Why I Never Use a Glue Gun [+ the BEST glues for different DIY materials!]

Looking for alternatives to a hot glue gun? Here’s a great list of amazing glues to use with different materials!

Picture of a hot glue gun with text reading "Why I never use a hot glue gun"

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you are also looking for an alternative to the almighty glue gun. When I tell people that I’m a DIY blogger that doesn’t use a glue gun, most people don’t believe it. In fact, most people don’t even know of any alternatives to a glue gun!

Why I don’t use a Glue Gun

I have never enjoyed using a glue gun. I burn myself every. single. time. I use one. Maybe I’m just not patient enough.. lol. But if I wait until the glue isn’t too hot, then its dry and I have to peel it off, taking my work surface with it. Can’t win.

Then there’s the glue strings… ugh. How can you possibly get a DIY project to look good with those strings? And the clumps? It’s impossible to flatten the glue before it dries (or again, you burn your finger!), and then I end up with lumps and clumps all over my project… I’m too much of a perfectionist to work with a glue gun!

Why I Never Use a Glue Gun [+ the BEST glues for different DIY materials!]

So I have a glue stash. A few different glues that I use for EVERYTHING from crafts with my daughters, to DIYs with my Cricut Explore 2, to woodworking. And I promise that NONE of these glues burn you, leave clumps or take too long to dry!

Here are some amazing alternatives to glue guns

Buttons – 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue <– Still dries super fast!
Burlap –  Fabri-Tac & Stop Fraying
Ceramics – Two part epoxy
Copper – Two part epoxy
Cork – Power-Tac <– Super strong and still dries really fast!
Craft Metal – Power-Tac
Denim – Fabri-Tac
Embellishments (Rhinestones, glitter, pearls, etc.) – Gem-Tac
Fabric – Fabri-Tac
Fur (faux) – 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue
Felt – Fabri-Tac
Jute string – 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue
LeatherPower-Tac (I used to use E6000, but this stuff doesn’t smell)
Leather (faux) –3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue
Paper (tissue paper, cardstock, regular) – Any glue stick, or Mod Podge for decoupage
Pipe cleaners3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue
PlasticTwo part epoxy
Pom poms3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue
RaffiaSpray Adhesive (on surface)
RopePL Premium
Tissue Paper – Spray Adhesive
Twine – 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue
Vellum – Spray Adhesive
Wire (floral) – 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue
WoodWood glue

What Glue is Best for Kids?

There are so many awesome materials for kids to DIY and craft with and the most common glue traditionally is a glue gun. I don’t love a glue gun for myself, but I also don’t love giving one to my kids, especially if I’m not using it hand-over-hand with them.

Instead I typically give them the 3-in-1 advanced glue. It’s perfect for a ton of kids materials including ribbon, pom poms, pipe cleaners, toilet paper rolls, beads, and more! It’s not hot so it won’t burn them, it’s easy to use, and it dries quickly, which is important considering how impatient my kids are!

Some Glue Gun Alternatives in Action

All of these glues are on this list because I’ve used and loved them! I wanted to share a few examples of how I’ve used my favourite ones so that you can check them out before you buy them!

Alternatives to Glue Guns

Some great alternatives to glue guns that I've used in my home and DIY projects.

If you think of something that should be on the list, let me know! I’d love to update it!

Why I Never Use a Glue Gun [+ the BEST glues for different DIY materials!]

33 thoughts on “Why I Never Use a Glue Gun [+ the BEST glues for different DIY materials!]

  1. This is great! Thank you for sharing. I find it a coincidence that I stumbled across this post on Pinterest today. I have used glue guns and put up with the mess you mentioned since before my adult children were born. Just last night I started using a low watt glue gun and popped the circuit! I was so upset because I turned all of the circuits on and off again and couldn’t get the circuit affected back on. That meant no TV while crocheting. I was so bummed out and so mad at my glue gun that I threw it away. Finding your post brightened my day a little.

    1. BTW I turned the circuit breaker off and then on again and not on and off as mentioned in previous post.

  2. This is really an extensive glue list! I use glue guns often, I always burn myself and I HATE those glue strings! Pinning for future reference!

  3. That’s a lot of glue!! I have to admit I love my glue gun … but, the little flyaway strings and constant finger burns are something I could do without!! I need to get a Cricut!

    1. Haha, I used to use it all the time too! Until I was given some of these glues for free – once I tried them, I threw my glue gun back in the box, lol. And YES you do need to get a Cricut!

  4. I love glue. I do not sniff it or anything like that… but I have stash myself. But my favorite glue of all… is…..Aileens Fast Grab. It is so thick that you cant get it out the hole in the lid. I use a popcycle stick to get it out and spread it. if I need it in a tiny place I use a toothpick. It sticks immediately so the object doesn’t slide around or move before it dries. I use rubber cement for all paper products but I let the air evaporate out of it so that it is a little thicker. Leave the lid off and stir it every once in a while. Did you know that spray adhesive can get into your lungs really easily and glue your air sacs together? I will have to look for some you mentioned because I have never seen or heard of them.

    1. Thanks for the advice! I’ll have to try that one out! And no, I’ve never hear that about spray adhesive – scary! Luckily I’ve only used it a couple of times, inside a box, for a couple of quick sprays :)

  5. I agree, hardly ever use my glue gun these days….I’ll have to see if I can find the power tac…bought the e6000, but too smelly and the cap was glued on next time I wanted to use it…argh! However if you are using glue sticks on cardstock, toss them out ( the glue doesn’t hold well and project may fall apart later) use tombow mono multi adhesive instead, dries quick and very strong, my favorite!

    1. Another one I use instead of tomboy is Art Glitter Designer Adhesive. I bought the 2 Oz bottle with needle precision tip to try it when someone recommended it. I won’t use anything else on paper/cardstock ever again! Only use a small amount and dries fast! With the needle tip you can use it for tiny projects. Now I buy the 8 Oz bottle to refill the smaller 2 Oz one that fits perfectly in my hand.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I am not going to lie, I am a fan of the glue gun but I do not think it sticks well to certain things. I am not into crafts that much so it is really not a problem for me.

    1. Totally agree with this! If I wasn’t doing crafts often, I think the glue gun would work great. I’m just glad there are a few other options out there for this frequent crafter! lol.

  7. Such a useful post Lindi! I just used two different types of glue for the same craft project, not knowing which one would be the most useful. It occurred to me that I really needed to diversify my choice of glue. And THEN I saw your post! So timely! Thanks for sharing :) Pinning!

      1. Are all of these glues good if you would use them on a wreath that would be good hanging be behind the glass door in the sun. I used a glue gun and Elmers glue. Both glues melted.

  8. Using a blow dryer on those little strings eliminates them. They just melt away and disappears. Am going to try your ideas though, thank you

  9. Thank you so much for the glue list!! I tried several glues for my button art with poor results. I will try your suggestion, thanks again. Connie

  10. Thank you for all the wonderful information! You have made me feel better about not enjoying the glue gun. I am Not alone.. :) I Loved your article and so glad to find you, also ladies here thanks for the added info! Have a good day! smiles from Tennessee, Judy.

  11. Thanks for the list. Will consider them but I DO LOVE MY GLUE GUNS!! I DON’T THINK I COULD LIVE WITHOUT THEM. I take my time so as not to burn myself. I do appreciate your list and it will come in handy sometime. Thanks!!

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