CB21-009 - how to melt glue sticks without a glue gun

How to melt glue sticks without a glue gun

Have you ever had a few hot glue sticks and no hot glue gun? It’s possible your hot glue gun was lost or broken. If you need to glue a project right away you’ll need to know how to melt glue sticks without a glue gun.

To melt glue sticks without a glue gun, heat the glue sticks using the stove, microwave, or a lighter. There are plenty of handy tools including matches and electric glue skillets to make the task easy. 

Finding alternate ways to melt your glue sticks will help you finish your project without a hot glue gun. You can even learn tricks to help you melt the glue to the right temperature. 

Knowing the type of adhesive you’re using can help you with your project. Keep reading to learn how to melt glue sticks without a glue gun and how to find the right glue for the right job. 

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How to melt glue sticks without a glue gun

Glue sticks can be melted without a glue gun by using a different heat source. Sticks of glue can be melted using a stovetop and pan, microwave, lighter, matches, and electric glue skillets. You can heat one end of the glue stick and spread the glue by holding the other end.

Glue sticks are made of different adhesives that melt at different temperatures. However, melting the glue works the same for all types of glue sticks. 

You can use a bowl to heat up glue sticks in the microwave or a pot to melt the glue over a stovetop. Your glue stick will turn into a puddle of glue which can be used for dipping your project into.

Alternatively, you can heat the stick on one end and spread the glue with the other. As you heat the hot glue it tends to stay in place because it’s designed to be pushed through a tube. You may want a tool to help you hold the cold side of the stick to avoid burning your fingers.

What can I use to melt hot glue sticks without a glue gun?

You can use a combination of heat and tools that will hold the glue in place to melt hot glue sticks without a gun. Choose a tool that will hold the glue stick, like an empty ink pen and a heat source like a lighter. Anything from matchsticks, lighters, and homemade soda can glue guns will work. 

Projects that you can dip into the glue only require a bowl or pot on the stove, electric stove, or microwave will work fine. 

Here are some tools you can use to melt hot glue sticks:

  1. A non-stick pot or pan 
  2. A glass bowl in the microwave
  3. An Electric skillet glue pan
  4. A lighter to melt the tip of the glue for spreading
  5. Matchsticks with small pieces of glue wrapped around them
  6. A DIY Glue Gun made from a soda can, lighter, and clips

This video on youtube shows 3 ways to use glue sticks if you don’t have a hot glue gun, using different tools including a pen, matches, a candle, and a can.

Can you melt hot glue sticks in the microwave?

Hot glue sticks can be melted in the microwave. The best way to melt hot glue sticks in the microwave is in 20-second intervals. Small intervals allow you to check the temperature and be sure you aren’t heating the glue too much. 

The glue stick temperature is important because if it is too hot the project won’t set. Too cold of glue stick and the adhesive will solidify before it’s bonded.

More importantly, you don’t want to “burn” your glue. Water-based glues may not be flammable, but you’ll notice that some adhesives can still get too hot. Too hot of glue will cause it to break down or and change color. Hot glue fumes can even become toxic if they are overheated.

Keep this in mind and always keep a close eye on your projects whenever you’re using heat. 

Can you melt hot glue sticks on the stove?

The easiest way to melt hot glue sticks on the stove is in a pan. Choose a pan that you can reuse as your hot glue pot or buy an inexpensive pot. Cut your glue stick into pieces and heat them on low until melted. 

This method works best if you have items that you can dip in the pan to glue. Alternatively, use a brush to dip and spread the glue on your items. 

Having a dedicated pan for melting glue sticks is ideal because you can leave the glue in the pan after it melts. You can then reheat the leftover glue as needed for your next project. 

In some craft stores you can find glue pans made specifically for melting glue sticks. Electric glue skillet works are an alternative to using a kitchen stove. The Surebonder 4 inch Little Glue Skillet from Joann Fabrics is a handy tool to have around when you want to melt glue stick pieces. 

At what temperature does a hot glue stick melt?

The adhesives that make up hot glue melt into a liquid between 80-200 degrees Celsius or 176-392 degrees Fahrenheit. The wide melting range is because glue guns come in low and high-temperature glue sticks. 

Hot melt adhesives in High-temperature guns melt at 195 degrees Celsius (383 ℉) and low-temperature guns melt at 130 degrees Celsius (266 ℉).

High and low-temperature glue guns have fixed melting temperatures that are listed on the product. Therefore, you may be able to determine the best temperature to melt your glue if you know which glue gun you had.

Melt temperatures are different because you use different glue for different projects. Both high and low-temperature glue is made to be used with specific guns. 

Knowing the type of glue can help you choose your method to melt the glue. Does your project need to hold on wood for a long time? If so, you might want to keep an eye on the temperature to maximize the chance it will stick for a long time. It’s easier to check the temperature of your glue on the stove versus a lighter. 

How to find the best glue for a project

Most glue sticks are made from EVA copolymers, a low-cost thermoplastic adhesive. EVA copolymers have a good time window between melting and solidifying. These copolymers are also the best choice for most projects. 

You can use a glue selector on gluegunsdirect.com  which can help you find the right glue for the project. It could also help you determine what kind of glue you are melting and the melting point. 

Keep an eye on the glue if you don’t know what kind of glue you are using or what the melting point is. You are ready to use the glue once it becomes pliable. 

No matter the temperature, hot glue gets hot. Therefore, you should always be careful when melting glue sticks to avoid accidents. The best way to use glue sticks is with the appropriate glue gun as directed.

Summary: How to melt glue sticks without a glue gun

Now you know different ways to melt glue sticks without a glue gun. The method that is best depends on your project and what tools you have to melt the glue. 

Melting glue sticks can be as simple as the push of a button on the microwave or as fun and complex as creating your own glue gun. 

Each way is a temporary solution that will help you out of a pinch, but it may be best to simply grab another glue gun. When you head back to the craft store you’ll be prepared because you know how to determine the type of glue that you should use for your next project. 

So use all this newfound glue knowledge to make the perfect project stick.