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A Hot Glue Gun

Written and Created by PaperCraftCentral Susan

A hot glue gun can deliver adhesive that is stringy and hard to end off. Here's a simple way to reduce that effect.

"Man is born broken.
He lives by mending.
The grace of God is glue".
~Eugene O'Neil

Have you ever had strings of glue mess up your project, your desk, and even you? (Ouch!) A reader named Buzz asked me how to reduce the stringy, mozzarella cheese-like effect that was happening whenever his hot glue tool was in use. This is a common problem for crafters who make their own papercraft projects.

I guess you must live in a hot or humid climate, Buzz, because that is what the problem is!But wait, there is hope of solving it. Quite easily too.

Find out more about how to combat this common glue gun problem below:

Hot Glue Gun

Hot Glue Gun Stringy Glue Fixes

The stringiness of hot glue may be fixed by the following tips:

1. Ever noticed how you can dry things out in the freezer, like fresh herbs? Or how meat gets freezer burn after being frozen for a long time? That even happens when I freeze portions of cake and I need to add something like cream, custard or sauce to it after it is thawed to combat this drying out problem.

Amazingly, you can use that freezer burn principle to solve the glue string problem!

What will help is if you place your hot glue sticks in the freezer for a few minutes before using them.

Even though you then place the cold sticks in the tool and heat them up normally, the freezer helps remove excess moisture from them which assists in reducing the web-like strands once everything is heated up.The moisture trapped inside unfrozen glue sticks causes the glue to string.

I guess the moisture in the glue cannot escape once the medium is hot, so you get a mixture of glue and humidity causing a stringiness..

2. What about those annoying strings that happen while you are actually using the hot glue?  I can help you there, too.

Here's how:

Don't try to break the strand by pulling the tool away from your project in a straight line.

Instead, use a spiral-like motion to end off your gluing, to help any stringy bits to settle on your project where you want them to be. Twisting the glue string helps break it off from the gun, too.

3. What about glue peaks or strings on an finished project?

If you still get fine strings on your finished project, allow them to cool completely.

You can then pluck them off with your fingers or tweezers, or  even trim them away with some paper snips.

4.If you have a cutting mark on the glue afterwards, try heating it again with your heat tool.

Be sure to not touch the heat tool to the glue. You might create another string.

Here's another couple of tips for using a hot glue gun:

  • This type of glue is essentially polypropylene and plastic-like. Before it is completely cool, you can add glitter to it. Be careful not to burn yourself though before it is completely cool.
  • Once it has cooled completely, a hot glue gun adhesive can also be painted with acrylic paints.
  • You can make your own embellishments with this adhesive by drawing a pattern with it on baking paper. One it is cool, remove your design from the baking paper. You can use a clear glue like the fine-tipped glue from Stampin' Up! to adhere it to your paper project, or just a little more hot glue.
  • About the Fine Tip Glue Pen - allow it to have a chance to set after you apply it. It's a liquid glue that dries clear but it needs a little time to grab onto the things you want to stick together.

Fine Tip Glue Pen

I trust this information will help solve your stringy hot glue gun problems.

And of course if you want to keep finding out about there is more information about other papercraft tools on this site.

There is plenty more information about all kinds of ways to use your tools and make special paper craft projects  here on

Have fun!

PS: You can also buy your own hot glue gun by going to your local hardware or stationery store. In Australia, good stores to try are Office Works and Spotlight stores. You can usually  get refills for your chosen tool there too.

PPS: On an unrelated note, try freezing your candles before burning them. Wax that has been frozen will help the candle burn more slowly as the wax seems to change its structure a little after being frozen. As always, do take safety precautions with burning candles. 

And if you want to know how to place a stamped decal on a candle, I can help you with how to decorate them.

You may also like to check out more uses for adhesives for papercrafting. Be sure to choose archival glues for your long term scrapbooking projects too.

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