How to Use a Hot Melt Handgun – and Why You Should Have One

How to Use a Hot Melt Handgun – and Why You Should Have One

Many industrious DIYers are missing out on a powerful tool: a hot melt handgun. Why? Maybe they are intimidated by melted adhesive, or perhaps they simply don’t realize how many projects can benefit from this one tool. The fact of the matter is, hot melt handguns can aid in a wide range of home or professional projects and are easy and safe to operate.

Why You Should Have One

All tools have their limitations as well as their best uses, and perhaps it is best to get the limitations out of the way first. Hot melt adhesive is usually meant to be applied thickly, so it may not be the best choice for small detail work. Although it is a strong bonding agent for many crafts and small-scale DIY projects, it should not be your only method of joining or supporting large projects, especially woodwork. Attach corkboard to the inside of a cabinet door? Sure. Construct a cabinet using only hot melt? Not such a great idea.

Talking about limitations may be off-putting, but there really are hundreds of projects that can use a touch of hot melt, which makes for hundreds of reasons why you should own such a handgun.

Run an Etsy shop or other at-home, shipping-based business? Hot melt adhesive is perfect for making sure those cardboard shipping boxes stay tightly sealed until they arrive at their destination. Enjoy creating beautiful crafts to decorate your home? Hot melt is the perfect tool for artificial flower arranging, wreath making, and felt- and fabric-based decor projects. Add custom knobs to jars or decorative boxes. Spruce up bland storage by covering it with fabric. Turn a boring lampshade into a statement piece.

Do your DIY trends run more functional than aesthetic, or perhaps a mix of both? Hot melt can help you complete projects that combine form and function. Make any hanger no-slip with a pattern of hot melt at either end. Make trivets out of felt and smooth stones – store bought and decorative or free and found in a nearby creek – or from a shallow tray filled with saved wine corks. Go big –and bring in another DIY favorite – by making a custom welcome mat out of jute. Go bigger by making low outdoor seating with old tires, plywood circles, jute and your glue gun.

Need a few more ideas? Pinterest and other sites are filled with ideas for hot glue projects.

How to Use One

Before you can use a tool, you have to acquire it. Remember that your personal needs should guide your purchase. If you only plan to use it for messy melted crayon art, you probably want to buy the cheapest option from a local craft store, rather than ruining a good model.

If you can see yourself using a hot melt handgun for a variety of projects, do yourself a favor and invest in a high-quality glue gun, like the ones sold by Keystone Industries.

With any tool, it’s in your best interest to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and come with a safety-first mindset. For a hot glue gun, you should know never to touch the metal tip and brush up on burn first aid in case of accidents. Keep a bowl of cool water handy for submerging burns and never put oil, butter or ice on a burn. If you get a large amount of glue on your skin, seek medical attention rather than causing further injury by trying to remove the glue yourself. As always, keep out of reach of children.

Safety warnings are daunting, but in most cases they are a precaution that is never needed. To start your project, make sure you cover your work surface with cardboard or a few layers of craft paper. Keep an old baking sheet on hand to hold the handgun when hot but not in use. Although the adhesive is usually meant to be thickly applied, you don’t want it oozing out in large, uncontrolled bursts. Start with a light touch on the trigger and increase pressure, keeping a steady and firm hand to avoid large clumps. Always let the handgun cool down before storing.

Finally, be sure to always clean and care for it so it continues to work well for you. With proper care, a quality gun can serve you well for many years and through hundreds of projects.

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