Lori is a budget-conscious crafter who enjoys coming up with creative uses for everyday objects.
What Is a Hot Glue Gun?
Hot glue guns are common electrical appliances that use continuous heating elements to melt cylinders of adhesive so they can be applied to surfaces and used as glue. These small, affordable, handheld tools allow users to melt, aim, and apply hot glue using a simple "trigger."
Hot glue guns are most commonly used in arts and crafts, but they come in handy quite often for simple repairs and miscellaneous household projects as well. In many homes, they can be found in "junk drawers" among a somewhat random assortment of other occasionally useful items.
Despite their incredible usefulness, many hot glue guns only get used here and there for the occasional crafting project. In this article, we'll explore 10 less common but totally practical uses for that hot glue gun that's been gathering dust in a drawer or closet. Below the list, you'll find information about how to use glue guns safely and a glue gun recommendation from yours truly!
10 Practical and Creative Things to Do With Your Hot Glue Gun
- Hem pants
- Fix buttons
- Emboss cards
- Make Christmas ornaments
- Create Halloween spider webbing
- Make scrapbook embellishments
- Create 3D molds
- Decorate windows (and more) for the holidays
- Make jewelry and art
- Open jars with stuck lids
1. Hem Pants
If you're in a rush and realize your hem has gone down for the count, get out that glue gun and go to town. Later on, just peel the dots of glue off or leave them on while you sew.
Use only small dabs and not full lines of glue—this makes removing the glue easier, and it won't stain the clothing. When I have done this in the past, I usually forget to remove the glue, so it just remains on mu pants unseen. Washing the clothing has no effect on the glue's adhesion.
2. Fix Buttons
Running out the door and notice you have a button that is about to fall off? If there's no time to sew it, just run some hot glue over the threads and go. Your button will stay in place, and when you have time to sew it, the glue will just pop off the plastic. Unlike clear nail polish, the hot glue won't damage the button.
3. Emboss Cards
Glue guns are perfect for embossing just about anything. In other words, they can be used to add a decorative raised ridge to almost any surface. Once you are happy with how it looks, just apply nail polish over it for a high-gloss lacquer. Glue sticks come in a variety of fun colors, and you can also order cylinders that include glitter.
If you want to use hot glue to create three-dimensional lettering or a raised design to add to a card, just apply the glue directly to a hard, flat, nonporous surface. Let it dry completely, and then peel it off slowly. You can then attach your design to a card with a little bit of glue. This way, you can trim it to perfection.
Another option is to write or draw directly on the card. The only problem with this is that hot glue doesn't come off of paper cleanly if you make a mistake. It usually takes some of the paper with it if you remove it.
4. Make Christmas Ornaments
Hot glue applies well oto glass, and if you make a mistake, you can just peel it off! Apply it to the outside of plain glass Christmas ornaments to give it a 3D effect. I usually use colored or glittery glue when embellishing ornaments.
If you don't have the right colors, you can use clear glue and then apply nail polish over it once it dries. You can apply glitter while the glue is wet or afterward using some glossy Mod Podge glue.
5. Create Halloween Spider Webbing
Most crafters hate those threads you get using low-temp guns, but even high-temp guns will spin webs for you, so why not use this to your advantage during Halloween season?
Apply a dab of hot glue to anchor the web, and while blowing on the glue, pull it to a different anchor point. Keep repeating this until your web is done. When Halloween is over, just run your hand through the glue to clean it up fast.
6. Make Scrapbook Embellishments
I bought a silicone mold, and it was so delicate that I was never able to make anything with it. Then I tried using my glue gun. No matter how delicate the molds were, the glue captured the designs perfectly. Apply nail polish as a final step, and you'll have the perfect embellishment in just minutes.
If you want, you can use two different colors of hot glue in each mold—just be careful not to overfill them. When I use too much glue, the embellishment doesn't sit right on the paper. It's best to underfill rather than overfill. Make sure the glue gets into all the corners of the mold. You can do this by taping the mold against the table surface.
Another trick is to dip the tip of the glue gun into the flow of the glue rather than holding it above the mold. If the glue is allowed to drip, it cools slightly and doesn't flow as well. I use the tip of my hot glue gun to keep it flowing. Test your mold material before you do this. If the gun is too hot, it can melt the plastic on some molds.
It is fine to use plastic candy molds. You may want to use a drop of mold-release such as cooking spray. This won't affect the embellishment, and it prevents the glue from sticking to the plastic of the candy mold.
7. Create 3D Molds
Do you like to use polymer clay? Do you decorate cakes? Did you know that instead of buying expensive molds, you can make them with hot glue for only pennies?
