If you love your finished puzzle too much to dismantle it, gluing the pieces together is a great way to turn your puzzle into a wall display. By securing the pieces in place, your puzzle will be transformed from something temporary into something beautifully permanent.
Fortunately, gluing a 1,000+ piece puzzle is far less time-consuming than the process of putting the pieces together. The process is simple, affordable, and adds even more fun to puzzling as a hobby.
Before the gluing process can begin, however, you need to decide which method you are going to choose for your creation to manifest.
Do You Glue the Front or the Back of a Puzzle?
There are different ways you can approach the task of gluing your puzzle but we deem the method outlined below to be the most effective. For this method, it is not required that you flip your puzzle so the pieces are face down. You can apply the glue directly to the front of the puzzle.
If you are going to apply glue to the front of the puzzle, you will need wax or parchment paper in addition to your mod podge or special puzzle glue. This paper acts as a protective layer between your glue and your work surface.
It is possible for the glue to slip through the cracks and the last thing you want is for your puzzle to become stuck to your table. Hence why it is essential that you do not pass on the wax or parchment paper.
The great thing about this type of paper is that it can be easily slid beneath the puzzle. If you are nervous about flipping or lifting the puzzle, this is a great method as there is minimal risk of it falling apart. Make sure that the paper you choose is a couple of inches wider than the puzzle itself.
Once the paper has been slotted under the puzzle, use a rolling pin to flatten the puzzle as much as possible. This is done to ensure a smooth, undisturbed finish. Be firm but gentle with the rolling so that none of the pieces are lifted up or become undone in the process.
Now that the puzzle is flat on the parchment paper, it is ready for gluing. Pour the glue on top of the puzzle and then use a piece of cardboard or brush to spread the glue evenly across the puzzle. Make sure you go right to the edges and cover all of the pieces.
When you pour the glue on your puzzle, be careful not to be overgenerous. If you oversaturate the puzzle, the pieces may become soggy or peel. That said, do make sure the puzzle is sufficiently covered as you don’t want any pieces to be loose.
At this stage, do not be too concerned about what the puzzle image looks like. You may be worried about air bubbles or thick splodges but when the puzzle dries, the glue will shrink.
This is why it is important you buy special puzzle glue as it is designed to result in a clear finish. If you use generic glue, you are better off gluing the back of the puzzle than the front as the glue may dry unattractively on the front of your puzzle and obscure the image.
Finally, wait patiently until the puzzle is completely dry. You should now be able to lift the puzzle from the parchment paper and easily move it over to your frame or directly onto your wall.
How Do You Glue The Back of a Puzzle?
If you feel more comfortable gluing the back of the puzzle, there is an alternative method you can use. This method is attractive if you are concerned you do not have a clear finish puzzle glue and are worried about spoiling the image on the front.
The downside of gluing the back of your puzzle is that it will require flipping over. The simplest way to do this is by applying clear contact paper to the front of the puzzle. Make sure that the contact paper is firmly pressed on every section of the puzzle.
Once the surface area is properly covered, you can quite easily flip the puzzle face down onto your work surface. The remainder of the process is similar to as if you are gluing the front of the puzzle.
Again, make sure the glue is completely dry before you try to move it.
Could I Glue the Front and the Back?
There are certainly benefits to gluing both the front and back of your puzzle. Gluing both sides will mean the finished result is stronger and more stable. If you are planning on hanging the puzzle directly on your wall, applying glue to both sides is not a bad idea.
If you do choose to glue both sides, we recommend starting by working on the front. This is because it will make the process of flipping the puzzle far simpler. Once the glue has dried, you should easily be able to pick up the puzzle and turn it upsidedown with your hands.
If the puzzle is particularly large, slide a piece of the stiff card beneath your puzzle to provide extra stability when you flip it.
When you glue the back of the puzzle, make sure you don’t forget to reuse the wax or parchment paper. It is unlikely, but the glue may still slip through any remaining cracks. If the glue causes the puzzle to stick to the parchment paper, a spatula or ruler works brilliantly for separating the two.