The Crafting Newbie’s Quick Guide to Glue Guns

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Have you been ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ about adding a glue gun to your crafting kit, but haven’t found enough information to digest in order to actually proceed with the addition? Fret not, today’s article is the crafting newbie’s quick guide to glue guns, and it’s bound to help you out.

By the time you’re done reading this article you will know exactly what a glue gun is and how it’s used, AND you’ll have a clear idea of what types of crafts you can complete with a glue gun in hand. Any doubt you may have about investing into a glue gun will be gone – in approximately three minutes flat.

What is a Glue Gun?

Before you get carried away with all of the craft projects that a glue gun will help you complete, it’s important to know exactly what a glue gun is and why it deserves its spot in your crafting kit. In a nutshell, glue guns are portable devices that melt glue sticks and dispense the melted glue as a hot melt adhesive.

These nifty devices have been around since the 1940s when they were invented to help protect factory workers (and their poor hands!) from being burned by scolding glue. As you can imagine, they’ve come quite a long way from their bulky, simplistic, and messy beginnings. Today they’re compact, lightweight, and there are many models available for many different industries and applications.

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The Uses of Glue Guns

Don’t think that glue can only be used to stick one thing to another. When used in a specific way, glue alone can be used to create imaginative artwork and creative crafts.

Glue guns can be used for an assortment of craft projects. Ask any crafter you know for a list of glue gun crafts, and they’ll give you a list that is as long as your grocery list. You can use a glue gun to:

  • Have an Amortentia-like effect on the Harry Potter lover in your life by making them their very own wand.
  • Decorate plain glasses, vases, or clear containers. You could even decorate glass windows for Christmas or Halloween to really get into the festive spirit!
  • Unleash your inner artist with melted crayon masterpieces or faux stained glass mixed media artworks.
  • Design your own headband, Alice band, telephone-wire hair ties, or customise hair clips.
  • Create your own bespoke jewellery like necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets.
  • Make other unique crafts including decorative pins, signs, sculptures, votives, ornaments, cup coasters, and even DIY spa slippers or flip flops!

Believe it or not, but the humble glue gun can be used in many other applications outside the realm of the crafting world. From turning regular coat hangers into non-slip ones to repairing the frame of a pair of glasses, there really is a lot that a little bit of hot glue can do.

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Tips for Using Glue Guns

After reading all of the above, you probably can’t wait to get your hands on a glue gun of your very own. Guns are dangerous, even the glue gun kind, so it’s very important that you keep the following tips in mind before you begin your glue gun journey:

  1. Before anything, read through the owner’s manual to get a comprehensive idea on how your specific device works, what safety precautions you need to take, and how to operate it properly.
  2. Inspect your glue gun for any old glue residue and for any signs of damage to the glue gun itself as well as its accompanying electrical cord.
  3. Make sure you know how long the glue will take to become usable so you can properly plan your craft time. Almost all glue guns take just 3 minutes to warm up, but bulkier or more heavy-duty models may take up to 5 minutes to become sufficiently heated.
  4. Prep your workstation to make sure no stray glue causes a (difficult to clean!) mess. Place a sheet of plastic, some tarp, a piece of newspaper, or a scrap of cardboard in your craft corner. This way, any stray glue strands will land on the surface you’ve prepared instead of on your actual working surface.
  5. Even though glue guns are much safer than working with a brush and a pot of boiling-hot glue, being safe rather than sorry doesn’t hurt – but hot glue from a glue gun does! It’s always a good idea to wear a pair of gloves to keep your hands safe while working with hot glue.
  6. Glue from a glue gun can be very difficult to remove once it’s dried, so you should take the time to plan your crafts out properly to limit the number of mistakes that need correcting.


And there you have it: your quick crash course in all things related to glue guns. Now that you know what glue guns are, what you can make with one, and how to use one to its full potential, you’re ready to become a proud glue gun owner. Go on, get yourself a glue gun and take your crafting kit to the next level.