Finishing a puzzle is a wonderful feeling and sometimes, the end result is so beautiful that it seems almost a waste to dismantle your work only to put the pieces back in the box. So why take it apart? A complete puzzle can be upcycled into a piece of art that makes for an impressive wall decoration.
The main challenge of this process is how to go about transforming a delicate temporary puzzle into a solid permanent wall display. The key ingredient to ensuring that this transformation runs smoothly is a reliable puzzle glue. Here are the best glues you can use to ensure a smooth and secure finish.
- 1 Best Puzzle Glue
- 2 Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer
- 3 DecoArt 16-Ounce Decoupage Glue, Matte Finish
- 4 Elmer’s Liquid School Glue
- 5 DDTOP Non-Toxic Puzzle Glue
- 6 3M General Purpose 45 Spray Adhesive
- 7 Cordinal Easy To Apply Puzzle Guard Glue
- 8 MasterPieces / Puzzle Glue, 5 oz
- 9 Bearly Art Precision Craft Glue
- 10 Elmer’s Spray Adhesive, Extra Strength
- 11 DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss Glaze
- 12 Best Puzzle Glue Buying Guide
- 13 FAQ
Best Puzzle Glue
Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer
When it comes to clear-drying glues, Mod Podge takes the reigns. Plaid has been manufacturing high-quality arts and crafts products since 1976. The Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer is an all-in-one glue that will lock your puzzle pieces in place and ensure a clear satin finish with a subtle sheen.
The product is non-toxic and water-based as well as easy to clean up. You can be confident that this best-selling product will keep your pieces permanently in place without any lumps, bumps, or air bubbles.
DecoArt 16-Ounce Decoupage Glue, Matte Finish
In a close second place is Decopauge Glue from DecoArt. Like Mod Podge, this product works excellently as a sealer and finisher. It will hold your puzzle pieces firmly in place while providing a smooth matte finish.
The product is excellent value for money and has the potential capacity to seal and secure eight large puzzles. If you prefer a glossier finish, the same product is available in this variation also.
Elmer’s Liquid School Glue
Elmer’s glue is a particularly great product if you plan on crafting with children. It is effective for sealing larger puzzles but is particularly convenient for sealing children’s puzzles. This is because the non-toxic glue is specifically designed for children to use.
The glue can be repositioned before setting and it is washable should the glue accidentally touch other surfaces. What’s more, Elmer’s glue is great for making slime so once you’ve finished puzzling, you’ll find another fun use for the product.
DDTOP Non-Toxic Puzzle Glue
This glue is designed specifically for conserving puzzles. It is safe, non-toxic and very simple to use. All you need to do is squeeze the bottle to apply glue evenly across your puzzle. No mixing is required. The product promises to dry clear approximately one hour after application.
The only downside is that the bottle contains enough glue for just two 1,000 piece puzzles so if you are a serial puzzler, you may require more than one bottle.
3M General Purpose 45 Spray Adhesive
The following product is not a puzzle glue per se, but it certainly does the trick. The adhesive spray bonds lightweight materials and it is subsequently perfect for sealing together your puzzle pieces.
The upshot of this product is that it is less likely to cause mess or lumps than Mod Podge or puzzle glue. It secures the pieces quickly and firmly and there is less risk of oversaturating the puzzle and causing the pieces to swell or peel.
Cordinal Easy To Apply Puzzle Guard Glue
Cordinal glue is very effective. It only requires one coat to seal every piece in place. Following your gluing session, you should be able to pick up your puzzle as if it were a strong piece of cardboard. It takes a while to dry but if you have the patience, it is worth the wait.
The glue does come with a small applicator but you will get the job done quicker with a business card of paper towel.
MasterPieces / Puzzle Glue, 5 oz
This puzzle glue from MasterPieces dries quickly and clearly. It is non-toxic and effectively protects and preserves puzzles up to 2,000 pieces. The finish is clear, smooth and bright.
It is most effective if you coat both sides of the puzzle which unfortunately means that the glue is only suitable for sealing one or two 1,000 piece puzzles at most. The product comes with a convenient applicator.
