Spent cooking liquor from kraft pulping, known as black liquor, was applied to linerboard (corrugated medium) by surface sizing in order to increase strength properties. The influence of alum in black liquor on linerboard properties was also investigated. The surface application of black liquor improved the dry strength of linerboard. A slight addition of alum into black liquor (2.5% on black liquor solids) significantly improved strength properties such as tensile strength, TEA, compressive strength, and bursting strength. The results implied that black liquor with alum can be used for industrial grade papers that require high strength properties. The air permeability of corrugated medium increased after 5 g/m2 of dry pick-up. Black liquor appeared to penetrate the paper pores, and aggregates of lignin and carbohydrates in the black liquor increased bonds between fibers, which improved strength. The surface sizing of black liquor and alum addition also affected the hydrophobicity of linerboard.