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How to glue acrylic to wood

Updated July 19, 2017

Glass is often used to accent wooden furniture. Replacing glass with acrylic offers a stronger material with more impact resistance. You can use screws to mount acrylic to wood, but you risk cracking the acrylic when drilling through it. The easiest way to attach acrylic to wood is by using glue. Acrylic does expand and contract with temperature changes, so you must choose a glue with a small amount of flexibility to counteract this expansion and contraction.

Glue works by grabbing the surface it is applied to. The smoother the material, the harder it is to get the glue to adhere. Eclectic glues are formulated to adhere to extremely smooth surfaces, such as acrylic. Wood finishes, such as varnish and oil, can prevent the strongest glues from bonding. You have to prepare treated wood before applying the glue. If the wood is unfinished you can apply the glue directly to its surface. If the wood is finished, you need to prepare the surface by sanding or wiping it with a little acetone. Only prepare the area where you're applying glue.

Before applying the glue, position the acrylic to make sure it fits. This is important if you're replacing a glass cabinet face. The acrylic does not have to be prepared if using an eclectic glue. If the acrylic is being glued to a vertical surface (without any supports to hold it up) use the grease pencil to mark the acrylic's position. Clamps will hold the acrylic in place.

Applicator tips provide a narrow opening to control the flow of glue. Open the tube of glue and puncture the seal. Screw the applicator tip onto the tube. If gluing an acrylic panel into a cabinet frame with a lip, run a small bead of glue around the inside perimeter. Carefully place the acrylic into the frame. Use blue painter's masking tape to hold it in place. If gluing acrylic to a vertical surface, apply the glue to the wood in thin beads that are 2 inches apart. Line the acrylic up with your grease pencil marks and clamp.

Any excess glue can be peeled off after the glue dries. Do not try to remove the glue while it is still wet or tacky. This can cause the glue to spread out and become more difficult to remove. Allow the glue to set for 24 hours and you're done.

Tip

You can use two-part epoxy-based glues as long as they are rated for wood and plastic. A glue's thickness is also important since runny glue will drip. Only use thick glues.

Warning

Glues are formulated from chemicals that are often toxic. Make sure to read the warning label on the package before using the glue.

Things You'll Need

  • Eclectic glue
  • Applicator tip
  • Spring clamps
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Grease pencil
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Acetone
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About the Author

Hugh Patterson started writing poetry in 1978. He started writing fiction and non fiction in 2003. His work has appeared in "The Nervous Breakdown" magazine and a number of other literary journals. He also writes online book reviews. He studied chemistry and design at Ventura College and had a California Math and Science Teacher's Fellowship through the University of California Santa Barbara.