How to Apply Hot Melt to Fabric

Best Practices for Using Hot Glue Sticks with Fabric

We are often asked, "Can glue guns be used on fabric?" The simple answer is yes but you will need to know a few things first about the type of glue gun and glue stick you are using. Once you find the right glue gun and glue stick, hot melt is excellent at bonding fabric and other porous materials. 

Glue Guns and Fabric

There are three major types of hot glue guns, standard temperature (also called high temp), low temperature, and adjustable temperature. When bonding fabric or other sensitive materials, low temperature or adjustable temperature glue guns are highly recommended. Standard temperature glue guns dispense at around 380 Degrees Fahrenheit while low-temperature glue guns have a working temperature around 260 Degrees Fahrenheit. That 120-degree difference can be the difference between the perfect bond to fabric or burning right through your material. Now that you know which type of glue gun to use, it's time to match up the right glue stick

Glue Sticks and Fabric

We know that low-temperature glue guns can help from burning a hole in fabric and sensitive material, but now we need to make sure we are using the correct glue stick. Low-temperature glue guns must be used with low-temperature glue sticks. These types of glue sticks are specifically formulated for melting at lower temperatures making them fabric safe. There are even all-temperature glue sticks that can be used in both high and low-temperature glue guns. We think these are great for adjustable temperature glue guns so you don't have to own two separate glue guns. 

Spray Hot Melt for Fabric Applications 

Hot melt is traditionally dispensed in bead form, which works well for some fabric applications but spray dispensing offers many unique benefits. Spray hot melt is great for fabric that is heat-sensitive because it disperses the hot melt over a wider surface area. You can also change the width of the spray application to spray in a narrow or wide pattern depending on your application needs. A great glue gun for spray applications is the Surebonder Spray 500. It comes with two nozzles that are interchangeable, for both bead and spray dispensing. You can also purchase a replacement nozzle, so you're never unable to use your glue gun because of a misplaced nozzle. 

The SprayMelt 70 APAO Hot Melt is a staple for spray applications and fabric. The low viscosity formula and long open time make it ideal for a variety of applications, including fabric. It works well with the Surebonder 500 in both spray and bead applications. The SprayMelt 90 Acrylic Hot Melt is another great option for fabric and it is a high-performance formula optimized for difficult to bond substrates.

Additional Tips when Working with Fabric

You must always be careful when using hot glue and fabric. Here are some additional tips to help make your project a success.

  • Try gluing a test piece of fabric before jumping into your project.
  • Be careful not to touch the glue gun nozzle to your material as this is often hotter than the glue and can cause burns.
  • If you are bonding fabric to a sturdier, more temperature resistant material, apply the hot melt to the other substrate first and then let it cool slightly before applying your fabric. Don't wait too long though, the hot melt may set, and then you will not get a strong bond.

Additional Recommended Products

Glue Guns

Glue Sticks

Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions about what hot melt will work best for your fabric application, contact us. A member of our team will be able to assist you in choosing the right system for your application. 

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