How to Use Hot Glue on Fabric Without Damaging the Fabric

How to Use Hot Glue on Fabric Without Damaging the Fabric by Valentin | Last Updated: June 5, 2021
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If you have ever tried to craft anything with fabric then you might have thought about using hot glue to glue fabric and even though it might have seemed like a bad idea, in the beginning, it started to seem more and more viable the more you thought about it. At least that´s how it was for me. But the question remains, can hot glue be used on fabric and if so, how can you use hot glue to glue fabric? In this article, I will explain exactly that and more.

As a whole, hot glue will work very well on fabric but it has to be applied carefully because hot glue can melt the fabric if it is applied when it´s too hot. There are low-temperature hot glue guns that can be used to apply hot glue at lower temperatures to ensure that the fabric won´t get damaged.

Unfortunately, even when using a low-temperature hot glue gun there are still a few fabrics that can´t be glued with hot glue because they just can´t survive the heat. I will explain more on that in the following sections.

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How to Use Hot Glue on Fabric

Using hot glue on fabric isn´t really hard as long as you follow a few simple rules. Most fabrics can stand heat pretty well but especially cheap fabrics and fabrics that are mostly synthetic (like nylon) will melt quite easily even at lower temperatures.

Use a Low-Temperature Hot Glue Gun

While you can use a regular hot glue gun for glueing most fabrics it is best to use a special low-temperature hot glue gun for glueing fabric.

Most regular hot glue guns also called high-temperature hot glue guns automatically heat the glue to about 383°F (195°C). Low-temperature hot glue guns, on the other hand, are usually not getting hotter than 266°F (130°C) while still adhering just as well as regular hot glue.

There are also hot glue guns that can be set to either high or low temperatures. These so-called “Dual Temperature Hot Glue Guns” might be interesting for you if you want to use hot glue on fabrics as well as other materials.

You can get Dual temperature hot glue guns at most craft stores or right here on Amazon.

I personally have two different hot glue guns. One high temperature and one low temperature.

If you only want a low-temperature hot glue gun then I can highly recommend the L-270 Essential Series Low-Temperature Hot Glue Gun. You can find it right here on Amazon.

Important to mention is that you can´t use the regular glue sticks from high-temperature glue guns for the low-temperature glue gun because they will not melt at the lower temperature. You need to use special low-temperature glue sticks instead.

I always recommend using the same brand of hot glue sticks that the hot glue gun is just to make sure.

This is especially important for low-temperature glue sticks because there are also very low-temperature hot glue guns that have glue sticks that meld at a different temperature than other low-temperature glue sticks.

I almost always double-check the packaging of the glue sticks to make sure that they are compatible with the temperature of my hot glue gun.

Low-temperature hot glue guns work exactly the same way as a regular high-temperature glow gun. So plug it in and wait until it is hot enough before applying the glue to the surface that you want to glue.

Some Fabrics Don´t Survive the Heat

There are some Fabrics that can take heat better than others so I decided to create a simple table that you can use as a reference to know if you can use hot glue on your fabrics or not.

FabricCan be Glued with Hot Glue
WoolYes
ModacrylicYes
CottonYes but be very careful
LinenYes but be very careful
ViscoseYes but be very careful
PolyesterPossible but tends to melt easily
NylonNo, it melts too easily
AcrylicYes
LeatherYes but it can smell quite badly

You can glue all of the fabrics to each other or to other materials like EVA foam or wood. Just be careful that you don´t burn yourself in the process. It happened and still happens to me all the time.

Just remember, the glue is very hot, which is why it´s called hot glue. Even the low-temperature hot glue is still very much hot!

Apply the Hot Glue to the Fabric

Now that you know exactly what kind of glue stick and hot glue gun to use and what kind of fabric can be glued with hot glue, it’s finally time to glue your fabric.

First, apply a thin line of hot glue along the line that you want to glue the fabric. If you want to glue two pieces of fabric together then directly apply the fabric to the fabric that can withstand the heat the best.

if the area that you want to glue is quite big then it´s best to glue it in multiple steps. This is because the hot glue tends to get hard quite fast so if you apply the hot glue to the whole area all at once then the first hot glue that you applied will be hard by the time you press the fabric against it.

I usually glue the fabric one inch at a time.

So apply the hot glue to the area and then press the fabric against it while it is still hot. Don´t press the fabric against the hot glue with your hands or you will burn yourself. Instead, use a scrap piece of wood or something similar.

It will only take a couple of minutes for the hot glue to harden fully. Once it has hardend the connection will be quite strong right from the beginning.

Try not to apply too much hot glue it is enough to apply a thin line to glue any type of fabric and the outcome will look much nicer!

The Best Hot Glue for Fabric

There are specially made hot glue sticks for fabric but are they really the best choice for gluing fabric with hot glue?

As a whole, the best hot glue for fabric is low-temperature hot glue. There are special fabric hot glue sticks that are slightly better than regular low-temperature hot glue sticks but not by much. The most important thing when gluing fabric with hot glue is not using high temperatures.

So in the end a regular low-temperature hot glue stick will be best in my opinion.

You can go for a fabric hot glue but they can be quite hard to find and they are also usually a little more expensive so I prefer using the regular low-temperature hot glue sticks. They work just as well.

Washing Fabric That was Glued With Hot Glue

Another common question I get a lot is if you can wash fabric that was glued with hot glue and it is definitely a question that you should know the answer to before using hot glue to glue any fabric.

As a general rule, it is possible to wash fabric that was glued with hot glue. Low-temperature hot glue tends to melt at around 266°F (130°C) so it won´t melt when being washed. But it is highly recommended that fabric glued with hot glue should be hand washed.

The biggest problem with washing fabric that was hot glued is that the hot glue will weaken every time it is being washed. This is also why I recommend hand washing it because you can be much more careful when washing near the glued seam.

Temperature-wise you don´t have to be worried about melting the glue as even low-temperature hot glue only melts at around 266°C (130°C). But the hot glue will weaken each time it gets warm so you still want to avoid heating it up all too often.

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 these interactive props. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.