Reported by Angie Backen
Being an avid user of hot glue on the majority of my projects, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review this product – The Hot Glue Gun Helpers kit – developed by “Creative Juice” TV hosts Cathy Filian and Steve Piacenza and brought to us by Plaid. It says right on the back of the package, “Nearly every crafter has a hot glue gun horror story!” and man…isn’t that the truth? I’m pretty sure I’ve peeled off most of my fingerprints, which stinks because I might need them someday.
Included in this kit are 5 non-stick items created to make hot gluing easier (and actually enjoyable): a pretty pink craft mat, a finger cap for protecting delicate fingers and pressing, tweezers with non-stick tips, a paddle for soft pressing, and a press wand for heavy duty pressing and smearing of glue.
First, the Craft Mat. It’s a good size – approximately 11.5″ x 14.5″ and it rolls up easily for travel. Of course, the first thing I HAD to do was squeeze a little hot glue on it to test out the “non-stickiness”.
Incredible. The hot glue just peeled right off without much effort on my part. I was curious to see how it would work with regular white glue. Of course it took a little longer to dry, but peeled right off just as easily as the hot.
It just so happened that I had a project that needed some fixing after it “jumped” off the wall onto the floor and a few pieces and parts fell off. It was the perfect opportunity to try out a few of the tools.
I tried the finger cap first. It’s the one tool I was most excited about! It fit quite snuggly on my index finger, but it wasn’t full coverage like I was expecting. My finger only fit a quarter of the way in, which left it feeling a bit clunky and spongy at the tip, so pressing on a clunky or pointy object straight down instead of at an angle will just be absorbed into the tip. Also, because is it round rather than pointed, getting into tight spaces with this might be difficult.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Uh, Angie… you’re wearing all three caps at the same time. Safety first and all, but that’s a little much 😉
Still, it served its purpose – that is to protect my finger from getting burned upon the first press after applying the hot glue. It also helped with those pesky hot glue strings (they remind me of spider webs and therefore give me the heebie jeebies) if you just wind them around the tip of your finger a couple of times.
Next, I tried the Tweezers. Let me just say that this tool alone will change your whole hot glue gun experience for the better. This tool is perfect for holding and applying hot glue to delicate wired embellishments and gemstones of any size. And it will also help with pressing in those tight places where the Finger Cap cannot.
It’s also helpful when you need EXACT placement of an object.
The non-stick tips are a bit thick so I was skeptical about how it would handle tiny gems or beads, but it was hardly an issue. In fact, the non-stick material helped to firmly grasp the tiny objects. Score!
The next tool I tried was the Press Wand. Now, this tool is meant to be used for “heavy duty” pressing, which I thought would perfect for reinforcing the metal frame on my project with a little hot glue, so I was expecting it to be firm and sturdy – almost like an eraser – but to my surprise, it was quite floppy. It took very little exertion to make it bend and the only way to apply force to pressing with this tool is to hold it at the very tip. And even then it’s a bit floppy.
The pointed tip was also meant to be used for spreading your glue to help get rid of those telltale hot glue gun lines – unless of course, you want the added dimension.
I squeezed a bit of glue onto a piece of paper, put my gun down and then reached for the Press Wand, but by the time I went to spread the glue, it was already dry…so that didn’t work. I tried again, this time working faster, but I found that the glue was difficult to spread and even sticking to the Press Wand. It certainly didn’t leave the smooth finish I was hoping for and would definitely be visible under thin paper or fabric.
Now, it just may be that I’m not using the right type of hot glue for this particular tool, but because I only use one type, I probably will not be using the Press Wand too often.
Lastly, I tried the Paddle. At first glance, I thought this tool would also be sturdier, but turned out to be very flexible at the tip.
It’s meant for soft pressing, so it’s perfect for flat items like flowers or fabric embellishments.
What I do like about this tool is the sharp corner because it helps to apply the tiniest smidge of glue to those little objects (like beads) and can get in those tight little spaces, but again… YOU HAVE TO BE QUICK!
- No more finger burns when working with hot glue!
- Craft Mat protects your work surface from hot glue burns and makes for easy clean up. It can also be rolled up for easy travel.
- Tweezers help with small objects and tight space presses that can otherwise be difficult placing or reaching.
- While the Finger Cap prevents burns, the round tip makes pressing difficult in tight places. A pointed cap would work for that.
- Press Wand is not sturdy enough for the heavy duty presses it was intended for.
- A carrying case to keep tools together and make for easier transporting would be nice, but doesn’t take away from the product itself.
- Unfortunately, this does not keep you from accidentally burning your arm with the tip of the gun while reaching across the table for supplies. Ouch. 😉
What is your hot glue gun horror story?
You have until Friday, February 25, 2011 at 10 pm CST to enter. One comment per person, per article, please.