How to Paint Hot Glue Properly and How to Avoid Paint Chipping

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A hot glue gun was the first crafts tool that I ever bought and it is probably the first tool most new hobby crafters get for their first projects.

Hot glue is perfect for a lot of projects and for good reason. You can glue pretty much anything with it that doesn´t have a smooth surface and doesn´t melt easily. So it is perfect for projects like cosplay where things have to be glued to cloth or foam and it is great for decor projects where you might want to glue more complex shaped objects together.

But let´s say you have glued something together and now you can see some traces of the hot glue and you want to cover that up or you had to shape a specific form out of the hot glue and now you need to paint it in a different color. Is that even possible?

You can paint hot glue with regular acrylic paint or with latex paint. You need to paint the hot glue in multiple thin layers, however, before it covers the glue fully. If the hot glue moves a lot or needs to stay flexible then you need to use latex-based paint or the paint will chip off. Otherwise regular acrylic paint will be just fine.

There are a couple more things that you can do to ensure better results when painting on hot glue. In this article, I will go over everything that you need to keep in mind and a few tips that will help you achieve the best possible results when painting hot glue.

Which Paint Is Best For Painting Hot Glue

The choice of paint is heavily dependent on the material that the hot glue is on and if the hot glue moves or needs to be flexible at all.

The best paint for painting on hot glue is either acrylic paint and latex paint.

Use acrylic paint if the hot glue won´t move at all.

Acrylic paint will dry quite hard and it is not very flexible so you should only use it when the hot glue area that you want to paint won´t move in any way.

For example, if you used hot glue to glue some feathers on a piece of wood. None of these parts will ever move so the hot glue will never flex. So you can use acrylic paint in this scenario.

The first pass of acrylic paint won´t cover the hot glue very much and that is completely normal.

You will need multiple passes of acrylic paint before the paint covers the hot glue fully.

So apply multiple thin layers of acrylic paint and let the paint dry in between layers.

It usually takes around four to five layers until the acrylic paint covers properly.

You could apply a primer before painting to make this process easier. You can read more about that further down in this article.

If you want to paint hot glue that moves or has to stay flexible then you have to use latex-based paint.

Other than acrylic paint, latex paint will actually stay rather flexible when it has dried.

This will allow the paint to move with the hot glue, to a certain degree at least.

Latex paints won´t cover the hot glue fully after the first layer either. So you need to apply multiple layers before the paint covers the hot glue completely.

It will only take around three layers before latex paint covers hot glue fully. So it will be slightly faster than with acrylic paint.

You can also use latex paint even if the hot glue doesn´t move. It will work just as well.

If the hot glue has to be flexible I wouldn´t recommend using a primer here because the primer might cause issues later on. But more on that later in this article.

So in short, use acrylic paint if the hot glue is stationary and doesn´t need to be flexible, and use latex paint if the hot glue has to stay flexible. You also need to apply multiple layers of paint before it properly covers the hot glue.

Painting Directly on Hot Glue

You can paint directly on hot glue without any issues. The paint will stick to the surface of the hot glue if you apply the paint in multiple thin layers.

But there is one problem with painting directly on hot glue and that is color falsification.

You may run into this issue when painting hot glue with the exact same color as its surroundings. The paint might look slightly different on the hot glue compared to its surroundings once it has dried. Even if you apply the color at the same time.

This is because the color will always look slightly different depending on the surface it has been applied to. The difference is normally not that significant but it just happens to be quite significant on rubber and rubber-like material such as hot glue.

So how can you avoid this color falsification on hot glue?

Well, the easiest fix is to prime both the hot glue and the surrounding material with a primer.

Unfortunately, this only works when the hot glue doesn´t need to be flexible.

If you want to paint hot glue that needs to stay flexible and you don´t want any color falsification then you might need a special flexible primer. I, however, would try to simply paint the area with multiple layers of latex paint.

Other than acrylic paint, latex paint usually doesn´t have as much of a color falsification effect. That is because the latex paint does not get absorbed by the underlying material as much as with acrylic paint. So the falsification effect isn´t as significant.

Using Primer on Hot Glue

A primer will prepare the surface for painting. It will create a strong bond with the surface and it creates the perfect conditions for paint.

A Primer can either be applied like paint with a brush or by spraying it on. I personally like to use a regular spray primer for all surfaces. It works well for hot glue and it isn´t all that expencive.

You can get it in your local hardware store or right here on Amazon.

Simply apply the primer to the whole surface, let it dry, and then paint the surface with acrylic paint.

you won´t need more than two layers of acrylic paint and you will, most of the time, only need one layer of the primer.

Most primers can also be sanded slightly. So if you want a smooth surface try sanding the primer, after it has dried, with some fine grit sand paper before painting it.

Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.

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