I was a floral designer the first time I saw a glue gun. The owners of the flower shop I worked at bought it at a floral convention… mainly because the owner’s wife had a wobbly leg on her coffee table! That was back in 1977 or ’78. We gathered around the contraption and wondered how in the world we would make use of it.
Up until that point in time we didn’t glue anything. Silk flowers hadn‘t been invented, wreaths were for funerals and the floral industry did not need this gun to make anything. Talk about a waste of time and money… we worked with flowers, not coffee table legs. Besides, the owner’s wife was a bookkeeper, what did she know about creativity in the design room? This was something we never dreamed we would use much less need on a daily basis.
I remember reading the instructions on how to use it… Plug it in, the stick of mucus coloured glue went in the back, pull the trigger… I think I got this… for the times it was pretty user friendly. Now, what do we use it for? We looked around the store and came up empty. I remember very clearly picking it up and touching the tip of the gun to see if it was warm. It was at that moment that I realized that my reflexes were fast as lightening even if my brain was not. OWWWWW! I watched as blisters formed on my thumb and forefinger… I was done! I unplugged that sucker and after allowing it to cool down for several hours it went into a drawer. This thing was deadly, no thank you, it would never be useful in the floral industry, mark my words!
Well… I have made a few dumb remarks in my time but this may have been the biggest one. It evolved over time and thankfully the makers decided that it didn’t have to be 1000F to operate effectively. Don’t get me wrong, it is still very hot but not as much as its grandpa was. We went from using it once a month to several times a week and in almost no time we plugged it in in the morning and found ourselves unplugging it as we left at the end of the day. Silk flowers came into being and soon we found ourselves designing with grapevine wreaths and floppy hats. (Man am I dating myself or what?) It became a miracle maker in the flower shop and after awhile it was made available to the general public. I remember trying to explain to my non floral friends why they needed this miracle tool and they looked at me with the same skepticism that I had had in my eyes years before. Man, some people just don’t get it. wink emoticon
Hot Glue Tips
I hope you find these helpful
1. If at all possible, use the glue that is made by the manufacturer of your glue gun. Not all glue guns melt glue at the same temperature. I know that you’ve probably had some glue that literally runs out of the nozzle, this is why. It may seem like you save money buying the cheaper glue sticks but you save by using less glue and not clogging up your gun.
2. There are two things you can do to eliminate “glue strings”, you know, also known as spider webs, sparrow spit, etc. One, when you glue your item, wipe the glue off your nozzle on to the item you’re putting the glue on. Pretty simple when you think about it, huh? The second thing is use a hair dryer on high to melt them away. I prefer the first method.
3. When gluing stems of flowers or picks into a grapevine wreath make sure you are actually touching something. Now I know this sounds stupid but think about it the next time you are creating a design on grapevine. If the glue end of your stem isn’t touching anything what do you expect it to stick to, air? Exactly!
4. I don’t have a number four but I find that it makes me look smarter if I have more tips to share. Three is always good but four, well… it makes me look like an overachiever!
Cool Melt Glue
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan. I am not the only one because you would think something this wonderful would have replaced hot glue altogether. I find that the glue doesn’t hold as well as its hotter cousin. Maybe that’s just me, please share your thoughts if you have any.
Cordless Glue Guns
Again, not a big fan. I find that it’s good for quickie but in the long run I would opt for a fifty foot extension cord so that I didn’t have to charge it constantly.
Hot Glue Pot
This little guy is great to use! It frees up your trigger hand and you can use as little or as much glue as you need. Be sure and wipe off the excess glue on the side of the pot, no more strings!
For bigger jobs use an electric skillet and those inexpensive glue sticks you bought in bulk.