What Surfaces Will Hot Glue Not Stick to and Why

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Hot glue is probably the favorite glue of hobby crafters around the world and for good reason. Hot glue is easy to use, it will adhere to most surfaces, and it is quite cheap. That being said, there are, however, some materials that can not be glued with hot glue.

As a whole, hot glue will not stick to silicone, some industry plastics, and oily or greasy surfaces. There are many different kinds of hot glue sticks that can be used to bond almost every material. If there is a problem with the adhesion then make sure that the surface is clean and free of oil or grease.

I found some sites that stated that hot glue can´t be used to glue metal or glass which is not correct. It is harder to glue those materials but it is possible to glue metal as well as glass with hot glue and the resulting bond will be quite strong.

Below are two lists of materials that hot glue won´t and will stick to. So if you want to know more about gluing a specific material with hot glue then refer to the list below.

A List of Materials That Hot Glue Won´t Stick to

The list of materials that hot glue will not stick to is surprisingly short.

Hot glue will not stick to:

  • Silicone
  • Some Plastics like polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP)

And that´s it. Hot glue will adhere to most other materials even though it can be hard to glue some materials such as metal or vinyl it is possible to glue them with a good hot glue gun and the right glue sticks.

Hot glue won´t stick to silicone because nothing sticks to silicone but silicone. That is why silicone is used so much in the industry.

Because nothing sticks to silicone it is also hard to glue it. Hot glue won´t work on silicone but special silicone glue (that also contains silicone) will work.

There are some plastic types that hot glue will not stick to or has a very hard time properly adhering to. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are examples of plastics that are widely used and that hot glue has a very hard time adhering to.

You can glue PP and PE plastics with hot glue but you have to rough up the surface of the plastic with some sandpaper and you have to apply the hot glue at a high temperature to make it work.

What Does Hot Glue Stick Well to?

There is a reason why hot glue is so liked by the arts and crafts community and why it is even used in many industries today. Hot glue can bond a lot of different materials to each other very easily.

Hot glue can bond:

  • Ceramic (Tiles)
  • Wood
  • Most Plastics
  • Fabric
  • Paper
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Styrofoam
  • Vinyl
  • Organic substances (leather, feathers, etc.)
  • Stone

There are probably more materials that I am missing here that hot glue is able to bond.

There are some sources that say that hot glue can´t glue vinyl or metal which is in fact false.

It is hard to glue metal because it has a smooth surface but if you sand over the surface with some rough-grit sandpaper and then clean the surface from grease and oil then hot glue will be able to bond to metal.

It will actually create quite a strong bond too. It is not recommended to glue something that will move a lot or produce heat as this will loosen the hot glue.

Vinyl can also be glued with hot glue. I don´t know why there is so much information out there that states that vinyl can not be glued with hot glue but it does in fact work.

To glue vinyl with hot glue simply heat up the hot glue. Wait until it is as hot as it can be. Clean the surface of the vinyl with some soapy water in the meantime. Make sure that the vinyl is completely dry before applying the hot glue and then press it firmly against the surface that you want to glue the vinyl to.

And that is that.

Some hot glue sticks are fairly low quality and might make it hard to glue certain materials. So always make sure to use good quality hot glue sticks that melt properly and create a strong bond.

I highly recommend hot glue sticks from gorillas (Amazon Link). They even state on the packaging that you can use these hot glue sticks for gluing metal. And you can!

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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