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Does Hot Glue Stick To Metal? (And Metal to Plastic?)

Does Hot Glue Stick To Metal? (And Metal to Plastic?)

Hot glue has undoubtedly become a staple in any crafter’s toolbox. It’s easy to use, inexpensive, and versatile. And whether working on a school project or creating a piece of art, hot glue can be a great way to attach two pieces. But does that include metal?

Well, in this article, we have everything you may need to know about hot glue and its ability (or inability) to stick to metal. Just take a walk with us to explore this question in more detail.

Does Hot Glue Work On Metal?

Hot glue works on metal, but the answer isn’t that straightforward. Hot glue adheres best to highly porous surfaces; something metals aren’t. So, if you want to use glue gun adhesive for joining two metal parts, work on the metallic surfaces first.

Before mentioning anything about using hot glue for metal, let’s first understand the ideal working conditions for the adhesive.

And for one, hot glue needs a porous surface. A surface with high porosity allows it to get into the tiny crevices for a better grip on the material.

If the surface is too smooth, there’s nothing for the glue to grab on to. So, when applied, the adhesive will just slide down the surface and eventually cool off and harden without ever bonding to the material.

And unfortunately, one such material that doesn’t offer favorable conditions for hot glue to stick to is metal. For the most part, metal is nonporous. In other words, it doesn’t have tiny pores for the glue to penetrate and bond with the material.

Even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t use hot melt adhesive for metal applications. You still can. Nevertheless, you’ll need to spare some time and work on the metal surface for the product to work.

For hot glue to stick to the metal well, you must try to simulate a rough and porous surface, and one way to do that is to roughen up the metal surface. A soft metal scrubber should suffice for the job. By making the metal more coarse, you are increasing the adhesion.

Also, ensure that you remove any grease on the metal surface. Grease smoothens the surface of the metal, making it even harder for the hot glue to form a strong bond with the material.

Does Hot Glue Work on Metal to Wood?

Yes, you can use hot glue to join metal to wood. Glue gun adhesive works with both metal and wood. Even so, that doesn’t mean you can apply the adhesive straight away without doing anything to get the surface ready. Instead, prepare the surface first to get the best results.

Whether a hobbyist or a professional craftsman, you’ll often come across projects requiring you to combine metal and wood. It could be anything, like attaching a metal knob to a wooden dresser without fasteners.

Now, when handling such a project, you have several ways to go about it. One is to use fasteners. They’ll work just fine.

Alternatively, you can use an adhesive. And if you prefer this method instead, you’ll need an adhesive that can hold both materials together without fail. And thankfully, hot glue is one such substance.

But to ensure that you get a long-lasting joint, there’s work to do. Begin by inspecting the two materials. On the metal part, it should be grease-free. Also, roughen it up, just as earlier said. Remember that the key is to create a solid bond between the two surfaces. If you don’t, the joint will be weak, eventually giving in to gravity or impact.

As for the wood, it’s already porous. So, you don’t have much to do. Only ensure that it isn’t damaged from the inside. Also, check for the presence of oil and other elements that may impair the adhesive’s ability to work on material.

As long as the two surfaces are well-prepared, glue gun adhesive will create a strong bond between the two.

Does Hot Glue Work on Metal to Plastic?

Whether hot glue works on metal to plastic largely depends on the plastic type. Some plastic materials are fragile and may get burnt when they come into contact with hot glue.

You can use hot glue to combine metal and plastic. But that also depends on the kind of plastic. As long as the material is tough enough and can handle the heat of the glue, you are good to go.

However, if the plastic material is one of the fragile varieties, you’ll need to think again. You see, hot glue comes out of the gun’s barrel just as the name says – hot! So, to ensure that hot glue is safe for your application, check the melting point of the plastic. As for hot glue, the temperature can be as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

But again, even if hot glue is viable for your project, don’t expect the bond to be that strong. Metal and plastic are usually non-porous, meaning they don’t have the crevices and the tiny pores in their structure to allow hot glue to bond to them.

What Materials Does Hot Glue Work on?

