Old-school woodworkers typically use small pieces of molding or sharp tacks to connect wood and glass. But contemporary builders, aware of the rattling problem with the traditional method, difficulty with installation and the delicate nature of the molding and hardware, typically prefer silicone glue when fastening wood to glass.
Among the most common wood-to-glass installations are doors for china, curio and specialty cabinets and wood frames for mirrors and glass. Silicone glue is strong enough to hold solid countertops in place, and it works well for glass doors.
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Step 1: Clean It
Clean the recessed lip around the inside perimeter on the wooden frame. This 90-degree, 1/4-inch-wide wooden shelf supports the glass. Use a scraper or sandpaper to level the surface as much as possible. Clean off any remaining dust.
Step 2: Apply the Glue
Squeeze a pencil eraser-size dot of glue in each corner, with one additional dot between them.
Step 3: Place the Glass
Place the glass inside the door or frame, pressing it down gently with your fingertips to flatten the glue dots.
Step 4: Run a Bead
Squeeze a continuous bead, 3/16 to 1/4 inch in diameter, around the perimeter of the glass, ensuring that the bead comes into contact equally with the glass and wood.
Step 5: Cure It
Allow 24 hours for the glue to dry before using the door or frame.
Silicone glue is sticky. If you make a mess or your bead is imperfect, use a sharp chisel to cut off loose strands or scrape off smears after they dry.
If you're crafting or doing artwork, it's sometimes necessary to glue wood cutouts, letters, marquetry or molding directly to a glass mirror or plate.
Step 1: Clean the Glass
Clean the mirror or glass thoroughly with glass cleaner and a soft cloth.
Step 2: Prepare the Wood
Check the back surface of the wood molding, letter or other object. If you find any raised spots, debris or fibers, use 100-grit sandpaper to smooth, flatten or remove them.
Step 3: Apply the Glue
Squeeze a small amount of glue onto the back of the wood. Smear it around with a wet fingertip or swab to lightly cover the back of the wood.
Step 4: Press With Your Fingers
Carefully place the wood item on the glass, pushing it down to flatten the glue. Make adjustments for orientation if needed.
Use a soapy, wet fingertip to clean up small smears, or glue that may have oozed out from underneath the wood.
Step 5: Allow It to Dry
Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours before using the item.
Products and Properties
Here are the properties of several adhesive products, including silicone, that you can use to glue wood to glass.
- Dries clear.
- Initial stickiness or tack keeps items in place.
- Allows ample time for repositioning if needed.
- Stays flexible and stretchy.
- Flattens nicely.
- Dries in 40 minutes, cures in 72 hours.
- Is resistant to temperature fluctuations.
- Dries colored so it's easily visible, which can be a plus.
- Dries moderately hard in 30 minutes.
- Requires pressure or clamps.
- Swells when drying.
Two-Part Acrylic Epoxy
- Hardens within 20 minutes.
- Tolerates dirty, unprepared surfaces.
- Stays clear.
- Cures hard.
Adhesives can emit toxic fumes when curing. Use them only in well-ventilated areas. Rubber gloves are recommended.
Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.