Tutorial: Wood Glue Pepakura Method

JUSTINIAN 117

Well-Known Member
This is a way to harden pepakura models without fiber glass resin.


This is NOT a replacement for Fiberglass resin. It is only to be used if fiberglass resin is not an option. (mom won’t let you or you can’t get it in your country)

This method of pepakura is very similar to the normal fiberglass resin method, only instead of fiberglass resin it uses wood glue. Wood glue, when fully dry can be very strong, the only downside is that it is water based, so if you are not careful it may warp your paper model. This process can warp your model during any step of the process, so be careful. I would recommend you test this out on a small piece, so that you get familiar with the process, before you use it on your final product.

You will need:

Wood glue (Titebond works the best, but Elmers will also work)
Titbond III is the strongest wood glue I have ever worked with, but it has a gritty finish when dry.
Titbond II is not quite as strong, but it has a smooth finish when dry.
Elmers Probond wood glue is not very strong, but it is smooth.
I would recommend using Titbond II on the outside, Titbond III on the inside, and not use Elmers.
Any of these will work alone or together. If you only want to buy one kind, just get Titbond II
Mixing cup
Paint brush (any cheap kind will work)
Mixing stick
Water
Paper Towels (for cleaning up any mess)
Pepakura model (assembled)

Once you get everything you need you can get started.

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Step one:

Make the paper model just like you normally would.

Add the glue to the cup, just enough to cover the bottom of the cup. Then add just a little bit of water to dilute the glue, so that it will brush on easier. Use the mixing stick to mix the glue and water. It should still be a little thick, but able to run.

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Once it is mixed you can lightly apply the glue to the outside of your model. You don’t want it to be to thick, but you want it to cover. If it goes on too thick it may warp your model, and it will take longer to dry.


101_3453small.jpg



Let it dry for at least an hour, and it is best to put a fan on it.


Step two:

Once the coat on the outside is dry, you can repeat the same process on the inside of your model, but you still need to be careful about warping it.

101_3467small.jpg


Let it dry again.

For best results apply at least two coats on the inside and two coats on the outside before moving on to the next step. Be sure that every other coat you allow for extra dry time, to reduce the risk of warping.


Step three:

This step is optional, but I have found it to be useful.

Mix the water and glue, but this time don’t use hardly any water. The idea here is that you want to put a thicker layer of glue on the inside, so that it won’t warp as much in the next step.

let it dry completely, overnight is best before moving on to step four.


Step four:

Get some fiberglass matte or cloth and cut it into strips of 1x3 inches.
Once they are cut, you can mix the glue and water, but a thicker mixture works better.

101_3471small.jpg


Brush some of the glue onto the inside of the model, and then immediately place the cloth
onto it. Then brush another coat on top of the cloth, to seal it down.

I tried it by brushing thicker glue water mixture on the model, then placing the cloth, and then brushing a more diluted glue mixture over the cloth.

Let it dry over night, but be sure to check it to make sure that it doesn’t warp too much.

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Step five:

Once it has dried overnight, you can do another cloth layer for additional support, or you can
do some bondo, or you can just prime it and paint it.

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In this case I only did one layer of cloth, and then primed it and painted it without any sanding.

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It was slightly warped, because I didn’t check it very much while it dried, but the glue made it come out pretty smooth, and very stiff.



Warning:
Again this is not a replacement for fiberglass resin, it is just an alternative if you can’t use it. It is not as good as resin either. I have not tried to wear this method for long periods of time so I can’t guarantee that it will hold up well to wear and tear.
 
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weeds

Jr Member
Nicely done. Good photos and good explanation. I will be interested to hear how well this holds up and "Will Bondo stick to it?"
 

JUSTINIAN 117

Well-Known Member
I haven't tried, but with some minor sanding, (enough to rough it up) bondo should stick to it. It feels almost as hard as resin, and about the same texture.
 

sik1276

Member
Nice, but what were the paper towels for? I tried doing the same thing when I was paper mache-ing my helm, mostly to fill ledges and stuff, but I didn't think if done with the whole thing, it would be strong.
 

JUSTINIAN 117

Well-Known Member
Nice, but what were the paper towels for? I tried doing the same thing when I was paper mache-ing my helm, mostly to fill ledges and stuff, but I didn't think if done with the whole thing, it would be strong.
I gues I forgot to mention that the paper towels were for cleaning up any mess. I'll fix that.
 

CyberPaddy66

Jr Member
Just a quick question but here in the UK we have something called PVA (I use it as a paper glue) which is a bit like the carpenters wood glue only not as sticky or thick, do you think that would work or will it be too soft?
 

