Amanda Maynes

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Everything you need to know about glue guns

Glue guns are the crafters ideal tool. There are endless uses for glue guns, and they are cheap, easy to use, effective, and very efficient. So throw away the tape and the sewing machines, glue guns are the key to successful and lasting home repairs and craft creations. Glue hardens and dries very rapidly and applies clear! It produces high strength bonds and creates a secure and lasting hold.


How to use:

Glue guns are tools in which a glue stick is either manually or automatically fed into the back of the gun. The glue, which is manufactured from thermoplastics, melts through heating properties in the gun. The (very) hot melted glue is produced through the tip of the gun when pressure is applied to the trigger. The flow of the glue is easy to control, as the pressure applied to the trigger determines the amount of glue released. When applying glue to a material, form small pea-sized droplets to avoid stringing of glue, and a mess! Glue guns can be ready to use in 5-10 minutes after inserting the glue stick and allowing it to melt. Glue sticks are sold separately from the guns, however both are very cheap!

Types & Sizes:

There are a variety of types and sizes of glue guns that can be used for distinct projects and repairs. There are low-temperature guns, high-temperature guns, and dual-temperature guns. Low temperature guns heat to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and are better for delicate materials, or when children are around. However, these guns are still extremely hot, so keep fingers away from the tip of the gun and use with caution. High temperature guns reach 380 degrees Fahrenheit, and are better for materials such as wood and metals. Dual temperature guns, although a little more expensive, include both temperatures and can be changed accordingly. There are also different models of guns to choose from. You can buy either automatically fed guns or manually fed guns. Battery operated guns are sold, as well as standard outlet plug ins. Furthermore, there are different sizes of guns – from mini guns for detailed work, to pistol grip for larger projects.


Glue guns can be used on any number of craft making items, from lace to wood, glass, ceramics, stone, paper and metals. Glue guns can also be used to bond natural elements together or to bond together decorations and parts of costumes.


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CA Glue: The ever popular, powerful, and long lasting glue

CA glue, short for Cyanoacrylate, is a particularly quick drying and very powerful acrylic resin that creates a lasting and strong hold for anything from fake nails to home repairs and model airplanes. It is one of the most commonly used glues today due to its properties, which allow it to dry quickly, and create a powerful and firm bond. Due to the compounds within CA glue, it requires moisture for the glue to adequately form lasting bonds, even the smallest amount of moisture will do. CA glue comes in a variety of different thicknesses, for big projects or small, making it applicable to a wide variety of materials – beauty products, clothing and fabrics, wood, and plastics, among many others. Although CA glue is slightly more expensive than other glues, if used sparingly it can last a long time – even a small amount can go a long way.


CA glue has many advantages that account for its popularity. The majority of the properties in CA glue are non-toxic, making this a safe glue to have around the house. This extremely powerful glue dries almost immediately after being applied, making projects quicker and easier to complete. It also creates a very strong and lasting hold. The range of thickness is another advantage as it can be used for a variety of different projects. Don’t worry about water; CA glue is water-resistant, making it perfect for applications underwater!


Because it is a high quality glue, it is more expensive than other glue types. Also, it does not last forever, so although it is cheaper to buy in large quantities, it does not have permanent longevity. Also, CA glue is very overpowering and can be rather hard on your respiratory system, so careful not to breathe in too much! However, the burning sensation some may encounter is not dangerous. Lastly, CA glue has a low intolerance to humidity and heat, thus it is better used in controlled environments!

Helpful hints:

When using a thicker CA glue, let it set for at least an hour (depending on the thickness and material). The thicker the glue, the longer is needed for it to sufficiently dry without gaps or cracking. Moreover, take caution when applying the glue as it dries almost immediately! Acetone is great for removing glue off your hands, for cleaning spills, or removing glue off of materials. Allow for plenty of ventilation for the glue, and Acetone, as both are very pungent. Store CA glue in the refrigerator, tightly concealed to keep out moisture and ensure freshness, in order to increase longevity!

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Fabric Glue

Fabric glue is the sewer’s new best friend. Fabric glue is ideal for repairing any cloth, fabric, or clothing without dealing with a sewing machine, needle, and thread. It is a mending liquid or thin adhesive layer that allows you to fix loose hems or torn materials in seconds. This easy to use glue bonds fabrics instantly and dries clear. It is a quick, convenient, and efficient way to make permanent and invisible repairs. Fabric glue can also be used for bonding fabrics to a variety of other materials, from leather and suede, to beads, glass, plastic, metals, and rubber. Use fabric glue for arts and crafts projects, repairing clothing, or any project that involves fabric and other materials. Fabric glue creates a powerful bond, is long lasting, and can withstand most environments.


 Forms of fabric glue:

There are many different forms of fabric glues. It comes in a variety of styles and brands and varies in color, size, and method of application, such as spray glue or iron on adhesive. Depending on what kind of fabrics you are using, liquid fabric glue is available, or adhesive layers are also sold. There are also permanent and non-permanent forms of fabric glue. For a more durable and lasting project, or while repairing clothing, permanent fabric glue would be a better choice. For costumes, arts and crafts, or lightweight materials, non-permanent is the way to go. Non-permanent forms of fabric glues are non-washable, where as permanent forms are fine to wash.