Hot glue works best with rough and high-porosity surfaces. It doesn’t work with very smooth surfaces. Smooth surfaces like silicone, some plastics, and oil or greasy surfaces don’t have the crevices hot glue needs to bond to a surface.

The best way to get the most out of anything is to ensure that you use it properly, which applies to hot glue, too!

To get the best results, use hot glue for;

  • Paper
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Vinyl
  • Glass
  • Organic substances, e.g., leather and organic rubber
  • Stone
  • Ceramic
  • Fabric
  • Styrofoam

And as you can see, we have many materials where you can use glue gun adhesive. In fact, the list doesn’t end there. We have more materials that can work with hot glue.

Even so, as much as it’s generally a versatile adhesive providing impressive results in different applications, hot glue has a few areas where it won’t just suffice, and smooth surfaces are one such area.

You see, smooth surfaces don’t have any crevices or pores to allow the glue to penetrate the material. So, when applied to such, hot glue will only remain on the surface even as it cools down without sticking to the surface.

So, don’t use hot glue on non-rough surfaces for best results.

These surfaces include;

  • Some plastics, e.g., Polyethylene (PE) and Polypropylene (PP)
  • Silicone
  • Aluminum foil

Is Hot Glue Better Than Super Glue?

It depends on where you want to use the glue and what factor you base your factor on. Hot glue and super glue have different uses. But generally, super glue is more cost-effective and convenient and forms a stronger bond with most materials.

To begin with, it’s generally unfair to compare the two adhesives. Each works incredibly when used for the proper purpose.

However, in applications where their applicability overlaps, super glue, also called cyanoacrylate, emerges on top of the counterpart on strength.

Even so, strength is only a single factor. But performance is gauged on basis of several areas. So, assuming all other factors makes our comparison biased. It’s like comparing an elephant and a leopard based on their ability to climb a tree.

In other words, the glue may provide a solid bond but provide poor results in other performance areas.


How Long Do Hot Glue Sticks Last?

Hot glue sticks will last at least one year, although they can become brittle with time. To extend their shelf line, store them properly.

Hot glue sticks generally have a longer shelf life. Some can even last for four years. However, this durability majorly depends on how you store them.

For the best durability;

  • Reseal your hot glue sticks properly between uses.
  • Store them in a cool and dry place. The temperature should be between 5 ⁰C and 30 ⁰C.

How Long Does Hot Glue Take To Dry?

We neither have a definite answer as to how long it takes hot glue to dry up once applied. It depends on the amount, type of glue (whether high/low temperature), the material it’s bonded to, and other factors.

Even so, expect it to take between 1 to 10 minutes for hot glue to dry up once applied. But that doesn’t mean it’s same time it takes to cure. For the adhesive to be fully cured, it can take as long as 24 hours.

At What Temperature Do Hot Glue Sticks Melt?

Low-temperature hot glue sticks have a melting point of about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. However, for the high-temperature variety, the sticks have to get to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit to become liquid.

Hot glue sticks don’t all melt at the same temperature. Some will melt at a lower heat level than others – about 250 degrees Fahrenheit – and we use these hot melt sticks for more fragile materials with a low melting point. That includes foam, thin plastics and films, and fabric.

The lower melting temperature allows them to work on such materials without damaging them. And usually, low-temperature glue sticks work with low-temperature hot guns.

On the other hand, high-temperature glue sticks have to burn to a higher level of heat before they liquify. Most of them will require a temperature between 380 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

To use high-temperature glue sticks, you need a corresponding gun. The low-temp gun won’t suffice in this case. So, for such projects, get a nice high-temperature adhesive gun.

As for hot glue gun sticks, you can use them for materials with a high melting point. That includes metal, glass, wood, and other materials with better heat tolerance.

Final Verdict

In a nutshell, hot glue sticks to metals. In fact, this adhesive probably works with most materials you interact with in your everyday life; wood, metal, glass, some plastics, and so much more!

But again, hot glue doesn’t form the strongest bond with non-porous surfaces, including metallic ones. Plus, you have to roughen up the surface before applying the glue to create crevices for the adhesive to grip on.