If you have a glue gun, you know what handy tools they are. But if you have a glue gun that doesn’t work or want to do a quick sticking job and don’t feel like the set-up hassle, you might have wondered if it is possible to melt hot glue sticks without a glue gun.
Glue sticks will melt quickly if sufficient heat is applied. There are several ways that you can melt glue sticks without using a glue gun:
- Use a microwave
- A hot glue skillet
- Try a heat gun
- A Candle
- On the stovetop
- Melt dabs with a soldering iron
- Use matches
- Try a lighter
Hot glue sticks come in different sizes and are intended for use in specific glue guns. They are usually bought in bulk packets, and partially used bags often find their way into the bottom of craft boxes or kitchen drawers. This article will discuss how to melt glue sticks even after you no longer have the correct size glue gun.
How to Melt Glue Sticks Without a Glue Gun
All glue sticks work in the same way. They are a solid mass that will quickly become a sticky liquid when sufficient heat is applied.
The single determining factor for the glue stick to become a using bonding agent is heat. A glue gun is convenient because it is specifically designed to melt and administer the hot glue mixture neatly and consistently over a surface.
If sufficient heat from any source is applied to a glue stick, it will melt. The trick is to get it to melt in a controlled manner that will create the least possible mess.
Another issue when melting a glue gun stick without a glue gun is to ensure that you melt sufficient glue in time to complete the project without one bit sticking while still melting single drops off the glue stick one at a time.
There are several methods to melt glue gun sticks, so choose one that suits your specific project. Some ways allow you to melt off a small amount of glue, while others require that glue be melted in a glue collecting pot.
If you only need a few drops of hot glue for repairing a small item, then a small, short burst of heat will be sufficient. If you are working on a bigger area, you should choose a method where one or more glue gun sticks will be entirely melted.
Safety should always be your number one priority. Although glue gun sticks are usually non-toxic and do not emit harmful fumes, all methods of melting glue gun sticks without a glue gun will involve high temperatures.
Remember that glue gun glue has a minimum melt heat of around 170F. If it drops below this temperature, it will quickly become solid, so you need to be extremely careful not to let it touch your skin while it is in a liquid state.
Hot glue gun sticks are popular and effective because they tightly bond surfaces. An important consideration if you are melting glue gun sticks without a glue gun is the container you are using to do the melting. Whatever container it cools off in will inevitably contain an immovable bonded layer of glue when you’re finished.
Molten glue gun glue will not be easy to remove. If you use a large format method to melt glue gun sticks for a bigger project, use a disposable container or create a dedicated glue-melting vessel for all future projects.
A glue gun with its focused, heated nozzle melts and dispenses glue stick glue over a surface evenly and effectively. Using any other method to melt glue sticks can result in accidental glue drips, so always use a protective covering on the surface where you are working.
Remember that it is not safe to melt glue gun sticks in plastic containers. The hot glue may have a very high-temperature melting point which may melt a flimsy plastic container.
Before starting any glue stick melting project, gather all your equipment for the project. Once the glue sticks have melted, there may not be sufficient time to find something you forgot before the glue hardens.
Keep in mind that you will usually need something to scoop blobs of hot liquid glue and also to apply it to specific spots where you will need the glue. Wooden craft sticks or lollipop sticks are ideal. You can even keep a few toothpicks on hand if you need to pinpoint a tiny dot of glue in a specific area.
Let’s go through some of the methods that you can use to melt glue gun sticks without a glue gun.
1 – Use a Microwave
Glue gun sticks can be easily melted in a microwave. This is one of the most popular methods to melt glue sticks if you don’t have a glue gun available.
Select a microwave-safe container that is either disposable or will be dedicated only to future craft activities. Make sure that no parts of the glue sticks hang over the edge of your container because cleanup will be very messy.
If the glue sticks are too long to fit neatly into the container, cut them into smaller pieces. The melted glue must only end up inside the melting vessel.
Different glue gun sticks melt at different temperatures, so you will need to stand by to check on the progress of your liquid glue every 10 to 20 seconds. Stop the microwave and check to see if all the sticks have melted.
Once the glue sticks have become liquid, use an oven glove to remove the container. Remember that the hotter the glue is when you use it, the better it will adhere.
You will need to estimate how many sticks you need for your project, but using this method means that you can easily melt more later if you need more.
2 – Melt Glue Sticks Using a Hot Glue Skillet
If you do a lot of crafts and are tired of matching glue sticks with correctly sized glue guns, you should consider getting a hot glue skillet. These tiny glue melting pots will quickly transform glue gun sticks to simmering liquid with the flick of a switch.
Hot glue skillets are highly versatile and will quickly melt any type of glue gun stick or pellets. Hot glue skillets are perfect for crafts where you need to dip items to get sufficient coverage.
