If your project requires you to attach acrylic (also known as plexiglass) to wood, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to do it correctly. Although many projects use clear, lightweight acrylic instead of glass because it’s stronger and more flexible, acrylic can still crack, split or melt if handled improperly. Here’s how to correctly screw or glue acrylic to wood so you can avoid damaging it permanently.
Attaching Acrylic to Wood with Screws
Plexiglass (acrylic) can be attached to wood using screws, but you have to be careful not to heat or twist it or it can crack or melt.
- Black marker
- Drill bit that is specially-ground and polished for use with acrylic
- Twist power drill
- Phillips head wood screws
- Phillips head drill bit
1) Place the acrylic on a flat surface. Mark the location of the screw holes by drawing a small dot in each corner with a black marker. The dots should be at least 1-inch from each from the edge to prevent cracking the edge.
2) Place the acrylic on top of the wood and hold it in place while you position a wood screw in one of the holes. Attach a drill bit to the power drill and place the bit directly over one the four marks on the acrylic with the drill speed at 500 to 1000 RPMs. Always begin and end drilling the holes at a slow-feed rate. Good design practice calls for making the holes slightly oversized to allow for expansion and contraction during temperature change.
3) Press the trigger and drill straight into the acrylic until the bit goes through. Allow the drill bit to cool down between holes to avoid heating the acrylic. Repeat the process for all of the black marks.
4) Using the Phillips head drill bit, tighten each screw in place until the head is flush with the acrylic. Do not over tighten to avoid cracking the acrylic.
5) Check to be sure the acrylic and wood are held together securely. If needed, add extra screws in the middle on each side.
Attaching Acrylic to Wood with Glue
Epoxy is a less expensive method for attaching acrylic to wood and may be a better option for certain projects. Epoxy does not require a chemical reaction for adhesion.
1) Using the medium-grit sandpaper, rough up the surface of the wood where the acrylic will be attached. Be careful not to create curved edges while sanding.
2) Wipe away the sanding dust with a microfiber cloth.
3) Using an approved plastic cleaner, clean both sides of the acrylic to remove any dust or oils.
4) Apply a thin coat of epoxy to the wood and place the acrylic in position on the wood. Hold the acrylic in place until the epoxy sets or use clamps to hold it in place. Setting time will vary based on temperature and humidity. Follow the epoxy manufacturer’s recommendation for estimated setting time.
We recognize that working with acrylic can be tricky for hobbyists and beginners. If you have a project that involves attaching acrylic to wood or some other material and want to know the right technique, call the experts at E&T Plastic for advice.