Simply squirt out a large dollop of hot glue onto a surface and then push the object you want a mold of into it. Wait for the glue tyo harden, and you'll have your mold. This works best with smaller objects because the glue cools quickly.
If you're going to make molds, I recommend using high-temperature glue. It flows easier than low-temperature glue and stays liquid longer, so you have time to make a larger dollop and set your object.
8. Decorate Windows (and More) for the Holidays
You can apply the glue from a glue gun directly to your windows to create holiday magic. It peels off glass quite easily. Did you know glue sticks come in all sorts of colors? Some even glow in the dark, which is perfect for Halloween season.
You can also use hot glue on all kinds of holiday crafts. I've used it to add realistic-looking icicles to my gingerbread houses as pictured above.
9. Make Jewelry and Art
Hot glue makes wonderful jewelry. We made a bracelet entirely of hot glue. Kids love it! You can also use it to make carnival-style masks like the one pictured above. Colored and glow-in-the-dark sticks come in handy here, too!
10. Open Jars With Stuck Lids
Do you ever have trouble getting the lids off of jars? If so, just apply strips of hot glue over the palm of a cotton glove and then let it dry. Put on the glove, and the glue will help you get a better grip on the lid of any jar.
How to Use Hot Glue Guns Safely
I have been working with glue guns since I was a young teen, and even though I use them all the time, I still get burned. Melted glue from a high-temp gun is often over 300 degrees Fahrenheit, while the glue of a low-temp gun is usually around 170.
There is a huge difference between being burned by a high-heat glue and a low-heat glue. When I work with a high-temp gun, I always keep ice water next to me. The burns can be severe, and the glue continues to burn the skin until it hardens. Do not try to pull the glue off of the skin before it has hardened. This doesn't work, and the hand you use to pull the glue off will be burned as well.
Instead, dunk the hand in ice water immediately. This helps to halt the burn and allows you to remove the glue sooner. Keep ice water on hand at all times.
High-Temp vs. Low-Temp Glue Guns
Melted glue from a high-temperature gun is typically around 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Melted glue from a low-temperature gun, on the other hand, is typically only about 170 degrees.
High-heat glue sticks are harder and a little stronger than low-heat glue sticks. I recommend using a high-heat gun when you are working with metal or wood and using a low-heat gun when crafting with paper, cardboard, and plastic.
What's the Best Glue Gun for the Price?
What's the best glue gun for arts, crafts, and miscellaneous repairs? I highly recommend the Stanley GR20K Trigger Feed Hot Melt Glue Gun Kit. It's a high-quality, affordable glue gun that does not fall apart over time. The heating element is excellent, and mine has never overheated or burned out. You can use high-temp or multi-temp glue sticks with this device.
Video: How to Use a Glue Gun
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Faith on May 31, 2020:
You have widened my glue gun horizons - thank you!!
Barbara Karr on October 28, 2019:
How to tell if tou have a high temperatue glue gun?
Miriam Jones-Morris on June 16, 2018:
I really like all the ideas that you can do with an glue gun.
marlene marion brañez estrada on December 26, 2017:
Bolivia is one of the 48 countries that you send products?
Where can I got the PayPal card, from some bank? thanks for your answer.
Sangeet Mehrotra on October 26, 2017:
I need your help for using glu gun
Laura on April 29, 2016:
Wondering if you think the glue gun could somehow be used to make those grippers you sometimes find on the bottom hems of shorts to keep them from sliding back up the leg (probably an old costumer's trick or something)?
Ruby from United States on March 15, 2016:
wow the embossing was a great idea, I want to try if I can ever find time!(:
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on February 15, 2016:
Crayons are a different type of wax and while they will heat and melt the wax gets very thin and for most people it gets all over the place. I have one for crayons but won't use it for the glue gun after because of the mess. You should have seen my kitchen after my daughter tried it.
Linda on February 15, 2016:
You can also use crayons in your glue gun. I bought one of the small inexpensive ones to use strictly for the crayons. When you want to switch colors just run some of the clear glue stick through it to get rid of the color you were using.
Doreen on January 18, 2016:
I love the window idea, I currently decorate with foam snowflakes and double sided tape(which is difficult to clean off the window). I would love to glue snowflakes to the window as they would be so easy to take off after the holidays.
Geri on January 12, 2016:
Before using the glue gun, I put lotion on my hands and the stray glue doesn't stick to my fingers.
Chris on December 10, 2015:
I hae the
I have three glue guns and pot one to. Been using them for years. Some of your crafting ones for scrapbooking and card making are great. Thanks for the tips.
Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on December 07, 2015:
So many amazing things that can be done with a trusty glue gun! Thanks for sharing with us!
Cynthia on December 02, 2015:
Go to google and find the glue gun kit that contains finger guards that you can put on your fingers to avoid burns. Kit also contains a stick free mat and a couple of tools to smooth the glue out on the object you are glueing.
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on November 28, 2015:
Not a dumb question at all and it depends on the size. It's good for tiny molds. I have done those, but once I made the larger ones the glue gun glue hardened before it was out of the gun. The only thing I can think of is trying it. My bad ideas always out number my good ones, but when I get a good idea it's worth all the effort.
Bonnie Bee keeper on November 27, 2015:
Question......do any of you think that a mold made of glue would hold up under the heat of melted bees wax to make small candles? mmmm or would the glue melt again :) This is probable a duh question but must ask :)
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on November 21, 2015:
I don't think greenmind was referring to anything you said. It's all good.
Barbara from USA on November 21, 2015:
No disrespect, I know it's a hub. I got stuck in the move from Squidoo to Hubpages and I don't know what I'm doing here yet :)
GreenMind Guides from USA on November 11, 2015:
What? This is a great hub! You really write well and I never imagined that a glue gun could do so many amazing and creative things. Well done and I think HubPages could use more writers like you. Thanks!
Barbara from USA on November 11, 2015:
Just wanted let you know I love your page! I too, many times have been burned by the big gun, I'm surprised I have any fingerprints left!
KonaGirl from New York on November 10, 2015:
Wow! You came up with some really great ideas! I am going to pin it to my Christmas board. I want to do some Christmas decorations with it. I like the embossing ornaments idea, making snowflakes to hang and on the window too.
Michael Murchie from Parts Unknown on November 05, 2015:
Some lovely ideas here!
O from New York on October 24, 2015:
Glue guns are useful, nice hubs! I'm following you now.
Fiona from South Africa on October 14, 2015:
Some cool ideas - my glue gun and I have a love/ hate relationship but fortunately here in South Africa we have a herbal cream called Zambuck that takes the sting out of the burns completely.
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on October 11, 2015:
LOL because I dripped it, it didn't see it coming, but then we had to sacrifice the roll because we hot glued a spider to it. OK, it wasn't one of those ideas I totally thought though.
Helen Stuart from Deep in the Heart of Texas on October 11, 2015:
I have used a glue gun for quick repairs on clothes before, and also to make snowflakes to hang on trees, for hours and hours at a time. Thanks to the shout out to the spiders of the world. We had a big green one eat a wasp yesterday. We live in Texas and have giant black widows and a certain breed of brown recluse that is also plentiful. I was thinking and thinking about different ways to make molds for various parts of the sculptures I am making, and I know a lot of crafty stuff, but you beat me on this one by FAR! I only saw the the fairy house and the mask so far, LOVED both, I am going to make fairy houses as well. HEY, you could also probably use the glue to cover the inside of tabletop fountains, at least the places that aren't taken up by your own little rock waterfalls and stuff. You could probably even glue some sand on the top layer very carefully with a little tool. I bet you would be really fun to craft with. Could you just help me figure out my website now? Haha. Many many thanks
Rahul from India on October 05, 2015:
cool... awesome idea
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 03, 2015:
Thanks for letting me know Craftypicks.
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on October 02, 2015:
The spider in the photo is a black widow. They don't die with poison very easily. Living in the desert we see them all the time. They move very quicky too and seem to step over poison. I used the glue gun to get rid of that one. I happen to have had it handy and hot. It prevented the spider from moving and me from getting too close to it. I also stopped a line of ants with it. I didn't really kill too many ants, but I think I plugged up the hole where they were getting in near my sink. The line never returned. I did have to sacrifice the roll of toilet paper along with the spider but considering I had a screaming kid on the toilet it was worth the quick exchange of rolls. It's a silly way of using a glue gun, but it did work. I have no mercy for spiders that can kill my family or at least put them in the hospital. Other spiders get escorted out of the house gently. I don't hate spiders. They kill other bugs that are way worse. If they live outside it's a fair game. Walk into my house and it's a dog eat dog world.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on October 02, 2015:
Great ideas. I never used a glue gun before. Handy to know that they kill bugs and spiders. Will they kill flies, too?
Marva on September 30, 2015:
Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas about using glue gun. I had no idea glue sticks came in anything other than clear. Can't wait to try these new craft tricks.
