How To: Glue a Jigsaw Puzzle
We've written about how to glue a jigsaw puzzle before, but it's been a few years and we know that that means that we have a new population of jigsaw puzzle fans! Welcome, new puzzlers! Gluing jigsaw puzzles is fun, easy, and affordable, and we're excited to share with you how to do it. Often, we choose jigsaw puzzles because we like the artwork featured, whether it's a cute puppy scene or a piece of fine art we know and love. By gluing a jigsaw puzzle, we get to display art we admire and show off our hard work.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1. Wax or parchment paper 2. A puzzle you love 3. Puzzle glue 4. A jigsaw puzzle frame, if you desire to frame it after gluing
STEP 1: Pick a puzzle you'll be happy to see over and over again (and a puzzle that you won't miss completing over and over again!)
STEP 2: Get some wax or parchment paper that has an extra inch around all sides of your puzzle to keep your craft area neat and tidy from any glue spills. So, for example, if you were doing a 1000 piece SunsOut puzzle that's 27" x 35", then you'll want your paper to be about 29" x 37". If you've decided you want to glue a puzzle after you've finished, no problem! Carefully slide the paper underneath your puzzle. You'll probably need an extra set of hands to keep the puzzle in place while you slide the paper underneath, but the final results should be the same!
STEP 3: Decide which type of puzzle glue you'll be using. You can make your own using our step-by-step guide, or you can purchase puzzle glue from popular brands like Ravensburger, SunsOut, Springbok or MasterPieces.
Ravensburger Puzzle Glue - $3.99
SunsOut Puzzle Preserver - $3.99
Springbok Puzzle Saver - $4.95
MasterPieces Jigsaw Puzzle Glue - $3.99
We carry several types of puzzle preservers on our website--and there are even more out there, like spray-ons and powder--but we prefer liquid glue. Liquid glue has no presentation and it's easier to apply, especially with the special applicator that MasterPieces provides with their puzzle glue.
SunsOut glue is known especially for going on white like Elmers but drying totally clear. One customer commented, "This is the best glue I have found for preserving a puzzle. I have tried different ones over the years, but none cover so well and so clear! Thanks again for another great product!" If you decide to go a different route, such as using Educa's powder glue, just make sure to read the instructions so you don't waste part of the powder or ruin a beloved puzzle! If possible, choose glue made by the same manufacturer as your puzzle.
This will ensure good results because the manufacturer has designed it to make their puzzles look good. Glue packaging will indicate the size and number of puzzles it will cover. An average 4 oz. bottle should cover about two 1000 piece puzzles, and even more if you have a fewer pieces.
STEP 4: Once you finish your puzzle, make sure it's as flat and smooth as possible with all pieces fitting in perfectly snug. One clever trick is to use a rolling pin!
STEP 5: You’re ready to spread the glue! Make sure you have enough time to put your full attention to finishing the gluing process--you wan't want to stop in the middle or it won't come out as well. The easiest way to glue your puzzle is to actually pour the glue right on top of the puzzle and then use a piece of cardboard or a business card (or with an applicator if it is provided) to spread the glue around. There is typically a brush attached to the bottle cap and you will use that to spread the glue along the edges of the puzzle.
STEP 6: Cover all the pieces thoroughly. Don't worry about the immediate look. Once the glue dries, it will look different (and better!) There may be small air bubbles, but these should shrink on their own in the drying process leaving a nice, even finish.
CAUTION: Don't brush or sponge on too much glue at once to avoid saturating the puzzle, causing swelling or peeling.
STEP 7: Wait, and then wait some more. Before handling your puzzle, you'll want to ensure your puzzle has dried completely. For some glues, this will be up to 4 hours, but the average is about 2 hours. Better to be safe than sorry, though!
STEP 8: You should be able to pick up your puzzle after the full 2-4 hours. A ruler or a spatula can be used as tools to help separate the paper from the puzzle.
STEP 9: You can do what you like with your puzzle after you glue it, but we recommend hanging it to put on display in the nicest way possible. We also have some handy instructions on how to frame your jigsaw puzzles.