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The 6 Best Substitutes for Hot Glue

The three best substitutes for hot glue include fabric glue, epoxy glue, and wood glue. Double-sided tape, rubber cement, and tacky glue are also great alternatives to hot glue for light crafting. The substitute you use should work for the materials you are attempting to adhere together.

For many projects, hot glue is used to create a strong bond, but if you prefer to not use a hot glue gun, there are other alternatives. This article will provide six other substitutes for hot glue. It will also tell you how to make hot glue at home and how to prevent it from becoming stringy.

1. Fabric Glue Can Be Used to Bond Fabrics

Fabric glue is a great alternative to using hot glue for flexible materials, such as:

  • Fabric cushions
  • Projects with vinyl
  • Repair tarps

Depending on the quality fabric glue you buy and the amount of glue you’re using, drying times can be anywhere from a few minutes to about 24 hours. There are quick-drying fabric glues for those emergency situations, like repairing a tear in your clothing. The drying time for quick-drying fabric glue is typically almost instantaneous.

If you’re using fabric glue on material that doesn’t put much strain on the glued area, the glue has the potential to last indefinitely. 

This fabric fusion permanent adhesive (available on Amazon) is popular amongst crafters. It’s machine-washable and stays flexible after washing.

2. For a Heavy-Duty Bond, Use Epoxy Glue

Epoxy glue has fantastic durability and a very strong bond. This glue is good for many different types of solid materials, like:

  • stone
  • wood
  • and metal

Epoxy glue does not stick to plastic or polythene materials. 

To use epoxy glue on surfaces, you should prepare the surface with a light sanding. This will help the epoxy adhere to the material surfaces better and provide a powerful, long-lasting bond that will hold for years and years. Epoxy can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to cure and dry.

The longer you allow the epoxy to cure and dry, the stronger the bond will be and the longer it will last.

A 2 Part Epoxy will do the trick nicely. It works with wood, glass, ceramic, and other materials. It sets in eight minutes and is easy to use.

3. For Wood, Use Wood Glue (Or This Alternative)

Wood glue is a great alternative to using hot glue on wood surfaces. But did you know you can also use wood glue on other porous materials like stone and ceramics? Hot glue may be good at bonding materials for crafts, but it doesn’t always create a reliable bond with certain surfaces. 

Wood glue needs time to cure when bonding materials. Generally, you have up to 20 minutes to assemble your project with glue before you need to clamp the pieces and let it sit to cure. It can take up to 24 hours to be completely cured, with the bond becoming stronger the longer it sits.

You can use Liquid Nails as a bonding agent for a strong bond with wood. It’s said to be stronger than wood glue because it is formulated to create a construction-strength bond. It’ll surely give your project the permanent bond you’re looking for.

4. For Paper and Light Crafts, Try Double-Sided Tape

Double-sided tape is an excellent option for crafts on the lighter side. Aside from paper crafts like scrapbooking, you can use double-sided tape for some wood, fabric, and plastics. It’s also a great alternative for kids to use for their crafting, instead of worrying about them and a hot glue gun.

You can use clamps to keep the materials together for a few hours so the tape can create a stronger bond between the materials. There are different types of tape with different strengths, depending on the type of project you’re doing. There’s also specialized double-sided tape, such as fabric tape, which can be washed without worrying about ruining the bond.  

This double-sided mounting tape is exceptional to use for small projects. This tape is transparent, waterproof, and can hold a lot of weight. 

5. Rubber Cement Can Be Used on Porous Materials

Rubber cement can be applied by tube, brush, or spray. It’s an adhesive that works well with small projects using materials like:

  • paper
  • fabric
  • and other porous materials

It does not adhere well to plastics or PVC material. 

It’s one of the most versatile adhesives and perfect for projects that need some flexibility in the bond. The dry time for rubber cement depends on the brand and type, but it can take up to 24 hours to set. Fumes are the biggest downside to this glue because it’s mixed with chemicals like acetone or hexane to keep it in fluid form for application.

6. Tacky Glue Can Be Used for Light Crafting

Tacky glue is an excellent all-around glue for your small crafting projects. It’s versatile, and crafters have used it for years. This all-purpose glue can bond together most materials, including ceramics, most plastics, and glass.

As it dries, it creates a permanent and transparent bond to the material and is even flexible enough to be used on fabrics.

Can You Use Super Glue Instead of a Hot Glue Gun?

You can use super glue instead of hot glue with certain materials, such as plastic, ceramic, and glass. Hot glue is better if you’re looking for flexibility in your bond. Both have pros and cons, and the project you’re working on has a lot to do with which glue is better to use. 

When working on a project, it’s best to use the glue that benefits your project needs. 

Super Glue Pros and Cons

The pros of using super glue are the following: 

  • Super glue is compatible with most materials.
  • It is quick drying and usually doesn’t require hours to set.
  • It has an extremely strong bond.
  • There’s no complicated mixing required.
  • You don’t have to wait around for the glue to be heated.

The cons of using super glue are the following:

  • It’s more expensive than hot glue. 
  • It’s not as flexible as hot glue.
  • It can be messy.
  • It’s difficult to remove from the skin.
  • It has a very short work time.

Hot Glue Pros and Cons

The pros of using hot glue are the following:

  • Hot glue can be rewarmed to correct mistakes.
  • It allows more flexibility in the bond.
  • It can be used with many materials.
  • It has relatively quick dry times.
  • You’ll have better control of the glue flow for less mess and waste.
  • It’s easy to remove from skin. 
  • It’s inexpensive.

Cons of using hot glue are the following: 

  • You cannot use hot glue with thin plastic.
  • It doesn’t bond as well to some non-porous materials.
  • It often has limited bonding strength.
  • The bond can be compromised when exposed to direct sun and heat.
  • It can become brittle and break with extreme cold.
Generic yellow metal tube of super glue

Can I Make Hot Glue at Home?

You can make hot glue at home by mixing cornstarch and water and bringing it to a boil. After several minutes of letting it cool and stirring the mixture, the liquid will begin to thicken. You’ll pour the thickened ingredients into the glue stick mold and let it sit for six to eight hours.

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to make hot glue sticks at home:

  1. Mix 5 tbsp (71 grams) of cornstarch in a saucepan and 5 cups (1.18 L) of water until the cornstarch is dissolved. 
  2. Place the pan on the stove and turn the heat on high, bringing it to a boil.
  3. Once the solution begins to boil, reduce the heat to just below medium and start stirring for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken.
  5. Stir the mixture occasionally.
  6. When the mixture has become thick and sludge-like, pour it into the glue stick mold.
  7. Set the mold aside for 6 to 8 hours to allow the solution to harden.

Why Is My Hot Glue Stringy?

Your hot glue can be stringy if you haven’t allowed your glue gun to heat completely. Many low-temperature glues will string to some extent, but some brands sell low-string or no-string glue sticks. Some recommend storing your glue sticks in the freezer to prevent excessive stringing.

There are many reasons your hot glue can have strings and tails. Fortunately, there are ways you can help keep it at a minimum. The following are suggestions to reduce the amount of stringing or tailing while using hot glue:

  • Always ensure you’ve allowed your glue gun to heat completely before using it.
  • Use a hair dryer for a few seconds to melt away the strings.
  • Use the same temperature glue stick with the glue gun. 
  • Keep the hot glue gun nozzle clean of glue residue. 
  • Make a circular motion to cut the string as you pull the gun away from the glue.

For more, don’t miss 11 Handy Substitutes for Glue (With 4 DIY Options).