Attaching fabric to wood can be a great way to upcycle a piece of furniture or create your own unique and personalized projects. The best way to attach fabric to wood is with glue, but you can’t use just any type of glue or the fabric won’t stick. That’s why I’ve created this guide to teach you how to glue fabric to wood properly.
First, you’ll want to make sure that you use glue designed for fabrics, as fabric glue ensures that the fabric will stick without damaging it. You’ll also want to prepare the surface of the wood by sanding and cleaning it first. Then, all that’s left to do is glue the fabric to the wood.
In this article, I’ll share the best type of glue to use for attaching fabric to wood. I’ll also provide steps for gluing fabric to wood to ensure that the fabric sticks to the wood and won’t come off over time.
Can You Glue Fabric to Wood?
If you’ve ever tried to glue fabric to anything with just normal craft glue, you’ve probably noticed that it doesn’t stick well, even on smooth surfaces. With materials such as wood, it can be harder to get the fabric to stick due to the uneven surface of the wood.
But, fabric can be glued to wood as long as you use the right type of glue. Normal craft glue is not made to work on fabric, so it may not stick as well. You will need to use glue made for fabrics if you want it to stick.
However, you will also need to prepare the wood first to even out the surface as much as possible. Sanding the wood creates a nice, even surface so that the glue will adhere better. You will also need to clean the wood to make sure that there is no dust or dirt on its surface, which can also interfere with the glue sticking.
What is the Best Glue for Fabric to Wood?
The basic matte Mod Podge will work, but Mod Podge made especially for fabrics will be the most effective. Mod Podge is also the easiest glue to apply, as you can apply it with a brush without making a mess.
Especially if you’re making over a piece of furniture with fabric, Mod Podge is the best because it will also be the most permanent. And since it is so easily applied, it is great for larger projects or adhering larger pieces of fabric to wood.
How to Glue Fabric to Wood with Mod Podge
Now that you know what type of glue to use remember that gluing fabric to wood effectively doesn’t just require using the right glue. You will also need to know how to prepare the wood so that the Mod Podge sticks not only to the fabric but also to the wood. Follow these steps to learn how to glue fabric to wood with Mod Podge.
Before we begin, here are the things you’ll need:
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Microfiber cloth
- Measuring tape
- Foam paintbrush
- Mod Podge
Sand the Wood
The first thing that you’ll want to do is sand the wood with fine-grit sandpaper (between 100-200 grit). You want to make the surface as even in texture as possible and remove any finishes from treated wood. An uneven surface or wood finish can cause the glue not to stick.
Run the sandpaper back and forth over the wood until the surface feels as smooth as possible. Then, use a paper towel to wipe off any dust as a result of sanding.
Clean the Wood
Next, you’ll want to clean the wood to remove any dirt and oils as well as any leftover dust from sanding. Then, to clean the wood, wet microfiber cloth and wring out any excess water so that the cloth is damp. You don’t want to make the cloth too wet because it will take the wood longer to dry. Then, just wipe the surface of the wood with the rag.
Let the Wood Dry
After cleaning the wood, make sure you give it plenty of time to dry. The glue might not stick if the surface of the wood is too wet. How long the wood takes to dry depends on how wet the rag was and how much you wiped it down. It could be dry in less than an hour or take a few hours to dry fully.
Measure and Cut Fabric
Once the wood has dried, you’ll want to measure and cut your fabric. Do this before you apply the Mod Podge. That way, once you apply the Mod Podge, you can just stick the fabric down.
There are two ways to measure the fabric. The first way is to use a measuring tape to measure the wood and then transfer those measurements to the fabric. The second way is to lay the fabric directly on top of the wood with the inside of the fabric facing up and use a pencil to mark where you need to cut.
No matter which way you measure the fabric, it is a good idea to add an extra inch to your measurements on all sides. That way, you can ensure that you have enough fabric to cover the fabric if you accidentally measured or cut it wrong. Finally, cut the fabric using your measurements.
Apply Mod Podge
Use the foam brush to apply the Mod Podge to the wood, starting with the outside edges and working your way toward the middle. The reason for this is that Mod Podge can dry quickly, so it will be easier to apply more to the outside of the wood than to the middle once you attach your fabric. That’s also why it is important to measure and cut your fabric before applying Mod Podge.
Attach the Fabric to the Wood
After applying the Mod Podge:
- Lay your fabric across the wood and line it up as accurately as possible.
- If you left an extra inch on each side of the fabric, remember that the fabric will overlap the sides of the wood.
- Gently press the fabric down onto the wood.
Smooth out any wrinkles with your hands or with a roller, then apply a little more pressure to make sure that the fabric adheres to the glue. Apply more Mod Podge to the corners and edges underneath the fabric if necessary.
Let It Dry
Even though Mod Podge can dry fairly quickly, it’s a good idea to let it dry overnight for the most permanent adhesion. This will also give you an idea of how well the fabric adhered to the wood. Try to lift the corners and edges, especially to make sure that they are attached well. If you can still lift them after letting the Mod Podge dry overnight, you may still need to apply more Mod Podge.
