How to Glue Photos to Wood Then Shellac


Decoupage, which originated in Asia during the 17th century, is the the act of permanently adhering a paper image to another surface with a sealant. Shellac makes an excellent sealant for this purpose, as it dries quickly and is more protective than glue alone. With a few basic supplies and some free time, even the novice can decorate furniture, picture frames and jewelry boxes with photos.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Clean cloth
  • White glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Shellac

Decoupaging the Wood

  • Prepare the wood surface. Sand away rough spots, old varnish and imperfections. Wipe clean with a damp cloth to remove any remaining sawdust.

  • Arrange photos on the wood surface. Select the best photos for the project. Arrange on wood until a desired effect is achieved.

  • Glue the photos to the wood surface. Apply a small amount of white glue to the back of each photo. You may use a paintbrush to get even coverage. Press the photos into place on the wood. Smooth the photo down from the center outwards to remove air bubbles. Allow the glue to dry.

  • Shellac the wood surface. Dip a clean paintbrush into the shellac. Using long, smooth strokes, brush a thin layer of shellac over the entire wood surface. Allow the shellac to dry. Repeat until the wood is covered with four to eight coats of shellac.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use a simple glue stick to glue the photos in place.
  • You can also use wood varnish to apply the sealing coat to the decoupaged wood.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear gloves and a mask for protection while working with sandpaper and shellac.


  • Photo Credit Artur i Agnieszka Steinhagen/iStock/Getty Images Steve Gorton/Dorling Kindersley RF/Getty Images
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