Bearly Art Precision Craft Glue
Bearly Art Precision Craft Glue is an excellent product that creates a smooth finish. The glue is specially formulated to stay smooth and will not oversaturate your puzzle or cause wrinkling or peeling. It dries quickly and the finish is so clear that you will not be able to tell the glue is there.
The downside is that the 4 oz bottle will only last for one or two puzzles. An 11 oz refillable bottle is also available if you are looking for something longer term.
Elmer’s Spray Adhesive, Extra Strength
Elmer’s Spray Adhesive is a fantastic alternative to puzzle glue. It is extra strong which means the pieces will solidify together to make a portable cardboard-like picture.
The bond created is permanent and the spray can be easily applied across the puzzle. The finished look is polished and the process is much cleaner and smoother than with your standard puzzle glue.
DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss Glaze
DecoArt Gloss Glaze is not designed with puzzles in mind, but it does do the trick. The glaze is extra thick and so only one coat is needed to permanently bond the puzzle pieces.
As the glaze is thick, you do need to be careful not to oversaturate. Nonetheless, the finish is typically smooth and clear.
Best Puzzle Glue Buying Guide
When choosing the best glue for permanently bonding your puzzle pieces, there are a few key factors you need to think about. The most important factor is whether the glue you are looking at promises a clear finish.
When gluing a puzzle for presenting, it is typically more convenient to apply glue to the front of the puzzle rather than flipping it over so the glue can be applied to the back. This means that buying clear-finish glue is essential.
If the glue does not offer a smooth transparent finish, the image on your puzzle will be obscured by dry lumps and white splodges. Look out for whether the product promises a matte or gloss finish and choose your product in accordance with your preference.
Secondly, you need to be confident that the glue will firmly secure your pieces in place. If the glue is meant for sticking paper together, it will not form a strong enough bond between your pieces.
The ideal glue will hold your puzzle together so well that you will be able to transport it like a piece of cardboard. Equally, if your glue is designed for wood or a strong material, it will likely be too thick for your puzzle and will cause the pieces to become soggy and swell.
Finally, be conscious of the quantity of glue available. If you are planning multiple puzzling projects, a 4 oz bottle will not go as far as you might hope. Instead, choosing a larger bottle of stronger glue that only requires one coat to secure a strong finish.
Do I glue the front or back of the puzzle?
It is up to you whether you glue the front or the back as both are equally effective. If you glue the front, you will need a piece of wax paper to slide beneath the puzzle. This prevents the glue from seeping through the cracks and sticking to the table.
If you glue the back, you will need contact paper to flip the puzzle over without it falling apart. Both are reliable methods but if you do choose to glue the front of the puzzle, it is even more essential that you choose an appropriate puzzle glue.
What is the best applicator for applying the glue?
A small piece of cardboard or a business card is a sufficient tool for applying the glue to your puzzle. Some of the glues on this list come with applicators, but they are typically too small to get the job done quickly.
Instead, we recommend pouring the product on the surface of your puzzle and spreading it evenly with a small piece of cardboard.
Should I choose a glue with a glossy or matte finish?
This is really a matter of preference. Glossy finishes are typically brighter and shinier than matte finishes, which aim to be as inconspicuous as possible.
If you have a colorful, vibrant puzzle for gluing, a glossy finish may help the colors really pop. If your puzzle is more neutral, a matte finish may be more attractive.
How do I prevent the glue from sticking to the table?
Even when your puzzle is complete, there are going to be slight cracks between the pieces. If you are working on a table, there is a chance that some of the glue will seep through.
If you are using a washable glue, you can simply peel your puzzle off the table with a ruler or spatula and then wipe the surface down.
If you are conscious not to make a mess on your work surface, a piece of wax or parchment paper can be slid beneath the finished puzzle to act as a barrier between the glue and your table.
How long does puzzle glue take to dry?
This really depends on your product. Typically, a fast-drying glue will take one or two hours to dry properly. Others may take up to four hours. Regardless, it is essential that you wait for the full length of time and test that the glue is dry before you transport your puzzle.
If you try to move the puzzle before the glue is fully dry, you risk interfering with the finish and ruining your hard work.