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Tips for using hot melt glue sticks


Preparation is always a key ingredient for not only safety, but for correct and secure bonding.

  • Make sure you are wearing protective wear correctly. Using protective eye wear is a must, as well as heat-resistant gloves – making sure sleeves are full length and pulled down. The aim is to minimise the possibility that molten glue come in contact with exposed skin or hair.
  • Prepare the surfaces being bonded by making sure they are free and clean of contaminants – like dust, water or anything else that shouldn’t be there. In some cases it is worthwhile to lightly abrade the surface so that the bond may be improved.
  • Some surfaces like metals will have an improved bond if it is pre-warmed first. Up to 200°F (95°C) for best results.


  • Apply the molten glue to the more difficult to bond to surface. Generally hard smooth surfaces are more difficult to bond than more porous surfaces.
  • After molten glue has been applied mate the two surfaces together as quickly as possible for optimum bond strength. After mating the two surfaces, apply as much pressure as is practically possible – making sure that the surfaces are not moved or adjusted after contact has been made. This will ensure the best possible bond.
  • If the bond has been applied correctly then typically you will have achieved approx 50% of your strength after 1 minute, 75% after an hour, and full strength after a full day.

Other Useful Tips

  • “open time” of the hot melt glue will vary depending on a range of factors such as; application temperature; amount of molten glue applied; type of substrate and ambient temperature conditions, and operator application technique.
  • As some glue formulas result in more flexibility or “rubberiness” this can result in difficulty in running them through some hot melt glue guns, especially after idle durations greater than 20 minutes. It is recommended to run these types of products in guns have flexible feeding (inlet) tubes or semi-rigid Teflon feeding tubes – and also to keep idle times down to a minimum.


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