How to Glue Wood: Cosplay Adhesive Guide

Because cosplay involves making such a wide range of costume elements and items, the entire process can become a big mash-up of many different crafts in one. For instance, some cosplayers decide to get into sewing, sculpting, and metalworking in order to add different effects to their cosplays. Today, we’re talking about the cosplayers that get into woodworking in order to make stronger or more realistic props and other decorative elements. However, sometimes it’s much easier to glue wood together rather than using actual woodworking joinery.

Thankfully, cosplayers have several different glue options to choose from when it comes to working with woods like plywood and balsa. In this post, we’ll explain how to glue wood for cosplay props and elements as well as how to bond wood to other cosplay materials.

Best Cosplay Glues for Wood

Cosplayer applying wood glue to piece of plywood

  1. Wood glue: Of course, one of the best choices for gluing wood is the one with “wood” in the name. Wood glue is designed to get deep into the grain of wood in order to bond extremely tightly to its texture. It’s best for joining multiple pieces of wood together, and is one of the glues on this list that’s actually strong enough to bond angled joints together. All you need to do is apply the glue to both wooden surfaces and stick them together.
  2. Double-sided Attach & Build sheets: Another strong adhesive that works well for bonding flat layers of wood or small wooden details is double-stick Attach & Build. Attach & Build is a no mess, no fumes, instant peel and stick adhesive that’s incredibly easy to apply in any workspace. If you don’t have time to wait for glue to dry or you’re working indoors without proper ventilation for toxic fumes, Attach & Build is a perfect solution. You can cut the double-sided sheet to any size or shape you need, then just peel, stick, and adhere.
  3. Contact cement: Contact cement is another glue option when you’re working with wood. It’ll give you one of the strongest, most permanent bonds possible and won’t eat through the wood. However, contact cement is seriously toxic and should only be used with extreme caution with a mask and/or in a well-ventilated area. If you have the space and equipment to work with contact cement, it’s probably best used for larger wooden construction rather than small details and elements.

    Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks for cosplay

  4. Hot glue: Hot glue might be one of the quickest ways to glue wooden elements for your cosplay. While hot glue could work for larger applications like stacking flat wooden pieces on top of each other, that would probably take a lot of hot glue. Instead, hot glue is probably a better choice for attaching smaller wooden pieces to your costume pieces, like buttons, decorations, etc.
  5. Extra-strength spray glue: Finally, extra-strength spray glue can work with wood in a pinch. Spray glue is best for covering large surface areas in a short amount of time. When you’re working with wood, spray glue might be a decent option for stacking boards on top of each other for thicker props or objects, especially if you’re planning on covering the wood with paint or another material that can add extra adhesive strength.

Gluing Wood to Other Cosplay Materials

While wood is an increasingly popular material for cosplay, especially among prop builders, it’s often used in combination with other materials. If you’re not as experienced with traditional woodworking, a simpler way to make good use of wood in your cosplay is as a base material to build on top of. Wood is strong and stiff, making it a great option for building large props that need to hold their shape. Once the basic shape is made out of wood, you can cover that shape with another material that you want to paint and detail, like EVA foam, insulation foam, fabric, thermoplastic, and more.

However, those types of applications can get a little more tricky when it comes to adhesives. You’ll need to make sure you’re choosing a glue that will react well with both the wood and your topper material. In these cases, one of the easiest solutions is Attach & Build double-sided sheets. Attach & Build is compatible with all the most common cosplay materials, so it’s always a safe bet when working with multiple materials. However, something like contact cement or hot glue are also fairly widely applicable, and your choice may depend on the end result you’re looking for. Your best bet is to research your adhesives beforehand to make sure you have glues that will work with the process you have in mind.