21 hot glue gun crafts+ glue gun tips & hacks you should know
In this post, you will find 21 stunning crafts you can make with your hot glue gun and other useful tips and hacks for your glue gun projects. I tried to cover the basics from choosing a glue gun to more advanced questions like can you use hot glue sticks for mold making.
I hope you find this post helpful if you have any other question after reading it, leave a comment and I will try my best to answer them.
Now, let’s dive in!
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What’s the best glue gun for crafts?
Hot glue guns are very versatile; you can use them for so many activities, like arts and crafts projects, or to make home improvements. It’s is one of the best tools (I think it’s a must-have tool) you can buy for your household.
You may ask: which hot glue gun should I choose; there are so many types on the market?
- I think it all comes down to your needs:
- What are you planning to do with the gun?
- What kind of materials will you be working with?
- Are you going to do detailed work or push large amounts of glue?
Some of the feature you should cnsider:
- heating time (how fast will the gun heat the glue),
- adjustable temperature (suitable for more projects),
- does it have a cord or is it cordless (the freedom of work),
- does it have a stand (a safer and mess-free work),
- fine or large tip (allows detailed work),
- weight (the lighter, the more comfortable to work with, primarily if you work with it for long periods)
- design (it should be durable, not beautiful, if it’s both, that’s the best).
Still, confused? I get you! But don’t worry, I’ve found the perfect guide for you to choose the best hot glue gun for your projects by Best of Machinery.
what is the difference between a high temp and a low temp glue gun?
As their name suggests, the difference between the hot glue guns is on what temperature, how high/low, they will heat the glue sticks.
- High temp glue guns heat the glue sticks to 300-380 degrees,
- Low temp glue guns operate at 250 degrees.
Why is this important?
While glue heated to 300 degrees will create a stronger bond, it may melt the ribbon, plastic or styrofoam you’re working with, or seep through the fabric and burn your fingers. (Burns caused by hot glue guns are very painful. Be careful!)
So, you should use a low temp glue gun for delicate materials that may melt or distort from too much heat, they also have a faster set time.
On some hot glue models, you can adjust the temperature settings so you don’t have to choose between high and low-temperature glue guns.
– can you use low temp glue in a high temp glue gun?
You must use high temp glue sticks with high temp glue guns and low temp glue with low temp glue gun unless you have a model with adjustable heat settings, although some brands carry all-temperature glue sticks that work in both hot glue guns, like the Surebonder All Purpose Glue Sticks.
tools and supplies for hot glue gun crafts:
- Glue gun – we have a Boch Hot Melt Glue Gun, the narrow precision tip allows detailed work. It’s a professional hot glue gun that is perfect for various craft projects and also fixing broken stuff around the house.
- Finger protect – these finger guards are essential for every crafter. They will protect your fingers from burning, gluing, and ironing.
- Glue gun pad – it’s a heat resistant mat with a non-stick surface. Protects the working surface from damages, and you can easily peel off your design or glue drips.
- Glue gun stand or holder – if your glue gun doesn’t come with a stand you should buy or make a homemade stand
- pliers – to hold pieces while gluing or pinching together gluable parts,
- popsicle sticks – push down the layer you want to glue to the bottom.
Hot glue gun craft ideas:
Also, check out this cool DIY coaster made with a hot glue gun.
Other hot glue gun uses:
- make no-slip hangers and slippers,
- glue holes in bath toys,
- glue instead of sewing,
- keep frames from slipping away their place,
- add extra grip to a rug,
- make custom wax seals,
- fun crayon art,
- size down a ring,
- make never-ending hot glue sticks,
Can you put crayons in a hot glue gun?
Well, the answer is yes, but not to substitute the colored glue gun sticks. The glue gun will melt the crayons and turn them into a thin liquid. You can drip, squirt, and paint with it to create custom wax seals for letters, drip art, custom crayons, and other fun crayon crafts.
However, expect the next couple of melted glue sticks will come out with streaks of wax and the colored by the crayons.
