Sometimes called acrylic glass, Plexiglass is the trademarked term that is more commonly used. It is a strong plastic that is transparent and quite versatile.
As an alternative to traditional glass, Plexiglass can be used in projects made from wood.
Plexiglass can be used to create a boat and shed windows, display cabinets, and when installing secondary glazing.
The flexibility is a major advantage of Plexiglass. Because it is stronger and more flexible than glass, it can be used to replace glass in certain situations.
Given that it can be attached to wood makes the material even more versatile.
However, to do so will require following certain steps to keep the Plexiglass from chipping or falling apart.
You can use screws or glue to hold Plexiglass to wood. What follows is how to use screws and then glue to attach the Plexiglass safely.
In this article we will cover:
- Attaching Plexiglass to Wood with Screws
- Using Glue for Attaching Plexiglass to Wood (without Screws)
- Why You Should Use Plexiglass with Wood Instead of Traditional Glass?
Attaching Plexiglass to Wood with Screws
First of all, start by placing the plexiglass on a flat surface.
You’ll want to pinpoint the location of each screw by using a black marker.
To keep the Plexiglass from cracking, be sure each dot you place is at least one inch from the edge. This will keep the drill well within the Plexiglass as you pre-drill the holes.
Once you have done that, follow these steps…
Step 1- Power Drill
Use a one-quarter drill bit. Place the drill bit over any of the dots that you made and start drilling into the Plexiglass.
Drill until the drill bit goes entirely through the Plexiglass. Repeat the process for each dot that you made.
Step 2- Place the Plexiglass on the Wood
With the holes drilled, you’ll want to place the Plexiglass on top of the wood for installation.
Now press the Plexiglass against the wood as you place the first screw.
Drill the screw through the pre-made hole and into the wood until the head is flush with the Plexiglass.
Step 3- Repeat for All Holes
Use the same process for drilling all the holes.
After you have drilled in all the screws, check to see that the Plexiglass is secured to the wood. You may need to drill more holes if it is not.
For this process, you will need to use a proper drill bit designed for plastic when drilling holes.
When drilling, be sure that the Plexiglass does not overheat.
Each time you drill a hole in the Plexiglass, let the drill bit cool for a few seconds before drilling another hole.
Use even pressure when drilling. This will also ensure that the Plexiglass does not crack when drilling holes.
Using Glue for Attaching Plexiglass to Wood (without Screws)
In this method, you will need to use a special type of glue known as methylene chloride.
This type of glue is more like solvent cement. This means that on contact it will melt the Plexiglass so that it can attach to the wood.
Step 1- Prep
To get started, you will need to use a workspace made from metal, wood, or concrete. When using wood, use Brown Wooden Board.
This also means cutting the Plexiglass if required. You can join the pieces together by cutting them into their proper shapes and sizes first.
It is recommended that you use Plexiglass which is at least one-quarter of an inch thick.
Thinner pieces can be used and should be scored with a utility knife, so the glue sticks better to the wood.
For rough edges, sand or polish them down until they are smooth. You need to have smooth, clean edges for the glue to work.
Once completed, the protective film on the Plexiglass should be removed if that is required to keep the surface from scratching.
Step 2- Clean
Now clean the Plexiglass before using the glue to attach it to the surface.
Use water and mild soap to clean all the pieces of the Plexiglass with special emphasis on the edges.
Once cleaned, rinse the pieces and dry them with a clean cloth. Dab the cloth onto the Plexiglass as rubbing may cause scratches.
If you do not want to use soap, then isopropyl alcohol will work as well.
Place: Now, place the Plexiglass on top of the wood for gluing. With the pieces being clean, fit them together where they will be joined.
Once completed, secure the pieces together using clamps or masking tape.
Step 3- Apply the Glue
Now you are ready to apply the glue to the Plexiglass. You’ll need to use a 25-gauge syringe to apply the glue.
This type of glue is thin and will melt the acrylic to bond the pieces together.
By using a syringe, you can apply a small amount of the flue between two pieces of Plexiglass.
