Hot glue is a great nontoxic and waterproof option for minor home repairs, arts and crafts projects or holiday decorations. Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of your home craft glue gun.
- Glue guns usually take an average of ten minutes to warm up. Do not force glue sticks into or through the gun, especially not before the gun has warmed up completely. This can damage the mechanism that feeds glue though the gun.
- The general rule is that the hotter the glue, the shorter the open time. This term refers to the amount of time you have between first applying the glue to a material and it forming a permanent bond. The open time is the amount of time you have to correctly position and secure the materials you’re bonding together.
- Temperature isn’t the only factor in open time. Read the manufacturer’s instructions on the glue you’re using to determine what kind of open time you’re dealing with.
- Look for glue guns that have interchangeable tips – they can be handy for doing a range of different kinds of projects with different materials.
- Place a bowl of ice water near your workspace – but well away from your glue gun – while working. If your skin makes contact with hot glue, dip the burned skin into the cold water to relieve pain and avoid burn injuries.
- Stow your glue gun in an upright position when it is still hot, but you’re not using it.
- Remember that hot glue isn’t just for sticking things together – you can use it to add texture to surfaces or art projects, you can make objects with it, you can paint on it or use colored glue sticks.
- Prevent glue gun “strings” by keeping your glue sticks in a cool, low-humidity area, and always keeping the nozzle of your glue gun very clear. If you do end up with those strings, wait for the glue to cool completely and then snip them away with scissors.
- There are all shapes and sizes of glue gun, so when buying one, look for a gun that suits your hand size and your needs.
- For hard-to-bond surfaces, try cleaning the surfaces very thoroughly with alcohol before adhering, and rough up any very smooth surfaces with sanding paper.
- If working with fragile materials like lace, make sure to use a low temp hot glue gun, or the low temp setting on your gun.
- If sitting down while working, make sure you wear long pants to avoid burns from any stray drips of hot glue.
- Set up your workspace away from the reach on children and pets to avoid burns or electrical shock accidents.
- Keep finished projects done with hot glue out of direct sunlight. High heat can re-liquefy the glue and break the adhesive bond.
- Remember that the cool setting of your glue gun does not actually mean that the glue will become cool to the touch – it merely means that the glue dispensed with be cooler than on the high setting.
- Practice applying small amounts of glue in steady straight lines. This technique can help reduce the bulk that hot glue can often add to a project.
- For certain delicate projects, try squeezing out a pool of hot glue onto a piece of foil, then dipping your materials into the pool, rather than applying the glue directly onto the material.
- If you make an error with nonporous materials like metal, you can usually just wait for the glue to dry, then pull if off and try again.
- If, however, you make an error with a porous material like fine fabric, you will need to reheat the glue to remedy the problem.
Guide to which temperature glues to use:
Low - 250°F melting point
Best for fine metal details, fabric flowers, paper and fragile fabrics like lace
High - 380°F melting point
Best for metal, wood, ceramics and other more heavy-duty projects
Best for glass, metal, leather, suede, ceramics and heavier fabrics