Thursday, July 17, 2014

All About Adhesives - Hot Glue

Many of us have used a hot glue gun to create crafts, but maybe you have not. This is a great addition to your craft tool kit. They are very easy to use and seem to me to be pretty indestructible. Just make sure not to touch the hot glue!!


Hot Glue - Thermoplastic Glue*

Hot glue or hot melt adhesives are thermoplastics that are applied hot, using a glue gun, and then harden as they cool.  This type of glue was invented as an improvement to water-based adhesives that were failing in humid climates.   

If you have never had a hot glue gun before, you will find there are many uses for them. Hot glue guns are easy to use and come in full size and mini-craft size. Standard craft glue, while useful for many projects, is not as durable as hot glue.

To use a hot glue gun:
  1. Insert the appropriate glue stick onto the back end of the glue gun.
  2. Plug the glue gun into an electrical outlet to allow it to heat up for at least five minutes.
  3. Squeeze the trigger of the hot glue gun gently. Be careful! If you squeeze the trigger too hard, hot glue can rush out of the gun and burn you.

There are different types of hot glue ranging in melting temperature, and strength…even ones for fabric, wood, colored glues, and glitter glues!  One of the drawbacks to a hot glue gun is that because of the heat, the glue can melt some materials you may want to work with.

Hot Glue Tips:
  • Purchase the specific type/size of glue stick for your gun.
  • Use a craft mat with a heat resistant surface.
  • Keep your glue gun in an upright position. 
  • Clean off the trigger of the gun if you have a build-up of glue on the nozzle.
  • Use a Popsicle stick to spread out the glue while it is still hot.
  • Keep a bowl of cold water handy just in case you do burn yourself.

I had a low temp glue gun years ago and loved it.  Then I 
couldn't find the specific size of glue sticks that it required.  L  Now that I’m back to a high temp gun, I am constantly burning myself with the hot glue.  I've learned to keep a mug of ice water close by to immerse my fingers!! I will definitely be on the lookout for a cordless low temp gun now that they all pretty much use the same size of glue stick!

What crafts do you create using a hot glue gun??


  1. Great information, Shirley! I use my glue gun(s) most often for making wreaths and I, too, always have a bowl of ice water on my workspace. If I forget, I'm guaranteed to give myself a nice burn. LOL. I have several different types of glueguns and often use one with a long narrow nozzle for getting into tight spaces and limiting the amount of glue. Two things I've found handy are a glue gun stand which is much more sturdy than the stand attached to the gluegun. They are very inexpensive (mine was $3) and well worth it. The second is Plaid brand has silicone finger covers and tools for working with hot glue and I really like them. They're also pretty inexpensive. Keep up the good work on your tutorials! They're not only helpful to inexperienced crafters, but to those of us that have been at it awhile. Never hurts to refresh and things do change and evolve.
    Happy Craftin'!

    1. Thanks, Kris. I hadn't thought about the silicone covers. Great thought. I'll have to get some.