7 Cool Tips for Working with Hot Glue

Jordan Bunker

Technical Editor at Maker Media. Maker. Hacker. Artist. Sometimes Scientist. Pretengineer. Builder of things. Maker of stuff.

37 Articles

By Jordan Bunker

Technical Editor at Maker Media. Maker. Hacker. Artist. Sometimes Scientist. Pretengineer. Builder of things. Maker of stuff.

37 Articles

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Hot melt adhesive, more commonly known as hot glue, is the go-to glue for most crafters, but it’s very useful in a huge number of different hobbies. Here are some ideas and advice that just might make hot glue your new favorite adhesive.

Glue Sticks

Glue sticks are available in a variety of colors, even glitter-filled and glow-in-the-dark. There are also low- and high-temperature glues, with the high-temperature version producing a stronger bond. Dual-temperature hot glue guns are available, which allow you to switch temperatures for either glue stick type.

Canned Air

When you’re in a hurry, it can be incredibly frustrating to wait for hot glue to dry. To cool it instantly, take a can of compressed air, turn it upside-down, and spray the freshly glued area. The spray that comes out of the can chills the glue, solidifying it in seconds. Be careful not to spray your hands or anything that shouldn’t get cold, as it can burn your skin.

Heat Gun

If you need to re-adjust a hot-glued area, you can use a heat gun to heat the glue back up and reposition it.

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Casting

Hot glue isn’t just an adhesive, it can be used for casting small objects. Just make a quick plaster (or 3D printed) mold of the object you want to duplicate, then squirt hot glue into the negative space after the mold has hardened.

Mat

Before you plug in that hot glue gun, put a silicone mat or some parchment paper (not wax paper!) down on your workspace. Any spilled hot glue can be peeled off after it cools.

Denatured Alcohol

If you ever need to remove hot glue from something, you can use a small amount of denatured alcohol along the edges of the glue to break the bond.

QUICK TIP

Hot glue can stick to your skin and cause painful burns, and it’s nearly impossible to remove until after it solidifies. It’s a good idea to keep a bowl of cold water nearby so you can dip your hand in it and cool the glue faster to minimize the burn.

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