Trim Off Excess Fabric
Once the Mod Podge has dried and the corners and edges are securely attached, you can trim off any excess fabric that extends over the edges of the wood. If the fabric is securely attached to the wood, you should be able to get a clean cut.
Can Hot Glue Be Used to Glue Fabric to Wood?
Hot glue that you use with glue guns can be used to attach fabric to wood. However, there are different types of glue guns that you use with hot glue, so you want to make sure that you use the right type.
There are standard glue guns, which use a high temperature to melt the glue and low-temperature glue guns, which operate at a much lower temperature. There are also glue guns that have adjustable temperatures. But for attaching fabric to anything with hot glue, it is best to use a low-temperature glue gun.
If you use a high-temperature glue gun, the glue gets so hot that it might burn a hole right through the fabric. Low-temperature glue guns don’t get hot enough to damage the fabric, but you want to make sure that you use low-temperature hot glue sticks to ensure that they will melt at the lower temperature.
Using low-temperature hot glue may not create the strongest adhesion between the fabric and the wood simply because it doesn’t get that hot. It also may not stick to the wood, even if you prepare the wood properly.
With that being said, gluing fabric to wood with hot glue is great for smaller projects or projects where you don’t need it to adhere as strongly. You don’t want to use hot glue for attaching fabric to wood furniture, as the glue likely won’t hold up over time.
Does Wood Glue Work on Fabric?
Wood glue will work on fabrics, but it may not create as strong a hold. And, how well wood glue works on fabrics may depend on the type of fabric as well. Wood glue may stick better to fabrics made from plant-based fibers, such as cotton, linen, or rayon, because they are made of similar fibers to that of wood. It may not stick as well to synthetic fabrics such as polyester made from plastic.
With that being said, if you’re attaching fabric to wood, wood glue can provide a better option for long-term hold than hot glue can. It will stick to the glue and many fabrics, but it is not designed to use on fabrics, so it may not stick forever. So it’s best to use fabric glue that will stick to both the wood and the fabric and provide a much stronger hold.
Can Gorilla Glue Be Used to Glue Fabric to Wood?
Gorilla Glue can also be used to glue fabric to wood. However, you can’t use just any Gorilla Glue. Instead, you will need to use Gorilla Glue designed for fabrics. Although you can use Gorilla Glue to glue fabric to wood, it is not ideal for large projects.
It is not as easy to apply as Mod Podge and could make quite a mess for starters. But, another reason is that Gorilla Glue for fabrics comes in a much smaller package than Mod Podge does. You will go through a lot more Gorilla Glue if you try to attach the fabric to a large piece of wood. So it’s better to use it for smaller projects when gluing small pieces of fabric, not when trying to attach fabric to furniture.
How to Temporarily Attach Fabric to Wood
Using Mod Podge is one of the most permanent ways to attach fabric to wood, although if you do it incorrectly, it may not last as long as it should. But if you do need to attach fabric to wood and don’t have any way to permanently attach it, there are some ways to temporarily attach it until you can do something more permanent.
One of the best ways to temporarily attach fabric to wood is with hot glue, especially if the wood is finished. Hot glue will not stick as well to finished wood, so it will not be as hard to remove when it is time to take it off. It also shouldn’t damage the wood.
Hot glue will adhere better to unfinished wood, but it still won’t adhere as well as Mod Podge Plus. Hot glue can be easily removed by rubbing alcohol on the glue to separate it from the surface.
You can also use double-sided tape to temporarily attach fabric to wood. You can easily remove the fabric from the wood just by pulling it off. However, when using double-sided tape on wood, there are a few things to consider.
The longer you leave tape on a surface, the stronger the adhesion becomes and harder to remove. As a result, you may be left with sticky residue on the fabric and the wood.
If the wood is painted or treated, the tape may also pull some of the paint or treatment off of the wood if you leave it on there for a longer period of time. Although the tape will not harm to fabric other than leaving adhesive on it, it could cause the wood to look unsightly if the fabric was just used for a temporary makeover.
You can also use Velcro to temporarily attach fabric to wood. This is a great method to use if you want to change out the fabric on wood surfaces. Just stick the hooked part of the velcro to the furniture and the looped part to the fabric. However, as with using double-sided tape, there are a few things to consider.
The first is that as with using tape, the Velcro will likely leave adhesive behind on the fabric and wood if it is removed, especially the longer it has been on there. It can also remove the paint or finish from wood surfaces as well.
If you want to use Velcro as a way to change out fabrics on a wood surface, just know that you will likely have to put a new looped Velcro piece on each new piece of fabric. That’s why you put the hook part on the wood itself. But the looped part is more likely to wear down and lose texture over time. And if you try to remove it from the fabric, it may not stick to a new piece of fabric if it loses adhesion.
Attaching fabric to wood can be a great way to permanently or temporarily update the look of wood furniture or another wood piece. For the most permanent adhesion, you will want to use Mod Podge after you’ve sanded and cleaned the wood. But if you want something temporary, there are ways to do that as well. If you enjoyed this article, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!