What is a Craft Glue Gun?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 01 February 2020
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A craft glue gun is a device for delivering a heated version of the adhesive substance known as glue. The device is usually powered by electricity and is sometimes referred to as a hot glue gun, though it is available in low temperature, high temperature and dual temperature models. The high temperature is for bonding with ceramic, plastic, and metal; while the low temperature is better suited to delicate or flammable material such as paper, lace, foil, foam, and lightweight fabric. Typical temperatures are 250°F (121°C) for low temperature and 380°F (193°C) for high temperature. Higher end models may be cordless.

Glue guns are used for many craft purposes. They are often used for wreath making, woodcraft, floral craft, collage, ornaments, and costume construction. The standard color for glue sticks is clear, but there are colored glue sticks to match project needs.

Some non-conventional uses of a craft glue gun have been developed. Plas-tix, a colored plastic product made for a plastic injector toy, can reportedly be used in a glue gun. Heating adhesive with a craft glue gun is one method used in beauty salons to attach hair extensions. At least one company makes glue gun sealing wax, so you can seal, for example, wedding invitations quickly but elegantly with your craft glue gun, too.


There are several different sizes of glue stick available. A full size craft glue gun takes a 7/16 inch (11.3mm) diameter glue stick in either 4 or 10 inch (101.6 or 254 mm) length. A mini-glue gun, which is a smaller version with the same temperature choices, takes a 5/16 inch (7.2 mm) diameter glue stick in the same lengths.

Another kind of craft glue gun is the cool glue gun, which is very like a caulk gun, and powered simply by squeezing the trigger. It has a very small nozzle for exact placement, and it can bond non-porous surfaces, though complete bonding takes 24 hours. Some come with 1 oz (~28 gm) cartridges of adhesive. A specialty glue gun is the low temperature foam glue gun designed for use with foam glue sticks specially designed for the Styrofoam® used in railroad scenery models.

When necessary, glue sticks can also be heated in a glue pot, which holds the stick and melts it into a pool, for brush application or for dipping. This approach can be especially useful for floral crafts.

A craft glue gun can differ from contractor grade or professional glue guns in several ways. Professional glue guns are more likely to have a dual heater, an automatic shut-off, an on/off light, and a protected nozzle. They may be capable of higher temperatures, and some are specially designed for slow set glue sticks.

Industrial uses of glue guns include sealing packages and automotive paintless dent repair, so there are some different needs than those handled by a craft glue gun. Industrial glue guns may have a ball check nozzle to prevent dripping and may also feature an adjustable temperature range up to 428°F (220°C). Some industrial models have pneumatic operation, and there are some butane gas powered models. They may also allow threaded accessory nozzles to be attached, either to shape the application or for a longer reach. Industrial glue guns may take 7/16 inch, ½ inch or 5/8 inch diameter (~11.1 mm, 12.7 mm, and ~15.9 mm) glue sticks in lengths including 4, 10, and 15 inches (101.6mm, 254mm, and 381mm).


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Post 3

At what age should I let my daughter start using the craft glue gun? She wants to do Styrofoam crafts, but she is only seven. I think that's too young, but maybe I'm being overprotective.

Post 2

A word of caution to craft glue gun users- Watch where the glue drips when it's in the resting position!

I was making baby crafts and had the gun plugged in, hot, and resting on the edge of the kitchen counter. It dripped onto the cherry cabinet below. When I pulled the glue drip off of the cabinet, I took the finish with it.

I've also melted delicate fabric with the drips.

Post 1

I could not live without my craft hot glue gun. I use it for everything! The glue gun is to me, what the television remote is to my husband.

I use it to attach lightweight objects to the walls, instead of nails, and to keep hanging pictures straight.

I use the glue gun to repair broken objects, to hold down my slippery door mat, and to keep the garden trellis stuck in place against the wall.

I've used it for so many things I can't even think of them all. Next to my dust buster, the glue gun is my favorite household appliance.

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