In my projects, I often wish to affix a piece of paper to a more rigid material, like cardboard, and to do so using relatively large sheets of paper (say, around a square foot or two). However, I find that it is very difficult to get the paper to lay flat after placing glue on it.

Are there specific types of adhesives or techniques for applying glue that minimize the amount of wrinkling caused?

I understand that the wrinkles are caused by the paper expanding when it is exposed to moisture. Thus, I've tried to minimize the amount of glue I use, as well as tried letting the paper sit for a bit with the glue before placing in against the other surface to give an opportunity to expand beforehand, but still haven't gotten a good result. I've tried using wallpaper paste, PVA glue, and wood glue for this purpose, but the results seem very similar with each.

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    Spray adhesives have worked well for me. The ones that come in a can like spray paint. Apr 22, 2017 at 3:05
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    It's all in the glue. I also recommend using spray adhesive, but if you can't, try to find non-water-based glue - many glues do not specify water content on the label, so you are in for a trial-and-error process. In addition, after positioning your paper with the adhesive, you can cover it with a piece of paper you don't need and go over the entire surface with a hand-roller).
    – Don_S
    Apr 23, 2017 at 8:16

10 Answers 10


I have a small project where I make name blocks for kids. I basically glue some paper to a painted 2x4 (craft paper, wallpaper samples... I reuse what ever I find). I had a similar problem. No matter what paper I was using. My process involves using Mod Podge as my adhesive agent.

What I do now to try and stop the wrinkles is hang the paper from a line or string and use an acrylic spray to stiffen the paper. One light coat on both sides.

Now when I glue that to my block it doesn't buckle


Use SprayMount, or similar - it is formulated for exactly this purpose: fixing paper to cardboard.

What you do is place your artwork face down on a piece of newspaper, spray a single, thin coat on the back, then place it onto the cardboard. It dries almost instantly, so there is no wrinkling, while still giving very good, invisible adhesion. There are some varieties which are repositionable/removable too!

  • Back in the days when cutting and pasting involved scissors and glue, you could get rubber cement applicators that would quickly cover a whole sheet - basically, it did it so quickly that the paper didn't have a chance to wrinkle. Nowadays, though, the spray adhesive method is probably the way to go.
    – Martha
    May 30, 2016 at 3:54

Try using Glue Tape it is not really wet like standard glue its more of a thin gel strip. This works wonderfully. If you have to glue a large number and in a huge area this is probably not cost effective but if you are just doing a few and don't really need a lot of adhesive this is the crafter's sliced bread!

For your project I suspect it will be perfect. You can find them anywhere that sells craft supplies.


Two things you can do to avoid this problem.

  1. Spray your paper with Acrylic sealer - Spray both sides of the paper several times and allow to dry. sealers acts as a makeshift barrier.
  2. You can mist the paper with water - This is especially important with thinner papers,then also use a roller.

If you do need to use glue, what I would do is use an ice cream stick to evenly spread a layer of glue over the paper, and when sticking it to the cardboard, use another ice cream stick to make sure that it is nice and flat.


I had the same problem sticking computer paper to cardstock for a project I was making and became very frustrated because I had spent a lot of time coloring and designing it and had to start all over again. Just use double sided tape! It is so easy!


Spray adhesive like Super 77 works best for large sheets. (if you need it permanent... otherwise there are repositionable spray adhesives) Don't put down the entire sheet all at once, start with one edge and tack it down evenly using something to smooth it down as you slowly lower the rest of it down onto the surface. Just make sure to smooth it continuously as you go, removing any air bubbles or wrinkles.


What I do is use acrylic medium - apply it to BOTH the back of the paper and the cardboard you want to glue the paper on. Then carefully apply & push away bubbles.

Use gloss medium - and if the result should not be glossy, seal with mat medium at the very end.


I would suggest spray adhesive. It gives an even coat and is not too wet.

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    Another answer already mentions spray adhesive; if you can expand on your answer so that it adds something new it would be greatly improved.
    – walrus
    Aug 6, 2018 at 7:34

After you evenly apply the glue gently start to apply the paper from one corner using something with a flat side as if you were trying to carefully squeegee water off of a glass window. This trick may not work with thinner paper, but you can use it from small to large projects. Depending on the material you are using, you can also use a Xacto knife to make a very tiny slit and gently squeeze the excess air out if you do find any bubbles or wrinkles before the glue dries. This works with most glues as long as you're not using too much and it's applied evenly.

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