Spitfire22V

Well-Known Member
Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Luckily, I'm able to use resin, but I just wanted to comment on the neatness of the fiberglassing job. How did you manage to cut the cloth and lay it down with out the edges fraying and strands going everywhere?
 

JUSTINIAN 117

Well-Known Member
Just a quick question but here in the UK we have something called PVA (I use it as a paper glue) which is a bit like the carpenters wood glue only not as sticky or thick, do you think that would work or will it be too soft?
I used wood glue because it is very strong, so as long as whatever glue you use is very strong it should work the same. Test it out on some paper first and if it seems to be pretty stiff, then it may work. It may require a few coats.


Spitfire, I used a good pair of scisors to cut the cloth into strips and layed it down very gently. Also, the glue wasn't very sticky, so it was easier to work with.
 

Boba Fett

Well-Known Member
1 question: using fiberglass cloth with the glue, does it really work? I was under the impression that the fiberglass resin "melted" the cloth and basically fused it into a hard shell. Does the glue make it that hard? I must try this... I've used white glue on the inside of my pep when building it to make it stronger, but this looks very promising! Thank you very much for posting! Oh, and an extra question, would fiberglass resin react with the glue at all? I'm thinking aobut using the glue during this darn cold Wisconsin winter and then glassing it with resin in the summer. Thanks!
 

JUSTINIAN 117

Well-Known Member
Yes, the cloth is necessary. Without the cloth there is no extra support. If you can't get fiberglass cloth I'm sure that you could just cut up an old tshirt, and use that. It would have to be very thin material, that doesn't shrink with water. Testing it out first would be best.

It is the same concept as concrete and rebar. The concreate is strong on its own, but the rebar keeps it from flexing, or cracking.
The wood glue is strong, but without something extra to support it, it is too flexible.

Three coats of plain wood glue seemed like it was a waste of time, but one coat with the cloth and it was almost as strong as resin.
 

Roadkiller

Well-Known Member
FWIW you can use cotton (easiest source is an old t-shirt) in place of the fibreglass cloth when using resin. The result is not as strong, but still quite resilient. Might be worth a try with this method.

BTW, great effort Justinian and thanks for sharing.
 

CyberPaddy66

Jr Member
I used wood glue because it is very strong, so as long as whatever glue you use is very strong it should work the same. Test it out on some paper first and if it seems to be pretty stiff, then it may work. It may require a few coats.
I've just finished pepping an Iron Man MK3 helmet and I used the PVA glue to stick it together (took me two days) and it's really solid but I dare not use the PVA to strengthen it because if it goes wrong I'll have to do it all over again, I think I'll make up a simple pep and try hardening that... I'll report back here when it's done :D
 

JUSTINIAN 117

Well-Known Member
1 question: using fiberglass cloth with the glue, does it really work? I was under the impression that the fiberglass resin "melted" the cloth and basically fused it into a hard shell. Does the glue make it that hard? I must try this... I've used white glue on the inside of my pep when building it to make it stronger, but this looks very promising! Thank you very much for posting! Oh, and an extra question, would fiberglass resin react with the glue at all? I'm thinking aobut using the glue during this darn cold Wisconsin winter and then glassing it with resin in the summer. Thanks!
The glue does work well with the fiberglass cloth. Have you ever worked with wood glue (or any other type of glue) and spilled it on clothing or paper towels. Once it dries it has a very stiff spot on the clothing or paper towels. It is the smae type of thing with the fiberglass cloth.

I am not exactly sure if ther resin melts the cloth, but I do know that it works the same way as the glue I just mentioned.

I am not sure if resin will react well with glue. You may have to try it on a small part, before trying it on your helmet.
 

CyberPaddy66

Jr Member
Not sure I'd use Fiberglass sheet with anything other than resin as my mrs just pointed out to me the resin traps the glass particles so that they can't escape whereas wood glue or any other type of glue may not trap the glass particles as well so you may end up with armour that makes you itchy everytime you wear it.
 

JUSTINIAN 117

Well-Known Member
Thats a good point, but as long as you put enough coats of something on it, and maybe even line the inside with another fabric or foam, it should be fine. And I think that most people wear long sleeves under the armor anyways.
 

ForgedReclaimer

Well-Known Member
This is incredible! if it works as well as advertised i could start building my own armor for once lol. Resin and fiberglass is the only reason i haven't started armor yet.
 

Trooper114

Well-Known Member
I think i might try this with my EOD pep thats been lying around. Since it is a helmet, i think i will try some cotton cloth, instead of fiberglass cloth, like Cyber pointed out, i don't want a itchy head. ;)
 
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