Tess on September 11, 2015:
Got to order some coloured glue sticks now I know they exist!
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on August 25, 2015:
Glue guns are great fun.
Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on April 02, 2015:
I love these great ideas. Your suggestion to use a glue gun to hem pants is one I'm definitely going to try. Loved your pictures and voted up!
Norma Bartlett on March 26, 2015:
To keep from getting burned with the glue gun (which I have done many times.Lol.) purchase those rubber finger tips available at Wal-Mart & many office supply stores & wear them while using the hot glue gun. Works like a dream to protect your fingers from those nasty burns. Hope this helps somebody out there.
Sophia on March 20, 2015:
the bug idea would be great if it wasn't for the time the glue gun has to warm up. I don't know about you, and luckily we don't really have poisonous spiders in my country, but I'm not waiting 10 minutes for my glue gun to warm up only to find I'm no longer sure where the spider is.
kathys on March 18, 2015:
Gold leaf also sticks nicely to the hardened glue.
maggs224 from Sunny Spain on February 21, 2015:
An interesting hub, with lots of information about glue guns and their uses. Though I am not too sure that I could every use it on spiders or ants :(
Clearissa Coward's Command Center from Cary,NC on February 13, 2015:
I had no idea hot glue came in any other color. This is an excellent article.
Kappygirl on February 02, 2015:
Great ideas. I've used glue guns for years but I never knew glue sticks came in different colors or glow-in-the-dark!
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on January 20, 2015:
The socks are probably the easiest of all the projects on there. Go to Google and get a coloring book photo of the socks you like. Put two layers of tin foil down on a flat surface and then the photo on top. Trace hard. Life the photo, there will be lines in the tin. Spray with cooking spray (A MUST). Follow the lines, let cool and peel. BINGO
MH Bonham from Missoula, Montana on January 19, 2015:
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on January 19, 2015:
I have had a glue gun for ages and for some reason I have not had the courage to try it out. If I could make some of those socks on the washing line, I certainly would have a go. Any idea on how they were made!
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on January 14, 2015:
I know it probably won't work. The plastic is too soft for something you will be pulling on. Try a hard bonding resin.
Courtney Rhodes on January 14, 2015:
the silicone mold idea is great! i have wanted to make my own dresser knobs and i think this would work if i used 2 guns at once to make the mold deep enough. do you think the mold would work with a resin compound?
Nimblepins on January 10, 2015:
I love the idea of using silicone molds. I'll have to try it. I don't think I'd be able to hot glue a spider! Maybe if they were poisonous like yours!
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on December 23, 2014:
The spider was easy. I caught a fly with it, but it ended up getting glued to my desk and was pretty gross to remove. I have given up extermination by glue gun after that. The spider worked because my hand didn't have to go near it and it dripped right onto paper. You should have seen my daughter's face when I ran in with the glue gun instead of the poison.
Crystal Myers from Flagstaff on December 23, 2014:
Those are some great ideas.....except the spiders that's too close lol
Georgina Crawford from Dartmoor on December 21, 2014:
See, now I need a glue gun. I'd just thought they were for gluing stuff. Never realised you could make art with them, or use colour! Well that's next years birthday present sorted then! Great article. Rating and following.
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on December 16, 2014:
LOL... notice I didn't suggest the crayon. I totally agree!!!!! My daughter did it and what a mess we had. It destroyed the gun and made a total mess. The color in the glue on my page are made for the glue gun. It's colored sticks.
Lesa on December 16, 2014:
LOVE my glue gun...but...trust me on this....NEVER ever put crayons in it like some may suggest!!! LOL I speak from experience and there are many surfaces that I am still pealing and picking wax from!!!! LOL
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on November 06, 2014:
@Carson... LOL... I actually caught a fly with the glue gun the other day. Served him right for buzzing around me when I am packing heat. I took a photo, but it's kind of gross. I am debating posting it.
Carson on November 06, 2014:
Please tell me where you live so I never live there. Eek spiders
KraftyStudent on November 02, 2014:
ok good idea for killing bugs, but by the time it heated up he bug would have moved
Fatima siddiqui on October 31, 2014:
Great ideas to keep in mind., thank u for sharing!
Kat on October 21, 2014:
Ok - I am not hanging around any spider long enough for my glue gun to heat up!!! But power to you!
Love the DIY embellies tip BTW - thank you!
Lori Green (author) from Las Vegas on October 20, 2014:
LOL... I have elevated gluing my fingers together to a new height lately with all the gluing I do. I too have one that gets way too hot. I am so used to my low temp gun I nearly saw stars when I fired up the big one for these projects. I have had that glue gun for so many years I just can't let it go.
