This tutorial on how to glue a puzzle uses a simple & inexpensive puzzle glue formula (Mod Podge) to preserve the puzzle pieces together permanently. See how to hang puzzles without a frame for inexpensive decor!
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Alright, today's post is a little different than my normal content - but it's a really useful DIY that can actually be used as a pretty (and meaningful) decoration in some of the family spaces of your home!
When the pandemic started, our family passed the time by doing a lot of jigsaw puzzles. It's a fun and inexpensive distraction that, at our kids' ages, the whole family could do. I hated to put all of that work into a puzzle just to tear it apart - so we figured out a way to save them forever!
Since then, we've done a couple dozen puzzles and turned that hard work into a really pretty and unique display in the craft room.
Gluing the puzzles together is actually a really easy process. You only need a few craft supplies (that you might just already have around your home).
Supplies needed to Glue a Puzzle Together
Step 2: Brush Mod Podge onto the front of the puzzle.
Pour Mod Podge onto your puzzle and get to brushing over the whole puzzle!
Think of this process kind of like grouting tile. You're trying to get the Mod Podge to fill in the gap between the puzzle pieces as much as possible, with as little as possible on the puzzle's surface. This will bond the puzzle pieces together without making the surface of the puzzle too cloudly.
If you put too much glue on your puzzle, it will take forever to dry and can possibly warp the cardboard of the puzzle. Nobody wants that mess! Less is more...you can always add if needed. For a standard puzzle, about ¼ of a cup of Mod Podge is plenty.
You can see how it fills the gap between the pieces a little bit more in this picture. As you brush, make sure the thin coat on top of the pieces is even. It's going to be kind of cloudy when wet - it will dry clear as long as it's just a thin coat of adhesive.
If you find yourself with too much excess glue, your can gently brush it off with the sponge brush. Just make sure to keep that coat on the puzzle pieces even.
Step 3: Apply a second coat of Mod Podge.
Allow the first coat of Mod Podge to dry for 30 minutes to an hour, then apply a second thin layer to make sure all of the gaps in the puzzle pieces are filled.
(If you're in a pinch and don't have a ton of Mod Podge, one coat is fine. The second coat just makes it more sturdy.)
Step 4: Flip puzzle to the back and glue (again).
Once your two front coats are dry, gently use your hand to peel up the puzzle if it has stuck to any part of your work area. Flip the entire puzzle over...
(Yes I know there's a piece missing. Yes it bothers me.)
...and follow the same "grout gluing" process on the back of the puzzle. Use your Mod Podge to brush as much as possible in between the pieces on the back, keeping the coats even and thin.
Step 5: Apply a second coat to the back and dry.
Allow the first coat of craft glue to dry, then apply a second coat the same way. On the back of the puzzle, you don't have to brush the Mod Podge completely to the edges...that way, the puzzles are less likely to stick to your work surface at the edges.
Let your glued puzzles dry overnight before attempting to hang them.
And that's it! Super simple, right?
A Note About Different Types of Glue
Now, if you read any given tutorial on how to glue a puzzle, you'll see a different type of puzzle preservation method used. If you'd really like to buy the special Mod Podge Puzzle Saver glue, go for it - but it's about 3x the price of standard Mod Podge and doesn't really make a significant difference.
Some will suggest using spray-on adhesives. I don't recommend this; it's just really difficult for that spray adhesive to get in the nooks and crannies of the puzzle pieces. You would have to go over the puzzle many, many times to get those pieces to stick together. It sounds easier; don't be fooled! Liquid glue is the way to go.
Another option that does work is using glue sheets. These are super-sticky sheets that go on the back of a puzzle, effectively holding the pieces together. This does work, but it gets pricey; you're going to pay $3-4 per puzzle to use this method. Mod Podge is $4ish per bottle and one bottle will cover dozens of puzzles.
There are plenty of different puzzle gluing methods; this one is the way to go if you're looking for a combination of quality and price.
How to Hang Your Preserved Puzzle
Now, let's display those pretty puzzles!
These are perfect in a playroom, craft room, or office. We have a whole wall (next to our Murphy bed cabinet) that's dedicated to displaying our finished puzzles. You don't need any kind of frame to display finished puzzles - just stick them on the wall!
(This picture was waaayy harder to take than I thought it would be - sorry about the quality!)
I use a combination of picture hanging strips and tack putty to hang my finished puzzles. We learned the hard way that the tack putty alone doesn't cut it in our humid climate - we had to pull out the big guns.
Place a couple of double-sided adhesive strips on the back of your puzzle with the removal tabs pointing up. This way, if you're ever ready to remove the puzzles from the wall, you can gently pull the top of the puzzle back to expose the tabs and remove them without damaging your wall. After the strips, place tack putty in the middle and on the bottom to secure everything to the wall.
How to Glue a Puzzle FAQs
Using this method to glue a puzzle together? I'd love to see it! Tag me on social media (@lambertslately) with your results. 🧩