3 – Use a Heat Gun
A heat gun is usually used to bend plastic pipes or remove paint from surfaces. Glue gun sticks will readily melt if sufficient heat is applied to them. The targeted heat from a heat gun can also melt glue sticks quickly.
The most important thing to remember if you aim a heat gun at a glue stick is that it must be on a non-flammable surface. You must also avoid glass surfaces that could shatter from the intense heat.
Be ready for the glue stick to change shape and quickly spread when it becomes liquid from the intense heat from the heat gun. This method should only be used for small projects as the focussed heat from the glue gun can be difficult to control, and the glue stick will melt quickly when exposed to the heat.
4 – Melt Glue Sticks Without A Glue Gun Using A Candle
The candle method of melting a hot glue stick will only work if you only need some dabs of hot glue. The flame of a single candle offers a small, superheated area, so you can hold the far end of the glue stick in the flame until you see it melt and then quickly dab the molten glue stick onto the surface you need to adhere.
This method requires that you stay completely focused on your project, as the end of the glue stick will melt very quickly. It must be quickly applied to the surface that you want to glue.
If you keep the end of the glue stick in the flame too long, it may drip into the candle or even turn black which may affect the outcome of your project. Also, remember that the glue stick needs to be reasonably lengthy to use this method, or you could burn your fingers.
If your glue stick isn’t as long enough to hold safely, use a tool so that your fingers stay clear of the molten glue and flame. Even a clothes peg or tweezer will help keep you away from the hot, molten end of the glue stick.
The last thing to remember about using this glue stick tip style of melting glue is that you need a place to put the remaining glue stick when you are done using it. There will still be a spot of melted wax on the tip which will glue itself to whatever you put it on. A paper napkin or a piece of cardboard works well.
5 – Hot Glue Sticks Can Be Melted on a Stovetop
Glue gun glue sticks will melt easily if placed in a pan over low-to-moderate heat on the stove. Your aim is not to cook or boil them but merely to heat and melt the glue sticks, so keep an eye on them during the process and adjust the heat when necessary.
The best method is to cut the glue sticks down into pieces before applying the heat. No part of the glue sticks should stick over the edges of the pot. Use an old pan or skillet that can become the dedicated glue heating pan for all future projects.
Once the glue sticks have melted, use a wooden craft stick or some other disposable tool to scoop up hot glue blobs for your project. If possible, keep the pan on low heat while you are working so that the glue remains liquid and hot while you need it.
6 – Use a Soldering Iron
Soldering irons deliver intense heat from a direct point that is hot enough to melt metal. Although it is not a good method to use if you need to melt a large around of hot glue, it will work perfectly if you only need a small amount or need to melt glue spots.
The first thing to do is to cut thin disks of solid glue gun glue off the stick. Cut the position them on the area where you need the hot glue. Then move the tip of the soldering iron over the medallion of glue until it is melted.
Keep in mind that the heat being delivered from a soldering iron is intense in a single point, so you may need to move the tip around over the spot of glue to get it to melt evenly. Always ensure that the surface you are working on can withstand the targeted heat from a soldering iron.
7 – Melt Drops of Hot Glue from Glue Sticks Using Matches
If you only need one drop of hot glue at a time, you can use a match to melt tiny blobs without using a glue gun.
Simply use a blade or scissors to cut thin disks off the glue stick. Then carefully snip halfway through the face of the tiny disc that you have created.
Slide the tiny wedge onto the matchstick about an inch above the head of the match. Ensure that you will be able to strike the match without interference.
When you need a blob of hot glue, simply strike the match and let the flame engulf the tiny disk of glue stick attached to the matchstick. You may need to twirl it around in your fingers to spread the heat around the entire piece of glue.
Let it burn for a few seconds before extinguishing the flame and quickly dabbing the drop of hot melted glue onto the surface where it is needed.
You can find a YouTube demonstration of how to use a match to melt blobs of hot glue here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCsdflRCoXk
8 – Use a Lighter
A really quick and easy way to melt dabs of hot glue is to simply melt the end of the glue stick using a lighter. Glue sticks are not flammable, so exposing the end to an open flame will only cause the end of the glue stick to melt.
Using a lighter to melt glue sticks can only create single blobs as the heat is being applied to a very focused area. Hold the end of the glue stick in the flame for a few seconds until you notice the end becoming liquid. Then quickly rub it onto the surface you want to glue. Repeat for additional dabs of glue.
If the glue stick becomes too short to hold securely, either discard it or find something to hold the remaining short piece; otherwise, you might find your fingers will get hot glued together!
All glue sticks will melt if sufficient heat is applied. The method that you choose to melt a hot glue stick should always take into consideration how much glue you require for the project and how you will control the hot glue once it is melted.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.