I am working on a project where I have been given painted letters made of MDF wood that need to be mounted permanently on a wall that is covered with finished ( rough ) pallet wood. One of the requirements is that the letters cannot be screwed onto the wall ( no screws or nails visible ). Since the MDF and wall wood are both painted/finished I figured that regular wood glue is out of the question. Would construction adhesive be the best option for attaching these letters to the wood wall?

  • 1
    Can you explain why no nails but are considering a adhesive? The adhesive will really make a mess of the rough wood. A 3 penny? Very tiny, colored finishing nail would hold and the coating for the color hides the nail.
    – Ed Beal
    Oct 24, 2018 at 21:06
  • @EdBeal The issue with the nails is the visibility of the heads and the potential damage to the MDF letters, as they are already painted with a custom mix of colors that is unavailable to me it would be difficult to cover the nail heads so that they are unseen. ( These letters will be around eye level ).
    – sf02
    Oct 25, 2018 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


There is an easy way using CA glue. But you must be careful not to use excessive amount because it may squeeze out and ruining the finished surface.

The strength of this glueup also depends on the strength of the paint or finishing on both mating surfaces.

There is a possibility the glue will affect the finished surface and ultimately weaken the bonding.

If really strong and lasting attachment is required, consider using wooden dowels. This will require you to mark the back side of the object you want to stick. Transfer the mark on a sheet of transparent plastic and use it as the template to mark the wooden wall. Shallow drill the object and the wooden wall using proper drill bit which will match the dowel's diameter.

One-third depth of the thickness of the object is sufficient for the drilled holes. Use wooden dowel length of two-third of object thickness to connect the wall and the object. You may use tiny ammount of any slow setting glue to strengthen the attachment.

I prefer the second method. Dowels are very reliable.

  • 1
    I will go ahead with dowels as I can rely solely on the strength of the wood rather than the paint and finish. Thanks.
    – sf02
    Nov 7, 2018 at 21:19

Liquid nails will do just fine!

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