How to glue paper to wood for art

Updated November 21, 2016

There are so many different adhesives that choosing the right glue can prove a bit of a challenge. Paper is particularly tricky, because the wrong kind of glue will damage it permanently. When gluing wood to paper, a lot depends on the type of project you are carrying out.

Sand the wood, if necessary, to prepare it for the project. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth. If desired, you can paint the wood a base colour with acrylic or latex paint.

Use PVA wood glue if you are decoupaging on wood or wrapping the wood in paper. For decoupage, a clear-drying PVA glue also can be brushed on the finished product as a sealer. If you are mounting an important or delicate piece of paper on to wood, select an acrylic-based spray or a starch-based paste to prevent wrinkling as the glue dries.

Trim the paper to the correct size.

Spread the glue on the surface of the wood. If you are using spray glue, spray it on the back of the paper.

Place the paper on top of the wood. Position one edge or corner of the paper exactly where you want it, then smooth it with your hand until the entire piece is in contact with the wood. Avoid wrinkles by smoothing it outward towards the edges. Do not tug or try to stretch it, because it's more likely to tear than stretch.

Roll over the paper with a brayer, a small craft roller that smooths and flattens. Again, work from the centre, rolling towards the edges to push out air bubbles and wrinkles.

Allow the paper to dry. Brush on another clear coat of PVA glue or apply varnish to protect the surface of the paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Damp cloth
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush or sponge applicator
  • Glue
  • Paper trimmer, scissors or craft knife
  • Brayer
  • Varnish
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