Although crayons won’t cause significant damage to your hot glue gun, I would suggest to use it in a cheap craft glue gun. You can find them on the market for 2-5$. I think it worths the cost and to keep a separate glue gun for crayon crafts, especially if you have children, and you want to make multiple hot glue gun crafts.
For more information, watch the video below on how this woman puts to test crayons in a glue gun.
what will hot glue not stick to?
When you want to make glue gun crafts (not using solely as an adhesive to stick two elements together), you will need a surface to create your design and when the glue sets to peel them off. So, you need a work surface that the hot glue won’t stick.
Hot glue doesn’t stick well to smooth non-porous surfaces. You can use a glue gun pad for this, or if you don’t have one at home, you can also try wax paper, parchment paper, a piece of smooth metal (for example, a steel plate), or a ceramic tile.
I would stay away from glass, because the high-temperature hot glue may shatter the glass and cut you. You can also apply vaseline before making your hot glue gun craft; it will act as a releasing agent.
how long does it take for hot glue to set?
Hot glue will set in a couple of seconds (15-45), but leave it for 10-20 minutes to cure.
If you are not using it as an adhesive but rather as a craft material, and squirting more massive amounts (for example, to create cabochons in a mold, or more significant solid pieces like the pencil topper I shared above) leave it for 12-24 hours to completely dry.
The outer shell may seem cured, but the inside can still be soft. So it’s best to wait it out and decorate your fun hot glue gun craft the next day. Hot glue is shrinking while it dries, so it’s not the best agent to create silicone molds.
Glue extruded from a high temp glue gun will take longer to set than glue ejected from a low temp glue gun.
Will hot glue melt in boiling water or a pan?
Would you like to use hot glue sticks in a more significant amount? For example, as a resin substitute to create molds or cabochons in bigger batches, and you are wondering is it possible to melt hot glue sticks in boiling water or a pan.
You can melt hot glue in a pan or pot, but you can’t control the temperature appropriately, and glue degrades and tends to turn yellow and eventually brown if you leave too long on the stove.
If you are determined to melt hot glue in a pot or pan, try it with a non-stick electric skillet that has an adjustable temperature.
Is hot glue suitable for mold making?
The short answer is no; you can’t substitute epoxy, resin with hot glue sticks.
The two have very different characteristics, but the most important is that hot glue shrinks while it sets; the resin keeps its shape and size.
Nonetheless, you can still experiment with your hot glue gun. For example, you can try to make the mold by building it up layer-by-layer, mixing the glue with other materials that won’t shrink, fill the cavity with other non-shrinking material, and fill up the holes with the hot glue, etc.
is hot glue washable?
You may see several hot glue gun crafts where they use it to stick together fabric layers instead of sewing. Well, I wouldn’t do it if it’s clothing or other fabrics that I intend to wash regularly.
You would guess, hot glue reacts to heat. So, I wouldn’t wash in hot water anything glued with a hot glue gun. Especially anything with glue on a smooth surface like gems, small mirrors hot glued on fabric (they will just peel off).
You can try cold wash (best to hand wash or on a gentle cycle) and hang dry. It’s still risky, but if the bond is strong, it should survive.
WARNING! Be very careful while pressing together two layers of fabric with hot glue. The melted glue is super hot and can seep through the material and cause significant burning.
Final thoughts on crafts with a hot glue gun
As you can see, a hot glue gun is one of the best tools you can have at home. They are not expensive and very versatile, suitable for beginner crafters too.
Use them to create a hot glue gun craft, fix broken stuff around your home, or add extra grip to slippery objects. If you need more crafts with a glue gun, I’ve found the perfect book for you: Hot Glue Hacks and Crafts by Angie Holden and Carolina Moore. The authors collected 50 awesome hot glue gun crafts you can try.
Let’s the fun begin!
Which idea was your favorite? Have you tried crafts with a hot glue gun? Leave a comment!
Related articles using a craft glue gun:
- Felt Lion Wall Art (to stick felt pieces on canvas),
- Felt Embroidered Bookmark (to finish the project),
- DIY Sock Bunny (sewing substitute for attaching the legs).