How to use a glue gun

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If you’ve often got a DIY project—or love crafting or making repairs—a glue gun can be a tremendous help. These tools are easy to use and highly effective at forming a strong, lasting adhesive seal quickly.

The key, of course, is to select the right glue gun for your needs, and one that suits your preferences. For more experienced crafters, features like temperature control and higher wattage might be helpful for certain materials, but they aren’t a must-have for a beginner. If you’re planning lots of precise projects, look for a glue gun with a thinner glue stick for slower flow.

Here, the best hot glue guns available online.

Best Overall: Cobiz Dual Power Glue Gun

How to use a glue gun

Sturdy stand to keep tool upright

Smooth dispensing at all heat levels

Glue sticks advance with trigger pull

Not suited for delicate materials

Glue flow excessive for attaching small items

The Cobiz Full Size glue gun offers a lot of options: You can choose between 60 watts (which is ideal for small, detail-heavy projects) or 100 watts (perfect for when the strength of the adhesion is a big priority). The ability to choose between settings, depending on the project at hand, is a feature that reviewers particularly enjoy.

This glue gun preheats in one to three minutes and contains a smart temperature control function, which helps to prevent the gun from overheating. Useful features, like a stand and controlled three-finger trigger, make using the glue gun easy to operate. Reviewers describe the Cobiz Full Size as heavy-duty and sturdy but note that it’s lightweight enough that even people with smaller hands can use it with ease.

“It dispenses large amounts of glue quickly and efficiently. It also works well on materials that don’t usually adhere easily to one another, such as when I glued a birch bark strip around a glass votive candle holder. It held perfectly on the first try.”—Arricca SanSone, Product Tester

Last Updated: March 25, 2021 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Nicole Bolin. Nicole Bolin is a Crafting Specialist and the CEO of Stencil, a DIY Craft Studio in Phoenix, Arizona. Nicole specializes in interior design and various craft and DIY projects. Nicole holds a BS in Animal Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and spent 15 years in the scientific field before switching careers. Nicole holds a Certificate in Interior Design from the New York Institute of Art and Design. She opened Stencil in 2017 to teach others to create DIY projects that fit their home and lifestyle.

There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 29 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status.

This article has been viewed 499,927 times.

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.

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How to use a glue gun

Glue guns are used by many people on a variety of different projects in both a home and an industrial environment. When they were first created, they were simply made for bonding shoe soles. Today, however, people have found a wide range of uses for them such as in woodworking, recreational décor, retail manufacturing, packaging, etc.

The Hot Melts

The whole purpose of glue guns is to bond items together and, therefore, optimal results require not just any hot melt adhesive, but one that is compatible with the gun. The compatibility factor is usually based on the materials and the sizes of the hot melts as these can vary greatly.

Hot melts can be comprised of thermoplastic polymers, resins, and even waxes in various dimensions. The reason there are so many different chemical compositions is because glue guns don’t all have the same output. Some of them produce a harder glue product, while others produce one of a softer variety. Also, they vary in colors as needed for different applications.

The melts are also usually waterproof and are built to endure chemical treatments, however, they are not suitable for sustained high temperature applications because of the effect that these temperatures has on them.

How They Work

The hot melt sticks mentioned above are usually loaded into a back cavity that exists on the gun. Depending on the device model, the movement of the stick is either automated and controlled by a trigger, or manually fed.

How to use a glue gun

When the gun activates, the glue moves to what is known as a check valve on the way to the melting chamber. This is simply a ball loaded spring that resides directly behind the nozzle for the purpose of preventing spills and impeding the glue flow when necessary. Many glue gun models have a transparent viewing area, which helps to determine if an adequate amount of adhesive is in the chamber.

Once the glue is in the melting chamber, the stick is melted over a two to five-minute period. This process can be cut shorter if the gun was already in use at it is then already hot. The heating process is regulated by thermistors, which allows the glue to be heated without the rest of the gun becoming hot and burning the user. The melted and usable glue is then dispensed through a metallic nozzle, which can get significantly hot. Manufacturers commonly use a rubber casing on the nozzle to prevent burns.

The glue comes out in a thin, strip like manner then hardens and dries within a few minutes after leaving the gun.

How to use a glue gun

Glue guns are the mainstay of the crafting world, making thousands of projects possible. They work with materials ranging from paper and lace to wood and metal. It is inexpensive to get started, and with glue sticks readily available, using a glue gun could not be easier.

A glue gun is a hand-held tool into which you feed a solid glue stick. A heating element in the body of the gun melts the glue, and the adhesive flows out the glue gun’s metal, cone-shaped tip as the glue stick is forced through the gun.

Glue Gun Types

Glue guns come in all sizes, from a mini-gun just a few inches long to industrial pistol-grip models. While some manufacturers offer battery-powered glue guns, most models are plug-in units powered by standard home power outlets.

