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All you need to know about Glue Guns
Have you ever wondered about all the things you can do with a hot glue gun?
You may have noticed a lot of my beginner projects use a glue gun, maybe you’ve never used a glue gun or don’t really know what a glue gun is! You might feel they are for bulky wood or paper DIY projects and can’t possibly be used for soft, delicate photo props using fabrics or wool! By the end of this blog, you will realise how amazing these hot tools can be!
This article tells you all about what a glue gun is and what they do, the best glue gun to buy, why I love using a glue gun and then I’ve put together some mini projects which will help you practise using a glue gun for precise and detailed work. I will then show you a series of tips to help you use a glue gun successfully to achieve a professional result!
…is a glue gun?
In essence, a glue gun is an electrical device that uses a heating element to heat up and melt specially made solid hot glue sticks.
If you want it a bit more technical!!… The gun uses a continuous-duty heating element to melt the plastic glue, which you push through the gun either with a mechanical trigger mechanism on the gun, or with direct finger pressure. … The glue is tacky when hot, and solidifies in a few seconds to one minute.
Plug them into the wall or buy a cordless chargable glue gun. Some have on/off switches, which are really handy, so look out for this feature!
…use a glue gun?
For arts and crafts and quick, easy patch-ups, nothing beats a hot glue gun. Unlike other adhesives, hot glue goes on smoothly, dries fast and holds firm when applied to all sorts of different surfaces. While its hold is not the strongest, it can be used to bond a greater diversity of materials than almost any other glue. Using a hot glue gun is a breeze as long as you follow a few basic steps and keep safety guidelines in mind.
I love a glue gun because it creates a strong bond between 2 elements quickly and easily. You don’t have to wait for it to dry or stand there holding your 2 bits together for ages. It glues anything… yarn, fabric, jute, wool, buttons, beads, ribbon, lace and more!
It’s better for larger variety of surfaces, goes on cleaner and won’t cause paper to wrinkle and colors to bleed the way some craft glues do. A small dab of hot glue will help your DIY creations hold up longer.
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…to use a glue gun?
Wait for the glue to heat up. Give the glue gun a couple minutes to soften the glue. Once it’s been sufficiently melted, the glue will ooze out when you pull the trigger. For most glue guns, the heating process will take around two minutes. Larger and industrial-grade glue guns may require up to five minutes to heat the glue enough to make it easily dispensable.
- Some glue guns will have on/off switches, while others won’t. If your model does, it will need to be placed in the “on” position before it will begin heating up the glue. Otherwise, it will start warming as soon as it is plugged in.
- Rest the glue gun on the wire support stand at its base when it’s not in use. Never lay an active glue gun on its side.
Lightly squeeze the trigger to release the melted glue.
Aim the nozzle of the glue gun downwards and place it close the item you’ll be gluing. Gently squeeze the trigger of the gun until melted glue begins to emerge from the nozzle. Glue directly onto the item’s surface, leaving the nozzle in contact. Apply the glue smoothly in dots, swirls or straight lines.
- Place a piece of scrap cardboard or foil beneath the object you’re gluing to catch stray strands of glue.
- Try gluing a few pieces of throwaway material to get a feel for your glue gun before using it for projects that require precision.
- If possible, wear a pair of gloves while working with hot glue to protect your hands from the heat and mess.
Only use as much glue as you need.
Start with a modest amount of glue and then determine whether you need more. A little glue goes a long way. The melted glue will flow fairly quickly once the trigger is pulled, and it can be easy to use too much if you’re not careful. Avoid saturating the item you’re gluing or applying the glue in messy globs. Glue can set up rather quickly, so only use as much as you need as you go.
Because of its thick, gel-like consistency, hot glue works better for sticking thin, easily damaged surfaces together than more liquid adhesives like paste and even superglue. Watery glues can be difficult to apply, require longer to take effect and have a higher chance of damaging sensitive materials than hot glue. Hot glue is also versatile, and will often hold together temperamental objects that don’t take well to other types of adhesives.
In order to get the best out of your glue gun for making photo props, there are a few tips you can try, watch this video below and have a go!
Here are some common myths you might be thinking…
- They constantly drip hot glue [ Really cheap glue guns might do this, ensure you buy a high quality tool and you won’t have any problems! ]
- They give you a big blob of glue [ Squeezing really hard and long causes this… use my tips and techniques in the video below and you can avoid this ]
- The glue dries too quickly for you to have time to be careful and precise! [ Once the glue gun is fully heated up you have longer than you realise to stick 2 things together! Obviously you don’t have loads of time but you don’t need to rush! Practise makes perfect and really getting to know what your glue gun is capable of! ]
The aim or challenge is to NOT see or feel any of the glue!
- Make sure you have a large stash of glue sticks, you get through them super quick once you get started.
- Having the right glue gun really is a big help!
- When squeezing the trigger to release some glue, squeeze as slowly and gently as possible to get just a small amount
- Squeeze to release some glue, then use the nozzle to spread the glue thinly, this can help prevent blobs of glue
- After you have squeezed once and used the glue, you may have enough left on the end to wipe onto a new area
- Use some scrap paper to squeeze some glue onto then wipe the excess onto your project for a really tiny amount of glue
- Some materials like wool or lace, carefully lay them together or gently pinch, avoid pushing or squeezing. This stops the glue going through the gaps or holes and attaching your work to the table!
- It is difficult to remove hot glue once it has set (although not impossible!). Make sure that the measurements, angles and dimensions of your craft project are perfect before gluing it down.
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The Best Glue Gun… EVER!
I’ve tried many glue guns and this one is the best by far. I love the on/off switch, much easier than having to unplug it to turn it off! It’s mini in size. It doesn’t drip or leak. Most importantly it has a long and narrow metal nozzle, this allows for precise and small amounts of glue to be squeezed out. The trigger is tight, allowing for a slow squeeze, again enabling a small amount of glue to be released! It doesn’t get too hot, doesn’t get clogged up with glue, easily pulls the another glue stick into place when changing to a new stick. The stand is stable and the cable in the right place to enable the glue gun to stand on its own making it easier to pickup and down. Most glue guns just fall over!
This glue gun is called “Surebonder High-Temp Mini Glue Gun-Green” and can be found on Amazon in any country. Message me if you’re struggling to find it!
This really helps get tiny bits of glue onto your material!
We hope you have fun exploring using a glue gun and share your creations with us by tagging #natartmadethis. For more DIY ideas and inspiration, join us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Or browse our website for video tutorials on how to make photo props, home decor, and more.
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