DIY Tools Workshop

The 11 Handiest Ways to Use a Hot Glue Gun

You’ll be surprised at what you can make, fix, and restore with a little hot glue. Save money and time with these helpful DIY ideas!

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A Versatile Tool

A hot glue gun may be a crafter’s best friend, but it is also an underrated tool for quick and easy home fixes. While glue guns come in a range of sizes, from tiny to industrial, they all share one quality: They work fast. Other types of glue adhesive may take minutes or hours to set properly, hot melt adhesives bond in under a minute, for a firm yet flexible hold. We’ve discovered the most ingenious—and helpful—household uses for your hot glue gun, from making surfaces slip-free to creating no-sew window shades. So read on and get gluing!

Add Traction to Slippers and Rugs

Hot melt glue sticks are made of synthetic polymers that have a flexible, plastic-like texture when they’re dry—perfect for creating a nonslip surface. So if you have an area rug or slippers that tend to slide around dangerously, you can prevent common household falls by pulling out your handy hot glue gun. Use it to make evenly spaced lines along the back of the offending rug or the soles of your slippers, and voilà!! Traction delivered, and accidents prevented.

Related: 10 Rugs Under $100 That Work Indoors and Out

Make a Knife Cover

This is a great hack for moving day as well as everyday life. Kitchen knife covers keep the blades safe, prevent cuts, and preserve sharpness, and they’re easy to make. Simply coat your knife (carefully!) in petroleum jelly, then apply hot glue in a thick layer all over the blade. Allow the glue to dry fully for a few minutes, then remove the hard casing. Make sure to wash the knife and cover with soap and water before using.

Related11 Packing Tips & Tricks for a Smooth Move

Keep Organized with Magnets

If you’re trying to impose order on the chaos of your cabinets and drawers, a few round magnets and a hot glue gun can be of great help. Add a dab of hot glue to the back of the magnet, and stick it anywhere you’d like, and use it to keep track of small metal objects. This is an especially handy solution for medicine cabinets and tool drawers, and it’s wonderful for keeping track of easily lost metal items like manicure scissors and drill bits.

Fix a Stripped Screw Hole

Having to deal with a stripped screw hole in wood can be frustrating, particularly when you’re in the middle of a project. The next time you run across a screw that has stopped holding, don’t reach for the wood filler or putty. Instead, just grab your hot glue gun. Simply fill the hole, let the glue dry, and then drill a pilot hole with a 1/8-inch bit. Insert the screw for a tight, secure hold.

Plug a Nail Hole

When you’re painting a wall or a piece of wood, you want a nice, even surface to work with. So before you start painting, plug any nail holes with a drop of hot glue. After dispensing the glue, cover with painter’s tape to smooth out any bumps. When the glue is dry, remove the tape, and sand lightly to ensure a perfectly even surface. Once it’s painted, you won’t even be able to tell where the hole had been.

Keep Your Clothes In Place

Sometimes it seems like the minute you slide your shirts and sweaters onto hangers, they slip off and fall to the ground. Keep your clothes firmly in place with this trick that comes courtesy of Heather at Heathered Nest and other DIYers who swear by it: Run a strip of glue along the shoulder area of your ordinary wood or plastic clothes hangers, let dry, and you’re done. Now your closet—and your clothes—will stay tidier.


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Resize a Ring

Hot melt glue is wonderfully functional, and even better, it’s removable. This feature makes it ideal for temporarily resizing a ring without damaging it. To get started, put on some surgical gloves and find a clean work surface you don’t mind messing up a little. Dispense a small pool of glue onto the surface (about six or seven squeezes should be enough). Before the glue is completely dry, dip the back of your ring into the glue and work it around until it forms a clear crescent. Once the glue has dried, your ring should fit much better.

Create Faux Roman Shades

Even if you can’t sew, you can whip up some curtain magic in just 20 minutes. All you need is a glue gun, fabric, and these directions from DIY expert Carmen, of Our Fifth House for making easy-peasy faux Roman shades. Actual Roman shades gather at the top of a window and can be let down to block the sun. These won’t pull down, but they will add a lovely swag at the top of your window.

Make a Cleaning Board for Brushes

This trick is perfect for makeup brushes, art brushes, and other small, soft brushes. Start with a plastic clipboard or small plastic cutting board, then use hot glue to cover the surface with random patterns. Once the glue is dry, scrub the bristles of your brushes on the textured surface under running water to clean them off.

Become a Better Woodworker

Woodworkers take their glue pretty seriously, and though they primarily rely on various kinds of wood glue, hot glue guns also have a place in the woodshop. Since its adhesion level is relatively low, hot melt glue can be a useful woodworking companion, especially for prototyping a new project or forming a quick clamp that can be easily broken. When your work is done, you can pry the pieces apart with your hands, using a chisel to remove any remaining glue dots.

Related: 15 Surprisingly Simple Woodworking Projects for Beginners

Add Texture to Decor

Of course, you can still use your trusty hot glue gun for crafting projects. In a particularly elegant application, you can use hot glue to add texture to home accessories, such as vases, picture frames, tissue holders, and centerpieces. We especially like the gold dot vase made by Six Clever Sisters. Follow their simple, illustrated instructions, and you’ll have a beautiful, low-cost vase in no time.