Can Elmer's Clear Glue be Used for Puzzles?

Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #1
I do a lot of puzzles over the winter up where I live. In the past, I've glued them and framed them after I was finished putting them together. After a while, I figured out how to frame them without gluing them together. My favorite brands are White Mountain Puzzles and Ravensburger. Both awesome brands.

When I first got into puzzling, I knew I really wanted to glue each puzzle together afterward. This was indisputable. There was no way I was going to spend all that time and effort putting a puzzle together and then just taking it apart to throw back in the box. There are too many incredibly nice looking puzzles in this world to put together to be doing these things twice or more. No thanks. Anyway, to glue them originally, I bought myself a big gallon jug of Elmer's Glue from Amazon. I forget how much it was, but I've been using it ever since. I like having lots of glue on hand so I don't run out. The thing is, when I use the regular white glue, it dries sort of hazy. I don't like that at all. The puzzles I glued with it look just okay, so from now on, I'd like to use a clear glue for the gluing.

I was just in Walmart and I was going to buy puzzle glue. I've seen videos of this stuff on YouTube and I like it because it dries crystal clear. When I was at the store though, I saw that it cost about $4.50 for a tiny bottle. Then I saw a big one quart bottle of Elmer's Washable Clear Glue for sale for about $10. They also sold a much smaller five ounce bottle for $1.77, but I thought I'd go with the big one, just in case I liked it.

Does anyone have experience with this clear glue? Is it good for gluing puzzles together? I bought some backer board too because I'm not going to be framing them anymore. Those frames cost me $20 each from Walmart and that's just too expensive for a puzzle, in my opinion. From now on, I'll use the clear glue for the front of the puzzle to hold it together and then the regular white glue to glue the back of the puzzle to the backer board.

I'm going to try this Elmer's Clear Glue on the puzzle this afternoon. I've got my fingers crossed. If you have any advice for how you glue your puzzles and frame them or glue them to backer board, please let me know your method. Or if you have any puzzle advice at all, I'd love to hear it.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #2
Well, it looks like success! I spread the Elmer's Clear Glue out with my finger all over the White Mountain puzzle and the result looks great. At first, I was a bit nervous, but the end product was stellar. Take a look at the puzzle before I used any glue at all. You can see how matte it is.

jigsaw-puzzle-before-glue.jpg

And now check out a shot after I spread the glue out all over it. Again, I drizzled the glue over the puzzle and then used my pointer finger to spread it around. I used to have a rubber squeegee, but I have no idea where I put that.

wet-elmers-clear-glue-puzzle.jpg

It looks a bit thick and goopy, doesn't it? That made me concerned. I was actually nervous about this, but after I checked out my test blob of this glue last night, I knew it would come out okay. The glue reduces in mass quite a bit. So if you pour a blob on something and let it dry over night, you'll end up with a clear circle that's very flat. So even though it appears that there's too much glue on the puzzle, there really isn't.

Take a look at the finished product.

dried-elmers-clear-glue-puzzle.jpg

Now that's what I'm talking about! The glue made the puzzle look very shiny, as if I sprayed it with polyurethane or something. Actually, that's not a bad idea for the future. I never thought of that. Anyway, as long as this stuff doesn't yellow or dry out and crack at all, it's what I'll be using from now on. Now to glue the puzzle to the backer board using the regular white Elmer's Glue. I'll keep you updated and maybe share a few photos of that as well. Also, take a look at the other pictures I took of this part of the process below.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #3
The puzzle has completely dried and this morning I'm noticing just how beautiful it is. This Elmer's Glue really did a great job. I haven't mounted it to the backer board yet and I'll certainly snap some photos of that, but I wanted to show you how nicely the clear coating is on the puzzle. Here are some photos. For an entire quart of this glue at Warmart for only $10, you can't beat it. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying "real" puzzle glue by Puzelworx, Modpodge, or CraZArt. What's the difference between all these products? I have no idea. I do know that the "real" glues cost about ten times as much.
 

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Phoenix1

Well-Known Member
  • #4
Okay, so when the clear glue had completely dried on the puzzle, I noticed that the top and bottom were beginning to warp upward and curl. Not too much, but it was there. I"m assuming that the glue shrinks as it dries and pulls the surface tight, which results in some curling. I let the glue dry for about a day and a half.

The next step was to glue it to some black foam backer board that I bought at Walmart. That board was perfectly flat and strait. I smeared some white Elmer's Glue out on the backer board with a small paint brush and then placed the puzzle down on the board and aligned it. I figured the stiffness of the board would straighten the warp out of the puzzle. To keep everything flat as it dried, I stacked many books on top of everything.

The day after I glued the puzzle to the board, I lifted the books to see a perfectly flat and shiny puzzle mounted to the board. It was great, so I hung it up on the wall.

Fast forward one day. I looked at the puzzle that was hanging from some clips on the wall and was horrified to see that the entire thing had about an inch curl on the top and bottom edges. Actually, it looked like a big potato chip. I looked online to see what I could do and learned that if I spread a coating of glue on the backside of the backer board, the new curling would counter the original curling. So that's what I just did about an hour ago. I can already see that the puzzle is laying flat again, but I'm concerned that it's going to warp the other way. Only time will tell.

I'll update this post with the result of this latest endeavor.
 
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