19 of Our Favorite Hot Glue Hacks
Hot glue guns are not just for school projects and holiday decorations. But once you discover just how useful hot glue can be in the workshop, it will soon become one your favorite tools.
Fix Wobbly Furniture with a Penny
Planing Warped Boards
A jointer is the best tool for flattening twisted, warped boards. But what if you don’t have a jointer or the board is too wide? Set the board on a “sled,” a flat piece of 3/4-inch plywood. Then shim the high corner(s) so the board doesn’t rock. Also shim high spots in the middle of the board. Mark the shim locations, remove the board and hot glue the shims into place. Then glue the board to the shims and the plywood with a dab of hot glue. Send that rascal through until it’s flat, then pull it free and plane down the other side.
Portable Hot Glue Hack
Be ready for anything, including making a quick repair with hot glue. There’s not always a handy outlet to plug in a glue gun, so keep a lighter and a glue stick in your toolbox. You only need a little dab to fix something. Melt the tip of the glue stick with the lighter and dab the melted glue on your repair.
Fasten a Temporary Fence
When you’re woodworking, you often need a temporary fence or stop on a table saw or router table or other power tools. Clamps aren’t always an option because they can get in the way, and you probably don’t want to drill holes in the machine’s fence or table for bolts or screws. Instead, use a few dollops of hot glue to hold your temporary fence in place.
DIY No-Slip Hangers
It’s so frustrating when clothes fall off of hangers. Whether it’s the material or the cut, some garments just slip off of hangers no matter how careful you are when searching through your closet. It’s a pain to constantly bend over to pick them up, and it’s definitely a pain to have to clean them again because they’ve picked up dust and lint and wrinkles from the floor.
This simple hanger hack will keep your clothes in place without having to go out and buy expensive specialty hangers. Apply a bead of hot glue to the top arms of the hanger and let it dry completely. The rubber-like dried glue will keep your clothes in place—even when you’re in a rush to get ready and can’t find anything to wear.
Stick Parts Together for Shaping and Sanding
When you have several identical parts to make, hot-glue them together and work on them all at once. This will save you lots of time, and all the pieces will be exactly the same. Don’t use too much glue—just a little dab will do ya. Use too much and it can be nearly impossible to separate the parts later. Apply glue near edges so you can easily cut it with a putty knife later.
Cut and Twist to Separate
Hot glue is a tenacious fastener. If you just pry apart the wood, you’re very likely to tear out some of the grain along with the glue. Instead, cut through the glue blob at one end with a putty knife. Then twist the boards apart to free the other end. That will break the bond without damaging the wood.
Hot Glue for Tile Accessories
Most tile setters use masking tape to support ceramic soap dishes and shelves while the tile adhesive cures. Here’s a better way: Apply a small bead of hot-melt glue along the seam. Hold the item in place for just a few seconds while the hot glue stiffens. The glue creates a strong seal, so there’s little chance of slipping or breakage. Once the permanent adhesive sets, just peel away the bead of glue.
Magnets in the Medicine Cabinet
Reader David Farrand has a great solution for organizing small metal items such as tweezers, nail clippers and more in the bathroom: Hang them on magnets inside a cabinet. If your cabinet does not have a metal surface, attach the magnets with hot glue, one magnet for each metal tool.
Remove Leftover Glue with a Chisel
If possible, place glue dabs where they’ll be trimmed off later, such as along edges or on ends. Then you won’t have to deal with glue residue. But if you do have glue dabs to remove, shave them off with a sharp chisel held flat to the board. Get as much as you can without gouging the wood, and then sand off the residue. Be sure to get it all—leftover glue won’t accept finishes. A chisel is also a go-to for trimming wood veneer.
Got a flowerpot or something else with a rough bottom that you want to set on a finished surface? Sure, you can buy special silicone bumpers, but you can also use hot glue. Just put dabs of glue on the underside of the object, let them cool for a minute, then while the glue is still soft, press down. Presto! Self-stick plastic bumpers.
Glue Small Parts to a Pedestal
Sometimes it’s impossible, impractical or downright dangerous to hold small pieces in your hand while you shape or sand them. So just hot-glue them to a temporary pedestal and clamp that in a vise while you work on them.
Store Bits Where They Belong
Stop frantically searching for different bits that belong with the many different screws in your workshop. Try this to save time: Use a bead of hot glue to adhere a magnet inside the lid of your fastener containers for holding the corresponding bits. Then you’ll always have the correct bit right when you need it.
Hard-to-Clamp Repairs Call for Hot Glue
When you need to glue parts that can’t be clamped together, hot glue is the answer. Hot glue will set in just a few seconds while you hold the pieces together.
Pattern Routing Made Easy
The best way to make multiple identical parts is to first create a perfect pattern from 1/2-in. MDF. Then cut out the parts slightly oversize, and final-shape them by using a router and a pattern bit to transfer the shape to the part. The best way to temporarily attach the pattern is with hot glue.
Picture Frame Bumpers
Stop wall frames from slipping out of place and scratching the wall paint by putting small dots of hot glue on the back corners of the frame. The hot glue not only prevents movement, it also holds the picture away from the wall to prevent scratches and nicks.
Stick Stock to Your Workbench
If you need your workpiece to be stationary but clamps would be in the way, use a few dabs of hot glue to hold it in place.
Position Drawer Fronts
When you’re installing new cabinet drawer fronts, apply hot glue, align the fronts perfectly in the cabinet opening and hold them against the drawer box until the glue sets. Then pull out the drawer and fasten them permanently with screws from the back.
Secure Mirrors or Glass in Cabinet Doors
Swivel clamps are typically used to hold glass in cabinet door rabbets. But hot glue is a quick, rattle-free alternative. Just don’t skimp on the glue or the glass may fall out. If you ever need to remove the glass, just heat the back with a heat gun to soften the glue.