost any type of surface, including woods and plastics. The one issue that some people have with epoxy glue is that it can have a rather pungent odor. It is best to use it in a well-ventilated space.

Silicone Caulk for Glueing Wood to Plastic

Though not often thought of like glue, silicone caulk works well for bonding hard plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene surfaces. Most caulk remains flexible even when fully hardened, making it useful in spots subject to vibrations or temperature changes.

There are a few things you should be aware of, though, when using silicone caulk to glue plastic to wood. It is very thick and comes in either a squeeze tube or a tube that will require a caulk gun to use. It is great for large areas but is not generally used on small items. Lastly, caulk contains some strong solvents. It should only be used in a well-ventilated area.

Gluing Wood and Plastic with Super Glue

applying a super glue to a piece of woodWith all of the possible uses super glue can be put to, it should come as no surprise that it works for sticking wood and plastic together. Better for small objects than large areas, super glue is easy to find, very affordable, and works well with most types of plastic and wood we have used it on.

One word of caution, if you are unfamiliar with working with superglue, it dries very quickly and can instantly bond skin. Always wear proper personal protective gear when using super glue.

Contact Cement for Bonding Plastic and Wood

Contact cement includes some glues such as PVC cement and 3M Super 77. this class of adhesives requires that they be applied to all surfaces before joining them together. They can work reasonably well with some plastics but will generally require the surface to be prepared beforehand. This might include sanding to break the finish of the plastic or treatment with a primer.

Being a large family of very different adhesives, it is best to only use contact cement on materials that they are specifically formulated for.adhesive cement rugby in a can

Best Glue for Plastic to Wood

In this section, we will list our top choices in each category for bonding dissimilar surfaces like non-porous surfaces (plastics) to porous wood. Keep in mining that there are literally hundreds of different types of plastics being used today and dozens of various formulations of glue available under each of the broad categories we have discussed.

Not all adhesives are created equal, so it is best to stay with trusted names with reputations for performance.

Lastly, remember that these recommendations are based on our own experiences and research. Your specific project and materials may not mirror our results.

Best Glues for Overall Performance

Gorilla Glue

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One of the first and still one of the best polyurethane glues on the market, Gorilla Glue will bond wood to a plastic surface and almost anything else you can imagine. Gorilla polyurethane glue creates a waterproof bond that is stainable, paintable, and sandable, making it easy to hide joints and fashion smooth finishes.

It has an extremely strong bond that will hold plastic, wood foam, stone, metal, ceramics, and even glass. Best of all, it can be used indoors or out. In our opinion, this is one of the best glues for general purpose use on the market.

Gorilla Epoxy

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Epoxy glue of any type provides a superior bond to almost any other type of adhesive. Gorilla two-part epoxy glue, though, is the next level. A proprietary hybrid formula allows it to function not only as an adhesive but great for gap filling.

Waterproof and resistant to most solvents, Gorilla Epoxy is non-toxic and has a lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) rating than most epoxy glue you can buy. This makes it more suitable for use in confined areas where fumes can often be an issue. If you are wanting a true permanent bond, Gorilla epoxy glue is the best epoxy glue you can use.

Best Adhesive for Large Plastic Surfaces

DAP Commercial Kitchen Silicone

DAP 08658 Commercial Kitchen Silicone Cl Raw Building Material, 9.8-Ounce, Clear

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An NSF FDA Approved Sealant for use in kitchen environments, DAP Commercial kitchen is also a great choice when you need to glue large pieces of wood and plastic together. A pure silicone compound, DAP works well both indoors and out.

As much as we love its broad temperature range, heat-resistant nature, and the way it creates permanent bonds, there are a few limits to its use.

  1. You must use a caulk gun to apply it.
  2. It takes 24 hours to cure completely
  3. Caulk isn’t suitable for small detail work.

That being said, it is a very versatile glue that works well for bonding plastic and wooden surfaces to a large variety of natural and synthetic materials.

Gorilla Waterproof Caulk & Seal

Gorilla Waterproof Caulk & Seal 100% Silicone Sealant, 10oz Cartridge, Clear (Pack of 1)

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Gorilla Waterproof Caulk & Seal suffers from the same limitations as DAP Caulk and nearly mirrors its performance when used as an adhesive. It is also ideal for bonding items with large surface areas and where multiple surfaces will be brought together.

As with all adhesives, you will need to pay close attention to drying and curing times with Gorilla Waterproof Caulk and Seal. While it is water ready in 30 minutes, items should be braced or clamped for 24 hours to allow the caulk to fully cure when using it as a load-bearing adhesive.

Best Glue for Small Wood and Plastic Objects

Loctite Professional Liquid Super Glue

Loctite Professional Liquid Super Glue

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If you have small or even tiny pieces of plastic and wood that you need to stick together, then super glue is one of the best choices you can use, and Loctite Profesional is one of the best on the market. It resists moisture, heat, cold temperatures, and most chemicals.

Its bottle has a needle fine application tip making it possible to precisely place the glue where and only where you want it to go. We do still recommend you wear gloves when working with it, though.

Loctite Pro should be available at your local hardware store but might be difficult to find in some areas. For strength and creating a durable bond on small objects, it is hard to beat. A quick tip, if you do accidentally glue your finger or other unwanted items, nail polish remover will soften this glue.

Loctite Super Glue Gel

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Loctite Super Glue Gel is easier to find than its slightly stronger Pro sibling and is easier to work with if you are attempting to glue plastic to wood over your head or in a verticle position where runs might be an issue.

It is thicker than most superglues and less likely to creep into spots where you don’t want it. If you are sticking plastic to wood or synthetic material, this glue will provide all the bonding power you are ever likely to need.

The one negative we have found with Loctite Gell is that it can be sensitive to impacts and vibrations as it ages. To apply, place a drop on either the wood or plastic surface and place the items to be bonded in place. Glued objects normally bond in less than a minute without clamping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use wood Glue on Plastic?

carpenter applying wood glue on a boardWood glue is intended to be used on porous surfaces and doesn’t bond well with most plastics. As its name implies, it is intended to bond wood to wood and is best used for that purpose. It may form a temporary bond, but at best, it will be short-lived and very weak.

What is the strongest glue to use on plastic?

By far, the strongest glues you can use on plastics are two-part epoxies. They form a bond on a molecular level that outshines anything else on the market. If you prefer glue that doesn’t have to be mixed, then one of the polyurethane glues, like Gorilla glue, will be your best choice.

Does superglue work on wood and plastic?

Superglue works very well for bonding wood and plastic. It is ideal for joining small pieces with limited contact areas. It should be used with caution, though as it can instantly bond skin. If this occurs, acetone is the best way to dissolve the glue and free you from your work.

Can PVC cement be used on wood and plastic?

plumber applying adhesive to pvc pipeNo PVC (polyvinyl chloride) glue, more accurately called solvent glue, should not be used to join wood and plastics. It is specifically formulated to adhere to PVC pipes. In fact, there are many types of plastics it won’t work with. At best, you may be able to form a temporary bond, but you would have no assurance that it would last.

What is the best glue for DIY projects?

DIY projects can take many forms, from making a set of earrings to remodeling a kitchen. This makes it difficult to make a blanket recommendation. That said, The three most useful types of glues that should cover the majority of your needs would be;

  • Two-part epoxy
  • Polyurethane glues
  • Cyanoacrylate glue (superglues)

Each of these has strengths and weaknesses, but as a team, you would be hard-pressed to find a DIY project they can’t handle.