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How to Melt Glue Sticks Without a Glue Gun?

How to Melt Glue Sticks Without a Glue Gun?

Have you ever had a glue gun break? I have. It can be pretty frustrating, especially if you are in the middle of an arts and crafts project with your kids. We all know that it is not always easy to find time to go out shopping for things like glue sticks, but what do you do when your trusty glue gun breaks? Don’t worry, because this blog post will show you how to melt glue sticks without the help of a tool!

What can I use if I don’t have a hot glue gun?

It can happen that you don’t have a hot glue gun at hand, or that the one you do own will break on you after using it for too long. There are many circumstances under which this can happen and knowing how to melt glue sticks without a hot glue gun is most certainly something worth learning about!

The first thing we should mention here is not all glues can be melted down in order to be used again later. What’s more, if the wrong type of adhesive gets heated up it might lose its stickiness altogether! To avoid these issues make sure you read through the product label before trying out any techniques described below. When in doubt though – just use old-fashioned white school glue instead as they tend to work fairly well when heated up over the stove.

How to melt the adhesive without a hot glue gun? Now that we covered what not to do, it’s time for step-by-step instructions on how to go about this property!

What can I use if I don't have a hot glue gun?

Use a stovetop

What you’ll need:

  • an old pot or pan (it should be made of aluminum or another heat resistant material)
  • your glue sticks

First up – boil some water in your chosen cooking utensil and then reduce the flame once bubbles start forming at the bottom of the container. Place one stick inside after another until they are all submerged into the newly formed pool of liquid plastic. Make sure there is enough space between them as otherwise, they might fuse together while cooling off!

Once ready take out every single glued stick with tongs and lay them out to dry on wax paper. If you feel like there is still some stickiness left on the surface after that, just use a toothpick to dab on a bit of Goo Gone or acetone. Let them dry for an hour or two and you’re good to go!

Use a lighter

The next way to melt glue sticks without a glue gun is by using a lighter. Simply hold the lighter up to the end of the glue stick and wait until it starts melting. Once it’s melted, you can start using it like normal. Moreover, you should keep doing this until the glue stick has completely melted.

Use a lighter

If you’re using a lighter, be sure to hold it over the end of the glue stick and not just directly on top of it. You don’t want to accidentally set your glue gun on fire! The heat from a lighter is typically enough to melt most types of plastic-based glue sticks; however, if you need more help with melting your popsicle sticks or hot gluing something together, search for other methods below.

This is probably the easiest way to do it, but you have to be careful not to burn yourself. Make sure you keep your hand far enough away from the flame so that you don’t get burned. Butane lighters emit a yellow flame which can be hard to see in low light conditions so it might be better to use an electric one.

Also, make sure there isn’t any flammable material nearby that could catch on fire. Be very careful when doing this!

Use a hairdryer

Use a hairdryer rather than a lighter to melt your glue sticks if they are made of plastic or rubber. This is because lighters only emit heat while hairdryers also expel air which heats up, even more, allowing for faster melting. You will need to hold it in place until all of the pieces have melted together into one blob shape on top of the tip of the stick before using it like normal though.

Use a hairdryer

Also, remember that this method may be less effective on thicker glues since there isn’t enough time for them to properly meld before solidifying again into their original shape on contact with air currents from drying too quickly and might not last as long.

Shape the melted glue stick into a blob shape on top of the tip of your glue stick with your fingers before applying it to surfaces like normal.

Use an oven

One more option to try is using the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and put the glue sticks in for about 30 minutes, checking on it every ten to make sure they don’t melt too much or burn (watch them closely). When you take them out of the oven, let them cool fully before use!

A few things to note:

  • Don’t leave the glue sticks in the oven for too long or they will start to melt and might cause a fire.
  • Make sure you have an oven thermometer to keep track of the temperature, as not all ovens cook evenly.
  • If your glue stick is still cold after 30 minutes in the oven, you can try heating it up with a hair dryer before using it. Just be careful not to burn yourself!

Use an oven

Use a microwave

Another way to melt the glue sticks without a glue gun is by using a microwave.

Place your hot-melt stick on top of an old plate or bowl, and place it inside the microwave for around 20 seconds. Keep in mind that you always have to do this at least once because some hot melts are made to be melted multiple times before being used. It might take longer depending on how many times you want your item glued together so keep checking until your desired consistency has been reached.

After the 20 seconds have passed, take it out and start using it like you would with a glue gun. Just be careful not to burn yourself!

Keep in mind that microwaves vary greatly from brand to brand. The amount of time needed can change based on yours so if after 30 seconds nothing happens then try putting it back in for another 15 seconds.

Use water

Another option is to place the glue stick in a glass of hot water. This will take a little longer than using a stovetop or microwave, but it’s a safe method.

When the glue stick is melted, use a spoon to remove it from the glass of water. Be careful not to get burned!

Finally, place the melted glue stick in the empty glue gun and let it cool. Now you’re ready to start using your new glue gun!

Use water

Just make sure the water isn’t boiling and that you keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t boil over.

Also, remember that this method will take a little longer, so you’ll need to be patient.


  • There will be residue left behind after removing melted glue sticks from their holders so make sure that you have paper towels at hand before continuing with this task.
  • If your oven has a convection setting, use that instead of regular baking so the heat circulates better and the glue will melt evenly.
  • The easiest way to melt glue sticks without using a hot gun is by simply holding them above an open flame. Be sure that whatever you use to hold your glue stick will not catch fire or else this method won’t work for you!


What works as well as hot glue?

Elmer’s glue, epoxy, and wood glue. They all work great!

What can I use if I don’t have glue?

If you don’t have any glue, use a stapler or tape.

How do you soften sticky glue?

If you have glue that is really sticky, heat it up with a blow dryer.

What if I don’t want to use fire?

On the back of some types of hot melts, there are instructions for using your hair dryer on low power to soften them instead. Some people also suggest microwaving wax paper and then applying the soft wax to the glue stick.

What is the best way to remove melted glue?

The easiest way to remove melted glue is with a knife or razor blade. Be careful not to cut yourself! Another option is using Goo Gone or a similar product. You can also use cooking oil if you don’t have anything else available.

What is the best glue gun to use?

The higher wattage, the better it will work. You can get a cheap one for about $20 or spend more than $100 dollars on bigger and fancier models with many features.

Can you revive old glue sticks?

No, you can’t revive old glue sticks. The best way to use them is to break them into small pieces before melting. This will help the heat reach all of the glue.

Useful Video: 3 Ways to use glue sticks if you don’t have a hot glue gun – life hacks

Final Thoughts

If you don’t have a glue gun, there are other ways to melt the glue sticks. You can use a microwave, stovetop, hot water, lighter, hairdryer, or even an oven. Be careful when using the stovetop and oven, as they can get very hot.

The best way to melt glue sticks is in the microwave. Just be sure to use a microwavable bowl and not to heat them for too long, or they will start to smoke.

Whichever method you choose, make sure you are careful not to burn yourself! Melted glue can cause nasty burns.

We hope this article was helpful and you found a way to melt your glue sticks without a glue gun.