How to Choose the Right Glue Gun + DIY Crystal, Enamel, Pearlized Dots

I have a lot of glue guns, but none that I truly like. I found this one at Joanns, a Gorilla multi-temp glue gun link: I used a coupon and bought it for under $6.00 with a coupon.

Important things to look for in a hot glue gun:

1. For me, I wanted a dual temp mini glue gun. Dual temp allows you to put it on a lower setting for easy-to-glue projects, or high, for heavy duty projects. The high setting will allow you to pull the trigger easier than the low setting, so if you have hand or wrist strength issues, use the high setting for easier use. Mini means the size of the glue sticks you use, and I prefer the mini ones as they aren’t as heavy as the full-size sticks, and the gun is usually lighter weight when it uses only mini glue sticks. The only downside is “Mini” does mean you’ll use a lot more glue sticks per project though, as you get a lot less glue per glue stick than with the full-size sticks.

2. Movable front feetIt will allow you to move this out of the way when you are trying to do close-up work. If the feet are permanently down, which some are, you won’t be able to get them out of your way for close up work.

3. A no-drip glue gun….I always seem to find glue guns that drip glue when sitting on your work station..This one doesn’t seem to drip glue.

4. Buying glue sticksthe size of your glue gun and the types of sticks are important for your specific glue gun. My glue gun is a “mini” which means the sticks are thinner…you need to buy glue sticks that are called mini….Also, since my glue gun is a dual temp, you’ll need to buy dual temp mini glue sticks. I found a sale on Surebonder Glue Roll (I couldn’t find it on Joann’s online site, but here’s a link to another site

5. Small tip– I like a glue gun with a smaller tip so I can get into small places on paper projects. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for me when trying to glue a bigger surface, so for me, it works for all projects..

6. Price…I don’t like to spend a lot on glue guns, as they sometimes don’t work well for a long period of time (and I like a bargain.)  This glue gun was under $6 when using a coupon.

7. A swivel cord...I’ve never found a glue gun with a swivel cord (where the cord attaches to the glue gun), but would love that as my cords always seem to get kinked over time.

How to make your own enamel/crystal dots…….

Using a heat resistant surface like a craft mat, a silicone mat, or parchment paper, put your glue gun as close to the surface as possible and hold the trigger until a small circle comes out, then twirl the gun to make sure you remove it from the circle of glue you’ve laid on your surface without leaving a trail or making it look like a Hershey’s chocolate Kiss.. If you live in a hot humid climate, this might not work for you, as the hot glue becomes much more stringy when it’s humid.

This will create a clear, crystal drop….If you want to create a dot that looks more like an enamel or pearlized dot, once your dot is cooled, you can pick it off of the heat resistant surface, and put it in a sealable small plastic bag with a few drops of dye re-inkers you’d get for your dye ink pads, or a very small amount of alcohol ink.  You’ll seal the bag closed and shake it well so the color adheres to the glue. Let the bag sit until the dots are dry. You can make them darker by adding another few drops of reinkers after they have dried from the first application. You can also make a more pearlized look by using a paint brush with either Mica Powder, Perfect Pearls, or my favorite, L.A. Colors eye shadow or any mica based eye shadow.  (If it’s an eye shadow you normally wear, I don’t recommend you dipping the brush into the eye shadow more than once, as I don’t know if there is a possibility for cross-contamination.) While your dots are still on their heat resistant surface, but have cooled, paint them with the eye shadow and they should hold the color..I usually wipe mine off with a brush after letting them sit for maybe a minute, to make sure I’ve taken off any excess eye shadow.

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