There are a number of options to consider when you choose a glue gun.

  • High-temperature vs. low-temperature gun: If you are working with children or on delicate materials, choose a low-temperature gun, which melts the glue sticks at about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. High-temperature guns, suited for bonding more substantial materials such as wood, operate at around 380 degrees—a significant difference. Dual-temperature guns offer both options and usually cost just slightly more.
  • Trigger-feed vs. manual-feed gun: Another feature to consider is whether you want a trigger-fed gun or a push-fed model. With the trigger feed, you slip the glue stick into the hole at the back of the gun, and each pull of the trigger advances the stick into the heater and out through the nozzle. Trigger-free models are also simple; you push the glue stick with your thumb.

Advantages

Part of the glue gun’s appeal is its price: You can pick one up for literally a buck or two, and a large pack of glue sticks costs just a few dollars. A glue gun has almost infinite uses and comes in handy not only for crafting but also for a variety of home repair jobs. Using one is as easy as pointing and squeezing.

The glue is surprisingly strong and has great staying power, even out in the elements. It bonds immediately and cools to the touch relatively quickly. For people bored with usual clear glue, sticks are available in different colors and some come impregnated with glitter.

Here are just a few projects for which a glue gun is useful:

by Herman Hansen | Last Updated: December 31, 2017

How to use a glue gunThere comes a time when you require a device to help you glue items together. For this purpose, the best hot glue gun comes in handy. It is designed like a gun, and it makes use of power (either direct electricity or can be battery powered) to heat and dispense glue.

Glue sticks are attached at the end of the gun. Once plugged in, it takes a couple of minutes to heat the glue. The heated adhesive remains in the heater within the gun and glue oozes out of a nozzle when you pull a trigger. Some guns have a controller to let you regulate the amount of glue leaking out of the gun. There are guns which give you the option to attach a variety of nozzles for different uses and applications.

When working on DIY projects, art and craft projects, the best hot glue gun comes in handy. It is a versatile device which can be used in nearly all tasks which require glue to be used in the home, office or factory.

The glue can hold together a variety of items such as beads, paper, cards, fabric, metal, plastics, ceramics and more. For home maintenance, it is ideal for sealing cracks and enclosures and for minor home repairs like fixing drawers, loose hinges and more.

Best Hot Glue Guns 2018

We would like to review the following list of products for you to make a decision on which glue gun is best suited for you. We have a list of glue guns available on the market, suited for heavy duty use and home use.

Model Power Source Working power
RAGNAROS Corded-Electric 60W Check Price
Blusmart Corded-Electric 100W Check Price
Ccbetter Corded-Electric 20W Check Price
Surebonder PRO2-100 Corded-Electric 100W Check Price
Black and Decker BDCGG20B Battery-Powered 125W Check Price
Surebonder PRO8000A Corded-Electric 180W Check Price
Surebonder PRO2-220 Corded-Electric 220W Check Price
Surebonder Pro2-60KIT Battery-Powered 60W Check Price

1. Ragnaros 60 Watt – Best Glue Gun for Arts and Crafts

How to use a glue gunThe Ragnaros 60 watt is a hot glue gun ideal for arts and crafts, all your DIY projects and minor home repairs. It is a multipurpose device which can be used in your workshop and home; ideal for card making, DIY projects, holiday decorations, jewelry repair, minor toy repairs and minor household repairs. With its long 59-inch cable, you can make repairs around your home and workshop conveniently.

It has a high-quality copper nozzle. It is sturdy and hardy and can withstand wear and tear. You can expect the Ragnaros 60 watt glue gun to last for years to come. It is convenient; all you need to do is put the glue stick at the end of the gun, plug it in an electrical socket, wait 3-5 minutes, and it is ready for use.

It’s on and off switch makes it easy to start and can be used by just about anyone. With its temperature control feature, it controls and maintains heat at set temperatures. It maintains a high temperature for an extended period, making it easy and efficient to use.

You need not worry about overheating as it has an anti-heating cover which is thermally insulated. It has a LED indicator, and with its internal safety fuse, you can be sure that power is regulated and the gun can handle power surges, keeping you safe.

Upon purchase, you receive 30 gun sticks. With its strong adhesive qualities, the glue also protects your items and makes it easy to clean. It also comes with a manual with a set of instructions for easy use.

When in use, the nozzle and glue can get quite hot. It’s important to avoid touching both to avoid getting hurt. After working, some glue may ooze out which is normal, so place the nozzle on a heat resistant surface which won’t be damaged by the glue. Also note that when using the gun for the first time, it might smoke slightly which is normal and the gun will stop smoking after 10 minutes. Only replace glue sticks when it runs out entirely.

