Hot glue is one of the most versatile glue types. It can work on many different types of materials, making it a go-to for tons of crafters. It also dries fairly quickly, making it easy to work with regardless of the materials you’re gluing.
So, how long does it take for hot glue to dry? Hot glue usually takes around 1-10 minutes to dry to the touch, and 12-24 hours to fully cure. It depends on whether you used low or high temperature hot glue, how much glue was applied, what it was applied to, and how you’re drying the glue. To dry the glue quicker, you can use compressed air or a fan.
If you’ve been avoiding hot glue because you thought it might take too long to dry, or you’ve been working with hot glue for years lamenting about the dry times, this article is for you. We’ll go over all the details you need to know about drying hot glue quickly.
How Long Does It Take For Hot Glue To Dry?
Usually, hot glue will cool to the touch within 1-10 minutes. While this may seem like a big range, it depends on a variety of factors, which we’ll review below.
You have to be careful when testing how dry your hot glue is, because until it’s fully dry, it’s still going to be hot! Hot glue dries by cooling down in temperature. As it cools, the substance changes from a liquid to a solid.
So really, when we’re talking about how long hot glue takes to dry, we’re talking about how long hot glue takes to cool. Although it can be cool and hard to the touch within a matter of minutes, a full cure will take longer.
It’s best to allow the hot glue to dry for around 12-24 hours before using the item you’ve glued. This can usually be done by simply leaving the project alone overnight.
You can still try to use your item after the glue has dried to the touch, but you may be risking the adhesive bond if you don’t wait the full cure time.
Low-Temperature Vs High-Temperature Hot Glue
As we mentioned above, hot glue’s dry process is actually a cooling process. So the higher temperature you start with, the longer it will take to cool, which means the longer it will take to dry.
The different temperatures of hot glue are used for different materials. Usually, high-temperature hot glue can be used for items like wood, metal, plastic, or glass.
These materials can withstand higher temperatures and usually won’t be damaged by a high level of heat. In fact, the higher heat may sometimes help these materials bond even better.
On the other hand, there are certain materials that won’t react well to high heat, so you’d need to use a lower temperature. These materials can be items such as foam, jewelry, fabric, or floral.
Foam can melt or disintegrate if exposed to high heat, so you’d definitely need to use low-temperature hot glue. The other materials will either incur damages or won’t react as well to high heat as they would to a lower heat.
Keep this in mind when planning your project. If you’re working with a material that needs high-temperature hot glue, you’ll need to factor in a few extra minutes for the glue to dry to the touch.
With low-temperature hot glue, you can expect your glue to dry a little bit faster.
Amount Of Glue Applied
Another factor that can affect your hot glue’s drying time is the amount of glue you’re using.
Thicker layers of hot glue will take longer to dry. Although it may feel dry and cool on the outside, the middle can still be warm and soft.
This is usually because the inside of a large glue blob isn’t getting the cooler temperatures and air flow that the outside is getting, so it doesn’t have the opportunity to dry properly.
If you work with smaller amounts of hot glue and apply it in thin layers, the glue will dry much faster.
The dry time of hot glue can also change based on the material you’re working with.
Some materials have a better bond with hot glue. For example, a porous surface like sanded wood or paper will bond with the glue better than a non-porous, smooth surface like plastic or glass.
The better bond you have, the easier it will be for your glue to dry. Porous surfaces also have a better air flow than non-porous surfaces, giving your glue a chance to react to the natural oxygen in the air and dry quicker.
Even though there aren’t a lot of variables in the drying method, the way you set up your project to dry can have an effect on how quickly the glue will dry.
Since hot glue needs cooler temperatures to dry faster, if you set your hot glue project out in the sun to dry, it may take longer.
Although sun is usually a huge help in getting glues and paints to harden and cure, it can be counterintuitive when you’re trying to cool hot glue.
Hot glue will dry faster in a cooler environment with good air flow and ventilation. It may take longer to dry if it’s in a hot environment without a lot of air flow.
How To Make Hot Glue Dry Faster
If you’ve got a weekend project with a tight deadline coming up, you may be searching for some quick and easy tips to help your hot glue dry faster.
Below are some recommendations to helping your hot glue cool down and dry faster so you can get your project done in no time.
Cans of compressed air are generally used as a dust remover for computer or electronic equipment. Many people use it to clean out the lint and dust in their keyboards or on their computer fans.
However, compressed air can also be useful to help hot glue dry faster.
Not only is it a quick, strong burst of air, but the air that comes out of a compressed air can is extremely cold. It’s so cold that you may noticed frost quickly develop and disappear on the object you’re spraying it on.
If you’re in a pinch and need your hot glue to dry in under a minute, grab a can of compressed air. Hold it upside down and spray your hot glue.
The exact time you save will depend on your project, the temperature of your hot glue, and other factors. In general, using compressed air to cool down your hot glue can help it dry to the touch in just 1-2 minutes, sometimes even in under a minute.
Increase Air Flow
Another option for getting your hot glue to dry more quickly is to increase the air flow in the room by using a fan or opening windows.
The added air flow and ventilation in the room will allow your glue to cool down quicker, which will in turn help it to dry faster.
If you don’t have a fan handy but still want to increase your ventilation, try opening a window or too. Just the natural breeze from the wind outside can help your hot glue dry faster.
Use Low-Temperature Hot Glue Or Different Glue
As we noted earlier in our section comparing high-temperature and low-temperature hot glues, low-temperature hot glue will dry faster compared to high-temperature hot glue.
Since hot glue needs to cool down to dry, it makes sense that the lower temperature you start with, the quicker you’ll reach a cool enough temperature for the glue to harden.
This doesn’t mean that you should use low-temperature hot glue on projects that need high-temperature hot glue to properly bond. Always use the right kind of hot glue for the job.
However, it is something to keep in mind when planning when to use hot glue and when to use another adhesive.
If you want a quick dry and the material you’re using needs high-temperature hot glue, you may want to consider a different type of glue or adhesive.
There are plenty of other types of glues on the market specifically designed for a variety of materials that may dry faster than hot glue.
Use Thin Layers
No matter what temperature you use or how much air flow is in the room, you can easily help your hot glue dry faster by only using small amounts.
Using too much hot glue can create a giant blob that won’t dry properly. Instead, try using just enough hot glue to cover your object and bond it to the other object.
If you press the two objects together and see lots of hot glue oozing out of the edges, that’s a good indication that you’ve used too much glue and it may take longer to dry.
Next time, use less glue to get better results and help your project dry faster.