Besarien from South Florida on October 20, 2014:
I notice that burning yourself and gluing your fingers together did not make your list. They would be my top two because I am very good at doing both. I also have an ancient glue gun that gets as hot as the sun and smokes. Seriously though I enjoyed your hub. Maybe I'll just go buy a newer, much safer glue gun and get to it.
EnthusiasmMadame on October 13, 2014:
I have three different glue guns and had not thought of all these uses. I am so glad a came across this page. I have bookmarked it and will certainly put my glue guns into overtime! Thank you so much.
Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on September 26, 2014:
Really interesting glue gun ideas/projects!
Wendy Hughes from Charlotte on September 25, 2014:
Just what I need--another craft project! You can use a glue gun to write a friend's or family's name on the outside of a jar or vase, bottle, etc. When dry paint over the whole item and you'll have some great craft gifts that don't look like it. Fill your jar with candy. Viola! Fabulous hub BTW!
Loraine Brummer from Hartington, Nebraska on September 20, 2014:
Love all your ideas, especially the peel-up letters.
Julia Rexford on September 15, 2014:
I love the art sculptures you can make out of glue guns! They are all so cool. I also love the idea of killing spiders; I hate having spider guts on my shoe almost as much as I hate spiders! The glue gun is a great idea!
jill of alltrades from Philippines on September 13, 2014:
These ideas are fun! I'm gonna try them one of these days especially the Christmas things! Thanks for sharing!
Jemjoseph on September 09, 2014:
I'll definitely look at a glue gun differently from now on, oh the possibilities...
JR co on September 08, 2014:
Lol, I would truly love to zap an evil spider in a hot glue dollop!!!
Linda F Correa from Spring Hill Florida on September 08, 2014:
Great list of ideas and techniques. Going to get mine out and give some a try
Li Perry on September 06, 2014:
WOW! I thought pinterest had some amazing ideas...but you have to search for the original article to find out how to do those things. You have provided some really interesting ideas WITH the instructions! Thank you!
Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on September 06, 2014:
This is quite impressive. I have a glue gun that I bought for something when I had my shop. Now it is packed away. I didn't know you could get colored glue either.
Jim from Kansas on September 06, 2014:
I like the bug idea.
Loraine Brummer from Hartington, Nebraska on September 06, 2014:
I love the embellishments made with molds idea. Great ideas!!
Kim on September 05, 2014:
Wow...there are tons of great ideas here. I didn't know that glue sticks came in colors!! I have never seen them anywhere. I cannot wait to get crafting now! Thanks for including my snowflake wreath in your round-up! What a thrill to be included! :)
Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on September 03, 2014:
Kudos! I learned multiple uses for my glue gun here, some really inspired. Especially loving the home made molds. I never would have thought of that and now my head is spinning with ideas. Thank you so much for that. More so, the spider fix. Again, brilliant! That spider that I know is living under my bed best start packing.
Mickie Gee on September 02, 2014:
I have lots of loose buttons. It is difficult for me to thread a needle - klutzy - and it it nice to know that I can use a glue gun if one is handy. I also might try to secure non-loose buttons as insurance, too.
mightyhub on September 02, 2014:
Great write up. I never knew you can do so much with a glue gun. Thanks for sharing
Lejla M.S. from Bosnia and Herzegovina on September 01, 2014:
Great idea. Thank you for sharing.
sirenewno on September 01, 2014:
Another nice idea is to use them (low temp are better for this) on blown up balloons to write a child's name - great for birthday parties....
LiamSE from New York City on September 01, 2014:
Many ideas I would never have come up with myself! Good job! Keep up the great work! I will definitely try some of these one day!
Ezra Flom from Arlington, TX on September 01, 2014:
Lots of clever ideas I haven't thought of before. Thanks for sharing! I will be sure to pass some of them on.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on August 31, 2014:
I love my glue gun for assembling things but I've never tried any of these really fun ideas you've shown here. Using a glue gun with silicone and candy molds never occurred to me AND making your own molds is genius too! Thanks for the inspiration. I love making things and DIY too so this opens up some new avenues. YAY!
CherylsArt on August 28, 2014:
Wow, interesting uses for hot glue sticks. You've given some ideas and things to try out with my acrylic paints. : )
Monica Lobenstein from Western Wisconsin on August 28, 2014:
I didn't even know there were colors much less all of these cool creative ways to use glue guns. Wonderful!
Robin S from USA on August 28, 2014:
Wow! And I thought it was just for sticking stuff together. Great ideas here!