How to use Glue Gun; 4 Simple Steps on How to use Glue Gun.

How to use Glue Gun: Whether you intend to do glue on timber, metal,wood or plastic, a glue gun can be of great use. Below, you will get to know on How to use Glue Gun on your day to day work:

How to use a glue gun

4 Simple Steps on How to use Glue Gun.

Step 1 : Prepare Your Working Area

Always work in a well-lit area free from any obstructions and clutter so that you can see what it is you are doing and won’t be constantly tripping over or working about objects in the way.

Working in a well-Ventilated area is also very important. Under normal operating conditions both cool and hot melt adhesive should not be harmful, but should overheated then toxic vapours can be published.

Also, ensure that Your work surface is level and flat. The service stands that include off the shelf glue guns aren’t that great and can easily topple over if not resting on a flat surface, and you definitely don’t want that happening when it’s turned on as well as temperature.

Step 2:Insert the Glue Stick and Set the Temperature

Now the glue gun is ready, you are ready to add the glue stick. Based on your project, you may need either multipurpose, wood or coloured adhesive. Also, glue guns have different temperature settings. Check if you’ve got the right type of glue stick by speaking to the adhesive stick packaging. And be certain that you never pull a half-used glue stick from the glue gun when it’s still warm, since this may spill hot glue onto your skin or surfaces.

How to use a glue gun

Before you turn it on, first check that there is a glue stick inserted and ready to use. Coloured glue sticks require a lower temperature (105 degrees Celsius) than neutral glue, because then the glue will stay nice and bright

In the case for the gun we are using in this example, the manufacturer states to leave the gun for 5 minutes, but as mentioned, refer to your manufacturer user manual for specific times.

Glue gun plugged in and heating up to temperature. The nozzle will be very hot, so be careful not to lean it against any material or touch it without heat-resistant gloves.

Step 3: Start Glue Application with Glue Gun.

With everything now prepared it is time to apply some glue. Before applying the adhesive directly to any surfaces, it is a good idea to do a test first.

Together with the nozzle pointing downwards, gradually apply pressure to the activate and examine the hot glue onto a piece of scrap cloth, such as cardboard, to see whether it is ready to use. You’ll know when the paste is ready as it turns into liquid and is discharged once you pull the trigger.

Now that you are ready to utilize the Gun, shield any surfaces using a covering such as a cutting mat or, for smaller jobs, a glue pad. Additionally, use the stand of your glue gun to rest it on when you are not working with it. Never put the adhesive gun onto its side since the adhesive could trickle, or the nozzle could create a burn mark.

Whether You’re gluing glass, metal, Plastic, wood or leather, it’s important to have a sterile and grease-free surface as greasy, smooth surfaces don’t bond together.

Step 4: Remove Glue from Your Glue Gun & Allow to Dry

Concerning drying time, you could be asking yourself; How much time does it take hot glue to dry? In answer, allow at least 5 minutes prior to moving anything to guarantee the glue has time to set.

Most glues should have put enough to allow you to move the thing you’re working on, however if it is possible, allow 12 hours for the adhesive to really harden off.

When you’ve finished gluing, always unplug the adhesive gun before cleaning it. To prevent the paste on the nozzle from setting, wipe the glue off immediately with a dry cloth. The nozzle will continue to be warm, so be cautious — always wear heat-resistant gloves. If any extra glue has set in your material and overlaps, you can trim it using a pair of scissors. For strings of glue, briefly heat the glue up with a hair dryer to melt it, and then wipe it away with a cloth.

How to use Glue Gun; 4 Simple Steps on How to use Glue Gun.

How to use Glue Gun: Whether you intend to do glue on timber, metal,wood or plastic, a glue gun can be of great use. Below, you will get to know on How to use Glue Gun on your day to day work:

How to use a glue gun

4 Simple Steps on How to use Glue Gun.

Step 1 : Prepare Your Working Area

Always work in a well-lit area free from any obstructions and clutter so that you can see what it is you are doing and won’t be constantly tripping over or working about objects in the way.

Working in a well-Ventilated area is also very important. Under normal operating conditions both cool and hot melt adhesive should not be harmful, but should overheated then toxic vapours can be published.

Also, ensure that Your work surface is level and flat. The service stands that include off the shelf glue guns aren’t that great and can easily topple over if not resting on a flat surface, and you definitely don’t want that happening when it’s turned on as well as temperature.

Step 2:Insert the Glue Stick and Set the Temperature

Now the glue gun is ready, you are ready to add the glue stick. Based on your project, you may need either multipurpose, wood or coloured adhesive. Also, glue guns have different temperature settings. Check if you’ve got the right type of glue stick by speaking to the adhesive stick packaging. And be certain that you never pull a half-used glue stick from the glue gun when it’s still warm, since this may spill hot glue onto your skin or surfaces.

