Gluing Plastic To Wood (The Best Way)

It can be difficult knowing which type of glue to use for a DIY project or repair when working with two very different materials. The properties of wood and plastic are so contrasting that might struggle to figure out which is the best type of glue to stick them together. But, there has to be some way that you reattach plastic pieces to a wooden base or fix that toy with a combination of materials. 

Below are some examples of the best glue for gluing plastic to wood, as well as some important tips on how to glue plastic to wood. One of this should, hopefully, prove to be effective for your needs.

What Is the Best Glue for Gluing Plastic to Wood?

There are various options out there for sticking plastic to wood and the best option may depend on circumstance. For example, while I may not recommend some options as much as others, you may find they are perfect for your situation. Superglue, hot glue, and Epoxy glue are common options, with some people also liking cement glue. Your choice can depend on the properties of your materials and safety concerns about the glue and related tools. 

Does Wood Glue Stick to Plastic?

You might decide to get hold of some wood glue and try that, especially if there is some around in your garage. Wood glue is perfect for bonding wood to wood because it is so effective on that porous material. You aren’t going to get the same effect when applying the glue to a non-porous plastic. Instead, you need to use one of the options below. 

Gluing Wood to Plastic with Super Glue

Super glue is an obvious place to start in some ways because we turn to it for so much. However, it is so common that you may have overlooked it for specialist plastic to wood bonding. Super glue has brilliant bonding properties when used properly and you can get a really good result with high-end products like Gorilla Glue and Loctite. These accessible products are typically user-friendly for repairs with small bottles and great application tools. There are fewer worries with super glue than the other options below. But that doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to be your best choice. 

Bonding Plastic to Wood with Hot Glue

Hot Glue seems like so much more of a drastic step than super glue because it is far from convenient and user-friendly. You need to set up the gun, get the glue stick, and apply the hot glue in a safe and effective way for a good bond. Still, a good glue gun and the best high-temperature glue sticks can work really well on plastic and wood. So, if you have the confidence to use a glue gun and the patience to deal with the set-up and any mess, this could work well for you. 

Gluing Plastic to Wood with Epoxy

Epoxies can seem like even more hassle than glue guns at first. But, once you get used to how they work, they are actually a simple and effective solution. All you need to do is much the resin glue substance with a hardener and then apply the glue to your material. Then stick them together and wait. The mixing process isn’t too bad if you have a small measuring cup and a little implement to mix the materials together. Just be sure to work quickly before the hardener takes effect too much. If in doubt, try looking for a one-part, pre-made epoxy solution for the same result but less of the hassle. 

Sticking Wood to Plastic with Cement Glue

The final option for consideration here is cement glue. There are some people with experience of using cement glue that say it is perfect for any big project with wood and plastic because you get such a strong bond at the end. However, there is a lot of work that has to go into the preparation and application of this material. It is worth checking out cement glue and reading up on it further if you have some serious projects in mind, but it seems like hard work if you know that something like epoxy or super glue will do the job just as well. 

Important Tips on How to Glue Plastic to Wood

Finding the best glue for gluing plastic to wood is just the starting point here. The result that you get will also depend on some other important factors, such as the way you prep the materials and the setting time. There are also crucial considerations about health and safety that could have an impact on your decision. 

Preparing Your Wood for Gluing

First of all, you need to be sure that the wood in question is ready for bonding. If you have a wooden base for your plastic element, it needs to hold the glue well to then hold the plastic in place for years to come. The type of wood used will affect the type of glue. A more porous wood could absorb some glues before it has a chance to set. You also want to be sure that the wood is in good condition. It needs to be clean and dry. Dust it off, rub it down with rubbing alcohol to remove oils, and make sure it is fully dry.

Preparing Your Plastic for Gluing

It is also a good idea to make sure that the plastic is in the best possible condition for bonding for a better chance of a strong hold. Remember that why you apply your glue, you will do so to both surfaces and then bring them together. You want as good a hold on the plastic as the wood. 

A good way to increase the likelihood of the glue sticking to the plastic is to roughen up the texture. You don’t need to go mad here and do anything that might risk causing noticeable damage to the piece. But a light rub with fine sandpaper could help. This should provide a better surface area on the plastic for the glue to latch on to. Once sanding down, wipe it down and make sure it is clean and ready for bonding.

Give the Glue Enough Time to Set

This is another common problem with this sort of project. You will see on the instructions for a lot of the best glues that they set very quickly. Some super glue brands take just seconds to form a bond. But there is a difference between this bond and the glue fully hardening and setting.

Just because the two pieces don’t come apart after 30 seconds, that doesn’t mean that it is ready. For some, you may need to wait a few hours before handling the piece. For others, it might be better to leave it overnight or wait for a full 24-hours to be safe. It is better to be cautious rather than risk messing up the project or repair – especially if this is an important or sentimental item.

Health and Safety Considerations for Bonding Plastic to Wood

Health and safety are important with any of these products and projects. Most glues come with risks of toxicity through ingestion or inhalation, and it is a good idea to work in ventilated areas and wear gloves. You may decide not to use gloves with a little tube of superglue, but this can bond skin very quickly. If you do get glue on your skin, acetone in nail polish remover works very well.

These toxicity risks are an issue with the intensive methods of hot glue and cement glue. Hot glue also brings all the additional risks of working with high heat and electrical appliances. Whatever glue you use, make sure you work in a safe area and work as carefully as possible. Keep children and pets away from the area and keep all unused glue out of their reach. 

What Is the Best Glue for Gluing Wood to Plastic?

There are plenty of options here if you have an important repair or mixed-media project in mind. The best recommendation depends on the circumstances. Large-scale projects that require a strong bond may benefit from the hot glue approach as long as you are confident in using the gun and have the best glue stick. You should be able to work on bigger pieces and get the result you need. Glue guns are also great if this is going to be an ongoing thing. Smaller occasional repairs are probably better off with a gel superglue in a user-friendly applicator. They are no-nonsense solutions we can all handle. The epoxy glue also has great potential as long as you are prepared for the preparation method.

Just be aware that what works for one person, or for a previous project, might not work for you right now. There are variables in the properties of the wood and plastic as well as the type of fix you want that could mean you end up with a different solution than normal.