You can also use other types of glue when attaching the Plexiglass to the wood.
- Wear Safety Glasses and Rubber Gloves
- Be Sure Pieces are Together when Applying the Glue
Otherwise, if you try to apply the glue and then press the pieces together, you create a weak attachment. Plus, the pressure applied may deform the Plexiglass.
Step 4- Set the Glue
After application, allow the glue to set for up to 48 hours.
This will ensure that the glue properly dries, and that the bond is secure. After the time period has elapsed, you can remove the masking tape or clamps.
Step 5- Sand
Now you will need to smooth the joints. Use good quality sandpaper to smooth out any rough surfaces caused by the adhesive.
Once sanded, wipe away any dust or grit that was created. You can clean the surface using soap and water or isopropyl alcohol.
Why You Should Use Plexiglass with Wood Instead of Traditional Glass?
It’s quite common to think of using traditional glass for windows instead of Plexiglass.
And for a time, glass was considered superior to Plexiglass in many regards.
However, today both Plexiglass and polycarbonate sheeting have improved considerably.
You see both of these materials used to a far greater degree thanks to advancements in the properties and methods from which they are made.
Today, there are good reasons why you should use Plexiglass over traditional glass for windows in many situations.
One big advantage of Plexiglass is its inherent strength.
Plexiglass has a higher impact strength compared to glass, meaning it requires considerably more force to shatter.
This makes it a better deterrent compared to standard glass for intruders. Plus, pets and kids are less likely to shatter the Plexiglass by accident.
A big downside of traditional glass is the sharp shards that are created when it shatters.
Plexiglass is not only tough to shatter, it does not break apart into a thousand little pieces.
This means that you won’t have to worry about all the little shards being quite sharp and dangerous on the floor.
c) Glare Reduction:
Plexiglass is far better at reducing glare and reflections compared to traditional glass.
Because the Plexiglass sheets allow more than 90% of the light through, it is more transparent than glass which reduces glare and reflections.
Plus, thicker Plexiglass, is clearer and less likely to be discolored compared to thick sheets of traditional glass.
d) Ease of Use:
You can be quite creative with Plexiglass compared to traditional glass.
This means that you can create unique shapes thanks to how easy Plexiglass is to cut.
If you have a scoring tool, router, or table saw, you can easily cut Plexiglass.
And given how Plexiglass is about half the weight of traditional glass, it is easier to cut, move, and install.
For making design or accent windows, Plexiglass is considerably superior compared to traditional glass.
Because it takes less energy to produce, Plexiglass is normally cheaper than traditional glass.
This means that you can save money while covering the same area.
And because Plexiglass weighs less than traditional glass, it is cheaper to ship or transport as well.
You can find Plexiglass available in different styles and types, such as fluorescent, colored, and black or white sheets for even greater variety.
Given how traditional glass is heavier, rigid, and brittle, Plexiglass has become the top choice for making architectural pieces that require intricate cutting or shaping.
Given the flexibility and variety that Plexiglass offers, it makes it easy to use this material in your home.
Plexiglass is quite suitable for home projects and works quite well in business applications.
Because you can attach Plexiglass securely using screws or glue, you can make a considerable number of DIY projects.
Replacing some windows made of traditional glass with Plexiglass should be an option as well.
Especially windows that are vulnerable to break-ins or being damaged by pets or the kids.
That errant baseball going into the window will not have the same effect on Plexiglass compared to traditional glass.
For those who are looking to add something fresh, interesting, and inexpensive to their home or office, Plexiglass should be a top consideration.
Keep in mind the variety of choices you have in terms of colors.
Plus, its low cost makes it perfect for renovations and other constructions when you need to add or replace a considerable amount of glass.
The plexiglass offers the variety, low costs, and durability that you need.
Hi, I am Mark Garner a professional carpenter, woodworker, and DIY painter. I live in the small city of Peoria, Arizona as a semi-retired woodworker. I have started this blog with a simple motive to help you with my wood experience in this sector. If you like to know more about what I love doing and how it all got started, you can check more about me here.