Wood project: how to glue photos to a coffee table

Written by matt koble
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Is your drab coffee table getting you down? If so, there is a simple and fun way to personalise that coffee table to hold all your family's favourite memories. Making a coffee table collage by gluing pictures to an old coffee table will bring new life to the table and provide an entertaining trip down memory lane for you and your family. The process itself is simple enough that you can even include the kids; they'll definitely enjoy it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Coffee table
  • Sand paper
  • Wood glue
  • Clear acrylic sealer
  • Photographs
  • Paint brush

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    Coffee Table Collage

  1. 1

    Sand the coffee table to make the surface as smooth as possible. A light hand sanding is enough in all but the most extreme cases. Once the table has been sanded, dispose of the shavings and run your hands over the tabletop to make sure it is completely smooth.

  2. 2

    Arrange your photos on the table in various ways to figure out which layout suits you best. You can take a picture of your set-up to make sure you stick to the plan, if you so choose. If you aren't picky about the arrangement of the photos on the coffee table, you can skip this step.

  3. 3

    Brush your wood glue on the back of your first photo using your paint brush. To avoid bubbling, running and wetness to the picture, do not overdo the glue. Use a few drops, then spread it with the paint brush instead of pouring a bunch of the glue onto the back of the picture.

  4. 4

    Place the glued side of the photo down on the coffee table. Do this with each picture until the tabletop is full or you have as many pictures as you want. Allow the glue to dry for anywhere between a few hours and a day, depending on the glue you use and how much of it is used.

  5. 5

    Spray or brush your clear acrylic sealer over the photos. Beforehand, choose how glossy you would like the surface to be and buy a corresponding sealer. You may want to use a brush sponge on this step to avoid running and streaking. Otherwise just be careful to avoid these mistakes. Let it dry and you're done.

Tips and warnings

  • If it turns out you are unsatisfied with the finish you used and want something either more glossy or less glossy, you can sand the finish down a bit and reapply the clear coat of finish. Just be careful and sand lightly so as not to damage the photos.
  • Supervise any portion of the process you include children in. Leaving them alone with some of these materials could be hazardous, so try to use nontoxic paints and finishes when children are involved.

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