Helpful hints:

Be sure to thoroughly clean and dry the fabric before using the adhesive, as fabric glue will not hold onto material covered in oils or dust. Also, while applying the fabric glue, do not stretch the material, but leave the material in the desired form to avoid bunching and wrinkles. In order to remove fabric glue, although you may be able to scratch some off, store bought stain remover is necessary, as well as washing in hot water after the remover has been applied.

Get creative:

Use fabric glue for a wide range of creative projects!

·         Attach beads, glitter, sequins, and stones onto costumes or to jazz up an outfit.

·         Design and make purses.

·         Repair the leather in your shoes.

·         Repair any rip or tear in your favorite sweater, shirt, or pants.

·         Create hems on clothes or curtains.

·         Mend fraying hems

·         Attach colorful patches to quilts or clothes.

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Wood Glue

Wood glue is, like it sounds, used to adhere wood together, or to bond wood onto other materials. It is commonly used among woodworkers for carpentry or wood making projects. Wood glue is a general term for a large range of different forms of glue, which comes in different styles and is used for different kinds of woodworking. What is great about wood glue is that when dried, the glue becomes stronger than the wood itself. This is because wood is made up of fibers, which allows the glue to bond within the fibers in the wood, instead of just on top of the wood. Therefore, this creates a powerful and long-lasting bond.


Important to note:

The longer the glue remains in liquid form, the further it seeps into the wood, soaking into the fibers, creating a stronger bond. However, depending on how porous the wood is determines how far the glue can soak. A very porous or soft wood will allow for deeper saturation than a harder wood. However, there is still sufficient porosity in hard woods to create a firm enough bond.

It is crucial to be aware of the orientation of grain in wood before applying the glue. For a bond to adhere adequately and be strong enough to have lasting effects, the grain structure within two pieces of wood need to be aligned properly. Furthermore, mechanical assistance is often necessary to strengthen joints within the wood. Most commonly, mechanical assistance comes in the form of screws and nails, however splines and dowels work as well. Make sure to keep a careful eye on your wood as it dries. The key to a successful bond is consistent glue coverage. And although it may seem like an easy task, don’t forget that wood absorbs glue at different rates. While the glue is drying, keep an eye out for where it is absorbing faster into the wood and where it takes longer. You may want to add more glue in certain areas depending on the rate it soaks into the wood.

Exposure to certain environments and temperatures can greatly affect drying wood. Wood glues should be stored in temperatures of mid-low 50’s. Also, high levels of moisture within the wood can weaken the bond. Keep saw dust, oil, and wax away from drying wood, as these are strong contaminants! To remove glue, wipe away with a damp rag or paper towel before it dries. Or, wait until the glue has dried and then scrape away excess glue, or dried beads. After scraping or wiping away the glue, sandpaper is necessary to completely remove any remaining glue.

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PVA Glue

You know PVA glue well. Every art and crafts project in elementary school included it, every fall school list required it; it is that white bottle of sticky glue you grew up with in every classroom. PVA glue, or Polyvinyl acetates, is a water-based adhesive, and comes in many different formulas. It is one of the most prevalent adhesives out there today. Don’t be freaked out by the name, it really is that same glue, yes that’s right, Elmer’s glue!


PVA glue has a variety of different formulas for different purposes, and can be used on paper, paper mache, wood, vinyl, handicrafts, and leather work. There are two commonly known forms of PVA glue, yellow and white. Yellow PVA glue is generally known as carpenter’s glue, and is most often used in woodworking. Unless you are working with water, PVA glues are most likely what you want to be using!


PVA glue is safe, although toxic if swallowed, it is otherwise perfectly safe; it does not emit harmful fumes, is non-flammable, and it can be used safely without gloves. So make sure you don’t eat it, but other than that, it is a great glue to have around the kids. It also washes off very easily with water! PVA glue is heat-resistant, flexible, dries clear, and is acid free. Lastly, PVA glues are cheap!


PVA glues only work on porous materials, such as cloth, paper, and wood, therefore slightly limiting what it is applicable to. PVA glues are not water-resistant, so a bond may loosen if constantly exposed to moisture. There are many environmental factors that need to be taken into consideration when using PVA glue – freezing temperatures and high moisture levels should be avoided.

Helpful hints:

PVA glue dries best when set in controlled environments at room temperature and in well-ventilated spaces. Make sure you apply pressure after the glue has been applied to guarantee a firm and lasting bond.  Do not let PVA glue freeze before use, as it will turn out to be useless when applied. Yellow PVA glues have a shorter life span than do white PVA glues, so careful how much you purchase at one time…buy what you need! However, in general PVA glues do have a long shelf life. Yellow glue has a shorter drying time (and slightly higher resistance to moisture) than white glue, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the material you are using. Also important to note is that while white glue dries clear, yellow glue dries yellow! Nevertheless, when working with wood, the dried yellow tint is typically not visible.

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