How to use a glue gun

Before you turn it on, first check that there is a glue stick inserted and ready to use. Coloured glue sticks require a lower temperature (105 degrees Celsius) than neutral glue, because then the glue will stay nice and bright

In the case for the gun we are using in this example, the manufacturer states to leave the gun for 5 minutes, but as mentioned, refer to your manufacturer user manual for specific times.

Glue gun plugged in and heating up to temperature. The nozzle will be very hot, so be careful not to lean it against any material or touch it without heat-resistant gloves.

Step 3: Start Glue Application with Glue Gun.

With everything now prepared it is time to apply some glue. Before applying the adhesive directly to any surfaces, it is a good idea to do a test first.

Together with the nozzle pointing downwards, gradually apply pressure to the activate and examine the hot glue onto a piece of scrap cloth, such as cardboard, to see whether it is ready to use. You’ll know when the paste is ready as it turns into liquid and is discharged once you pull the trigger.

Now that you are ready to utilize the Gun, shield any surfaces using a covering such as a cutting mat or, for smaller jobs, a glue pad. Additionally, use the stand of your glue gun to rest it on when you are not working with it. Never put the adhesive gun onto its side since the adhesive could trickle, or the nozzle could create a burn mark.

Whether You’re gluing glass, metal, Plastic, wood or leather, it’s important to have a sterile and grease-free surface as greasy, smooth surfaces don’t bond together.

Step 4: Remove Glue from Your Glue Gun & Allow to Dry

Concerning drying time, you could be asking yourself; How much time does it take hot glue to dry? In answer, allow at least 5 minutes prior to moving anything to guarantee the glue has time to set.

Most glues should have put enough to allow you to move the thing you’re working on, however if it is possible, allow 12 hours for the adhesive to really harden off.

When you’ve finished gluing, always unplug the adhesive gun before cleaning it. To prevent the paste on the nozzle from setting, wipe the glue off immediately with a dry cloth. The nozzle will continue to be warm, so be cautious — always wear heat-resistant gloves. If any extra glue has set in your material and overlaps, you can trim it using a pair of scissors. For strings of glue, briefly heat the glue up with a hair dryer to melt it, and then wipe it away with a cloth.

How to use a glue gun

If you are a crafter or home DIYer, you need to know the proper way to use a hot glue gun . This is a good tool and no home workshop should be without one. It is also a tool that, used improperly, can cause severe burns or a fire. There are several types of hot glue guns. There are the type crafters use and that can be bought in any craft or discount stores and there are glue guns for carpenters.

Types of Glue Guns

The crafter’s glue guns come in two varieties; larger ones that have high heat and small ones that use warm or low melt glue sticks. You can use the larger ones with low melt glue sticks. The smaller guns are good for projects like scrapbooking and gluing paper and cardboard because they emit a smaller glue stream. Another type is the type carpenters use in the workshop, and they are usually cordless. They are also a heavier duty gun and heat up faster due to higher temperatures. These guns have varying types of glue sticks you can use depending upon the type of surface you are gluing.

Step 1 – Choose your Weapon

How to use a glue gun

Choose the correct gun for the project you are doing. It is not uncommon to have all three in a household. Always use the manufacturer’s instructions and read them thoroughly before beginning because there are some variations in use between manufacturers.

Step 2 – Prepare your Space

Protect the area where you are working because the glue will set up very quickly and can ruin a surface. Crafters usually work over a thick piece of cardboard to protect the area. Have a piece of aluminum foil, or use an old metal pie pan or cookie sheet, to set the gun on when not in use because it will continue to drip a little hot glue. You may wish to wear long sleeves and gloves if crafting.

If you are using the gun for carpentry work, gloves and goggles or eye protection are a good idea. The glue can spatter with those types of guns. It’s also wise to keep a bowl of ice water nearby, so if you get the melted glue on your skin, you can plunge the area into the water to ease the burn and to make it easy to peel away the glue.

Step 3 – Heat up the Gun

How to use a glue gun

Craft type guns will take five to eight minutes and carpentry types will take around four minutes. Insert a glue stick into the opening, per the instructions. If this is the first time using the glue gun it may take most of the first stick to fill the chamber with melted glue, so don’t be surprised if you have to insert a second stick quickly. The hot melt glue actually sets up or dries more quickly than the low melt type.

Step 4 – Glue

When you are ready to glue, pick up the gun, wipe the nozzle free of melted glue and move it to what you are gluing. Compress the trigger slightly to get the amount of glue you will need, then in a wiping motion, do your gluing. You want to try to avoid glue strings from your object back to the holder where the glue gun rests. The hot glue cools very quickly so aim efficiently and move quickly.