Gluing irregular shaped objects¬†to another surface

I received this question today:

Jane, thanks for the tip on your glue preference. On that subject, would you have a recommendation on gluing or affixing an irregular shape without much flat surface to a perfectly flat surface? Does that make sense? I’m trying to figure out how to affix part of a horseshoe crab to a wooden box. Thanks for any tip you might have.

My answer:

I’m not an expert, but lately I’ve used Bond 527 mult-purpose cement. It’s really drippy, doesn’t dry quickly (even though is says it does on the package), but if you’re patient it will work on may different surfaces.

I’ve inserted dowels into objects that I’ve drilled a hole into, then drill a hole into the surface and connect the pieces using this cement. For small objects I’ve used match sticks or toothpicks as the dowel. For really, really small objects, I’ve used straight pins or wire, drilling tiny holes with my Dremel, and connecting the two surfaces together.

I’ve glued a small piece of mat board or wood to the back of the object, then glued the object to the surface.

Many times there are gaps that I don’t like after gluing. I’ve used Paperclay or plastic wood filler to fill the gaps, then sand it down when it dries. If you want a shiny surface, paint a varnish over the area.

As I said, I’m not an expert, but I do a lot of experimenting with different kinds of glues. Be careful, and read the warning labels, some of this stuff is really strong and could possibly be harmful. Also, be careful about mixing the different glues.

Here’s a good site all about glues called “This to That”

Hope this helps!


I use a lot of different kinds of glue. For collage I like to use wallpaper paste. It dries slowly, and I’m able to reposition pieces if I want to. Also, if you want to lift something after the paste dries, you can add water to the area, and in most cases you can lift the paper without damaging the surface or the paper piece.

After the paste dries you can draw or paint on it. Use regular wallpaper paste, the paste you use for borders is like a glue, and you aren’t able to draw on it easily.

I will also use PVA glue, and acrylic matte medium at times.

New Assemblages

Ok, the collages are on the back burner for a bit until I get going on these assemblages. I thought I’d concentrate on a circus theme. I’m having way too much fun making these characters. So far no injuries from using my Dremel, hand saws, screw drivers, hammers (I did hit my thumb pretty hard!), clamps, awls, drills…. and only a little asphyxiation from the glues, paints, and other chemicals I’ve used so far.

Circus Assemblage

Update for The Arts Map

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